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General Discussion of the Nord Stage (EX) and Nord Stage 2 (EX) Synths, FAQ, Troubleshooting etc.

A Patch Editor for the Nord Stage (based on Ctrlr)

Postby Johannes » 19 Oct 2011, 22:44

Hi,

I have been looking for a MIDI Librarian/Patch Editor for a long time now. Having used SoundDiver and ChangeIt before, there seemed to be no future for those tools controlling Hardware Instruments. And while I thought having seen all and every piece of software finding MIDIQUEST to be the best (but expensive and not 100% flexible) solution, I finally found what I was looking for: A new, actively developing, freeware, open source multi OS MIDI Patch Editor / Librarian: http://ctrlr.org/

Updates:
-RC1: Release Candidates for the Nord Stage Classic/EX and Nord Stage 2 are now ready.
-16 Nov 2011: RC2 with Octave indication and some minor bugfixes.

Image

How to use it?
  • Download Ctrlr for your OS (Win/OS/Linux) from http://ctrlr.org/ and install it.
  • Download the Nord Stage Panel from here:
    1. For the Nord Stage Classic/EX: Nord Stage C/EX Patch Editor
    2. For the Nord Stage 2: Nord Stage 2 Patch Editor
  • Load the Panel in Ctrlr and select your MIDI interface using the "Devices" Button
  • Select your MIDI in and ouput device and channel in the Tool bar drop down menus.
  • On your Nord Stage Classic/EX/2, hit SHIFT+MIDI then scroll to the Option "Send MIDI Ctrl". Select the Panel you want to edit/view (A or B) and press the red STORE button. This makes the Nord Stage send the current values of ALL CC controllers over MIDI and the replicated Panel on your Computer should now show all the values of your Nord Stage.
Now you can tweak your NS from your computer, see all values of all controllers on your screen, take a screenshot of patches, or even (in the VST mode) load it into your DAW.

If you have problems or questions, please reply to this thread!



Cheers,
Johannes
Last edited by Johannes on 18 May 2014, 08:16, edited 3 times in total.

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A Patch Editor for the Nord Stage (based on Ctrlr)


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Re: A Patch Editor for the Nord Stage (based on Ctrlr)

Postby Johannes » 20 Oct 2011, 11:40

So I gave it a quick look and it's really easy to create surfaces to control your Synth!!
In just one hour I obtained a basic version, almost finished as a first try in order to control a Nord Stage from the PC or read out all values even from the Pots without LEDs!

Here is what I did:
-Created a surface with 90% of the elements of a NS Classic/EX
-Assigning the Midi CC numbers from the Nord Manual so they are always in Sync
-Basic Layout based on the original Panel

to do for a final version:
-integrate the last 10% of controllers
-integrate the drawbars, probably the best woudl be create a Nord Style Drawbar using this tool: http://www.g200kg.com/en/software/knobman.html
-maybe create some custom elements (knobs, switches) based on the Nord ones (check the existing Maps so see what is possible with knobman!: http://ctrlr.org/page.php?p=ddb
-some programming would be needed for the functions that depend on other elements (e.g., different Vibrato/Chorus options for different Organ models, Effect Rate/Amount for the selected FX (1/2/3),...)
-Once its done, "Copy and Paste" in order to create Panel B.
-Taking the Sysex Dump Request and translating the sysex data into initialising all values (definitively feasible, see http://ctrlr.org/viewtopic.php?f=61&t=533#p2976, just need to find the nord specific values!)


How to use it?
  1. Download Ctrlr ("Nightly" seems better) for your OS from http://ctrlr.org/page.php?p=downloads
  2. Download the Nord Stage Panel from here: Nord Stage C/EX Patch Editor
  3. Setup your MIDI interface using the "Devices" Button
  4. Select your MIDI in and ouput device and channel in the Tool bar drop down menus.
  5. On your Nord Stage Classic/EX/2 (for the NS2, some CC assignments will have to be adjusted, but grosso modo it should work too), hit SHIFT+MIDI then scroll to the Option "Send MIDI Ctrl". Select the Panel you want to edit/view (A or B) and press the red STORE button. This makes the Nord Stage send the current values of ALL CC controllers over MIDI and the replicated Panel on your Computer should now show all the values of your Nord Stage.
  6. Now you can tweak/switch anything either on the PC or your Front Panel and will see the changes immediately on both devices.

Remarks:
-Some settings are not transfered via CC, e.g., the Piano Category Selected, Piano Type, ... So for the moment they cannot be changed from the PC. For that, one would need to work with Sysex data which is strictly possible but would require more work.
-Whenever you change a program on your NS, you have to resend the CC values using the Option in the MIDI menu again (SHIFT+MIDI => STORE)!
-Click on "Mode" on the toolbar to switch between vies and edit (if you want to change something) modes
-only one panel works for the moment.



Here is how it looks:
ctrlr nord stage screenshot.png
ctrlr nord stage screenshot.png (727.91 KiB) Viewed 17847 times



Please let me know what you think and you can easily further edit the Panel, improving the layout, adding the missing bits and pieces!
I think Ctrlr is a great and future proof solution to work upon! It is very flexible in order to include the real values, e.g., of the envelope values in seconds, adding a virtual envelope to see how it looks,...

If you have problems loading it, please reply to this post!!

Cheers

Johannes


EDIT: I also added a stand alone version ("player") for Win7 x64 and added drop down menus in the toolbar for your Midi IO and Mici Channels!


EDIT: Now with WORKING Drawbars/Drawbuttons!!! (v3)

EDIT: New download link for always the latest version: Nord Stage C/EX Patch Editor

EDIT: Now all greyed so settings are more visible, added Nord LED Pots (v4)

EDIT: The StandAlone Version of Ctrlr is not anymore supported so please use the Standard Version!
Last edited by Johannes on 31 Jul 2012, 12:26, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: A Patch Editor for the Nord Stage (based on Ctrlr)

Postby Hanon_CTS » 20 Oct 2011, 13:57

Too cool Johannes! 8-)
Last edited by Hanon_CTS on 31 Jul 2012, 12:26, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: A Patch Editor for the Nord Stage (based on Ctrlr)

Postby Johannes » 20 Oct 2011, 17:56

Hi, thanks! it's a great and easy to program tool Ctrlr, kudos to the developer!!
This seems like a great way of getting an easy "visible" snapshot of a patch setting.
Now even the drawbar settings move like in your instrument (v3) ;-) ... inspired by your avatar :thumbup:
I really would like to have an image of the envelope!! That would be a killer feature.
Plus some cosmetics (colours, maybe customized "Nord" knobs) and, of course, the Sysex Dump feature.
Last edited by Johannes on 31 Jul 2012, 12:26, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: A Patch Editor for the Nord Stage (based on Ctrlr)

Postby iaorana » 20 Oct 2011, 19:57

Johannes wrote:Hi, thanks! it's a great and easy to program tool Ctrlr, kudos to the developer!!

+ 1 :o . It's fantastic Johannes! Congrats for having discovered this superb software :thumbup:
Now even the drawbar settings move like in your instrument (v3) ;-)

Just have to reverse the move, though ;)

Has anybody some time to derive an NS2 version? Personally, I can't, because I'm currently struggling with a (huge) development project for another brand instrument.

However, I would have liked to extend this Ctrlr tool to Program files (e.g. *.ns2p), just for displaying purpose. Editing such files could be interesting, but :

- not sure Clavia would accept users to touch the files :?

- each file ends with a 2 byte checksum, but AFAIK, the corresponding algorithm is still unpublished. Hence, it would be impossible to save a usable edited file :(

Alain
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Re: A Patch Editor for the Nord Stage (based on Ctrlr)

Postby Johannes » 20 Oct 2011, 21:23

Hi Alain,

I recall your post from several months back. Indeed given that Nord probably will not release the specs of the file format messing around with creating them is probably not a good idea.
From my personal point of view, what should be feasible and also OK with any keyboard manufacturer is READING Sysex (or, which is pretty much the same, patch files) and using the data to extract SOME information, in particular, e.g., the values of controllers. SENDING/WRITING them back to the instrument can always be done using the official CC channels, such as in this program.
This way, no violation of sending wrong/incorrect Sysex/Files to the Nord is possible (and no need to know the checksum etc.).

Programming Files on the PC is more complex and goes beyond that, so IMHO this will not be possible unless Nord releases a patch editor (which again is unlikely IMHO given that the NS is precisely made to use the front panel).

The present approach (in my opinion) serves some "minor" purposes such as
-allowing to have a "visual" snapshot of (almost) all patch settings
-seeing all parameter values of the non-LED pots - not possible with the Classic/EX
-integration as a VSTi in your DAW (in fact, Ctrlr also can be used as a VST)
-playing around with the settings on your PCm maybe getting better visual e.g. of the envelopes (my personal aim)

Probably, reading out Program Files and displaying them could be done as well. But the communication TO the Nord should only use public standard CC's (warranty issue, risk of damaging when writing "n'importe quoi" into the keyboard's memory)

Has anybody some time to derive an NS2 version?

Should be pretty easy with the MIDI implementation of the Manual. But I think once its finished more or less, its better to adapt it afterwards. But anyone can go ahead!
Last edited by Johannes on 31 Jul 2012, 12:26, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: A Patch Editor for the Nord Stage (based on Ctrlr)

Postby iaorana » 20 Oct 2011, 21:58

I completely agree with all your points Johannes 8-)

BTW: Up to now, Clavia forgot to document SysEx for the NS2 :roll:

Alain
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Re: A Patch Editor for the Nord Stage (based on Ctrlr)

Postby Johannes » 21 Oct 2011, 11:13

iaorana wrote:BTW: Up to now, Clavia forgot to document SysEx for the NS2 :roll:


Indeed. even though the documentation for the NS Classic also only contains how to request and send dumps of programs or the edit buffer, this "most likely" works also on the NS2 ??!

I checked and compared the MIDI specs of the NS2 vs. the Classic/EX and found a number of differences. See the attached Excel File.

Based on that I built a first version of the Patch Editor for the NS 2 that you can find here: Nord Stage 2 Patch Editor

Most CCs are there, but some values that only take certain number (e.g., wave form selection, ARP mode, ... need to check the CC parameter values assigned to each option which obviously you need a NS 2 for ;-) ).
The drawbars and LEDs come from a photo while the panel is a drawing from Nord (only high res image of the NS 2 Panel I could find.)



to-do for now:
-LEDs red/off instead of the blue switches (pretty easy!)
-some conditional elements based on instrument activated,...
-envelope representation
-sysex interpretation
Attachments
MIDI CC Implementation NS Classic and EX vs. NS 2.xls
(27 KiB) Downloaded 471 times
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Re: A Patch Editor for the Nord Stage (based on Ctrlr)

Postby Frantz » 21 Oct 2011, 11:56

On one hand there is only 12 knobs without leds on the synth section that could have leds ...
On the other hand there is only 12 knobs without leds on the synth section that we have to read the values by pressing shift and touch the knob ...
And 9 more on the effect section including reverb, compressor and rotary.
I agree with you Johannes about the enveloppes.
I feel value indicators / leds are really missing for 'only' 9 knobs : envoloppes and filter.
8-) These knobs should be servo controled (motorised) :lol:
That's why Nord Stage 3 will have (for sure, I bet ...) only a capacitive touch screen, no physical button/knobs at all :angel: :mrgreen:
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Re: A Patch Editor for the Nord Stage (based on Ctrlr)

Postby organut » 21 Oct 2011, 13:21

I A tochscreen instead of physical knobs and buttons would be the dead of the Nord instruments.... yuk!
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