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Seeking info from experienced VEP7+Logic users.
Last post Sun, Feb 28 2021 by Macker, 4 replies.
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Posted on Wed, Feb 17 2021 15:38
by Macker
Joined on Tue, Aug 21 2018, London, Posts 218

For purposes of accommodating and setting up an initial default template for my forthcoming Situater Orchestral Intonation subsystem in Logic, I'd really very much appreciate knowing something about certain aspects of typical automation usage amongst advanced and experienced VEP7+Logic users. Specifically:-

1. do you use the "deep" automation which can be set up with labelled parameters shared between VEP7 and Logic (as distinct from MIDI Controllers, keyswitches and/or Articulation Sets):-

(a) all the time or very often?
(b) occasionally, only as and when really necessary?
(c) rarely if ever?

2. if you're usually a 1(a) kind of user, do you typically write this automation:-

(a) in the same MIDI track/regions as the score, for each particular instrument?
(b) in dedicated automation tracks/regions, separate from the score?
(c) in some combination of (a) and (b)?

3. lastly, if you're customarily a 1(a) and 2(b) automation user, do you place your automation tracks:-

(a) as close as possible to each relevant instrument's score track?
(b) somewhere distincly apart from instrument score tracks?


Silly and perhaps somewhat rude of me to try to sound like a Gallup poll, I know; and of course I'm not expecting composers to conform to such hideously compartmentalised questions, lol. However, I'd very much like Situater to accommodate advanced working practices as well as possible, rather than being guided by mainly my own limited and strictly amateur experience in this field. Any guidance, points, issues or general info you can offer here in any sort of relation to my questions above will be extremely welcome.

P.S. Although for years I regarded Situator principally as a unique tool for use in the most creative moments of composing, actually I don't need to - and shouldn't - rule out the possibility of using it with a small or moderate-size template (up to, say, 800 or so MIDI channels) in production of full mockups (and later perhaps involving very large templates). Hence my interest in deep automation in Situator.

Posted on Fri, Feb 26 2021 13:02
by Macker
Joined on Tue, Aug 21 2018, London, Posts 218

Lol, don't all speak at once, gentlemen.

Well, I did worry that my questionnaire was a bit too intrusive and importuning - I tend not to reply to those kinds of posts myself, lol.

So anyway, I'll revert to the well trodden path for designing: i.e. the designer proposes, the market disposes. Here's my current thinking for the default template I'll provide with my Situater, especially in regard to automation.

1. For voiced notes, Situater uses MIDI instruments cabled in the Environment to instances of Software Instrument objects. This principle also happens to open the possibility of using very large Logic templates with VEP7, regardless of whether Situater is used or not.

2. In Logic's mixer I prefer MIDI on the left, Audio on the right. This tends to give Logic less opportunity to do weird and awkward things in its automatic "signal flow" rearrangement of mixer strips. In particular I prefer to have VEP's Software Instrument strips on the right in Logic's mixer, so that I'm not constantly scrolling side to side in the mixer to get at the VEP aux expansion outputs and their subsequent routing and effects chains.

3. Unfortunately, although each of the multiple 'cloned' instances of Environment channel strips for each AU3 VEPro instance can be assigned to individual tracks in the track list, Logic tends to be very slippery about which of these tracks actually corresponds to the one and only Software Instrument strip shown in the main mixer, per VEP instance. Long story short, there are problems in this area. There are tricks for getting around these problems but I want to avoid or at least minimise as much technical faffing as possible for the user, such that composers can get on and compose rather than suffering destructive distractions of wrong-side-of-the-brain geeky technical puzzles. Hence I'm currently thinking that for each VEP instance there'll be just one Software Instrument track in the track list. Another unfortunate thing is that to keep Logic mixer's automatic "signal flow" arrangements more or less sane, the track assigned to the VEP instance's mixer strip has to be well down in the track list, usually miles away from its corresponding MIDI tracks. I'm sorry about that; Apple have yet to sort out fully the big mess they made of Logic's mixer long ago.

4. All MIDI-based automation (including Logic's Articulation Sets) can of course be written into the MIDI tracks assigned to cabled MIDI Instruments; but "deep" automation cannot work that way in this configuration. "Deep" automation uses Logic's proprietary Fader messages rather than MIDI messages, but the list of parameters assigned in VEP to Fader automation is not exposed backwards from the VEP server via Logic Software Instruments to the MIDI instruments cabled upstream. The only way for deep automation to work in this case is to write it into the VEP Instance Software Instrument track. Fortunately, deep automation does not use and ignores the MIDI channel and port assignments set in Logic's Software Instruments, so any and all deep automation for the whole of one VEP instance can be witten into one AU3 Software Instrument track, regardless of its MIDI channel and port settings.

So I for one am not happy about this potentially very large separation between MIDI tracks and deep automation tracks, but these are the breaks, folks.


At the risk of triggering some unwelcome and counterproductive duckspeak (à la 1984), I'll add this extra bit of technobabble in an effort to douse misinformation and misunderstandings on this topic. In Logic's Environment there has long been a limit of 127 'cloned' instances of each Software Instrument object. That limit holds true with or without an I/O (instrument or router) plugin inserted; it has nothing to do with any particular AU2 or AU3 plugin, nor any particular user-method of causing Software Instruments to be 'cloned' in the Environment. Hence if a Software Instrument's 'clones' are to be directly assigned to tracks to provide 1 MIDI channel each in an AU3 VEPro template configuration, then of course they can provide no more than 127 MIDI channels in total  per VEPro instance. However, if all 127 'cloned' Environment instances of any one AU3 Software Instrument object are each set to All MIDI Channels, then the absolute maximum number of MIDI channels is 2032 per AU3 Software Instrument - given that a hypothetical AU3 Software Instrument plugin can accommodate 127 ports, also given that all these MIDI tracks are channelised by MIDI instruments cabled to the Software Instrument. In the case of an AU3 VEP7 Software Instrument, the still-abundant limit is 48 ports x 16 channels per port = 768 MIDI channels; given that cabled MIDI Instruments do all the MIDI channelising. (BTW I'm not expecting Apple to increase this limit of 127 Software instrument clones any time soon - just a hunch, based on a vision of Apple's quality managers having kittens at the idea of allowing potentially astronomical numbers of Software Instrument clones in Logic's Environment. But hey, you never can tell what the Cupertino cowboys will get up to next.)

Thus, in between these 768 and 127 limits there are options for combining All-channel and single-channel Software Instrument clones in the Environment, using cabled MIDI Instruments only for the All-channel cases. Such combinations may perhaps be useful in some cases for alleviating the deep automation separation-from-MIDI-tracks problem. But it's best regarded as a workaround that can easily get messy and awkward with regard to subsequent template updating, and in any case it all depends on what and how much deep automation is likely to be done by the user - which I'm not going to try to second-guess.

Posted on Fri, Feb 26 2021 20:04
by Macker
Joined on Tue, Aug 21 2018, London, Posts 218


There does appear to be a way of reliably providing multiple software instrument tracks per AU3 VEP instance for use with deep automation, AND keeping each of these tracks with its corresponding port and MIDI tracks in the track list without Logic trying to rearrange things in the mixer. I'll let you know after a lot more testing.

Posted on Sun, Feb 28 2021 13:56
by Macker
Joined on Tue, Aug 21 2018, London, Posts 218

NOPE. Very sorry, folks - please disregard my breaking news above.

Teufel! Logic's mixer and track-list combination ist jetzt einfach zu verdammt rutschig.

For a little while it had me fooled into thinking I'd made it behave sensibly. But nah. Apparently its recent code patches are determined to be as geeky, cheesy, rinky-dink, gauche, inept, inapposite and awkward as hell.

Well done the Cupertino wrecking crew; that's another fine mess you've gotten us into.

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