Questions & Answers

Note FX Launch Box (clip launcher)

+35 votes
asked Dec 13, 2015 in Instruments and Plug-Ins by niles (54,610 points)
recategorized Apr 20, 2018 by niles

I would like to suggest (or at least think about) a new Note FX device, which basically is a simple (per track) MIDI clip (Instrument Part) launcher.
Before I continue, keep in mind this is a draft idea, which absolutely need input by others to shape it. So next to voting up or down, feel free to contribute or share your ideas too.

The concept:
A Note FX device with a custom amount of pages. Each page contains 4x4 (16) containers (I call them pads to keep it simple) which can each hold a single Instrument Part of any length containing the same Note data and controller data a normal Instrument Part can hold. Instrument Parts can be dragged and dropped from the pads to an Instrument track and vice versa. It should also be possible to copy and paste pads bilaterally¹. Each pad can be triggered by a MIDI note message (which could be reflected in the pitch name list of the track²). Only one pad at the time can be playing, different playing and triggering options can be set globally (so for all pads). Like the other Note FX it should be possible to eventually render its output to an Instrument Part.

It could look something like this:

The use:
You can use it for quite a range tasks, like: Quickly trying out different progressions, storing and recalling different drum parts or fills, creating a library of Arp’s including filters movement, creatively restructure track data, CC modifier clip player etc. etc.

I don’t think it’s sufficient for live performance out of the box (yet). Simply because Note FX work on per track basis. However when combining it with a Serial, multi MIDI channel Multi Instrument can already give you a powerful live performance environment within just one Multi Instrument. With the current parallel Multi Instrument you could use keyboard splits to trigger several Launch Boxes routed to different VST Instruments.

How it works:

Global Options
On the top are the global options which will define the behavior of the pads.
It should be possible to change these options (the tempo value too), through automation.

  • Trigger Mode
    • Retrigger
      This will instantly retrigger the playback of pads each time a note message is received
    • Continue
      This will instantly continue the playback of the pad based on the position of the playback of previous playing pad. So when two pads holding an Instrument Part with equal length and you switch from one pad to another at e.g. 01.03.01 the new pad continues playback from 01.03.01. When switching pads with unequal length the relative position will be used. So when you switch a pad containing a 2 bar instrument part at 02.03.01 to a pad containing a 1 bar Instrument part will result in playback at 01.03.01.
    • Next
      This will switch playback to the new pad after the current playing pad’s Instrument Part has reached its end.
  • Trigger Type
    • On/Off
      The pad will be triggered as long as a MIDI note is held.
    • Latch
      The pad will be triggered until another pad is triggered.
  • Playback Mode
    • One Shot
      The pad will play the entire Instrument Part once.
    • Loop
      The pad will endlessly loop the entire Instrument Part.
    • Successive
      The pad will automatically play the next successive pad (left to right, bottom to top).
  • Sync Tempo
    When enabled the host tempo is used, else a custom tempo can be set in the text box.

Pads are triggered by notes and can be auditioned with the mouse button. 
Each pad shows a small portion of the Instrument Part it’s holding (overview). It would be fantastic if a pad can be edited directly in the Instrument Part editor by e.g. click + modifier key.
On the lower right corner is the Note name triggering the pad. It would be nice if the Note numbers can changed freely, but exclusively (so pads won’t trigger simultaneous). It should be possible to swap, copy, move pads.
Additionally pads could be (user) colored or even contain a name (did not put that in the image above). For ultimate clarity it would be nice if the names would be transferred to the pitch map of the track containing an activated Launch Box Note FX device.

A playing pad should give visual feedback by lighting up, blinking or something similar (like note F1 in the image). A play head for the playing pad would be brilliant.

Page bar
At the bottom of the device is the page bar. With the page arrows you can switch between different pages. When follow input is enabled pages are switched automatically based on the playing pad.
With the plus and minus signs a user can add or remove an entire page of 16 pads.


¹ Suggested by bstin

² Suggested by bstin 
Comment: This could collide with pitch names for VST's that also use pitch names. So a system that switches pitch names after rendering the Note FX might be useful.

6 Answers

0 votes
answered Dec 17, 2015 by AlexTinsley (924,920 points)

Thanks for the suggestion Niles..

If anyone else likes this idea, please vote it up.

The more people vote on the questions, the more likely it will be included in a future update.

+1 vote
answered Jan 5, 2016 by bstin (1,240 points)

Great idea. This would be big help in developing things like drum parts. 

What happens to me often is you want to try a different drum variation for say Verse 2. Inevitably, if you are not diligent with naming your events, you forget that Verse 2 had the "variation" and you wind up hunting for it when you are looking to use that again somewhere else. 

With this, your entire drum event could be 6 or 7 notes (each firing off a different 8 bar loop). It would make it trivial to keep things organized and try new variations. 

I think 2 other things should be included in your spec. 

* Copy / Paste

This was probably implied by you, but you should be able to "copy / paste" between pads, so grab pad 2 and alt-drag to pad 5 to copy it. 

* Integration with Pitch Name presets

Ideally a pitch name preset should automatically be built in the background so if you switch to drum mode in MIDI editor it will show associated "clip names" (eg. C1 = Pad1)

Final Question / Option

Perhaps it would be best to simply integrate this idea with the ScrachPads. That is, instead of a new concept of these "pads", this clip launcher could simply fire off the associated MIDI event in a specified ScratchPad. So if you are on Drum track and you associate C1 = Scratch Pad 1, then upon hitting a C1 it will jump to the Drum track in Scratch Pad 1 and play until the end. 

0 votes
answered Jan 6, 2016 by niles (54,610 points)

bstin answer Great ideas, I've added them. The final Scratch Pad option is something open for debate. I personally think you would be better of to keep a clip launcher on track level. The power of that is you can easily mix different parts with different lengths, tempo, start points etc. per track, opening a lot of creative (spontaneous) possibilities. I think it would be pretty complex to use Scratch Pads since a Scratch Pad basically is a different position on the same timeline as the entire song. So it depends on the same linear playback mechanism as the rest of the song, but also the same solo and mute states. 

Jumping the playback cursor directly to a Scratch Pad on MIDI input itself is something, I can imagine (requested that also in: Arranger Track Playlist). However jumping to a Scratch Pad in order to play a specific track at one point while playing other tracks at another point seems very complex. Or am I missing your point smiley

+1 vote
answered Mar 9, 2017 by chancekaye (3,320 points)
I would love to see a clip launcher in Studio One, many competitors have this feator -- Live, Bitwig, Sonar. Flexibility is the key to making such a feature as valuable as it can be, as in independence between the clip launcher and the main transport, w/ syncing available as needed.

My objection to the specific proposal here is that it suggests implementation as a Note FX device. IMO that's too limiting. It would be more powerful to be able to load audio samples in the cells as well as MIDI clips. I really hope this is coming in Studio One 4.
+1 vote
answered Mar 12, 2017 by nikhoverland (1,810 points)

Clip launcher in Studio One it's a good idea.

0 votes
answered May 12, 2018 by cristianomello (640 points)
Clip launcher on Studio One, seriously dudes? What about some copyright infringements from Ableton? Im totally against copying another daws, also, Studio One doesn't have that workflow. That said, some people should move to Ableton instead of requesting copyrighted features. Its a nonsense.

I love the workflow of Studio One and I dont want to see this daw following another's company standards. The devs of Studio One are very creative, they dont need to copy another daw to have good ideas