Recalling synth parameters / step locking external incoming CC

Hey friends;

I’m having some trouble saving and recalling patches from hardware synths that don’t store patches themselves. (And frankly I’d prefer having the patches for all my hardware synths stored in the Pyramid, including the ones that do store patches.)

Specifically I have one synth that doesn’t store patches at all. Editing all its CC parameters through the Pyramid is extremely fiddly and time consuming. I thought my best guess would be to edit them with an external midi surface, and record the incoming CC messages.

My ideal situation would be to have auto record CC for these messages, but it looks like that only exists for CCs assigned to a knob or the touchpad.

The next best option would be to create a short pattern and just save all CC parameters in the first step of this pattern, so playing that pattern would set up the synth patch. But I can’t seem to step lock external CCs?

The only way I can seem to save external CCs is in live mode. (This does confirm that CCs are coming in.) But this way CCs are only recorded when they are changing, which makes them not very precise and also makes it almost impossible to audition the patch while I’m editing it. (Because all the automation is moving around, unlike in step mode where you can create horizontal automation lines.)

Am I missing something?
Thanks in advance for any help

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hey there,

Alright, so we’re interested in how to manage the sound settings on synths that don’t store patches (presets, or in other words, ‘save’ anything). In your case, your synth has CC’s you can use.

I have some thoughts, and I think I can answer some questions. I’d emplor you to jump into the manual if you haven’t. It’s your friend.

Also, idk if people like or hate this about me - but I think there’s a philosophical discussion to be had too. I’ll say it out loud - there are more ways to setup a synth that doesn’t do presets than just a pyramid. You can always turn knobs - like if you take the old juno 6, the manual shipped with pictures of the synth, and you could draw your ‘preset’ in on it.

anyways, tl;dr - the way you want to send CC’s to synths to set them up will work. Some of what you said isn’t true, and I’m not entirely sure why things didn’t work for you. I’ll go through things.

You can’t do anything akin to a ‘latch’ record on the pyramid like you could in a daw. This means that the only way to ‘record’ persay, is in the musical context where you press play and it records.

This is what I do and it does work: I’m saying, I do this in step mode and it works. Maybe something isn’t configured the same way or we understand the buttons differently - but maybe I can help.

My workflow is to identify the CC and value I want, then I go into step mode, identify the CC, and program the value into the first step of the loop. There are a couple things to call out when you do this.

Identifying my CC and value: I write the CC values for all my parameters directly on my synths, so that’s easy (I use mix console tape and write on the tape). To identify the CC I want, once I’ve got my synth patch right - I assign the CC to one of the encoders and I turn the encoder until I find the CC value that gives me the sound I want. If I’m programming multiple parameters, I’ll re-use the assignment encoder when I’m done for the next task.

Once you’ve done that, if you enable the track it should send all the CC’s and setup your sound. I do this all the time.

:: gotchas ::

  1. The thing about CC’s is that anything else sending CC’s can re-program your synth. Just something you gotta watch out for. For example, if you use a midi CC LFO, you’ll want to make sure however that works plays well with the sound design you’ve programmed.

  2. CC sound programming is functionally different than using Program Change messages on the Pyramid and your programming needs to account for this too. What I mean by that is, PC messages are special and the pyramid sends them in situations where it is not sending note data. Whereas your PC will fire first and update your synths when you enable a track on the pyramid, you gotta remember that the CC value you program, all of them, will fire in series (one at a time) and they will be sent alongside the note data. This creates the possibility for a note to play before your synth is setup correctly.

Pro-tip: Using a separate track that’s setup for ‘one shot’ or whatever its called to configure the synth can be helpful here.

Pro-tip: This means for your CC synths, you might have to start your song in order to setup the synth, and then after a bar or two, send your song notes.

Hope this helps.

@vt100 Carl has some excellent suggestions.

I have a hammer, so everything looks like a nail: my approach would be to use an Event Processor, specifically one that can receive a single MIDI Event (perhaps, a PgmChg) and expand that to several Events (perhaps, several CC msgs). It would basically allow you to create a number of Preset Patches for your synth that reside on the Event Processor and call them via a simple PgmChg.

I know a BomeBox can do it, since I do something similar, but that may be overkill wrt features and/or cost/advantage. I’m under the impression the MIDI Solutions Event Processor could do it. I don’t think a MIDIHub can do it, but I don’t know that device. YMMV

I’ve gone through the manual extensively and I haven’t been able to find the solution. Reading your answer it seems like I may not have been clear enough in what exactly my question is.

You’re describing how to program synth CCs through the pyramid. That works for me, but with 20-some parameters, that’s what in my post I’m describing as:

With only seven assignable positions (five encoders and two touchscreen directions) I’d be assigning and re-assigning constantly. Or I could not assign them, and have to scroll through the entire parameter list every time looking for the right CC. It’s just not a very quick or user friendly workflow.

So what I’m asking is: how can external CCs (such as those being sent from an external midi surface/controller) quickly and efficiently be stored, so I can recall them later to set up my synth.

I’m not talking about DAW-behavior. I’m referencing the existing pyramid behavior “AUTOREC” for assigned CCs, as described in the assign chapter of the manual:

Note: as soon as you assign a CC control and move it to set the value, an automation message is created to store this value (you can display it or remove it in stepmode CC MESSAGES). This message will be sent at the start of the track, so your synthesizer will always have the right set value. You can disable this feature in SETTINGS > MISC > CC ASSIGN > AUTOREC OFF.

If this would exist for CCs coming in from a midi surface, that would be absolutely perfect.

Also, if step-locking would exist for CCs coming in from a midi surface (step mode, hold down pad, move knob on midi surface, incoming CC gets recorded into the step), that would be absolutely perfect as well, and I’m not clear why this feature wouldn’t be implemented, seeing that recording of incoming CCs in live mode is implemented.

I hope this makes my question more clear

I’m personally using definition files, because sticking 20+ pieces of tape on a Korg NTS-1 doesn’t seem quite manageable :sweat_smile:

Yeah, if the pyramid doesn’t want to cooperate (I’ll leave a feature request with the developers), the next option would be to bring in a second device.

In my case I’d set up my own arduino-based device becasue 1. I was already thinking about doing that to extend pyramid’s functionality, possibly with a NDLR-like device, and 2. I know how to do it and it would probably be much cheaper than buying a device.

Hi - i understood you. The answer to your question is, ‘the pyramid doesn’t work that way’ - but you can use my suggestions as one possible solution. There’s no way (at present) for it to just grab a CC/value so you can easily program it (unlike notes, which can set all the note step parameters for you when you press a key).

You might be able to try to do something with a PC or other device that supports the workflow you want to use, then copy the midi file over or something. :man_shrugging:

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