TouchOSC and State Monitor

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Up top I’ll say what I think I’m trying to do with TouchOSC, and then I’ll explain the exact situation.

Short version: Has anyone tried making a monitor in TouchOSC for what Song State is selected in Cantabile? I was trying to use OSC and have a label respond to text, but I kind of gave up on that. Now I’d be content with mutually exclusive LEDs that lit up in response to a State change, which simultaneously turning off all the other LEDs, with text labels beneath them to show which LED corresponds to which state. In this situation, I will never be changing Songs within Cantabile.

Long version: So, I’m setting up a rig to teach some students about using actual (software) synths instead of just ROMplers. Because it’s for a church band, I have VERY limited time each week with the students to do teaching besides just learning the songs for that week. So I’ve been really wracking my brain for a solution that 1) maximized the education potential while 2) simultaneously minimizing the learning curve and 3) had immediate application for the band. Because of this, I’m really trying to avoid having a monitor on stage. For one thing, it’s a student band, so that’s asking for something to break. But also, I’m trying to make everything tactile and immediate for the students. If I could get away with having NO screen on stage, including touchOSC, that’d be ideal. But I also have basically zero budget for this, so I can’t go buy another keyboard controller (although a super cheap fader/button/etc controller like the X-touch Compact could be possible).

So what I’ve come up with is to have two synths - one programmed manually, and another with a hand-picked selection of presets, and two buttons on the MIDI controller can turn them each on and off. (I’ve hand selected 8 parameters on the manually programmed synth to get them started - the students don’t have access to the rest for simplicity sake) Since I’m ok with them being layered, I don’t need these buttons to be mutually exclusive, so that’s easy enough.

The rub comes when it’s time to select patches. Right now I’m using States to switch between presets - the States are set to ignore literally everything but the presets on one plugin. I have my Surface visible, so I can see which State is active. I’m using the drum pads on the 261 to change between them. BUT…if I take the tablet screen away, now the students have no visual feedback as to which patch is selected.

I can’t get the MPK261 button lights to respond to incoming midi, but that could be user error? One thought I had was to have the buttons change the state instead of the drum pads - the problem is that turning one patch on doesn’t turn the other lights off (with the buttons set to Toggle - alternatively they could be set to Momentary, but then you still have no visual feedback of what is selected, because ALL the lights are off). So I tried making bindings in Cantabile so that whenever one state is selected, Cantabile kicks back to the MPK261 “Off” on the CC that each of the other buttons is assigned to - but it didn’t work.

So that led me to TouchOSC - which I’ve used before. Earlier this year we had some fly dates where we could take NO keyboard controller at all, so I whipped up a TouchOSC layout to give me a couple faders and some state change buttons. But I had the laptop visible for feedback. For this project, what has really stumped me is getting that visual feedback in touchOSC. Or really anything - I also considered the new web interface. It can monitor the states easily enough, and each student can have it on their phone easily enough without installing anything. The only bummer is that it isn’t extendable in any way. Now there’s a screen on stage (which I was trying to avoid, but am willing to deal phones if unavoidable), and I can’t use it in any other way. One big advantage of TouchOSC, assuming I can solve this problem, is that I can monitor all sorts of things and it opens up future teaching possibilities. The MPK261 has infinity knobs with no LEDs, so if I wanted to incorporate them in the future, I’d need a way to monitor their level. Still, the new web interface IS a workable solution in the short term, so I’m very grateful for it! I just hate to compromise when it seems like there should be a better solution.

The setup I’m testing this on is a Surface Pro 2, Focusrite Scarlet 2i4, and MPK261. Software is Tal-U-No-LX, Dexed, and Helix Native (Helix is kind of overkill, but it’s what I have handy). I’m using the faders on the 261 for programming the Juno, and the buttons on the 261 for selecting the synths and activating the effects. Until I get this up and running, and get the church to get buy some equipment, I’ll probably start using this exact setup, but getting the Surface off the stage with a cheap computer bought for purpose is high priority.


Hi scheater5,

I don’t know if it would help but have you tried the new network server UI feature that Brad introduced. It allows song and state changes that are indicated via a web browser. more info here

it might help. The TouchOSC way would take some thinking.