Author Topic: [AZ, Symetrk, Gswitz and Frankjcc] Frontier AlphaTrack  (Read 14882 times)

Offline symetrk

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 29
Re: [AZ, Symetrk, Gswitz and Frankjcc] Frontier AlphaTrack
« Reply #15 on: May 16, 2015, 12:23:26 AM »
Got it. I'm a bit slow sometimes!

So. Switching to the Frontier plug-in:

In Pan mode, here's what's displayed (on a track called 'Audio'):

Audio
Trk1   Mark   <C>


If I move the right encoder to manipulate the Pan, the entire display changes while I'm touching the encoder, and changes back when I release it. It looks a bit like this:

Pan  -----><----
                   <C>


If I move it to the right, it changes to, for example, this:

Pan  ----->|||--
                     56R


(the vertical lines are actually solid bars, not discrete characters, but lines would be more than adequate!)

And then when I let go of the encoder it returns to this:

Audio
Trk1   Mark   56R


... depending, of course, on the actual Pan value I've changed it to.

Finally, if I push the encoder while turning to toggle it to fine control mode, it looks like this:

Pan  ----->|||--*
                      57R


... and it stays in fine mode, indicated with the *,  until I push it again to toggle it back.

It also seems to remember the fine/coarse state of different controls when changing between modes and back.

...

Similarly, in for example Send mode, with two sends enabled, say Reverb and Monitor, the display would look like this:

Reverb
Snd1  0.0     0


If I touch the middle encoder (send level), it changes to this:

SLvl ||||||||||----
       0.0dB


And then if I move it:

SLvl ||||||||||||--
       3.2dB


Or if I move the right encoder (Pan):

SPan -----><----
                           0


changing to:

Pan  ----->||---*
                      45R


... and so on.

If I touch the Left encoder (Send select):

Reverb
Snd1


changing to:
Monitor
Snd2


And releasing:

Monitor
Snd2   0.0      0


... you get the idea. So there is always visual feedback about what each knob will do, directly above the knob, and when touching that knob the display changes to indicate what it will do and what is happening as you turn it.

Finally, if I hit Flip, the indicator above the knob that is exchanged with the fader gets a little <- arrow beside it, to indicate that its control has moved over to the fader. This arrow disappears when pressing Flip again.

That's pretty much it. The EQ is a bit more complex, but I'll put that in a separate post - this one is long enough!

Thanks in advance for whatever you're able to do... I hope some other Sonar/Alphatrack users will benefit from this at some point!
« Last Edit: May 16, 2015, 12:40:23 AM by symetrk »

Offline symetrk

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 29
Re: [AZ, Symetrk, Gswitz and Frankjcc] Frontier AlphaTrack
« Reply #16 on: May 16, 2015, 11:17:36 AM »
By the way I think it's totally unnecessary to try to replicate the 'slider' on the display. But some sort of 'live' numerical feedback would be great - just the changing value above the knob being changed, and an indication of what the current parameter is on the top line.

So, you could have this:

Audio
Trk1   Mark   <C>


change to this, when touching/adjusting the right encoder:

Trk1 Pan:
                      56R


or this, in Send mode when touching/adjusting the middle encoder:


Trk1 Snd1 level:
       3.2dB



or this, in Send mode with the right encoder:


Trk1 Snd2 Pan: *
                      47L


(if we use the * to represent fine adjustment mode)


... Easier? Possible?

I'll have a look at the Frontier plugin's EQ and Plugin modes and try to boil it down to something similarly simple and useful...

Offline azslow3

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1109
Re: [AZ, Symetrk, Gswitz and Frankjcc] Frontier AlphaTrack
« Reply #17 on: May 16, 2015, 10:53:47 PM »
At the moment I need "Send name" (so, the send output name). That functionality is not in AZ Controller and it is time to implement it. That can take a while (I mean tomorrow, not weeks...). I will continue with Display then.

I have already implemented "Push" to change the resolution, and it is "remembered" for each mode/encoder (as you have observed in the original plug-in).

I think I will try to implement all fancy views the original plug-in provides, in case you specify not standard characters, please find them on page 9 of the original documentation (https://www.frontierdesign.com/download/pdf/AlphaTrack/AlphaTrack_Native_1.0.pdf)

You have specified what you wee when controlling Pan and Send, but we are not done with "Pan" mode yet. Lets do it complete before we move to EQ.
What you see when Encorder 3 is switched to Trim? What you see during switching to trim (shift is pressed, before and during you touching the encoder). What you see when you touch the Fader?

And about the "pictures". When you turn Pan let say right, does it change from "---->|||--" to "------>|||" when it all way right? What exactly are the character in ">|||" (check with the table, or just make a screen shot).

Offline symetrk

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 29
Re: [AZ, Symetrk, Gswitz and Frankjcc] Frontier AlphaTrack
« Reply #18 on: May 18, 2015, 12:05:47 AM »
At the moment I need "Send name" (so, the send output name). That functionality is not in AZ Controller and it is time to implement it. That can take a while (I mean tomorrow, not weeks...). I will continue with Display then.
Sounds fine to me! I guess you're using this preset as a test bed for pushing the plugin to another leve, so to speak. I hope I can help by giving you the information and testing you need... I'll do my best anyway!

Quote
I have already implemented "Push" to change the resolution, and it is "remembered" for each mode/encoder (as you have observed in the original plug-in).
It works! I noticed you also put the 'live' numerical display of the Pan value in. And yes, it 'remembers' the resolution on a per-mode and per-encoder basis. All good.

I also noticed that you've got something working for the Send name - when I change to Send mode it displays the current send and its name, which changes as I turn the encoder. So far so good! However whatever you did seems to have broken the display for everything after that (i.e. to the right) - meaning, there is nothing displayed for the middle or right encoders at all, even though they work, and nothing at all displayed (rather, no change or update to the display) for the EQ, Plug-in or Auto modes/pages. So it's hard to see what they're doing - this is true for the AZ display as well as the device display.

Also, some controls seem to have been affected - for example the EQ frequency encoder is not doing anything, though the gain and Q controls work...

I can confirm that these issues are new - the previous version of the preset displayed properly for all modes and the EQ parameters were all functionsl.

Quote
I think I will try to implement all fancy views the original plug-in provides, in case you specify not standard characters, please find them on page 9 of the original documentation (https://www.frontierdesign.com/download/pdf/AlphaTrack/AlphaTrack_Native_1.0.pdf)
OK. I've got those in front of me and will try to indicate what the screen looks like in terms of those characters - it's clear that they used them to create the 'sliders' in various views in the Frontier plugin.

Quote
You have specified what you wee when controlling Pan and Send, but we are not done with "Pan" mode yet. Lets do it complete before we move to EQ.
no problem. I'll try to sort out what it's doing in terms of the special characters too, so it's clear.  In fact, what might be easiest is if I take a couple of short video clips of the device display and what happens when I touch and move the various controls, in different modes. Might be the easiest way to communicate them to you...

But I'm afraid I can't do it tonight, I have a show tomorrow night and need to sleep a reasonable amount, so I'm going to leave you with the display/encoder bug reported above, and try to get back to it tomorrow.

Offline azslow3

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1109
Re: [AZ, Symetrk, Gswitz and Frankjcc] Frontier AlphaTrack
« Reply #19 on: May 18, 2015, 12:10:08 AM »
I am not ready with Display yet, but I have some progress with it.

But it will be nice in case you can check that new switching to Fine resolution mode is working. I have also reimplemented EQ Style control. That parameter of PC EQ is buggy, but it should work now as expected (from control and display perspective).

Please note there is no yet Plug-In and Auto modes Display in that version, no display changed on control touch or flip assignment. That is expected.

I have uploaded the version several minutes ago. What you have tested was most probably intermediate build, made for QU24 test... Because you should see at least EQ Display in current one.

Offline azslow3

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1109
Re: [AZ, Symetrk, Gswitz and Frankjcc] Frontier AlphaTrack
« Reply #20 on: May 18, 2015, 11:13:13 AM »
With regards to the triple-push on switching from track to bus mode: I have narrowed this down and noticed an odd thing: If the AZ plugin control window is open, and *selected*, it behaves as it should - switching back and forth with a single push. It also works if another program is open, like for example this browser window, and Sonar is running in the background (I can see from my console on a 2nd monitor). If the plugin window is not open at all, it still needs the triple push - two pushes to change from track to bus, one from bus to track.

Obviously this is not a big problem as most of the time there would be no reason to work with the plugin window open, but I thought it might be useful to help you track down whatever is causing it to take more presses than necessary.

Also, and a bit more of a problem, is that if the Console is selected - whether in the Multidock or its own window - the track/bus encoder push does not work at all.
I have tried to find working combination. This thing is extremely buggy. It looks like it works a bit different in Plat compare to X2 (where I do the development). And it is buggy as hell in both cases. At the moment, I have ended with some workaround which looks like working for me in Splat. Please check.

Offline symetrk

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 29
Re: [AZ, Symetrk, Gswitz and Frankjcc] Frontier AlphaTrack
« Reply #21 on: May 18, 2015, 03:34:36 PM »
Hi Alexey.

so today's summary word is: Wow!

One-click switch from track to bus is working perfectly, even if Console has the focus.

Switching from fine to coarse encoder resolution is working perfectly, and remembers on a per-mode basis. The display updates values correctly when using coarse or fine adjustment (though there is still no *visual indication of this in the display, but you know that already). Fine mode could maybe be a *tiny* bit less fine, but that's a little thing.

Pan, Send and EQ displays are working and all parameters (including Send name) update properly.

EQ 'filter style' switching (Hybrid, pure etc) is working perfectly. One click per style in either direction. And updating in the display.

Flip is working perfectly and can change 'flipped' parameters on the fly.

Great stuff! Being able to control EQ properly is really nice (I'd given up on it, since Frontier was obviously never going to update their plugin).

Besides the now missing display pages for Plug-in and Auto modes (the controls still work as previously), and of course the fancy 'slider' displays if you're really going to implement tham, there's only one significant 'bug' that I can find in the current preset:

'Trim' is not working properly yet. In the original plugin the Shift key switches the Pan encoder to control Gain rather than Pan. I see you've indicated this in the display, but the encoder does not control Gain but rather still controls Pan, but only to adjust downwards (turning counter-clockwise) - turning the encoder clockwise seems to do nothing.

It also seems slightly odd to me that this was set up (in the Frontier plugin - I know you're just replicating that so far) as a Shift modification rather than as a second 'page' of the Pan mode as with the other modes - it's inconsistent that in other modes you press the mode button twice to access the second layer of controls, whereas in Pan mode you press shift. I would suggest making this consistent, thus a second page of the Pan mode to control Trim. I don't know what the Shift modification could do in Pan mode then - since in the other modes, it allows switching between tracks with the left encoder - but of course that is already the default behaviour for the Pan mode. Perhaps we could think of something useful. Or leave it as it is... I'm just thinking out loud.

But again, this thing is seriously coming together! Amazing work!

I have to head out to my sound check and show so further info / pictures / videos will have to wait a bit longer. Sorry!
« Last Edit: May 18, 2015, 03:40:54 PM by symetrk »

Offline symetrk

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 29
Re: [AZ, Symetrk, Gswitz and Frankjcc] Frontier AlphaTrack
« Reply #22 on: May 19, 2015, 08:28:43 PM »
Hi again. Sorry, I'm having a crazy busy couple of days and so not able to focus on this quite as much, hopefully I'll be able to spend a little time on it tonight and/or tomorrow, get you the display information you need.

I noticed there was an updated version so I checked it out quickly, it seems everything is the same excpept the Trim behaviour - I can see how you've implemented it now, which makes sense (though I still think a second page of Pan mode would be simpler and more consistent with the other modes). But the actual Trim control is not working yet - it doesn't do anything at all now (where it was uni-directionally controlling Pan before).

So, you're probably waiting on me at this point, I'll try to get to it as soon as possible!

Offline azslow3

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1109
Re: [AZ, Symetrk, Gswitz and Frankjcc] Frontier AlphaTrack
« Reply #23 on: May 19, 2015, 09:44:04 PM »
I am not in a hurry with that plug-in. In fact I think to take a pause with it. I have StudioMix to go, I also want modify the engine to support QU24 NRPNs.

I have uploaded modified version an hour ago.

Trim. According to the documentation, "Shift"+Encoder 3 switch what Encoder 3 control without shift. And so do I. There was a bug, so operation was "leaking" into Pan control. That should be fixed now.

Second page in the original plug-in is used for Surround. AZ Controller does not support it (yet). But who knows...

I have implemented display for Plug-in (normal and ACT speed dial mode) and Auto (just fixed text, there are LEDs to see the result).

I also display which encoders are "flippable" in each mode (activated when you keep Flip button pressed).

So, from my point of view the preset is usable. There is no "extended" views when you touch some control, but near everything required to understand the situation is visible. When I know how it looks like in all modes/positions, I will try to extend display functions.

But at the moment, I would like you test that everything works as expected one more time and I "release" the preset. You have spend a lot of time for this initial release. May be someone else can take over with display extension.

Offline symetrk

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 29
Re: [AZ, Symetrk, Gswitz and Frankjcc] Frontier AlphaTrack
« Reply #24 on: May 19, 2015, 11:49:48 PM »
Hi again.

OK I tested the latest build.

In short, everything works! The Trim control works, providing Input Gain control on audio tracks - but not on instrument tracks, which is strange but not a big problem really. In fact it's probably for the best - although the Gain control is available on screen in Instrument tracks, and can be changed with the mouse, it seems to have a fairly strange and unstable effect on instrument tracks - rather like a second, invisible, non-linear MIDI volume. I've never used it (I don't use it much in audio tracks either for that matter) and am just has happy to not have it in this preset.  The Pan 'leak' is fixed, which is the important thing.

The display pages are back for Plug-in and Auto modes, and working properly. I was wondering what the blank 2nd Plug-in page was for - I guess it's a placeholder for surround then?

I noticed the new 'Flip' display elements, that's a nice touch. However I've noticed a slightly strange behaviour there: if I press the Flip button while it is off, the 'Flip' flags appear on relevant encoders, but if I touch one of them nothing happens. The display goes back to normal (for whatever mode you're in) and no flip takes place - when I release the Flip button, the light stays off and the controls stay mapped where they were. The whole thing only works if I press and release the Flip button once first to go into 'default' flip mode, and then press it again to touch/select from the 'flippable' encoders. That's not a big problem, but it's slightly confusing to see the 'Flip' flags over the encoders when you first press Flip, and then touch one, and nothing happens. I'm not sure if it's possible to get it to Flip to a touched encoder right away, but if not, maybe it's possible to not have the flags appear except when they are usable, i.e. when pressing Flip from an already Flipped state? (I hope that's clear, I pretty much confused myself there!)

The preset is absolutely usable as it stands. It's a clear improvement over the original, unsupported plugin in that EQ control works. I'll take that over the 'fancy' display elements any day, but if you are keen to have a go at it, I'm happy to keep testing. It doesn't take so much time really, I'm sure you're spending much more, and you don't even have one of these controllers!

I did try mapping some commands to the Function keys. It's easy to do (now that I'm a tiny bit familiar with the plugin) and in fact it works perfectly to set them up as mode-specific, using the different modes as conditions for the logic entries. I can set it up as shift-dependent too, if I want to, so there are effectively 8 available for each mode. Nice! There are LEDs beside each of the 4 buttons, just as there are for the Loop and Flip ones, and I guess theoretically these could be used to indicate the state of whatever command or function the buttons are mapped to, if that were appropriate, but I can't see yet how you've implemented the LED switches and it's not a big enough issue for me to dig very deep trying to figure it out. The thing works right now, and is basically bug-free (except the minor Flip issue described above). I'm happy to have it back in full working order.

So yes, tomorrow I'll try to give you some information on the 'fancy' display stuff in the original plugin, and you can work on that if and when you want to, no pressure from my side!

Thanks again for your amazing work on all of this, I will continue to mention it on the Sonar forums whenever it seems appropriate (although you're usually faster than me!) and I hope more people start to use it, it's a great resource!

more soon...

Offline azslow3

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1109
Re: [AZ, Symetrk, Gswitz and Frankjcc] Frontier AlphaTrack
« Reply #25 on: May 20, 2015, 12:18:27 PM »
Hi again.

OK I tested the latest build.

In short, everything works! The Trim control works, providing Input Gain control on audio tracks - but not on instrument tracks, which is strange but not a big problem really. In fact it's probably for the best - although the Gain control is available on screen in Instrument tracks, and can be changed with the mouse, it seems to have a fairly strange and unstable effect on instrument tracks - rather like a second, invisible, non-linear MIDI volume. I've never used it (I don't use it much in audio tracks either for that matter) and am just has happy to not have it in this preset.  The Pan 'leak' is fixed, which is the important thing.
So, we leave it like it is now for the moment.

Quote
The display pages are back for Plug-in and Auto modes, and working properly. I was wondering what the blank 2nd Plug-in page was for - I guess it's a placeholder for surround then?
That is my "ACT Speed Dial" mode! Switch to it and start control something within any plug-in by mouse... You should see the plug-in/parameter names on display (in case the plug-in has some ACT mapping at all), and you can continue to control the parameter with encoder. With a bit of luck (untested), flip should also work here.

With just 3 encoders, I think that is the best way to use ACT. Going throw the parameter list in the page 1 is not productive, especially when a plug-in has 100s of parameter.

Quote
I noticed the new 'Flip' display elements, that's a nice touch. However I've noticed a slightly strange behaviour there: if I press the Flip button while it is off, the 'Flip' flags appear on relevant encoders, but if I touch one of them nothing happens. The display goes back to normal (for whatever mode you're in) and no flip takes place - when I release the Flip button, the light stays off and the controls stay mapped where they were. The whole thing only works if I press and release the Flip button once first to go into 'default' flip mode, and then press it again to touch/select from the 'flippable' encoders. That's not a big problem, but it's slightly confusing to see the 'Flip' flags over the encoders when you first press Flip, and then touch one, and nothing happens. I'm not sure if it's possible to get it to Flip to a touched encoder right away, but if not, maybe it's possible to not have the flags appear except when they are usable, i.e. when pressing Flip from an already Flipped state? (I hope that's clear, I pretty much confused myself there!)
Implemented according to the original documentation (as I understand it).
By touching control when Flip button is pressed, this control is Selected for flipping. But documentation explicitly say that should not flip immediately. Only in case you are/will go into Flip mode.

Quote
I did try mapping some commands to the Function keys. It's easy to do (now that I'm a tiny bit familiar with the plugin) and in fact it works perfectly to set them up as mode-specific, using the different modes as conditions for the logic entries. I can set it up as shift-dependent too, if I want to, so there are effectively 8 available for each mode. Nice! There are LEDs beside each of the 4 buttons, just as there are for the Loop and Flip ones, and I guess theoretically these could be used to indicate the state of whatever command or function the buttons are mapped to, if that were appropriate, but I can't see yet how you've implemented the LED switches and it's not a big enough issue for me to dig very deep trying to figure it out. The thing works right now, and is basically bug-free (except the minor Flip issue described above). I'm happy to have it back in full working order.
For LED, you need "Value monitor" after related parameter selection (or "State monitor" for states). See "Loop" Logical Action list and it's monitor definition in the Feedback section for example.

So, I will put the preset into next release and mark the thread as "(usable)". That does not mean we stop development, but since it is usable, let us mark it as such  ;)

Offline symetrk

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 29
Re: [AZ, Symetrk, Gswitz and Frankjcc] Frontier AlphaTrack
« Reply #26 on: May 20, 2015, 12:45:06 PM »
Hi Alexey!

So I finally found a bit of time to look at the Frontier plugin again and try to show you how the 'fancy' slider displays work.

In general one of the things it does that your preset doesn't do yet, is kind of 'isolate' the information about what an encoder will do when you touch it - in other words, if I'm in Pan mode and touch the Pan encoder, the display stops telling me about anything else than Pan, and switches to the slider display
(see attached image 'Pan1')

Again, it indicates whether the encoder is in fine adjustment mode with an asterisk * beside this slider
(see attached image 'Pan2')

When adjusting a level rather than a pan, it shows a simple slider without the little center arrows
(see attached image 'Send level 1')


(... more to follow...)

Offline symetrk

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 29
Re: [AZ, Symetrk, Gswitz and Frankjcc] Frontier AlphaTrack
« Reply #27 on: May 20, 2015, 01:15:31 PM »
again with asterisk for encoder resolution
(see attached image 'Send level 2')

For EQ control this is similar
(see attached images 'Eq1', 'EQ2')




Offline symetrk

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 29
Re: [AZ, Symetrk, Gswitz and Frankjcc] Frontier AlphaTrack
« Reply #28 on: May 20, 2015, 01:16:36 PM »
When adjusting a parameter that is on or off, where a slider would not make sense, it still 'hides' the other information so the display is very clear what the encoder you're touching will do
(see attached image 'BandEnable')

When changing parameters, say, in Plug-in mode, it shows the parameter name. Yours does this already as well, but I think it's kind of useful that the display hides the other information, for clarity.

It's fairly easy to see from the table in the documentation which you sent me already, how to use the special characters to create these sliders: a full block is 1F, on a volume or similar slider you would use characters 04 through 07 to indicate partial blocks, and for bi-directional sliders (Pan) you would also use characters 00 through 03. It's not clear to me how character 08 is different from 00, but maybe you can see something that I can't... I also don't see what the other special characters would be for, but those should be sufficient to create the slider displays.

Offline symetrk

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 29
Re: [AZ, Symetrk, Gswitz and Frankjcc] Frontier AlphaTrack
« Reply #29 on: May 20, 2015, 01:23:50 PM »
Hi again... just to reply to your reply....

That is my "ACT Speed Dial" mode! Switch to it and start control something within any plug-in by mouse... You should see the plug-in/parameter names on display (in case the plug-in has some ACT mapping at all), and you can continue to control the parameter with encoder. With a bit of luck (untested), flip should also work here.

With just 3 encoders, I think that is the best way to use ACT. Going throw the parameter list in the page 1 is not productive, especially when a plug-in has 100s of parameter.
Oh I see! Cool! It works perfectly, much better so far than in my Kore MCU emulation, so given that I have both in front of me I can just use the Alpha instead for that. Yes, it's really convenient.

Quote
By touching control when Flip button is pressed, this control is Selected for flipping. But documentation explicitly say that should not flip immediately. Only in case you are/will go into Flip mode.
OK no problem, I just found it slightly confusing the first time I saw it, where if I press Flip when it's not already pressed the encoders seem to be offering themselves to be flipped immediately, but it's not possible until you press and release Flip once, and then press it again.

Quote
For LED, you need "Value monitor" after related parameter selection (or "State monitor" for states). See "Loop" Logical Action list and it's monitor definition in the Feedback section for example.
OK I'll have a look at it, maybe if it's easy to implement I can put it into my custom button codes where appropriate. I still haven't decided what I want to map there in each mode...

Quote
So, I will put the preset into next release and mark the thread as "(usable)". That does not mean we stop development, but since it is usable, let us mark it as such  ;)
Agreed. I posted some pictures of the sliders above, I hope they make sense, if you have questions or want more for clarity on what it looks like in specific modes, just let me know!

Thanks again...