Getting Novation transport controls to work

OK, as we all painfully know, Novation says they’ll get Automap to work some day for C9. But don’t hold your breath:

The SL Mkii does talk to C9 when it comes to keyboard notes and the pitch/mod joystick. But transport is a problem. I have a partial solution. The answer is mostly covered in Reuben Chng’s remarkable video:

But his method doesn’t work on the SL Mkii unless you do 2 things first:

  1. Turn off Automap. It’s not working anyway.
  2. Turn off the transport control button.

Then you can arrive at something like this:


Why it “works” :nerd:

If the transport button is engaged, then the SL Mkii sends out messages of the form F0 7F 7F 06 01 F7, which means stop. It’s the same message for play, except that 01 becomes 02. No message is sent out for “loop”. The F0 status byte indicates a system exclusive message, probably of the MMC variety. We can see these messages in MIDI-OX, but not in the C9 MIDI monitor. (A midi insert). C9 is discarding these messages, so nothing happens when you hit stop. Reuben Chng never had this problem. If instead you move a fader or play a note, then you do see changes in the device setup window.

By disengaging the transport button on the SL MKii, we change the messages generated when the button is pressed. Stop now produces the messages B0 5D 7F when it lights up, and B0 5D 00 when it becomes unlit. These messages are not screened out by C9, so they can be assigned; just like in the video. (FWIW, these are continuous controller messages carrying max/min data values. Each button is a different CC.)

Where this leaves you

  • The loop button basically works as expected, but it will not reflect changes made with the mouse.
  • The stop button will only stop something if it starts out unlit, then becomes lit.
  • Play (and record, I suppose) will work if going from unlit to lit. They can only be stopped with the stop button, or via the mouse. This only works if the stop button is unlit before you press it.
  • Rewind and forward will not halt when you release them. You need to hit the stop button, and it must be unlit to work.

Can we do better :confused: ?

The flags in device setup for toggle/push button/not automated don’t help at all, in my experiments. See https://steinberg.help/cubase_pro_artist/v9/en/cubase_nuendo/topics/remote_control/remote_control_generic_remote_device_t.html

The SL MKii also has an option for reprogramming the button behavior, as outlined on page 32 of their manual. However, nobody knows how to do that. Their manual is bewildering, as is everything else out there on the subject. Perhaps one could use the Cubase logic editor to fix improve a few things, but I seriously doubt it would be less confusing. How would the SL MKii know what state to apply to its button LEDs? The result above is a bit awkward, but at least it can be used in a consistent manner.

I’m open to suggestions.

I’m using an 49SL MKII and I have no problem with transport control, mixer settings or even the User buttons. I’ve spent hours on the phone with their support and, although the product doesn’t fulfill all promises, it still functions as a basic desktop controller. That said, my workarounds are to use QWERTY commands for the USER functions and to keep the software at the 4.92 version. I avoid their beta releases and I keep a backup copy of my setup file because that is vulnerable to change. Make sure that your Automap is loaded in the device window but that MIDI I/O is showing as Not Connected. That’s the only way it works on my system.

By Jove, you’re right! I went thru the Automap software setup – pretending it was Cubase 8, but all the time using C9 – and the transport works fine. Well, back to the work of making music then.

When I first installed Cubase 9, there was no entry for Novation Automap in Cubase’s Device Setup list.

To get this entry to appear, I shut down Cubase, copied CubaseAutomapClient.dll and CubaseAutomapClient64.dll from the Components folder of my Cubase 8.5 install into the components folder of Cubase 9 install. These 2 dlls were initially missing in the Cubase 9 install.

Then, I set it up per Novations knowledgebase article at

https://support.novationmusic.com/hc/en-gb/articles/206690619-Cubase-isn-t-listed-in-Automap-s-Software-Setup-what-should-I-do-

Transport, plugins, etc work fine now.

You can change button behavior (CC, note, SYSEX or disable) if you long press EDIT and then button that you would like to modify. If set PRESS 1 - 127, PRESS 2 - 127, display 0-127: transport buttons will work fine as CC.