Remote Scripting VS Surface Editor - What size will fit me?


As I’m setting up my AKAI MPD 218, I have found that the surface editor and mapping assistant are excellent. Too excellent. It allows me to do (almost) everything that I imagine, but unfortunately, the more I do, the more I am entangled in a web of pages and redundancy. I am very much tempted to “Sit Down And Learn Some Scripting”, in case there is a better way to organize things. However, I am not sure if sinking time in a whole different discipline is worth the effort just for the sake of Order. Maybe using brute force is better in my case? Let’s talk specifics.

The Idea:

Have 16 pads in a 4x4 layout as a “Main Hub”. Let’s call this our default page. The buttons of this page will take us to other pages, and those other pages to other other pages, you get the picture.

EQ Sends/Cues Mixer Sends Mixer
- - - -
Edit Channel Edit Instrument Write Read
Previous Track Next Track Mute Solo

Now let’s tap on the Sends Mixer button, which takes us to the page below, on which the 3x6 knobs control the first 18 channels’ Send 1 level. (By the way, the thought to have a freely configurable bank size is GENIUS!!)

- Send 2 Send 3 Send 4
Send 5 Send 6 Send 7 Send 8
Cue 1 Cue 2 Cue 3 Cue 4
Previous Track Next Track Mute Solo

Now, let’s tap on the Send 2 button, which takes us to another very similar page, that allows the same knobs to control Send 2:

Send 1 - Send 3 Send 4
Send 5 Send 6 Send 7 Send 8
Cue 1 Cue 2 Cue 3 Cue 4
Previous Track Next Track Mute Solo

:wink: Do you see where I’m going with this? Essentially, what I really needed here was 1 page, with 12 buttons (8 sends + 4 cues) that modified the assignment of those 18 potentiomenters from within the same page. However, in the surface editor, I have to use 12 very similar pages instead, making a mess of redundant pages, and worrying that that’s no proper way to set up the remote, and that at some point, after branching out even more with even more pages it will bite me in some way. (Maybe this is just spiritual/religious angst stemming from ignorance and nothing will happen? :face_with_monocle:)

Now the questions:

  1. Should I worry about many pages or not?
  2. How easy would it be for a complete novice in scripting (ME!) to do the above with a script - or something similar?
  3. How easy would it be to modify the assignments of a script after it’s done? Because one thing I can say for sure; the surface editor is DEAD easy, both in creation, and modification! It’s very well designed! I’m not even half-way done with the MPD 218 with all the ideas that are coming to me, and that are so easy for me to implement and try out right away due to how the surface editor works. The only thing I’m missing from the surface editor is the ability to split a knob for keycommand use, or a 1:many assignment, but it can wait. (It would probably have the same results using the range controls?)
  4. Seeing that I don’t have any special controllers with lights, displays, etc etc, would it be worth it to even bother with scripting? I have seen the work @Giampaolo_Gesuale has done on the 218, and it’s very impressive and inspiring, with layers and track names and all that good stuff, but something tells me that Giampaolo scripts as easily as he breathes, and that I shouldn’t try this at home. :grin:

Should I be worried about you losing focus on creating music? :zipper_mouth_face:

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No, no, no. These are two discrete phases.

Phase 1: Create music by recording into the DAW as if it were a simple cassete recorder, using only rec, stop, rewind.

Phase 2: Imagine how controllers and automation and macro-management would empower the workflow.

Phase 3: Return to Phase 1.

:innocent: :sweat_smile:

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First it’s hard and you will make mistakes over mistake over mistakes I can assure you. But that’s the story of everyone who starts to code.