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Topic: Continuous Controllers - A Boneheaded Newbie Question

  1. #1

    Continuous Controllers - A Boneheaded Newbie Question

    Greetings and Salutations,

    At the risk of incurring the wrath of the Bouncer, the shame of the Bartender, and the total disgust of all the guys in the band here in Club JABB, I have to ask a question that I am afraid will brand me for life. Still, it just has to be done...

    I recently purchased JABB, and have been reading the manual and finding my way through the samples and interface, but one thing eludes me. The "Continuous Controllers." A lot of reference is made to them, but not much about how to use them.

    Am I missing something? Do they have to be individually assigned to my midi controller from the "MIDI Automation Tab" each time I load an instrument?

    Why do instruments have controller knobs for some of the available CCs but not all? Are they hidden in the Kontakt 2 player somewhere that I haven't seen?

    I'm using an Axiom 61 keyboard controller, and I'm familiar with assigning the controls, but I just feel like there's something in the JABB user interface and manual that is probably so simple and stupid that the writers didn't feel they needed to explain....

    But they don't know me, do they?

    Thanks for your patience and help,


  2. #2

    Re: Continuous Controllers - A Boneheaded Newbie Question

    If your keyboard has assignable knobs/sliders you can assign these to the JABB Continuous Controllers (CC's) and if a JABB instrument is assigned to the MIDI channel, your keyboard is sending on, it will respond to the CC messages generated by the keyboard. You can also draw the CC data in your sequencer's pianio roll. Or let a notation application generate them.

    Btw, welcome to the forum.

  3. #3

    Re: Continuous Controllers - A Boneheaded Newbie Question

    The JABB manual will tell you what continous controllers are available for each instrument or family of instruments. This will allow you to fine tune things such as the breath noise,finger noise, key clacks, pitch bend, vibrato, legato nature, random variation in pitch or timing, etc. By carefully programming these CCs you will be able to increase the realism or expressivity of the JABB instruments. It take patience and practice. There are some tutorials that you can find as stickies here in the forums and they will help you a lot, but finally there is nothing like throwing yourself into it and trying things out for yourself.

    As Nickie mentions you can program these CCs in two ways: either through recording midi data via your keyboard/controller or by hand editing in the piano-roll or list view of your sequencer. If you use the keyboard: Some how, some way you have to assign the various knobs and sliders on your keyboard/controller to CCs in a way that your sequencer understands what's going on. This is something that is probably specific to your keyboard and your sequencer and JABB does not really enter into the equation. Probably your keyboard manual has a section mentioning how to do this. I can help you if you have an Edirol PCR-50 (or others in that PCR-xx series) but I am not familiar with other keyboards. Since I am a guitarist by nature and not a keyboard player, I tend to rely more on the piano-roll editor, but I would guess that experienced keyboardists prefer the live entry method.

    In any case, happy music-making and welcome!
    Best regards,

    Little Red King

  4. #4

    Re: Continuous Controllers - A Boneheaded Newbie Question

    Hello and Thank You, Nickie and LRK!

    I think I get it now. Thanks for the patient, articulate response.

    I'm also a guitar guy, and for the most part I only use sequencer and sampler programs in only the most basic of ways. But, as I say, I'm familiar with assigning controls to my keyboard, and I'm always happy to learn something new about my software.

    I tend to err on the side of caution when I'm learning a new program. I'm always worried that I'll create a setting that will only be that much more difficult to undo later!

    Thanks for getting me pointed in the right direction.



  5. #5

    Re: Continuous Controllers - A Boneheaded Newbie Question

    Hi again Grey,

    A couple other thoughts that crossed my mind:

    Obviously the most important CC for the wind & brass instruments is modulation. But my personal experience is that after that, in order to add to the expressiveness/realism, the aftertouch CC (intensity of vibrato), CC17 (the vibrato speed) and pitchbend CC (something subtle at the start and end of some notes) just about always need some data. I think that the slick keyboardists can probably add the aftertouch and pitchbend from the controller while they are playing, but that is far beyond me and so I am piano-roll-dependent .

    For me, the other CCs are useful, especially in passages where the instrument is particularly exposed, but show through less in ensemble passages. They're nice icing on the cake, but if you need to go fast, then you can probably tweak them later, or maybe not at all depending on what you're after.

    You may already know this, but it took me a while to have it penetrate into my head, so I figure that I might as well mention it: Reverb is very important if you are shooting for realism. The JABB samples are pretty dry so you can dress them up as you like and the right reverb can really do a lot for the feel. I guess that is obvious, but being the hard head that I am, it took a while for me to grasp that.

    In any case, looking at Tom's midi files (or his Sonar files if you are a Sonar-ist) in the tutorials is quite instructive. Also, I am far from being an ace midi programmer, but I am always open to sharing my (very) humble midi files.
    Best regards,

    Little Red King

  6. #6

    Re: Continuous Controllers - A Boneheaded Newbie Question

    Hi Grey,
    I was in your situation a few months ago, I had problems with instruments sometimes playing and sometimes not! I found the key is to nudge the modwheel just before playing ond then ride it to the end of the passage. Also assign your sequencer to 'chase' control messages this will make sure the instruments will sound when you play in the middle of a region. Adding a little Var 1 and 2 will give a little more realism.


  7. #7

    Re: Continuous Controllers - A Boneheaded Newbie Question


    it may be obvious but as a recapitulation there are several methods of generating cc data beyond drawing them into the sequencer:

    - Using the modwheel and pitchweel on a keyboard, with or without reprogramming their cc target in the keyboard or the sequencer
    - Faders on a keyboard
    - A controller with faders or knobs like the Behringer B-control or the Mackie control panel
    - Foot controller (expression pedal)
    - Breath controller
    - Joystick with a software
    - Graphical tablet (tablet2midi)
    - Data glove
    - Wii control
    - Ribbon controller
    and probably many more.

    The advantage of those methods over drawing is that with realtime audio feedback you get into a "playing mode" which is closer to real life instrument playing than the method of drawing lines, listening, correcting, relistening etc. ... which has its value for corrections or difficult parts of course.

    The more advanced controllers (fader panel, joystick, graphical tablet, data glove and some breath controllers) even give the possibility to control more than one parameter at a time, e. g. dynamics and timbre or dynamics and vibrato. This needs some practice but is worth the result IMO.

    All your strings belong to me!

  8. #8

    Re: Continuous Controllers - A Boneheaded Newbie Question

    Some good information there Hannes, but the problem with us non-keyboard players is that it is hard enough to play the parts let alone operate a modwheel, pitchbend and footswitch, but what I am finding is that things get easier the more practice you get!

    I suppose the other issue is when working out brass parts in a song is.....I can play the main part and I know how to work out harmonies, but what instruments play the various harmony parts?


  9. #9

    Re: Continuous Controllers - A Boneheaded Newbie Question

    So much great information. Thanks to everyone...

    It's a very humbling experience, learning these "instruments". I'm just a simple singer/songwriter. It's a hobby for me now. I've got to be honest with you, I only wanted to try to spruce up some recordings with some horns. That's why I got this software.

    I went in thinking that it's a "shortcut", an easy way to put some new sounds into the mix. But the more I get into it, the more I find how much craft it requires, let alone soul. You've got to find your way into each of these horns and coax the music out of them. And you've got to get your whole body into it! Heck, after only a week, I've got my right hand on the keys, my left hand simultaneously working the mod and pitch bend wheels, and my foot on the sustain pedal. All that before I even go in to edit the midi tracks! That's an awful lot from a simple rhythm guitar player!

    The experience is fascinating, hypnotizing, usually demoralizing, sometimes exhilarating and ultimately leaves me in awe of all you cats out there all around the world making music just for music's own sake...

    ...And grateful for you taking the time to give a helping hand.

    Oh man, I got so much to learn! Luck to us all!



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