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Novation Automap Universal with Ableton

These notes were made during my efforts to get Automap Universal 2.0 working on my Mac with a Novation ReMote SL. It includes info for both Sequencer Automap (Template 40 ) and Automap Universal (Template 38 )

Apart from a troubleshooting tip at the end all this info is available in the manual, but as we all know reading the manual can be a bore, especially if there is an easier way.

I hope this helps.

INSTALLATION
The installation is all pretty straight forward. Just follow the prompts. The trickier part seems to be from here on.

You can download latest Automap Universal from Novation
http://www.novationmusic.com/support/software/

SETUP
Connect the ReMOTE SL to your computer and open Ableton Live. Go to the ‘MIDI/Sync’ page of the Live preferences and set the options as shown in the following screenshot:

NOTE: The Input AND Output of the ReMOTE SL in the ‘Control Surfaces’ section must be set to ReMOTE SL Port 2.

THE REMOTE SL’S MIDI PORTS
The ReMOTE SL has three virtual MIDI ports over the USB connection.
• Port 1: Standard midi info. This includes keyboard note and aftertouch etc
• Port 2: Sequencer Automap – data between sequencer and ReMOTE SL
• Port 3: Automap Universal – data between the Automap Server software and ReMOTE SL

Automap works in two different ways, ‘Automap Universal’ and ‘Sequencer Automap’.

AUTOMAP UNIVERSAL – (Template 38 )
To use Automap Universal you must select the Automap Universal template (template 38 ) on the ReMOTE and run the Automap Server software on your computer. The Automap Server handles communication between the ReMOTE SL and the software you are controlling.

SEQUENCER AUTOMAP – (Template 40)
There are separate Automap templates on the ReMOTE SL to allow control over sequencers that do not use Automap Universal for mixer control. Ableton Live (template 40)

OTHER TEMPLATES – (Template 1-33, 35 and 36)
Templates 1-33, 35 & 36 on the ReMOTE SL are ‘standard’ templates, so called because when they are selected the ReMOTE SL functions as a standard MIDI controller. A standard MIDI controller allows you to set what MIDI message each of its controls sends.

SUMMARY – Which template to use?
• Template 38 – Control 3rd party plugins using Automap Universal
• Template 40 – Control Ableton Live Mixer and Plugins
• Other templates – Customise your own control as a standard midi controller

AUTOMAP UNIVERSAL

CONTROL MAPS“Control Map” is the term used for the arrangement of parameters across the ReMOTE SL’s controls.

SAVING:
Once you have assigned parameters in the way you want, you can save the arrangement of parameters as a control map that can be recalled when you next control that software or device so that the ReMOTE SL’s controls still control those same parameters.

Each control map will belong to one of four groups, according to the type of client it controls. The four groups are User, FX, Instrument and Mixer. A control map will be automatically assigned to a group, however you can change the group that it belongs to from the Automap Universal window.

It is possible to save the control map but not make it the default control map. Use the ‘Save As…’ option to save a control map as a *.automap file to wherever you like on your computer.

LOADING:
To load a previously saved control map you must first load an Automap-wrapped instance of the plug-in it was created with. This will automatically load the default control map for that plug-in. Ensure the plug-in has Automap focus and then use the ‘Open…’ option to load the previously saved control map.

When you load an Automap-wrapped plug-in into a session, the Automap system will automatically store a control map for that instance of the plug-in without you having to use the ‘Save As…’ or ‘Set As Default’ options. This is an ‘instance’ control map and it will only be recalled for that instance of the plug-in in that particular session. Any changes you make to the control map for that plug-in instance will be automatically saved to the instance control map when you save your sequencer session and automatically recalled when you next load the session.

When you use the ‘Set As Default’ option, the Automap Server saves the current control map as a *.automap file, named according to the plug-in it was created with, in the following location:

Win XP: C:\Documents and Settings\[your user name]\Local Settings\ApplicationData\Novation\Automap Universal\Mappings\ReMOTE SL
Win Vista: C:\Users\[your user name]\Local\AppData\Novation\Automap Universal\Mappings\ReMOTE SL
Mac OSX: ~/Library/Application Support/Novation/Automap Universal/Mappings/ReMOTE SL

AUTOMAP SERVER
The Automap Server software is the bridge between the ReMOTE SL and the software you are controlling.

If the Server is not already running on your computer then it will open up automatically when you open an Automapwrapped plug-in or run a sequencer which is set up for Automap Universal mixer control. The ReMOTE SL will automatically switch to the Automap Universal template (template 38 ) when the Server starts. This template must be selected to use Automap Universal. If it is selected but the Server is not running, ‘Automap is OFFLINE’ will appear on the ReMOTE SL displays. If it is selected and the Server is running then, unless a client is selected for control, the ReMOTE SL displays “No Clients Connected | No ReWire transport found”

The Automap Server can be launched manually by running it from:
Windows: Start -> All Programs -> Novation -> Automap Universal -> Launch Server
Mac OSX: /Applications/AutomapServer

THE PLUG-IN MANAGER
It is possible to control any VST / AU however a plug-in must first be enabled for Automap control in the Plug-in Manager.

The left-hand list in the Plug-in Manager window shows all plug-ins installed on your system and the right-hand list shows all plug-ins that have been wrapped. To select a plug-in to be wrapped for Automap control, simply drag it from the lefthand list to the right-hand list.

Once enabled it will be “wrapped”, meaning that a new version of the plug-in will be created which is contained within the Automap software. A maximum of 256 AU plug-ins can be wrapped.

NB: If you wrap a plug-in whilst your sequencer is running then you will need to restart your sequencer before the wrapped version will be available to use.

CONTROLLING PLUG-INS WITH AUTOMAP UNIVERSAL
An Automap-wrapped plug-in will appear in the list of plug-ins in your sequencer with “(Automap)” after its original name. Load the Automap-wrapped version of a plug-in into your sequencer to allow Automap control over it. The plug-in will look exactly the same as the original version but with an additional Automap border at the bottom of the window.

• Automap logo switch: It will be red for the plug-in which has Automap focus and white for all other plug-ins.
• Learn switch (crosshair): It will be red when either Learn Once or Learn Latch is active and white when learn mode is turned off.
• Novation Logo: When clicked, this opens up a drop-down menu from which you can access some Control Map options.
• Name Text Box: Every instance of an Automap-wrapped plug-in will have its own instance name that you can use for identification when selecting a control map. You can change the instance name by clicking on the box, typing in a new name and pressing enter. For example, you may have two instances of the Novation Bass Station soft-synth in your project, one playing a bass line and another playing a lead line. When you select a different control map you will see them both appear as ‘BassSta’. Renaming them to e.g. ‘BS-Bass’ and ‘BS-Lead’ will allow you to see which one is which.
• Max Number Box: Displays the max value of the last control operated on the ReMOTE SL. To edit the max value click on the box, type in a new value and press Enter.
• Min Number Box: Displays the min value of the last control operated on the ReMOTE SL. To edit the min value click on the box, type in a new value and press Enter.
• Step Size Number Box: Displays the step size value of the last control operated on the ReMOTE SL. To edit the step size value click on the box, type in a new value and press Enter.
• “Pot” Button: Sets the max, min and step values for the last control operated on the ReMOTE SL to max=127, min=0 and step size=1 so that it has a continuous pot-type response.
• “Button” Button: Sets the max, min and step values for the last control operated on the ReMOTE SL to max=1, min=0 and step size=1 so that it has a toggle (on/off) button-type response.

THE AUTOMAP UNIVERSAL TEMPLATEThe Automap Universal template (template 38 ) must be selected on the ReMOTE SL to use Automap Universal. When using Automap Universal, it is only possible to assign software parameters to the following controls:

LHS: Both rows of buttons and both rows of knobs
RHS: Faders and top row of buttons

The bottom right-hand row of buttons on the ReMOTE SL is not assignable in Automap mode and instead has been set aside for activating Automap functions:

Button 1 – Learn: Toggles the learn mode state between Off, Learn Once and Learn Latch.
Button 2 – View: Opens the Automap Universal window in Control Map View.
Button 3 – User: Opens the AU window in Browser View and shows all user control maps.
Button 4 – FX: Opens the AU window in Browser View and shows all FX control maps.
Button 5 – Inst.: Opens the AU window in Browser View and shows all instrument control maps.
Button 6 – Mixer: Opens the AU window in Browser View and shows all mixer control maps.
Buttons 7 & 8 – Control Map Menu: Press these to access the Control Map Menu

THE AUTOMAP UNIVERSAL WINDOW
The Automap Universal Window allows viewing of control assignments, control maps and help information. This window can be opened by:
• Launching the Automap Server (if ‘Show View Window On Startup’ is enabled in the Automap settings menu)
• Selecting ‘Interactive Help’ from the Automap Universal Help menu (Mac) or Automap settings menu (PC)
• Pressing either the VIEW, USER, FX, INST. or MIXER button on the ReMOTE SL

To open the Automap Universal window in Control Map view, ensure an Automap-wrapped plug-in has Automap focus and then press the VIEW button on the ReMOTE SL. The Automap Universal window will open and show the current control map, as shown above. The window is divided into three sections: the control map info at the top, the control layout in the middle and the control settings at the bottom:

Control Map Info
This section shows the following info about the control map:
• Instance Name: The instance name defaults to the name of the plug-in, however you can change the instance name by clicking on it.
• Group: This is the ‘control map group’ to which the control map belongs. There are four control map groups – User, FX, Instrument and Mixer.
• Client name: Middle section. Tells you what the ReMOTE SL is currently controlling.
• Preset name and number: This is shown below the client name, where available.
• Learn: This indicates whether learn mode is Off, Learn Once or Learn Latch.
• Page: Shows currently displayed page and the total number of pages.

TROUBLE SHOOTING

If the ReMOTE SL says ‘Automap is OFFLINE’ or the Automap Universal software says ‘No hardware found’.

This may be because the Mac can not see the third MIDI input port from the ReMOTE SL (earlier versions of the ReMOTE SL OS only had 2 MIDI input ports Via USB).

The following steps should resolve this issue;

1. Run the latest ReMOTE SL installer to make sure you have the latest OS in your ReMOTE SL.
2. Open Audio MIDI setup. (Mac HD/Applications/Utilities/)
3. Find the ReMOTE SL entry (in the ‘MIDI Devices’ section)
4. Switch off the ReMOTE SL
5. Highlight the ReMOTE SL entry in Audio MIDI setup, and select the ‘Remove Device option’.
6. Switch on the ReMOTE SL (If it doesn’t appear automatically, select the ‘Rescan MIDI’ option).

The ReMOTE SL should now appear with 3 inputs and outputs, and you should be able to use Automap universal.

May 30, 2008

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