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Program Change On Lead A1 and Beatstep Pro

Postby jramboutan » 25 Oct 2020, 17:58

Hello!

Not So Important Intro:
So, I've been using my beloved Nord Lead A1 for about 6 years now. In the past, I was using it to record its audio directly by playing (with my hands on it). I did, on some occasions, sequence it directly from Reason through my audio interface, but nothing really fancy. Then recently, I got Ableton, which (I think) has a much clearer interface regarding the routing of MIDI channels. This led me to experiment with having all four timbres of the A1 sequenced from Ableton with each having their own dedicated MIDI channel. Having not studied in great depth all of the characteristics and nature of MIDI, I can safely say that I am no expert, plus, every device has its own way of dealing with things (although fairly standardized, for the critical parts). I have now bought the Arturia Beatstep Pro, on which I am having a lot of fun, but there are still some details that I am not sure I understand about the way the A1 works regarding MIDI implementation. And for a device as fun as the Beastep, I feel obliged to learn more about it.

Actual Question:
The one thing that I can't figure out is: How do you execute a program change on the A1 using the Beatstep? I seem to understand that you have to sequentially send different MIDI CC with different values, but this is quite obscure for me. Could anyone clarify this? In the manual, it says to send CC00, value 0 + CC32 values 0-7 or CC00, value 0 + CC32, value 0-3 in performance mode.

Now, say that this corresponded to a bunch of CC messages, how would I go about sending all of this from my Beatstep? I can only assign one pad (or knob) to a single CC and with a fixed value.

In the Arturia MIDI Control Center (the thing from Arturia on my computer to set certain things on the Beatstep) there's a "Program Change" mode that can be assigned to pads, but it features parameters I am not familiar with and can't reconcile with what is in the A1 Manual. If you select the "Program Change" mode for a knob, you have 5 options:

1. The MIDI channel the CC is sent on (I understand what that does.)

2. The MIDI port (USB, MIDI or both. I understand that too.)

3. The Program Number (0-127) <- This one I don't understand, I tried to see if it just controlled what program I was using and, it didn't seem to work...

4. Bank LSB (0-127) (After reading online, it seems to be some standard for bits, but I fail to see how to use it...)

5. Bank MSB (0-127) (Same as for #4...)


Anyhow, thanks in advance! Any help is appreciated! :keyboard2:
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Program Change On Lead A1 and Beatstep Pro


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Re: Program Change On Lead A1 and Beatstep Pro

Postby 23skidoo » 29 Oct 2020, 01:20

The value in CC0 is the MSB. The value in CC32 is the LSB. So in your case the LSB is the bank and the MSB is the patch in that bank.
Last edited by 23skidoo on 29 Oct 2020, 01:20, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Program Change On Lead A1 and Beatstep Pro

Postby jramboutan » 29 Oct 2020, 18:26

Ok, so, is the idea to send the CC messages sequentially? Is there a timing to respect?

What I am assuming is that the Beatstep has a built-in sequence of instructions, specifically adjusted to change the patch, that is set in their "MIDI Control Center". I have joined an image of the available parameters. Suppose I want to go to bank A, program 12, in performance mode. What will I need to adjust? And what is the "Program Number parameter used for?

I have done a lot of trial and error, but for some reason, the Beatstep is pretty slow at loading the adjusted parameters from my laptop, so it makes the trial and error process slow and frustrating. Which is why I'm trying to get the answer from here :P

Thank you!
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Re: Program Change On Lead A1 and Beatstep Pro

Postby DJKeys » 29 Oct 2020, 19:18

Make sure the send channel of the BSP matches the Global Midi channel of the A1.

Set the Bank LSB to 0, the Bank MSB to 0 and the program to the desired performance on the A1.

To get to the next bank of performances, set the LSB to 1, next bank 2, etc.

-dj
Last edited by DJKeys on 29 Oct 2020, 19:27, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Program Change On Lead A1 and Beatstep Pro

Postby 23skidoo » 30 Oct 2020, 00:03

jramboutan wrote:Ok, so, is the idea to send the CC messages sequentially? Is there a timing to respect?

What I am assuming is that the Beatstep has a built-in sequence of instructions, specifically adjusted to change the patch, that is set in their "MIDI Control Center". I have joined an image of the available parameters. Suppose I want to go to bank A, program 12, in performance mode. What will I need to adjust? And what is the "Program Number parameter used for?


DJKeys is right, I forgot about the program parameter itself - but basically there are three values that combine in sequence to change the program, although not all of them are always needed, and they are almost always implemented differently from unit to unit. I don't have a beatstep pro in front of me to help you, but from the MIDI spec, you always send the MSB first and the LSB immediately after, and the LSB is always the CC# of the MSB plus 32. So the CC of the Bank Select is 0, so that's the MSB (most significant bits) and the LSB (least significant bits) are the CC#32. TOGETHER these specify the bank. Then you follow THAT with the program number -> so the synth sees Bank MSB (CC#0), Bank LSB (CC#32), and finally PC in that order, one right after the other. If there's too much of a delay, the hardware is permitted to "forget" that the others were sent and start over.

You can in some cases on some hardware send only the PC (it will only change the program in the current bank) or only the Bank MSB or LSB (although sending only the LSB by itself is *technically* a MIDI spec violation if it is being interpreted as the Bank LSB), and this is where MIDI is really like the wild west. Some controllers surprisingly only send the MSB - and some synths only care about the MSB, treating the LSB as unimportant! It makes no sense whatsoever out there, but if every controller sent all three in the right order we'd be able to accommodate whatever silliness a hardware vendor chose to implement.

I believe (but this may differ from model to model even) that Nords only really NEED the Bank LSB (since they have less than 128 banks, which is the highest number the LSB can contain by itself before spilling over into the MSB) and the PC.

For instance, my Digitone only sends the MSB for bank select and can't send the LSB (they might have fixed this with a firmware update but I haven't tried the recent firmware yet), so it couldn't control my A1 at all.

Anyways, this is way more info than you probably cared about, but that's how it *should* work under the hood. How it does in practice sometimes depends on which controller and which music hardware you're trying to interface and whether they send and receive in a compatible way. The spec is only really a suggestion, it seems!
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