AZ Controller plug-in for Cakewalk SONAR > Discussions

Communicating with an FX VST within Cakewalk

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Hi Alexey

Could I please ask you for some advice!

Having completed my Cakewalk/AZ controlled mixing console, I want to take a next step ...

I am going to design some analogue FX units which will be controlled from FX VST based control panels which I will design.
I am fairly confident to design the VSTs and there are a number of software tools available to help.
The VST based control panels would be allocated to Cakewalk tracks or buses in the normal way.

Although I can use AZ Controller to read the status of VST controls using the AZ FX and Monitor actions, is it also possible to control the VST buttons and pots from my PIC via AZ Controller?

The biggest issue is that I need to send meter level information from my PIC to the VST, e.g. for a compressor gain reduction meter.  Is this theoretically possible via AZ if I design the VST correctly?



FX Parameters are controllable the same way as strip parameters (f.e. track volume), so in both directions (you can try this with any VST).

But level information is a tricky one. While you can define it as "parameter", I am not sure how good that will work in practice. The only other method I can imagine is implementing OSC stack in your VST, so AZ Controller retransmit the info it receives throw MIDI. But that is still an easy way to saturate MIDI communications, till carefully selecting reasonable update rate.

For that reason OSC based Behringer DMs send all levels in "one go" instead of one message per channel. I mean if you plan to have many FXes, it can make sense to foreseen something like one SysEx for levels from all of them.
BTW old Yamaha DMs was composing one SysEx to update several channels.

Hi Alexey
Thanks for the information and advice.

I have tried controlling FX Parameters in both directions using a test AZ preset and it works just fine.  So I know I will be able to control my FX audio units in this way.
My FX audio rack will have two dedicated PICs, one PIC for general control (100% driven from AZ feedback outputs) and the other PIC dedicated to collecting audio level information for the FX audio units to send back to AZ/Cakewalk/VST panels.

I can see no problem to send audio level information from a PIC on a dedicated MIDI channel, to a dedicated instance of AZ running with Cakewalk.  I can send either as CC values or as SysEx.

Can you let me know about the following please:

1. Does AZ pass control data to VSTs via the Cakewalk API? or by some other direct method?

2. If AZ passes control data via the Cakewalk API, would there be any problem so send audio level data, apart from the issues of data quantity and potential response time?

3. Have you seen any VST based FX control panels which make audio level information level available to AZ (either directly or via Cakewalk API)?

I think that most VST control panels generate data for their level meters as a by-product of DSP audio processing, so what I am going to try to achieve is probably quite unusual!  I am in contact with two companies which sell VST design software, so I will focus on understanding whether driving a VST control panel meter from an 'external' data source is possible within the VST framework.



Hi Robert,

VST is a VST. There can be host specific extensions (f.e. ARA, ProChannel modules, REAPER API) but I am not aware of anything in Cakewalk which can be used for levels.
So the only "direct" way is define a "parameter" with level and make it controllable, so AZ Controller can set it. I don't know any ready to use VSTs which use that, but
you can try DIY with (BTW you can then send to it directly throw difference MIDI port, bypassing AZ Controller).


Hi Alexey
I had a look at but also at which is well documented and seems to do most of what I need.

Blue Cat Remote Control provides customisable VST control panels which can output MIDI CCs from controls AND allows level meters to be driven from CC inputs.

The biggest issue I am facing is how to get the External MIDI port connected to the VST control panels.  The 'Remote Control' plugin is VST3 so MIDI I/O is available but Cakewalk seems to be very poor at routing VST MIDI.

Even though the VST Panels are added as FX to Cakewalk Audio Tracks, it seems I have to create one Cakewalk 'dummy' MIDI track for each VST panel just to get external MIDI port to the VST panel.

Can you tell me:

1. Is there a better way to get external MIDI routed to a VST in Cakewalk?

2. Is AZ Controller able to interface MIDI directly with a VST Panel?



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