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.
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:
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:
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
This will instantly retrigger the playback of pads each time a note message is received
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.
This will switch playback to the new pad after the current playing pad’s Instrument Part has reached its end.
- Trigger Type
The pad will be triggered as long as a MIDI note is held.
The pad will be triggered until another pad is triggered.
- Playback Mode
- One Shot
The pad will play the entire Instrument Part once.
The pad will endlessly loop the entire Instrument Part.
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.
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.