MANUALS

This User Manual should help You to familiarize yourself with the plugin, with the terminology used and the logic behind this product. If you have any questions, find errors or have any suggestions, feel free to contact me, my email address is at the end of this document.

I kindly suggest going through this document starting at the beginning.

SHERLOCK & WATSON are VST plugins in form of a VST Instrument that can be loaded into your session like any other virtual instrument. They will not create any sounds since they deal with MIDI data only and their purpose is to trigger and control commands and some other parameters in your DAW.

SHERLOCK and WATSON are almost alike, they differ in the size of the GUI, in the number of buttons they use and some other minor features. That’s it.

From now on, I will refer to the plugin as SHERLOCK, but all the information is relevant to WATSON as well unless stated otherwise.

Since this is a plugin and not a 3rd-party software running next to your DAW, it will be saved and loaded with your session. Once installed properly, all you need to do in order to use it is just load SHERLOCK from your list of available VST Instruments and set it up to your liking (and although very easy, this is also a very addictive part of the process – you have been warned!). 

WATSON GUI:

SHERLOCK GUI:

For the in-depth installation guidelines please refer to the “INSTALLATION” PDF document that is available separately in the downloaded folder and will guide you through the entire task depending on the operating system you currently use. 

Few years ago, I decided to build a tool that will help me in daily tasks as a composer and sound designer. Since I consider myself a Cubase and Nuendo power-user the first iteration of this software was called CPU (”Cubendo Power User”). Yes, I know, great and distinctive name not seen too often in the world of plugins, computers and technology in general.The first version available to purchase consisted of four separate plugins: CPU-A, CPU-B, CPU-C and CPU-D that could be purchased as a CPU-BUNDLE. Thanks to further research and some very valuable feedback from existing users another version was in the making soon after the first one got released.

The main idea for the product did not changed much though – to use a touch screen (or a mouse if no touch screen is available) to trigger commands and to control Quick Controls using buttons and sliders available from the plugin’s GUI.

A lot of new concepts were introduced in the newest version and it took quite some time to implement and test them in the wild. Now, instead of four plugins in the CPU-BUNDLE we just have the big SHERLOCK and his sidekick – WATSON – a smaller version of SHERLOCK for users that don’t need 192 assignable buttons and can go by with 48 buttons making the GUI smaller and a bit faster when it comes to saving and loading times.

No, you don’t.

All you need to use and customize the SHERLOCK buttons assignments is already there, built into the plugin and waiting for you to set it up.

One of my main goals and concerns while working on this software was the ease of use. Not every composer or producer wants to become a programmer just to be able to assign few commands to existing buttons. In my opinion only few clicks should be plenty enough to finish this simple task.

That is why I have created a system with a very long list of already available commands selectable by the user with literally 4 clicks or taps on the screen.

SHERLOCK operates in two modes: PLAY MODE and EDIT MODE. You switch between them with one button and depending on the mode selected, you either edit your buttons assignments, colors, font size, copy/paste buttons, rename the commands etc. or use the buttons to trigger some actions. Learning how to create your first presets shouldn’t take you more than few minutes.

To prepare your custom PNG files for use as pictures on the buttons might need some external graphics editor but this is considered an advance feature of SHERLOCK, for simple button assignment and some color tweaking everything is already there.

  • You can assign commands to the available 192/48 buttons and trigger them by simply clicking or tapping on them
  • You can save your 192/48 buttons assignments to one of the available 18 PAGES and by selecting them you gain instant access to 3456 commands (192×18) in SHERLOCK or 864 commands (48×18) in WATSON. If this is still not enough, you can save the whole plugin’s state as a .vstpreset and recall it anytime from your DAW like you do with any other VST presets

  • You can use all the available built-in commands in Cubase and Nuendo plus many custom 14bitMIDI commands that are using Logical Editor, Project Logical Editor and predefined MIDI Note On/Off events, Program Changes and Continuous Controllers

  • To some extent you can change the colors of buttons background, buttons frames, buttons text, you can change the text displayed on the button and its font size

  • You can add your own PNG graphics to change the way buttons look

  • You can copy/paste an existing button assignment to another button for quicker re-design and repositioning

  • You can copy/paste an entire column or row of buttons for quicker re-design

  • You can rename your generic PAGES buttons to better suit your needs

  • You can change the color of PAGES buttons text and to some extent also the buttons color

  • You can use 20 SPOT buttons to quickly access certain points in time on your project’s timeline

  • You can rename the generic SPOT buttons to something that is more descriptive for you and change the text color and to some extent also the buttons color

  • You can use 20 SELECTION buttons to quickly jump between your saved track selections

  • You can rename the generic SELECTION buttons, change the text color and to some extent the buttons color

  • You can use 16 sliders default predefined as Track Quick Control and VST Quick Control, but you can re-assign them to any CC# you like on any of the 16 MIDI channels

  • You can change the sliders colors and choose from a list of predefined color options

  • You can set minimum and maximum value of a slider, automatic return value, “spring” value, MIDI channel and CC# assignment and save your settings “per PAGE” meaning that you can set up 16 different sliders for each of the available 18 PAGES giving you quick access to 288 different sliders for every .vstpreset

  • You can use 2 (WATSON) or 4 (SHERLOCK) XY pads that will mirror the CC# assignments of the first 8 sliders

  • You can use the CLICK VOL slider to set the volume of a click and to dial some other advanced functions

  • You can use the MIDI VELOCITY slider to set the midi velocity of selected event/s and to dial some other advanced functions

  • You can use 8 (SHERLOCK) or 4 (WATSON) Macro buttons to trigger all the buttons from rows 1-4/8, especially useful when testing your own Macros or when triggering MIDI Note On/Off chains in “quasi” sequencer fashion

  • You can set up how fast the buttons from rows 1-4/8 will be triggered and how long each button will be held

  • You can use the Trackslider to quickly navigate between the first and the last track of your project (allowing for a lightning fast navigation through those insanely big orchestral templates)

  • You can use the Timeslider to quickly navigate to various points on your project’s timeline within a time range selected with one of the 12 Time Range buttons (1 min. – 4h30min.)

  • You can re-assign the Trackslider to act as a high resolution 14-bit fader for much more precise control over your automation parameters with 16384 steps instead of the usual 128

  • In the Track Name Field, you can see the name of currently selected track in your project (even if the track is hidden at that moment or inside a closed folder)

  • You can set how many buttons will change dynamically depending on the name of a currently selected track (feature mainly used for displaying certain commands like virtual instruments articulations, expression maps assignments etc. but I am sure you will come up with your own interesting ways of using it)

  • You can use external hardware controller/s to trigger certain functions, for example, selecting PAGES, SPOTS, SELECTIONS, MACROS and BUTTONS

  • It is possible to use SHERLOCK (the 14bitNET version) on a different machine in your network to trigger commands and controls on another machine (for example using it on a slave PC machine with connected touch screen to control the DAW on a master computer running OSX with no touch screen connected)

  • You can select the exact version of Cubase or Nuendo you are using. This setting will influence the Menu and its categories. Since the available commands differ between versions, this is an important setting to make. Currently, Cubase 8, 9, 10 and Nuendo 7, 8 and 10 are supported.

  • There is also a Generic mode included where only various MIDI commands are available in the Menu without any of the predefined Cubase/Nuendo commands (this is useful if you want to use SHERLOCK to control some other software supporting MIDI triggers and VST plugins)

  • You can’t change the size of the SHERLOCK window or scale it up or down in any way. The plugin was created with the most popular 1920 x 1080 pixels resolution screens in mind. The buttons dimensions, font sizes and the general GUI layout was created for those exact dimensions and to ensure readability screens of the size of at least 21” are recommended. On monitors smaller than 21” the text might appear small and hard to read.
  • You can’t change the amount, size and placement of buttons. At least for this version these are set in stone. The main part of SHERLOCK consists of 16 rows and 12 columns of assignable buttons that are exactly 156×48 pixels in size. WATSON uses 4 rows and 12 columns. Allowing the users to freely change the buttons amount, size and placement would lead to more lines of code, much more complicated editing and presets saving process and, in my opinion, would negatively influence the ease of use for all the non-programmers out there.
  • You can’t change the black background color of SHERLOCK. This is by design. Early touch screens got pretty warm after some time on spots where the color to display for a longer period of time wasn’t 100% black. Since SHERLOCK was always meant to be constantly displayed on a dedicated touch screen this was an issue. Our initial tests have shown that any other background color than 100% black would lead to emitting a lot of heat and could even shorten the life span of a dedicated touch screen. Since the technology gets better every day maybe the heat and energy consumption aren’t so much of an issue anymore with current touch screens.

I am pretty sure there are still enough cool things you CAN do with SHERLOCK & WATSON that will improve your workflow!

Before I will show you how to do the basic operations with SHERLOCK, you need to “tell” the plugin what DAW version you are using.

Go into the Edit Mode by pressing the PLAY/EDIT button.

Above the buttons 6 and 7 you will see a blue name of the currently selected mode. Default this will be set to “CUBASE 10” but there are more options available.

Just click/tap on the blue name until you land on the version you want to use your plugin with. These are the available options so far:

CUBASE 8.0 – 10.5

NUENDO 7 – 10

GENERIC

XTRA 1 – 8

For now, I will assume that you are interested in one of the Cubase or Nuendo versions. No need to bother with all the others at the moment.

Once you see the version you use, go back to PLAY MODE by clicking/tapping on the PLAY/EDIT button.

Last step is to save this change as your Default.vstpreset.

Make sure the “SAVE ON/OFF” button is active (green):

Click on the little preset manager icon and select the option “Save as Default Preset”.

Say “Yes” to the next question and close & reopen the plugin.

After the plugin is running again, go to the Edit Mode and check if the right DAW version is visible now. If so, we are ready for some tweaking!

Go into the Edit Mode by pressing the PLAY/EDIT button.

Make sure the Trackslider On/Off button reads TRACKSLIDER IS ON (green text). This will be explained later and for now just make sure the button is in its ON state.

Now click/tap on the button you want to assign a command to.

A Menu should appear with list of all available categories and commands (they depend on the DAW version selected earlier):

Select a category you want and choose a command from the available options for that category:

Your selected command should appear on the button you’ve clicked/tapped on before:

Repeat this process for all the other buttons you need:

Leave the Edit Mode by pressing the PLAY/EDIT button again. You will notice immediately that red corners indicating that you are in the Edit Mode will disappear from the buttons.

Bravo, you have assigned your first commands to buttons!

REMEMBER! – you need to save all your changes related to buttons to one of the 18 PAGES.  Otherwise your buttons assignments will be gone next time you switch to another PAGE (believe me, it will happen sooner or later anyway, but remembering this will save you some frustration down the line).

To save a PAGE you need to click on the SAVE PAGE button first:

Now click on one of the PAGES buttons you want your settings to be saved to, PAGE #02 in this example:

Notice the SAVE PAGE button is going back to its initial state:  

The currently selected PAGE can be recognized by two white dots on the PAGE button:

Now you can jump between PAGEs and if the PAGE was saved properly your buttons will change to what you’ve assigned each time you select that very PAGE.

The generic names PAGE #01 to PAGE #18 can be of course changed to something more descriptive. Let’s see how this is done.

Go to Edit Mode by pressing the PLAY/EDIT button again.

Make sure the Trackslider On/Off button reads TRACKSLIDER IS ON (green text).

Right to the PLAY/EDIT button you can see an empty space with a green frame around it, this is the Magic Text Box that we will use to do some cool things in the future. For now, just click inside and type a name you would like to rename your PAGE button to. For this example, I will simply type “ADD TRACK”.

Now click on one of the generic PAGE buttons to rename it.

In this example I choose the PAGE #02.

You should see the name of a button change to whatever you’ve typed into the magic text box.

If you don’t want the name to appear in one line you should add some fair amount of spaces between the words that should be on different lines like this:

Now click on the PAGE button again. This will force the name to split and appear on two lines since there is not enough room on the button for a name this long. Experiment with this to suit your needs.

Leave the Edit Mode and you are all set.

At this point, if you save and close your Cubase/Nuendo session the next time you open your saved session all your name changes to the PAGE buttons, buttons assignments etc. will be recalled as you left them.

On the bottom of the plugin you can see a horizontal slider that has the width of the whole window. Depending on the setting it can act as:

  • Trackslider – moving the slider from left to right selects tracks in your session starting with the first (usually your first input track) all the way to the last one (usually the last output track).

The target pointer is grey with a TRACK on it. It doesn’t matter how many tracks there are in your session the amount will be scaled proportionally to the length of the slider meaning that if there are 4 tracks in your session every quarter of the slider’s length will select one of them and if there are 400 or 4000 tracks each quarter of the slider will target 100 or 1000 tracks. Just try for yourself to get the idea. Since this is a 14-bit resolution slider it can select up to 16384 values/tracks. The position of the Trackslider in combination with other values (like the CLICK VOL or MIDI VELOCITY) is used to trigger some other functions of SHERLOCK that will be described later.

Double-clicking/tapping on the Trackslider will reset it to its middle position and will switch the 16 CC sliders or XY pads view ON or OFF depending on the settings.

  

  • Timeslider – when one of the 12 Time Range buttons is selected the target pointer changes to orange with TIME on it indicating the Timeslider mode.

The whole length of the Timeslider corresponds to the time range selected with the Time Range button. Moving the target pointer will move the playhead in 1 sec. steps. The smallest range is 1 minute up to 4h:30min. With this tool navigating through long sessions was never easier. Position of the Timeslider will also be used to save the exact point on the timeline using the SPOT buttons (will be explained later).

Double-clicking/tapping on the Timeslider will switch the 16 CC sliders or XY pads view ON or OFF depending on the settings. To go back to Timeslider mode just press the selected Time Range button again.

There is an option to suspend the Trackslider/Timeslider functionality when you don’t want to accidentally select tracks, move the playhead or when you need to move the slider to a certain position to trigger some other functions.

This is when the Trackslider On/Off buttons comes in handy:

Another indication for the inactive Trackslider/Timeslider is the red line that appears every time the slider is being suspended:

 

  • Colorslider. As soon as you switch to EDIT MODE the slider changes to Colorslider. And yes, you are right, we will use it later to select colors while customizing buttons.
  •  

When you look at a button it looks very straightforward. Under the hood though it consists of multiple elements and its properties.

Here are few that are of interest to us:

  • command name/text
  • command text font size
  • command text color
  • command number
  • category name/text
  • category text color
  • frame color
  • background color
  • buttons coordinates
  • buttons graphic

… and few more not relevant for now

All those above properties will be saved each time you save your settings for a given PAGE and will be recalled every time that PAGE is selected/ recalled again.

Next, I will explain how you can change these properties so you can further customize SHERLOCK but first, I need to explain how it is even possible that changes can be made without a dedicated editor using only the elements of the main GUI.

  • If this … than that…

Since, on one hand, ease of use was one of my main goals while building SHERLOCK but on the other hand more and more features popped up, I had to come up with a way to change settings using what was already available on the plugin’s GUI – few sliders, text input window and some buttons.

Certain combinations of some of these GUI elements will allow us to tweak many properties without a dedicated editor.

In computer science this might be called conditional programming but for us musicians a simple explanation “If this … than that …” might be easier to understand and remember. We already use it every day in our work – Example: “If this – (if I play pitches C-E-G) – than that – (a major triad/chord called “C-major” will be created)”.

Some combinations will be very easy to remember, some might need a cheat-sheet at the beginning.

Some of them you will use all the time, some of them you will never need, and you will forget about very fast. It all depends on your workflow.

What we will use the most is the, so called, Magic Text Window – visible only while  in the Edit Mode, Trackslider, Trackslider On/Off button, PLAY/EDIT button, Colorslider, CLICK VOL and MIDI VELOCITY sliders, the XTRA button and few more in some rare cases.

Don’t worry, I will put them all on a cheat-sheet for quick reference.

  • Copy/paste every property of a button to a new location

One of the simplest operations and one that will be used very often is the copy/paste of a button.

To copy/paste a button from place A to place B do the following:

  1. enter the Edit Mode by pressing the PLAY MODE button
  2. make sure Trackslider On/Off button is ON (green text)
  3. in the text window type “c” (without quotes)
  4. click/tap on the button you want to copy (notice the “c” changes to “v” automatically)
  5. click/tap on the target button

It wasn’t that hard, right? Remember to save the PAGE if your changes need to be permanent!

The above operation will copy/paste the entire button with all its properties: colors, command assignment etc.

Sometimes you only need to copy button’s look and not the assigned command. Of course, there is a way to achieve that.

  • Copy/paste only the look of a button

To copy/paste just the look of a button do the following:

  1. enter the Edit Mode by pressing the PLAY MODE button
  2. make sure Trackslider On/Off button is ON (green text)
  3. in the text window type “xc” (without quotes)
  4. click/tap on the button you want to copy (notice the “xc” changes to “xv” automatically)
  5. click/tap on the target button

Now, the command assignment of the target button should stay untouched, but the look of the button should change.

Notice, after each copy/paste operation the text changes back to “c” or “xc” so you can copy/paste more buttons if you want.

  • Swap buttons

Sometimes you will need to trade places between two buttons. Swap will be the way to go:

  1. enter the Edit Mode by pressing the PLAY MODE button
  2. make sure Trackslider On/Off button is ON (green text)
  3. in the text window type “swap” (without quotes)
  4. click/tap on the first button you want to swap (notice the “swap” changes to “swapWith” automatically)
  5. click/tap on the target button

At this point both buttons should trade places and the text changes back to “swap” to allow you further swaps.

  • Delete a button

To be honest, there is no such thing as button delete per se.

Hmm, what? Ok, let me explain.

Buttons are always there, they can’t be moved, resized or deleted.

What I mean by “to delete a button” is simply “to unassign the button command and reset all button colors to black” so it appears as there is no button present.

There are two ways to do this:

1st (using the Menu):

  1. enter the Edit Mode by pressing the PLAY MODE button
  2. make sure TRACKSLIDER IN ON (green text)
  3. click/tap on the button in question
  4. from the Menu select “>>>BLACK HOLE<<<” as command (second command from the top)

2nd (using the “d”):

  1. enter the Edit Mode by pressing the PLAY MODE button
  2. make sure Trackslider On/Off button is ON (green text)
  3. in the text window type “d” (without quotes)
  4. click/tap on the button you want to “delete”

Notice, the “d” stays in the text box in case you need to “delete” more buttons. The second way is much faster if you need to process many buttons since you don’t need to go back to the Menu every time.

  • Random look of a button

The quickest way to change the look of a given button is to use the “look” function. The result might be great or the opposite of great, who knows, but you might want to try it anyway. I use it a lot.

  1. enter the Edit Mode by pressing the PLAY MODE button
  2. make sure Trackslider On/Off button is ON (green text)
  3. in the text window type “look” (without quotes)
  4. click/tap on the button you want to colorize

 

Do you like the result? I hope.

If not, keep clicking/tapping on the button until the colors blow your mind. If some elements are OK but some not, there is a way to try to change only those.

  • Random frame color

Everything is good but the frame color?

  1. enter the Edit Mode by pressing the PLAY MODE button
  2. make sure Trackslider On/Off button is ON (green text)
  3. in the text window type “frame” (without quotes)
  4. click/tap on the button
  5. keep clicking/tapping if needed

  • Random text color

  1. enter the Edit Mode by pressing the PLAY MODE button
  2. make sure Trackslider On/Off button is ON (green text)
  3. in the text window type “txt” (without quotes)
  4. click/tap on the button
  5. keep clicking/tapping if needed

  • Random background color

  1. enter the Edit Mode by pressing the PLAY MODE button
  2. make sure Trackslider On/Off button is ON (green text)
  3. in the text window type “bg” (without quotes)
  4. click/tap on the button
  5. keep clicking/tapping if needed

  • Random category color

  1. enter the Edit Mode by pressing the PLAY MODE button
  2. make sure Trackslider On/Off button is ON (green text)
  3. in the text window type “cat” (without quotes)
  4. click/tap on the button
  5. keep clicking/tapping if needed

_________________________________________

If randomization is not the preferred way to go and you want more control over the results, we need to switch to manual gearbox.

When Edit Mode is selected not only the distinctive red corners are visible on all the buttons to clearly signalize the Edit Mode but also button’s coordinates are visible. The logic here is simple – there are 16 rows and 12 columns in SHERLOCK so numbers on each button are describing the row number and the column number separated by the “dot”.

Example: “1.1” means the first row and first column and “16.12” means the 16th row and 12th column. As you can see rows are counted top-to-bottom and columns left-to-right.

This piece of information will be useful now.

_________________________________________

  • Manual frame color

There are two ways to manually change the color of button’s frame.

Using the Colorslider:

In this example we will change the frame color of the 1st button (1.1)

  1. enter the Edit Mode by pressing the PLAY MODE button
  2. in the text window type “@frame1.1” (without quotes)
  3. use the Colorslider to select a color from the available palette

Using the MIDI VELOCITY slider:

In this example we will change the frame color of the 2nd button (1.2)

  1. enter the Edit Mode by pressing the PLAY MODE button
  2. in the text window type “@framecolor1.2” (without quotes)
  3. use the MIDI VELOCITY slider to select a color from the available palette

As you can see, by using proper button coordinates (1.1 – 16.12) at the end of the command (“@frame…” or “@framecolor…” in the example above) we can describe which button we want to affect.

This logic will be used for other changes too.

You may wonder why there are two ways of changing the frame color.

There are two banks of colors available. One is selectable with the Colorslider (128 colors) and the other one with the MIDI VELOCITY slider (128 colors). Both banks differ in hue, brightness and saturation and hopefully, having both options available, will allow you to find the exact color you need.

  • Manual text color

Similar to the frame color, there are two ways to manually change the color of button’s text.

Using the Colorslider:

In this example we will change the text color of the 13th button (2.1)

  1. enter the Edit Mode by pressing the PLAY MODE button
  2. in the text window type “@txt2.1” (without quotes)
  3. use the Colorslider to select a color from the available palette

Using the MIDI VELOCITY slider:

In this example we will change the text color of the 27th button (3.3)

  1. enter the Edit Mode by pressing the PLAY MODE button
  2. in the text window type “@textcolor3.3” (without quotes)
  3. use the MIDI VELOCITY slider to select a color from the available palette

  • Manual category color

In this example we will change the category color of the 48th button (4.12)

  1. enter the Edit Mode by pressing the PLAY MODE button
  2. in the text window type “@cat4.12” (without quotes)
  3. use the Colorslider to select a color from the available palette

  • Manual background color­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­

In this example we will change the background color of the 20th button (2.8)

  1. enter the Edit Mode by pressing the PLAY MODE button
  2. in the text window type “@bg2.8” (without quotes)
  3. use the Colorslider to select a color from the available palette

_________________________________________

So far, we were able to change the color of command name/text, category name, frame and background. We have used the random and manual option to do this. It is time to change the text size.

_________________________________________

  • Font size

Some command names use a lot of text and therefore the default font size is set to 12 pixels.

Commands like “DO NOT CONNECT INPUT/OUTPUT BUSSES WHEN LOADING EXTERNAL PROJECTS” wouldn’t fit on a button if the font size would be bigger. Not all commands are that long though, sometimes simple “PLAY” or “STOP” will be all we need.

Users have asked for a possibility to change the font size so here it is:

In this example we will change the text font size of the 25th button (3.1)

  1. enter the Edit Mode by pressing the PLAY MODE button
  2. in the text window type “@fontsize3.1” (without quotes)
  3. use the MIDI VELOCITY slider to set the font size that works best for you

Remember that you don’t need to use the slider to dial in the exact value. You can double-click on the value box above the slider to input the number you like (this is the slider value, not the size in pixels). Just try it for yourself and you will get the idea.

 

  • Custom command text on a button

There will be cases where you would like to rename the original command to something more descriptive. For example, “Macro #001” might be too generic for you so a change of command name displayed on a button might be a good idea. Let’s try to do this.

  1. enter the Edit Mode by pressing the PLAY MODE button
  2. make sure Trackslider On/Off button is ON (green text)
  3. in the text window type “YOUR NEW AWESOME NAME” (without quotes)
  4. click/tap on the target button

This should change the name displayed on the button you’ve clicked/tapped. I hope that was simple enough!

Remember to save the PAGE if the changes should be remembered!

If you wish the new name to be displayed as two lines of text instead of one long line you should add spaces on the split point in the similar fashion as we already did with the PAGE button.

Following the example above you can type something like this:

YOUR NEW                                                    AWESOME NAME

the button will be forced to split the name and use the second line to display it properly:

YOUR NEW

AWESOME NAME

 

As always, try it for yourself and you will get this in no time.

  • Custom PNG graphics

One of the key elements of a button is the graphic file that sits on the top layer and we interact with when clicking/tapping on the button.

The default PNG file used in SHERLOCK and WATSON looks something like this:

As you can see, nothing spectacular, just a black frame and a transparent middle part so we can see what is placed underneath (the command text, background layer etc.)

If you wish so, you can change the default PNG file for each of the 192 or 48 buttons and save your settings with a PAGE as usual.

I have already included some files that may be used as examples, but your own creations are welcome.

Let us change the PNG of the 1st button just for training purposes:

  1. enter the Edit Mode by pressing the PLAY MODE button
  2. make sure Trackslider On/Off button is OFF (red text)
  3. in the text window type “_tv” (without quotes)
  4. click/tap on the target button (1.1 in this example)
  5. leave the Edit Mode by pressing the EDIT MODE button again
  6. save your PAGE so the changes will not disappear

 

I have added the _tv.png file to your assets folder beforehand and therefore we can call it so quickly. Your own PNGs need to be added there first. This process will be explained in a minute.

For now, you can do some more tests with the already available files:

_albion1

_albion2

_analyze

_arranger

_click

_frame000

_frame01 … _frame34

_halion1

_jgr

_jgr1

_jgr2

_juno8

_loops1

_marker

_omnisphere1

_omnisphere2

_retrologue1

_signature

_spitTDRA

_sss1

_sss2

_stylus1

_tundra1

_tv

_vep1

_vep2

_vep3

As you can see, these are some test files I’ve played with and I hope this will give you an idea for your own custom buttons.

OK, time for your own PNGs.

To create custom PNG files, you can use whatever tool you like and already own and know. There are good free and paid graphics editors out there and I can only tell you what I am using:

https://pixlr.com/editor/

https://www.gimp.org/

In some older iteration of the plugin there was an option to show you one picture while the button was depressed and another while the button was pressed but this is not the case anymore.

The optimal PNG size should be 156 pixels wide and 48 pixels high but any size with a ratio of 13:4 would work fine for that matter.

You can use the provided “test-PNG.png” file to start off with your own creations:

Once your PNGs are ready to rock you need to add them to the assets folder of SHERLOCK or WATSON (or both if needed).

  • Windows OS:

C:\Users\YOURNAME\AppData\Roaming\WATSON\8.jrsw+Bih+mH

C:\Users\YOURNAME\AppData\Roaming\SHERLOCK\8.jrsw+Bih+mH

  • Mac OS:

\Users\YOURNAME\Library\Preferences\SHERLOCK\8.jrsw+Bih+mH

\Users\YOURNAME\Library\Preferences\WATSON\8.jrsw+Bih+mH

Just copy your new PNGs into that folder/s and remember to close and reopen the plugin in case it was active before. Once restarted, you can now add your new PNGs to the buttons.

To make my life easier I use an underscore (“_”) as first character on all my custom PNGs names. You may use your own system of naming files, just make sure you use the proper name while adding PNGs.

In case of an error a blank default PNG will be used instead.

You can always go back to the original button graphic by using the name “defPNG” (without quotes).

There is also another, quicker way to access your assets folder directly from the plugin’s GUI.

This method doesn’t work on all OSX systems, but I think it is still worth a try.

These steps should work for both, Mac and Windows:

  1. make sure Trackslider On/Off button is OFF (red text)
  2. set the Trackslider all the way to the left (value “0”)
  3. double-click/tap on the CLICK VOL slider.

You should see a window with all your .png files.

Drop your newly created PNGs here and close/cancel/X.

After plugin restart, your PNGs will be ready to use!

>>> GOOD TO KNOW <<< A.K.A >>> SOME USEFUL TIPS <<<

  • As soon as you assign new command to a button with custom PNG the custom graphic will be replaced by the default one. It might be a good idea to first copy/paste (“c”/”v”) this button to a new location, change its command assignment and using “xc”/”xv” copy back just the button’s look.
  • Bear in mind, that if your custom PNG used on a button isn’t transparent you will not be able to see the command text sitting on the underlaying layer. Soon you might forget what was the originally assigned command. Two ideas for you: go back to the default button PNG (“defPNG”) to see what is the command and then reassign your custom PNG or a quicker one, while in Edit Mode just click-and-hold on the button in question, this will show you the underlying layer with the command name as long as you keep the button pressed. After you let go of the button the Menu will show up as usual but of course you don’t need to select anything in that case. If you don’t want the Menu to show up just move your finger or cursor off the button before you let go.
  • During the process of setting up buttons and assigning commands to your taste it might be wise to copy the PAGE you are working on to some other PAGE as a kind of a backup. In case something goes wrong you will be able to “sample” a particular button from the “backup PAGE” and just copy it to the PAGE you are redesigning. You can copy/paste buttons between PAGES. Use the “c” or “xc” to copy a button by clicking/tapping on it. The text should change to “v” or “xv” indicating the button is copied into the “clipboard” memory. Now, leave the Edit Mode so you can switch to another PAGE by clicking on the corresponding PAGE button and once you are on the target PAGE enter the Edit Mode again, type “v” or “xv” into the text box and select your target button you want to paste whatever you’ve just copied to. Although this explanation might seem a bit convoluted “on paper”, once you try this by yourself it will be very easy and logical.

In case you want to copy an entire row of buttons, you can do it now.

Here we will copy row 1 (counting top-to-bottom) to row 4.

  1. set Trackslider to the middle position (double-click on it)
  2. make sure Trackslider On/Off button is OFF (red text)
  3. enter the Edit Mode by pressing the PLAY MODE button
  4. in the text window type “@copyRow” (without quotes)
  5. set the CLICK VOL slider to 1 using the slider or by double-clicking on the value window and typing in the value
  6. set the MIDI VELOCITY slider to 4 using the slider or by double-clicking on the value window and typing in the value
  7. hit the XTRA button (it’s there for extra functions like this one)

As you can see, CLICK VOL value means the row number we want to copy FROM, and the MIDI VELOCITY value means the row we want to copy TO.

Guess what, copying entire columns is possible too.

Now we will copy column 3 (counting left-to-right) to column 1.

  1. set Trackslider to the middle position (double-click on it)
  2. make sure Trackslider On/Off button is OFF (red text)
  3. enter the Edit Mode by pressing the PLAY MODE button
  4. in the text window type “@copyColumn” (without quotes)
  5. set the CLICK VOL slider to 3 using the slider or by double-clicking on the value window and typing in the value
  6. set the MIDI VELOCITY slider to 1 using the slider or by double-clicking on the value window and typing in the value
  7. hit the XTRA button

One of the biggest improvements introduced in the version 1.5 of the SHERLOCK/WATSON plugin was the SAVE ON/OFF button:

With this button you can switch the automatic saving of all the parameters On or Off. Why? Because you really only need to save all of the SHERLOCK parameters when saving your .vstpreset and not each time Cubase/Nuendo is autosaving its state. Since there are almost 60.000 (!) parameters that SHERLOCK is saving and recalling this operation takes significant amount of time (depending on the machine specs even up to 15 seconds!!!). Imagine working on your track while stopping for few (or more) seconds each time your autosave kicks in or you use the Ctrl+S shortcut. A major showstopper for sure. This is why the SAVE ON/OFF button is there for you. Create your buttons assignments or dynamic buttons assignments (see more on Page #51) and before you hit the “Save as…” in the preset manager or before you save your Cubase/Nuendo session make sure this button is ON (green). It will take few seconds to save but the next time all your settings will be there for you. In case you have done all your settings already and you just want to use the plugin to trigger commands and control parameters, there is no need for this button to be ON. Click on it to turn it OFF (red) and now every time you use the Ctrl+S shortcut or the autosave kick in the session will save in fraction of a second. In case you close your session with this button OFF, you will be prompted to load a working preset next time you open your session.

After loading a preset remember to turn this button OFF to avoid long saving times.

Again, this is a function that is much simpler to use than to explain “on paper”.

SHERLOCK uses 16 virtual sliders in two groups of 8 sliders each.

Initial idea behind this architecture in earlier versions was to use them only for the Track Quick Control and VST Quick Control in Cubase/Nuendo but

since now the sliders are freely programmable and any CC# can be assigned to any slider, they can be used for other purposes than only Track QC’s and VST QC’s for example, controlling parameters of other virtual synths, mixer etc. It all depends on the way the user sets them up.

Here is also where SHERLOCK and WATSON differ from each other.

Since WATSON is much smaller in size than SHERLOCK, its sliders are also smaller and can’t display all the data that bigger SHERLOCK’s sliders can. They share the same functionality though and can be set up in the same way.

  • Sliders in SHERLOCK

  • Sliders in WATSON

  • Accessing CC sliders vs. XY-pads

To access the sliders, you need to double-click/tap on the Trackslider (or the Timeslider). If your MIDI VELOCITY slider wasn’t at the value of 127 at that moment you will likely see 16 sliders in front of you. If you double-click the Trackslider again, they will disappear, and you are back to “all buttons” mode.

Another small difference between SHERLOCK and WATSON worth mentioning:

  • In SHERLOCK when MIDI VELOCITY is set to 127 and you double-click on the Trackslider two big XY-pads will be shown on the lower half of your buttons field giving you access to 96 buttons and two XY-pads

  • In SHERLOCK when MIDI VELOCITY is set to 127 and CLICK VOL is set to 127 while double-clicking on the Trackslider, four big XY-pads will be shown over the whole button field.

  • In WATSON there is only one mode available for XY-pads. When double-clicking on the Trackslider while MIDI VELOCITY is set to 127 you will see all four XY-pads in front of you.

By default, first 8 sliders are assigned to CC# 101 – 108 and are sending on MIDI channel 11. This is also the default setting for the Track Quick Controls that we have set up during the initial installation process using the “TRACK QC.xml” file in the Generic Remote window.

The second group of 8 sliders is by default assigned to CC# 109 – 116 and  uses MIDI channel 12. They control the VST Quick Controls and were set up using the “VST QC.xml” file during the installation.

Without changing anything yet, you should be able to control the Track QC and VST QC parameters of selected track out of the box. The CC sliders are bidirectional meaning they will not only send data but also react to changes made by the automation Read or manually by the user. If you are not familiar with the whole concept of Quick Controls in Cubase/Nuendo I can only highly recommend diving deeper into this subject since this is a very powerful feature but also one that isn’t really understood and used by the majority of users. I will create a series of tutorials on this subject on 14bitMIDI’s YouTube channel to clarify and explain what it is all about.

  • What can be set?

You can set:

  • CC# (all 128 are available)
  • MIDI channel
  • slider’s minimum value
  • slider’s maximum value
  • “spring” on/off
  • the value that the slider will return to when let go (“spring”)
  • the value that the slider will return to when double-clicked (“return”)
  • slider color from a list of predefined options
  • Changing slider’s CC#

  1. enter the Edit Mode by pressing the PLAY MODE button
  2. in the text window type “cc=11” (without quotes) if you want the slider to send CC#11
  3. now click/touch/move the slider you want to change

Immediately you should see the new CC# appear in the text box above the slider indicating the change was made. To make it stick and not reset to the default you need to save the PAGE.

So, in short, typing “cc=” plus the number of CC and then moving the slider is the way to change the defaults.

  • Changing slider’s MIDI channel

  1. enter the Edit Mode by pressing the PLAY MODE button
  2. in the text window type “ch=4” (without quotes) if you want the slider to send on MIDI channel 4
  3. click/touch/move the slider you want to change

You should see the new channel number appear in the text box above the slider indicating the change was made. To make it stick and not reset to the default you need to save the PAGE.

Again, typing “ch=” plus the channel number and then moving the slider is the way to change the defaults.

 

  • Changing slider’s minimum value

  1. enter the Edit Mode by pressing the PLAY MODE button
  2. in the text window type “min=20” (without quotes) if you want the slider to not be able to go lower than the value of 20
  3. click/touch/move the slider you want to change

Save the PAGE.

 

  • Changing slider’s maximum value

  1. enter the Edit Mode by pressing the PLAY MODE button
  2. in the text window type “max=111” (without quotes) if you want the slider to not be able to go higher than the value of 111
  3. click/touch/move the slider you want to change

Save the PAGE.

  • Slider’s double-click

If you double-click/tap on a slider it will jump back to the value of “0”.

We can change this default value if you like:

  1. enter the Edit Mode by pressing the PLAY MODE button
  2. in the text window type “backto=63” (without quotes) if you want the slider to go back to the value of 63 when double-clicked on
  3. click/touch/move the slider you want to change

Save the PAGE

  • “spring” on/off

Another useful feature of a slider is the ability to jump back to a given value as soon as you let go of the slider. It behaves like a “spring” hence the name.

First you need to switch this function On (Off is the default setting)

  1. enter the Edit Mode by pressing the PLAY MODE button
  2. in the text window type “spring=on” (without quotes)
  3. click/touch/move the slider you want to change

Save the PAGE.

As you may already predicted, “spring=off” turns this function Off.

By default, the slider will jump back to the value of “0”.

We can of course change this value:

  1. enter the Edit Mode by pressing the PLAY MODE button
  2. in the text window type “spring=33” (without quotes)
  3. click/touch/move the slider you want to change

Now the slider will jump back to the value of “33” as soon as you let it go.

Save the PAGE.

 

  •   Slider color

To change the look of any slider, try this:

  1. enter the Edit Mode by pressing the PLAY MODE button
  2. in the text window type “@fader” (without quotes)
  3. click/touch/move the slider you want to change and keep it moving until you find the color you like

There are 33 predefined slider colors and they might be useful for visual grouping of sliders.

Save the PAGE.

  • Copy/paste slider’s settings

There is a function to copy/paste settings of a single slider or in groups of 8.

  1. set Trackslider to the middle position (double-click on it)
  2. make sure Trackslider On/Off button is OFF (red text)
  3. enter the Edit Mode by pressing the PLAY MODE button
  4. in the text window type “@getFader1” (without quotes)
  5. hit the XTRA button

This will temporarily store the settings of the 1st slider.

To assign them to slider 8 just change the command in the text window:

  1. in the text window type “@setFader8” (without quotes)
  2. hit the XTRA button

Save the PAGE.

There is also a way to get/set all 8 sliders at once:

  1. set Trackslider to the middle position (double-click on it)
  2. make sure Trackslider On/Off button is OFF (red text)
  3. enter the Edit Mode by pressing the PLAY MODE button
  4. in the text window type “@getFader1-8” (without quotes)
  5. hit the XTRA button

and

  1. in the text window type “@setFader9-16” (without quotes)
  2. hit the XTRA button

Of course, this also works the other way around: “@getFader9-16” and “@setFader1-8

This operation might be used to copy/paste slider settings between PAGES since just saving to a new PAGE will not only save the sliders but all the buttons too.

Using this get/set method you will be able to copy/paste only the sliders between PAGES without making any changes to the buttons. Try for yourself.

The idea behind SPOT buttons is a simple one, you select a point in time using the Timeslider and save it for future reference. Up to 20 spots can be saved and easily accessed by pressing on the one of the SPOT buttons. The generic text “SPOT 01” can also be changed as was the case with the PAGE buttons already.

The text color and some button colors can be changed as well.

  1. select one of the 12 available Time Range buttons
  2. make sure Trackslider On/Off button is ON (green text)
  3. move the Timeslider to a desired location
  4. activate the SAVE SPOT button (left to the 1st SPOT button)
  5. hit the SPOT button you like
  6. deactivate the SAVE SPOT button by pressing it again

You should see a change on the time display underneath the SPOT button text. Default it reads 00:00:00 (in HH:MM:SS format) and now you should see the exact reading you’ve selected with the Timeslider.

Try this again with some other Timeslider position and different SPOT button.

Clicking/tapping on these two SPOT buttons should move your DAW’s playhead to those exact spots on the timeline.

  • SPOT buttons text

Since the names “SPOT 01-20” might be too generic, there is an easy way to give SPOT buttons more descriptive names:

  1. enter the Edit Mode by pressing the PLAY MODE button
  2. in the text window type “VERSE 1” (without quotes)
  3. click/tap on the target SPOT button

The generic name should change to “VERSE 1”.

No need to save the PAGE this time since button settings for SPOTs and SELECTIONs are independent from the PAGES.

  • SPOT buttons text color

  1. enter the Edit Mode by pressing the PLAY MODE button
  2. in the text window type “@spot1” (without quotes)
  3. use the Colorslider to select a color from the available palette

You should see the 1st SPOT text changing color.

Commands “@spot1” – ”@spot20” are needed to change single buttons.

A special command “@spotAll” will allow you to change the text color on all SPOT buttons in one go!

The same goes for the HH:MM:SS readout with the only difference in the command name – you need: “@time1” – ”@time20” or “@timeAll”.

  • SPOT buttons PNGs

  1. enter the Edit Mode by pressing the PLAY MODE button
  2. in the text window type “@PNGspot1 “(without quotes)
  3. use the Colorslider to select a button color from the options available

The PNGs here are predefined and can’t be customized by the user like it is the case with command buttons. I don’t think that they need to be customizable that far but please let me know if this is something that you have to be able to do and I should include in a future update.

I think, at this point you already know what commands “@PNGspot1 “ – “@PNGspot20“ and “@PNGspotAll” will do.

Before I move to the SELECTION buttons I need to explain the Track Name Field.

Using the Mackie Protocol functionality, I have programmed a way to display the currently selected track name! 

I assume your Studio Setup/Generic Remote connections are done properly and the “Mackie Control” option is connected to the “SHERLOCK-IN”, “SHERLOCK-OUT” (when used with SHERLOCK) or “WATSON-IN”, “WATSON-OUT” (when used with WATSON) virtual midi ports (see the “INSTALLATION” document). This will provide a bidirectional communication between the DAW and the plugin so you will be able to see the names of tracks changing whenever new track is selected.

 If you use the plugin for the first time an initial “handshake” between your DAW and SHERLOCK might be needed

  1. Set the MIDI VELOCITY slider to “127
  2. make sure the Trackslider is NOT all the way to the left, in the middle position or all the way to the right (values “0”, “8192” or “16383”)
  3. hit the XTRA button (a “TRACK NAME” text can be seen for a split second)
  4. move the Trackslider all the way to the left and then all the way to the right and hopefully you will see track names appear in the Track Name Field instead of the default “. click . touch . control . create .”

Once the connection is established, you don’t have to reconnect again and whenever you open your session or load the plugin it will be already connected.

If you lose the connection for whatever reason the above procedure will reconnect the DAW with the plugin to show the track names.

SELECTION buttons work in similar fashion as the SPOT buttons do.

You select a track using the Trackslider and save this selection to one of the 20 SELECTION buttons for future reference.

  1. make sure Trackslider On/Off button is ON (green text)
  2. move the Trackslider to a track you want quick access to
  3. activate the SAVE SEL button (left to the 1st SELECTION button)
  4. hit the SELECTION button you like
  5. deactivate the SAVE SEL button by pressing it again

Two things should happen at this moment, the SELECTION button’s generic text should change to the name of the selected track and should be green by default. Don’t worry you can set the color later.

You should try with a different track and another SELECTION button. As a test, just keep clicking on these two SELECTION buttons one after the another and see if the selected track changes accordingly in your session.

IMPORTANT: Although selected tracks names will be automatically copied onto the SELECTION button, internally, Cubase/Nuendo is recognizing track numbers NOT names. As often the case with programming, names are just for us users to better understand “what is what” in the session, the DAW relies on numbers. This means that the first input track in a session will be the track nr.1 and the last output track will be the track nr. X (depending on the number of tracks).

An actual example might be easier to understand (at least I hope that):

Let’s say in your session there are 4 input tracks, 10 audio tracks, 10 MIDI tracks and 1 stereo output – 25 tracks in total. Our first MIDI track might be named “Steinway Grand Piano” or whatever the name is. This will be the name assigned to the SELECTION button if you go through the above steps. What is you DAW really understanding is something like: “TRACK NUMBER 15 in this session will be selected whenever this button is pressed”. So far so good.

Now you decide to delete 5 audio tracks you don’t need anymore. Your session is 20 tracks heavy now, not 25. Pressing the SELECTION button will still select TRACK NUMBER 15 (according to what Cubase/Nuendo was told) but what you

will see is MIDI track nr. 6 has been selected now and it is not “Steinway Grand Piano” anymore but “Epic Cowbell Staccato”. Surprise, surprise!

To confuse you a bit more I might add that certain special tracks aren’t really considered “numbered” tracks at all by Cubase/Nuendo (Signature Track, Tempo Track, Transpose Track, Video Track…) and we won’t be able to select them with the Trackslider or add to the SELECTION buttons.

What I want to tell you by explaining this is: Don’t rely too much on the SELECTION buttons if the size of your session changes constantly. If you mix or master and the track count is more or less set, this might be a different story and the SELECTION buttons might be very useful to you. Another thought: When you start with a template and you have all your audio tracks, groups, VST instruments and MIDI tracks already named and organized this feature might be a big help. I think the bottom line is: Try it for yourself and be aware of all the quirks of it, that’s it. I am just honest here and am sharing my own observations regarding this subject.

Reassigning a track to a button is so quick that all the above concerns might never be a problem for you. I just felt obligated to shed some light on it.

  • SELECTION buttons text

  1. enter the Edit Mode by pressing the PLAY MODE button
  2. in the text window type “YOUR NEW NAME” (without quotes)
  3. click/tap on the target SELECTION button

The name should change to “YOUR NEW NAME”.

No need to save the PAGE, button settings for SPOTs and SELECTIONs are independent from the PAGES.

  • SELECTION buttons text color

  1. enter the Edit Mode by pressing the PLAY MODE button
  2. in the text window type “@selection2” (without quotes)
  3. use the Colorslider to select a color from the available palette

You should see the 2nd SELECTION text changing color.

Commands “@selection1” – ”@selection20” are changing single buttons.

“@selectionAll” command will allow you to change the text color on all SELECTION buttons in one go!

  • SELECTION buttons PNGs

  1. enter the Edit Mode by pressing the PLAY MODE button
  2. in the text window type “@PNGselection1 “(without quotes)
  3. use the Colorslider to select a button color from the options available

And you may already know that commands “@PNGselection1 “ – “@PNGselection20“ let you select the PNGs for single buttons where “@PNGselectionAll” will do this for all SELECTION buttons.

The above rules also apply to the PAGE buttons!

“@page1” – “@page18” and “pageAll”– use for changing text color

“@PNGpage1” – “@PNGpage18” and “PNGpageAll”– use for changing button’s color

Pressing this button will reset all 192/48 buttons to the “Empty” state.

Pressing this button will reset all 192/48 buttons to the “BLACK HOLE” state.

Main purpose of this slider is to set the volume of a click in Cubase/Nuendo.

If you happen to wonder why there is no click sound, check if it  isn’t set to “0”.

As you already know, this slider might be used to set some other parameters.

Main purpose of this slider is to set the velocity of a selected MIDI event/s.

This slider is also used to set other parameters.

This is one of only two completely predefined buttons in SHERLOCK.

If the currently selected track is a VST Instrument, pressing on this button will show you the VSTi’s GUI window. Pressing it again will close it.

This is the second predefined button in SHERLOCK. The button text says it all, it triggers the “Retrospective record” function (RR must be active).

In SHERLOCK there is a special function that will allow you to select a track and save buttons assignments for this particular track only. They will be recalled again every time you select a track by that exact name. Let me explain the whole concept.

As already mentioned before, you can see the name of currently selected track in the Track Name Field (see page 44 for more details). While this track is selected, and its name is visible you can assign commands to all your buttons and save this selection to be displayed every time this track is selected again. This way you can only see commands that are somehow related to that particular track.

For example: articulation switches, midi notes triggers, disable/enable button, UACC selection, VEP Parameters etc. As soon as you change the name of the track this connection will not work anymore and you will have to resave it for the new name, but this is a very straightforward operation. You can even create setups for tracks that you don’t currently use but as soon a track of that exact name appears again in your session these settings will be recalled.

You will need to test it for yourself to better understand the concept but first let me guide you through the setup process.

Before we move on to the saving procedure, there is one more concept that I need to mention. You can decide how many buttons will be recalled by this function. It could be just one button, all of them or any number of buttons  in between.

Imagine this, in WATSON we have 48 buttons available to us, maybe the first 24 buttons (rows 1 and 2) should be using this recall function and the remaining 24 buttons (rows 3 and 4) should not react to the changing track selections. This means, that we have to set up only 24 buttons to take advantage of this function. In SHERLOCK there are 192 buttons available and assume you need only 60 buttons to react to changing tracks, the setting should be done for 60 tracks then.

And this is how it’s done:

  1. make sure Trackslider On/Off button is OFF (red text)
  2. enter the Edit Mode by pressing the PLAY MODE button
  3. make sure CLICK VOL is set to “11” and MIDI VELOCITY to “99
  4. in the text window type the number of buttons you would like to recall

          (for example, 24 or 60 as in the test cases above)

  1. click/touch the XTRA button

For a brief moment the XTRA button should display the selected number of buttons (24 in the example below):

Buttons are counted from button 1.1 (1st button in the 1st row).

In case of 24 buttons it will mean 2 upper rows will be recalled, in the case of 60 buttons – the first 5 rows (counting top-to-bottom), and so on.

After we have decided on the number of buttons we can finally set things up.

Make sure you can see track names changing in the Track Name Field.

If all you can see is “. click. touch . control . create .” you need to activate this function first (see page 44).

For this example, let’s assume the track you have selected is an audio track, the name of the track is “Lead Guitar” and you decided to activate 24 buttons to be recalled.

  1. assign your commands that should be on the first 24 buttons (or less)
  2. make sure CLICK VOL is set to “0” and MIDI VELOCITY is also set to “0
  3. click/touch the XTRA button

For a brief moment the XTRA button should display the saved name ID number:

You can select another track now. In our example it is a VST Instrument track named “RETROLOGUE”. The Track Name Field will show this as “RETROLOGUE – Instr”. Repeat the above procedure. The only difference will be in the ID number of the saved track name:

For the third track in this example I will select a MIDI track named “123456789012345678901234567890” (just to have a name that consists of 30 characters).

The Track Name Field will show “12345678901234567890123456789” (just so I can prove to you that the maximum number of characters that can be displayed is 29).

After following the above steps, the XTRA button will show me that ID#3 was added to the list of saved track names:

Now when you jump between these 3 saved tracks you should see the first two rows of buttons changing each time a particular track name is being recognized by the plugin.

When you try to add a track that was added already you will be notified:

You know already how to add new track name (ID) so it will be recognized, and buttons recalled. How to change already saved selection of buttons? – you may ask.

It is very easy, let’s do this for our 3rd track:

  1. assign your new commands / change colors / placement of buttons…
  2. make sure CLICK VOL is set to “33” and MIDI VELOCITY is also set to “33
  3. click/touch the XTRA button

You should see the ID number of the track that has been resaved again:

Now, whenever you select the track “123456789012345678901234567890” the buttons will change to the updated version of assignments.

There will be times when you will wish for a way to delete the track name assignment.

  1. select a track you would like to REMOVE from the list of tracks that trigger buttons recall
  2. make sure CLICK VOL is set to “44 and MIDI VELOCITY is also set to “44
  3. click/touch the XTRA button

The XTRA button will inform you about the ID number that was removed from the list of IDs and its track name will not recall buttons anymore:

If you want to reset all your track name assignments (IDs) to start fresh, follow these steps:

  1. make sure CLICK VOL is set to “111 and MIDI VELOCITY is also set to “111
  2. click/touch the XTRA button

This will delete all the IDs from the database and selecting a track will not cause button recall.

It is worth mentioning that if  a track name was saved at some point and that track (or any other track by that name) isn’t used in your session anymore, the assignment is still there, so next time when you create an audio track named “Lead Guitar” and select it – the buttons will recall your settings for that particular track name.

This function is used for changing articulations of sampled orchestral instruments, triggering Program Changes for VST instruments, enabling/disabling tracks in Vienna Ensemble Pro software using automation Parameters and many more.

It all depends on your own creative needs.

The more track names you add to the list the longer it can take to save your .vstpreset since much more data need to be stored inside the preset (see more about the SAVE ON/OFF button on Page #32 of the PDF version of the User Manual).

Whenever you assign a command to a button what you really do is you assign a particular command’s number to a button. Next time you press a button a command of that number (that also happen to have a name that you can see on the button) will be triggered. As you already know, commands in this case are all the items that you can select from the Menu. Those might be the already predefined Cubase/Nuendo commands, but also special commands added by 14bitMIDI that rely heavily on the Logical Editor,  Project Logical Editor or generic MIDI events like Note On/Off triggers, CC#’s, Program Changes etc.

When working with Note On/Off commands or VSL Parameters it might be much  quicker to copy/paste already assigned buttons and using the INCREASE or DECREASE function to change the buttons assignments without the need to dive into Menu again.

In this example our buttons are assigned to MIDI pitches C4, D4, E4 and F4.

Imagine we would like to change them to G4, A4, B4 and C5. Instead of going to the Menu and selecting them one by one we can use the INC/DEC function.

  1. enter the Edit Mode by pressing the PLAY MODE button
  2. in the text box type “inc1” (without quotes)
  3. click/touch the button twice to change/increase the command by one

To change C4 to G4 we need go through 7 semi-tones, so we need to click 14 times.

This will change the first button to G4. It will be even quicker to change the other buttons. Click/tap on the G4 only ONCE and also ONCE on the D4. This will change the assignment from D4 to A#4, two more clicks and you are at A4.

Do the same for the remaining two buttons and quickly you will get the idea of it.

The command “dec1” will do the opposite, change the command to the previous one instead of the next one as “inc1” does.

Whenever you reassign a command to a button a default color scheme will be used so if you want to keep your custom color scheme it might be wise to copy the look of a button first before making any changes to it.

For octave jumps there are two extra commands included: “inc12” and “dec12”.

There is also a way to change ALL buttons assignments at once.

The “@pull” and “@push” commands are created for this task.

In this example we have all the buttons of WATSON assigned to VEP Parameters.

Since we have 48 buttons in WATSON there are On/Off switches for 24 Parameters available in this example. My goal will be to save the current Page to a new Page just to have a copy of my first 24 buttons and then, using the “@push” command reassign them all to next 24 switches in one go.

  1. using the SAVE PAGE button copy the entire Page to a new one
  2. double-click on the Trackslider to put it to the middle position
  3. enter the Edit Mode by pressing the PLAY MODE button
  4. make sure Trackslider On/Off button is OFF (red text)
  5. in the text box type “@push” (without quotes)
  6. use the CLICK VOL slider to set its value to “48

          (this is by how many positions we want to move each button’s assignment)

  1. click/tap on the XTRA button to trigger the command
  2. SAVE the Page to make changes permanent

The “@pull” command moves all the buttons assignments down the Menu list and not up as the “@push” does.

Since we are using the CLICK VOL slider to determine by how many places the commands should move, only 127 steps are possible at once. Keep in mind that you  can always click on the XTRA button multiple times to repeat the process, so moving up 150 positions might be done easily by clicking on the XTRA buttons 3 times while the CLICK VOL slider is set to the value of “50”.

You can let SHERLOCK / WATSON randomly assign commands to all of the buttons.

I am using this for testing purposes, but you might also find some other use for it.

  1. double-click on the Trackslider to put it to the middle position
  2. enter the Edit Mode by pressing the PLAY MODE button
  3. make sure Trackslider On/Off button is OFF (red text)
  4. in the text box type “@random” (without quotes)
  5. click/tap on the XTRA button to trigger the command

 

A variation on this are two more commands: “@random1stHalf” and “@random2ndHalf”. As you might already imagine they will fill up the upper or the lower half of all available buttons with random commands.

Similar to all the available commands there is a way to randomize only Program Changes assignments. The procedure is the same as with the above “@random” command so I will give you only the important bits here (without quotes):

“@randomBank000” – will assign any Pr.Ch. number from Bank 0

… etc. …

“@randomBank127” – will assign any Pr.Ch. number from Bank 127

“@randomAllBanks” – will assign any Program Change number from all 128 Banks

“@randomBank000-063” – will assign any Pr.Ch. number from Banks 0-63

“@randomBank064-127” – will assign any Pr.Ch. number from Banks 64-127

“@randomBank000-010” – will assign any Pr.Ch. number from Banks 0-10

“@randomBank010-020” – will assign any Pr.Ch. number from Banks 10-20

“@randomBank020-030” – will assign any Pr.Ch. number from Banks 20-30

“@randomBank030-040” – will assign any Pr.Ch. number from Banks 30-40

“@randomBank040-050” – will assign any Pr.Ch. number from Banks 40-50

“@randomBank050-060” – will assign any Pr.Ch. number from Banks 50-60

“@randomBank060-070” – will assign any Pr.Ch. number from Banks 60-70

“@randomBank070-080” – will assign any Pr.Ch. number from Banks 70-80

“@randomBank080-090” – will assign any Pr.Ch. number from Banks 80-90

“@randomBank090-100” – will assign any Pr.Ch. number from Banks 90-100

“@randomBank100-110” – will assign any Pr.Ch. number from Banks 100-110

“@randomBank110-127” – will assign any Pr.Ch. number from Banks 110-127

By default, Program Change messages are sent on MIDI channel 1 but if you wish, you can change the MIDI channel number.

This will affect all the buttons globally so you can’t send some PrCh on ch. 1 and some on ch.12. If this should be an issue with your workflow just let me know and I will add some more options in the Menu. I have decided not to put them all in the Menu because that would make the list too big to be useful for the majority of users.

To change the MIDI channel used when sending Program Change messages:

  1. set the MIDI VELOCTY slider to the value of “0”
  2. set the CLICK VOL slider to the number of the MIDI channel needed
  3. click/tap on the button and the ProgCh. message will be sent on the MIDI channel specified above

If your CLICK VOL slider is set to value other than 2-16 or the MIDI VELOCITY slider is not at “0”, the ProgCh. messages will be sent on MIDI channel 1.

SHERLOCK/WATSON is, to my knowledge, the only plugin that will allow you to use a slider to write automation and to control parameters using 14-bit resolution.

Usually the sliders we use (hardware or software) are limited to only 128 values. This has to do with the MIDI protocol and the 7-bit depth that was decided on in 1981 at the very beginning of the MIDI standard. Due to the available bandwidth back then the creators of the MIDI protocol decided that 7-bit (values between 0 and 127) will be enough to control various parameters. The only true 14-bit controller available to us was the pitch wheel/pitch bend. This is still what some companies use to control for example volume on their hardware mixers.

In SHERLOCK you can assign any of the 16384 addresses to the Trackslider and use it to control parameters that will benefit from higher resolution like Filter Cutoff, Finetuning, Volume, various modulations etc. This is a per Page assignment so you can store up to 18 different 14-bit addresses in each .vstpreset. In future versions of SHERLOCK there might be a way to store even more addresses per Page.

In CUBASE/NUENDO we can use the Generic Remote panel to decide what 14-bit addresses should control what parameters of what plugins or VST instruments.

The process is quite simple knowing already what addresses we need and what MIDI channels should be use.

In the example below I will control Filter Cutoff, Master Tune and Master Volume of the VST instrument Retrologue. The process is the same for any other VST or plugin.

In the Generic Remote panel, I’ve added 3 new GR commands and for this example I’ve set them to addresses 12222, 13333 and 14444 on MIDI channels 2, 3 and 4.

In SHERLOCK all we need to do is:

  1. enter the Edit Mode by pressing the PLAY MODE button
  2. in the text box type “12222” (without quotes)
  3. set both the CLICK VOL and MIDI VELOCITY to “100”
  4. click/tap on the XTRA button to assign the new 14-bit value to the slider

           You should see the XTRA button display the new value for a brief moment:

  1. set both the CLICK VOL and MIDI VELOCITY to “101”
  2. in the text box type “2” (without quotes)
  3. click/tap on the XTRA button to assign the new MIDI channel to the slider

            You should see the XTRA button display the new MIDI channel number for a brief moment:

  1. save your PAGE so the changes will not disappear next time you select it

You can test if the assignment works by moving the bottom slider. The Filter Cutoff knob on the Retrologue’s GUI should move accordingly.

Repeat the process for all the other values and you are all set!

Now, selecting a proper Page button will turn your Trackslider/Timeslider to Cutoff, Tuning or Volume controller. You can temporarily go back to the defaults by selecting one of the Time Range buttons (to change to Timeslider) or by selecting the Time Range button again (to change back to Trackslider). Selecting a Page will change the slider back to whatever 14-bit value you have saved. To permanently go back to default settings for the slider just select one of the Time Range buttons twice and while the slider is in Trackslider mode, save the Page. You are back to defaults.

In case you want to randomly trigger buttons on your SHERLOCK/WATSON there is a way to do this. I use this function to trigger Program Changes to change my random Zebra patches, to randomly select loops assigned to pads in Groove Agent or to trigger MIDI notes for various bass notes and drones in a random fashion. I am sure users will find even more ways to use this function for their purposes.

  1. make sure Trackslider On/Off button is OFF (red text) to avoid any unwanted track selection
  2. set the Trackslider all the way to the right
  3. set the CLICK VOL to “69” and MIDI VELOCITY to “96”
  4. click/touch the XTRA button

One of the 192/48 buttons will be triggered.

This function makes much more fun when the XTRA button is triggered by an external controller (pedal, switch, keyboard…). I will explain the process of triggering buttons and sliders by external controllers in further part of this manual.

If you prefer to trigger all buttons one after the another for some complex patch changes, playing loops or audio FXs in a set order or anything that might benefit from sequential buttons triggering, this might be the function to use.

The process is exactly same as above with one difference:

set the CLICK VOL to “96” and MIDI VELOCITY to “69”.

The next button to whatever button is selected at the moment will be triggered.

After reaching the last button the first button will be triggered next and so on.

Plugin developers can decide which parameters can be automatable and which don’t.

Thanks to the Generic Remote feature in Cubase/Nuendo we can use any MIDI equipped keyboard, pedal board, mobile app, tablet etc. to control parameters of a plugin or VST instrument.

In case of SHERLOCK/WATSON we can externally control/trigger:

  • all 16 CC# sliders
  • 18 Pages buttons
  • 20 Spot buttons
  • 20 Selection buttons
  • 4 or 8 Macro buttons
  • the XTRA button
  • 192/48 buttons (SHERLOCK/WATSON)

For this to work we need to create a Generic Remote mapping that will ensure the communication between your external controller and Cubase/Nuendo.

In the following example I am using Arturia BeatStep Pro as my external controller connected to my computer via USB cable. The way your external controller is connected with your DAW is not that important (5-pin MIDI cable, USB cable, wireless, Bluetooth…) as long as the controller or the MIDI port your controller is using is showing up in the list of available MIDI devices. In my case I can see “Arturia BeatStep Pro” as one of my choices for MIDI In and MIDI Out.

I need to create a new Generic Remote using the “+” button in my Studio Setup

and select “Arturia BeatStep Pro” as my MIDI In (the MIDI Out setting is not really important in this case since I only need to send data from my controller and not receive it). I should be able to use the “Learn” function to assign my controls at that moment but because of a bug (or should we call it “feature”?) in Cubase/Nuendo I need to “Apply” first, “OK” to close the Studio Setup window and reopen the Studio Setup window again. Now I can tick the “Learn” box and press buttons or knobs on my controller to assign the MIDI coming out of my BeatStep Pro to trigger parameters of SHERLOCK/WATSON. For this example, I want to trigger Pages 1-4 and the XTRA button with 5 buttons on the BeatStep Pro. In my case the buttons send Note On messages (44, 36, 37, 38, 39) on MIDI channel 1. For controlling the CC sliders, you will need to use knobs or faders on your controller.

In the lower part of the window I need to select the plugin I want to control with my 5 buttons (WATSON in this case) and the plugin parameters I want to control.

The XTRA button is called “deleteLabels” here! (an old name from an older version).

Once my setup is done I can name and export the xml file using Export button. 

“Apply”, “OK” all is done!

Now I can use my BeatStep Pro to select Pages 1-4 and to trigger the XTRA button in WATSON.

There is a way to assign your own Logical Editor and Project Logical Editor presets to the buttons. I have included 256 empty presets for LEs and PLEs. You can find them in the Menu in the “USER MACROS, LEs & PLEs” category. Right now, they do nothing since they are just blank placeholder presets. You need to assign your own user commands to the generic names first. There are two ways to do this:

  1. You can open the Project Logical Editor and navigate to a preset “PLE #001”

         (14bitMIDI>user>PLE #001),

wait until the preset opens and you can see its name in the preset name window (there are hundreds of presets there and it takes quite some time to

open a preset, even an empty one, this doesn’t happen when you use the preset, only during the editing phase).

Now you can fill the empty preset PLE #001 with the steps you need and save the preset:

Since there is already a preset named PLE #001 you need to overwrite it.

Now you can assign the PLE #001 to your button to use it.

Change the generic name PLE #001 on your button to something more descriptive. Keeping a document with all your generic names vs. the more descriptive names for future reference might be a good idea too.

  1. You can also open your existing user preset and resave it giving it the “PLE #001” name. Since a blank preset with this name already exist, you need to overwrite it as shown above. This way you can avoid recreating your user presets again and just duplicate them under new names that SHERLOCK understands and can trigger.

There is no way to duplicate macros in the CUBASE’s macro editor in versions below v.10.5 without going to the xml file and edit them there. There are two ways to assign a user macro to a generic name “Macro #001” – make sure this is the exact name “Macro #001” not “MACRO #001” (capital letters)  or Macro#001 (missing space between “o” and “#”):

  1. Rename your existing macro or macros to one of the 256 generic names “Macro #001” – “Macro #256”
  2. Create an empty, generic macro first and name it “Macro #001” and then add all the commands you need for that particular macro.

For Cubase 10.5 users the operation might be easier since we finally have the “Duplicate” function in the macro editor. Just duplicate the macro in question and rename it to “Macro #001”  – “Macro #256”

Once a “Macro #001” exists it can be assigned to a button by selecting it from the Menu category “USER MACROS, LEs & PLEs”.

Rename the generic button name to something more descriptive and keep a text file with all your macros names for future reference (trust me, you will need it sooner or later)!

In case you need more than 256 user macros, please let me know and I will add more but I think this should be plenty macros for even the craziest Macro-Power-Users.

The XY-Pads can be shown by double-clicking on the Trackslider while the MIDI VOLUME is set to “127” or both, MIDI VOLUME and CLICK VOL are set to “127” (SHERLOCK only).

A pad uses the horizontal X-axis and the vertical Y-axis to control two CCs at once.

In SHERLOCK/WATSON the 4 pads mirror the controls of the first 8 CC sliders.

Pad 1 controls CCs from sliders 1 & 2, pad 2 CCs from sliders 3 & 4, pad 3 CCs from sliders 5 & 6 and pad 4 CCs from sliders 7 & 8. You can see the exact assignments in the square text boxes on each pad. Underneath each pad you can see two text boxes with the default text “-x-x-x-x-x-“. Double-clicking on the text will allow you to edit it.

The text will be saved together with the Page. You can use it to describe the parameters the pad is controlling. Since there is not enough space on the sliders to add editable text boxes there, at least pads have the text boxes that can be renamed and recalled for each Page. The text can also be colored.

To change the color of the first text box:

  1. enter the Edit Mode by pressing the PLAY MODE button
  2. in the text box type “@xy1” (without quotes)
  3. move the Colorslider to select a color
  4. save the Page

For the other text boxes use the command “@xy2”“@xy8”.

To change the color of all of them at once use “@xyAll”.

To make changes to the MIDI channels, CC numbers etc. go to the sliders view and make your changes there, they will be mirrored in the pad view next time you see the pads. Remember to save the Page so the changes will stick. The one issue I am still working on is the lack of feedback on the XY-Pads meaning, that when the CC values are changing (while reading the recorded automation for example) the “dot” on the pad and the values displayed in the text boxes are not updated/not changing. This is due to the fact that for now the XY-Pads are only able to send data but are not receiving it hence the lack of visual feedback. This will hopefully change in the future – it’s on my TO DO list.

By default, each button is set to be active for 50 milliseconds when pressed. This is enough time to send all the MIDI data needed for the DAW to respond with an action but not too fast to drop or miss some part of the data during the send process.

When multiple buttons are triggered in succession when one of the little Macro buttons are triggered

 there is also a default “pause/wait” time before the next button sends data and it is also 50ms meaning each button will be triggered every 50ms.

There are rare cases when we would like to change those values. For example, when we assign MIDI Note On/Off massages to buttons and use them to trigger sounds or to record melodies “MPC-style”. The default 50ms might be too short and we may want longer Note On times before the Note Off massage stops the note from sounding (there is always a Note Off massage following each Note On massage to avoid hanging and stuck notes).

The changes are global for all buttons and can be stored to a Page. They can’t be copied from Page to a Page so if you need different lengths on different Pages you need to set them on every Page and save them to that particular Page.

  1. enter the Edit Mode by pressing the PLAY MODE button
  2. set both, CLICK VOL and MIDI VELOCITY sliders to “66
  3. type the time in milliseconds to the text box (“1000” in this example)
  4. click/tap on the XTRA button

           For a brief moment you should see the changed XTRA button:

  1. save the Page if these changes should be recalled next time you select that Page

Now every button will send its data for exactly 1 second (length of 1000ms) every 50ms (wait time before the next button will be triggered). If you assign a Note On/Off to a button the Note On massage will be sent for 1 second followed by Note Off massage. You can see it from another angle, if your session tempo is set to 120BPM, note length of 1 second will be exactly a half note.

You can take this approach even further and set each button to send data for let’s say 30 seconds and use the buttons to trigger 30 seconds long drones or loops. There is no set limit for how long a button can send data so (at least in theory) you could send Note On massages for X minutes. There is a drawback to this function – when the long note is triggered your DAW might feel unresponsive until the massage is sent, playhead might appear to be frozen etc.

This is an experimental feature so please use it with caution and be aware of the issues this might cause.

To change the “pause/wait” time please use the above steps but set the CLICK VOL and MIDI VELOCITY sliders to “77” instead.

After activating the XTRA button you should see the changed text for a brief moment:

2000ms wait time means that if buttons are triggered one after the other the

second/next button will be activated exactly 2 seconds (2000ms) after the start of the first/previous button.

If the “length” is set to 1000ms, “wait time” to 2000ms and we are using the Macro 1 button to trigger all 12 buttons of the 1st row following will happen:

the first button (1.1) will be triggered for 1 second and after this first second (“length” = 1000ms) passes there will be 1 second pause after that. Before the next button (1.2) will be activated 2 seconds need to pass. The whole sequence will take 24 seconds to execute: 12 buttons active for 2 seconds each. If the “wait” time is set to a value that is smaller than the “length” time, the next button will be triggered right after the previous one finished sending. After some trial and error, you will understand this concept.

This is one of those ideas that are much harder to explain “on paper” then they really are in practice. If you don’t feel like messing around with these values, that is totally fine with me, leave it to the default 50ms.

Depending on the brand of your touchscreen and the provided drivers you might noticed that the mouse cursor jumps to the point of the touch. For example, when you click with your mouse on a track to select it and then you tap on your touchscreen to trigger some action the cursor might jump to that tap/touch point. This is usually how touchscreens work on the MacOS system since the touches are just an emulation of mouse clicks. There are special drivers available from companies like Touch-Base that might help in such cases (a function called “anchor cursor” that prevents the cursor from jumping to the touch point), they are pricey though and not every touch screen model is supported. The good news is Touch-Base provides free demo drivers that are restricted to 100 touches so you may try them first and see how they work with your particular hardware.

https://www.touch-base.com/drivers

Windows users have more luck since there is a little application called Panda that does exactly that – prevents cursor from jumping to the touch point. The developer of Panda is still working on fixing minor issues with some laptop’s brands and their mouse pads but after testing done on many desktop machines I can only highly recommend this product as a companion to SHERLOCK/WATSON.

There is special Panda pricing available for all 14bitMIDI users!

If you want to purchase Panda license for only 5,- Euro, please contact me directly via email: info(at)14bitMIDI.com.

For more information about Panda, the registration process or if you want to ask any questions regarding this product, please visit the developer’s website:

https://hi.computer/panda/

Instead of using SHERLOCK/WATSON on the same machine as your DAW there is a way to use the plugin over a network (wired or wireless).

This might be the case when users want to connect a MacOS machine with Windows machine that is connected to the touch screen. Since Apple is not interested in releasing proper drivers for 3rd party touch screens some users have decided to use a small Windows computer just as a hub for a multi-touch monitor. To establish a bidirectional MIDI communication between both machines, BOME NETWORK PRO comes in handy. Developed by BOME Software this is a great solution not only for cases like this but also many other situations where a MIDI connection between computers over network is needed. For more information about the software, please visit:

https://www.bome.com/shop/bomenetpro

There is a special 50%-off price for the BOME NET PRO license available for all 14bitMIDI users!

Please contact me directly via email: info(at)14bitMIDI.com for more details on how to purchase the license and how to set up the network for work with SHERLOCK/WATSON.

This User Manual should help You to familiarize yourself with the plugin, with the terminology used and the logic behind this product. If you have any questions, find errors or have any suggestions, feel free to contact me, my email address is at the end of this document.

I kindly suggest going through this document starting at the beginning.

For the in-depth installation guidelines please refer to the “INSTALLATION” PDF document that is available separately in the downloaded folder and will guide you through the entire task depending on the operating system you currently use. 

The main purpose of MORPHEUS is to execute a morph between a given minimum and maximum values of all 8 (or less) sliders in one go.

Originally MORPHEUS was created to be used with Track Quick Controls and VST Quick Controls in CUBASE and NUENDO but because sliders in MORPHEUS sends out MIDI Continuous Controllers (CCs) they can also be used to control parameters in virtual instruments, mixers, even light or servo motors.

We can store our minimum and maximum settings locally as 8 snapshots or globally as a .vstpreset

  • You can use one master slider to control the behavior of 8 CC sliders at once
  • You can save your 8 sliders and 8 internal presets assignments to a .vstpreset and recall it anytime from your DAW like you do with any other VST presets
  • You can use decide what is the minimum and the maximum value of any of the available sliders to gradually morph between them
  • You can use randomization buttons for just one slider or for all sliders at once
  • You can set what CC# and on what MIDI channel sliders are sending
  • You can set the plugin so that it changes sliders values automatically each time there is incoming MIDI data recognized  (Midi ON massages)
  • You can use the Edit Mode to set the Randomization timing in milliseconds
  • You can assign a CC# to the Master slider and to the Moon slider
  • You can mute single sliders when they shouldn’t send data
  • You can’t change the size of the MORPHEUS window or scale it up or down in any way. The buttons dimensions, font sizes and the general GUI layout were created for easy readability so screens of the size of at least 21” are recommended. On monitors smaller than 21” the text might appear small and hard to read.
  • You can’t change the amount, size and placement of buttons. Allowing the users to freely change the buttons size and placement would lead to more lines of code, much more complicated editing and presets saving process and, in my opinion, would negatively influence the ease of use for all the non-programmers out there.
  • You can’t change the black background color of MORPHEUS. This is by design. Early touch screens got pretty warm after some time on spots where the color to display for a longer period of time wasn’t 100% black. Since MORPHEUS was always meant to be displayed on a dedicated touch screen this was an issue. Our initial tests have shown that any other background color than 100% black would lead to emitting a lot of heat and could even shorten the life span of a dedicated touch screen. Since the technology gets better every day maybe the heat and energy consumption aren’t so much of an issue anymore with current touch screens.
  • You can’t change the assignments for the A, B and C buttons. These are predefined and send NoteOff massages on channel 16. The A-B-C buttons on MORPHEUS 1 sends Notes 122, 123 and 124 (D9, Eb9 and E9), on MORPHEUS 2 – 125, 126 and 127 (F9, F#9 and G9)
  • At this moment you can’t send any data other than CCs.

MORPHEUS 1 in Play mode:

MORPHEUS 1 in Edit mode:

MORPHEUS 2 in Play mode:

MORPHEUS 2 in Edit mode:

The only difference between MORPHEUS 1 and 2 is the initial sliders setup (can be changed if needed) and what buttons A, B and C are sending (see above “What you can’t do with MORPHEUS?” section)

___________________________________

The main part of the GUI consists of 8 sliders that can be moved either by touching them, clicking on them or by moving the Master slider:

The purpose of the two Master sliders is to execute the morph from the given minimum to the given maximum value of the 8 sliders.  The left slider and the right slider do the exact same thing and mirror the behavior. Sometimes it is just more practical to use left hand to do the morph while the right-hand plays on a keyboard, sometimes the opposite.

By going to the Edit mode, we can set what CC# on what MIDI channel will be sent:

The minimum value of the Master slider will always be “0” and the maximum value “127”. What are the min and max values of the 8 sliders will be determined by the “SNAPSHOT MIN” and “SNAPSHOT MAX” buttons:

Set your desired minimum values and press/touch the “SNAPSHOT MIN” button. After setting the desired maximum values use the “SNAPSHOT MAX” button. Save the current setting to one of 8 available SNAPSHOTS by using one of the “SET” 1-8 buttons. Select the saved snapshot number. Now you can use the Master slider to morph between saved values. That’s how easy it is:

With the “MIN”, “MID” and “MAX” buttons you can quickly jump between the 0%-50%-100% values of the active snapshot:

If you like surprises, you should try the “RANDOMIZE SINGLE” and “RANDOMIZE ALL” buttons. As the name says the value of either a single (and random) slider will be randomized or the values of all 8 of them. This is a great tool for finding new sounds, patches and settings very quickly:

If you wish to randomize the value of a particular slider without the risk of randomizing anything else that might be on its sweet spot use one of the “RDM” 1-8 buttons:

By activating the “LOCK” 1-8 buttons you can select particular sliders, so they won’t get randomized:

Underneath each slider you can see a little “ON/OFF” button. With this button you can switch the outgoing CC massages for each slider On or Off. This is very helpful when you want to use MORPHEUS but quickly need to test how things sound when a particular parameter is not changing without the need to store a new snapshot for that. Since the Master slider is also sending its own CC# while being moved, that function can be disabled this way.

As I’ve already mentioned earlier the “A”, “B” and “C” buttons are pre-programmed to send NoteOff massages 122, 123 and 124 (D9, Eb9 and E9) and can be used to trigger some actions inside your DAW. In the example below I am using button “A” to load the previous patch, button “B” to open the patch selection window and the button “C” to load the next patch. The VST instrument that I am using MORPHEUS to control here is PASDHOP 2 from Steinberg®

MORPHEUS comes with 8 default snapshots but of course you can overwrite them using dedicated “SET” buttons. Remember to save your changes as a new .vstpreset or as a Default.vstpreset if you would like to always start with your own snapshots already loaded.

The so-called Moon slider is also sending CC data when manually moved from left to right. The actual value can be seen on the number display above the slider. Depending on the actual setting it is also used to set the randomization percentage.

There are 4 buttons that will create random values in a special way. Let’s explore them some more.

The way buttons “RND.1” and “RND.2” work depend on the settings made with the Moon slider and this button:

The “RND.3” and “RND.4” are not influenced by the above combination and uses their own settings.

All four “RND” buttons reacts to the “RND speed (ms)”settings made in the Edit mode:

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So, what do they do?

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“RND.1”

– triggers the “RANDOMIZE SINGLE” button in timing intervals set with the “RND speed (ms)” and with the randomization range from “100%” to whatever percentage is set with the Moon slider or can be turned Off completely:

“RND.2”

– triggers the “RANDOMIZE ALL” button:

“RND.3”

– randomizes all 8 sliders by values -2, -1, 0, +1, +2 in timing intervals set with “RND speed (ms)”. Used for more subtle variations. Acts almost like “RND.2” button set to 1% randomization:

“RND.4”

– randomizes the Master slider values so whatever snapshot is selected at the moment random values within that snapshots range will be produced. The Master slider value will change in steps of -2, -1, 0, +1 or +2. The percentage setting is not considered here but the timing is:

There is only one more button to discuss:

MORPHEUS can react to incoming MIDI Note On massages.

When this button is in the “IN OFF” state MORPHEUS simply ignores the incoming MIDI data and nothing special happens. When it is in the “IN RND.1” state each time there is incoming Note On data recognized on the MORPHEUS input port it triggers the “RND.1” buttons algorithm. The only difference to pressing the “RND.1” button is that the changes happens not in given time intervals but are triggered each time there is Note On massage recognized on the input port. Everything else behaves the same – single sliders will be randomized by the randomization percentage selected with the button (100% or OFF) or by the Moon slider.

Similar when the “IN RND.2” is selected all the sliders will be randomized when there is an incoming signal detected.

The “IN RND.4” selection triggers the randomization of the Master slider in the same fashion “RND.4” button does.

Below I am showing this in action:

  • I have an empty MIDI track with the monitor function switched on. My MIDI keyboard is connected to the MIDI In of that track and the MIDI Out sends the incoming MIDI Note On data to the MORPHEUS-1-OUT virtual MIDI port (which is the default MORPHEUS’s MIDI IN port)
  • the second track is the MORPHEUS VST and since MORPHEUS-1-OUT is the MORPHEUS’s MIDI IN port it will “listen” for the incoming data. Once Note On activity has been recognized and one of the IN modes are selected (“IN RND.1, “IN RND.2” or “IN RND.4”) the plugin will react accordingly as described above (or it will do nothing when “IN OFF” is selected).
  • the third track here is PASHOP2 VST that is triggered by the connected MIDI keyboard and some of its parameters are controlled by the MORPHEUS’s changing sliders. Here for this test I am using Track Quick Controls, but this is not always necessary.

Every time I press a key on my MIDI keyboard and a Note On message is sent out it triggers the PADSHOP2 patch AND changes the patch’s settings by randomizing selected parameters values. Hopefully this will give you an idea what is possible with the help of MORPHEUS and the live MIDI IN option. This way you can randomize and morph between values of any plugin parameter that can be controlled by MIDI CCs.

Another creative use for MORPHEUS could be randomizing some values while recording the whole process and then going back to the automation lanes and tweak them some more for best sonic results.

Remember that you can always deselect any snapshot and just use the sliders to send CC data to whatever is connected to MORPHEUS. You have 10 sliders and 3 buttons for your disposal (remember that the “A”, “B”, “C” buttons are assigned to Note Off messages 122, 123, 124 – in MORPHEUS 1 – and 125, 126, 127 – in MORPHEUS2 – and can’t be edited the way the 10 sliders can).

Still, you have a little MIDI controller and since there are actually two of them – even better!

As already mentioned before, MORPHEUS was initially created to control Track Quick Controls and VST Quick Controls in CUBASE and NUENDO. This is why there are two of them. You can still use them both to control the QCs but you can also find another ways to creatively use morphing between parameters and values randomizing. Below a short clip of me using MORPHEUS 1 & 2 to control only volume sliders of few audio loops. No additional editing or processing was used except some reverb controlled by the Moon slider to glue everything together and the ABC buttons to Start/Stop the session and to enable/disable the reverb send. I hope this ad hoc performance will spark some ideas on how to use MORPHEUS.

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“I hope that 14bitMIDI products will improve your workflow immensely. Working with CUBASE® or NUENDO® will be even more intuitive and productive.” – Karol Obara – 14bitMIDI