New Tool (2.8): Pking


(mxb) #1

Overview

pKing is a MPC/groovebox style interface to Renoise for the Korg padKontrol.

Now, I am aware that (unfortunately) the padKontrol is discontinued, but since this tool was originally written for personal use, and it is the controller I own, it’s padKontrol specific. Sorry about that. Note that because it is discontinued, they are fairly inexpensive second hand ;)

The version 2 rewrite has enabled a much more consistent interface and the addition of many more features.

With pKing you can perform many actions directly from the padKontrol hardware, including:

  • Selecting / inserting / cloning / deleting and clearing of tracks / note columns / patterns / instruments / samples
  • Note editing of note and volume / panning / delay columns
  • Inserting / deleting rows
  • Assigning and modifying sample maps
  • Modifying sample parameters (e.g. volume, panning, nna, transpose, fine tune)
  • Tap tempo functionality
  • Basic mixer functionality
  • Pattern track matrix slot mutes
  • Automatic mapping of pads to sample slices
  • Sample slicing
  • Sample autochop

Demonstration Videos

Since words cannot easily explain the workflow with this tool I have created some quick demo videos of version 2 during the alpha and beta testing stages. Apologies for the jerky editing, I had to hold the camera with one hand while using the padKontrol with the other.

Version 2.x alpha quick demo:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=juFmnWZnHcg

Version 2.x Jackson beat demo:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TL4HJ2txUFs

Recreating the “Catacombs” beat:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=extjYnKn5DQ

Download

Download the tool and the extensive manual and quick reference from the pKing tools page.

Acknowledgements

This would not have been possible without the following people:

Click to view contents

This information relates to version 1 which has been superceeded by version 2 on the tools page.

With a (little bit of) fanfare, I present my latest tool: pKing

Introduction

pKing is a MPC/groovebox style interface to Renoise for the Korg padKontrol.

Now, I am aware that (unfortunately) the padKontrol is discontinued, but since this tool was originally written for personal use, and it is the controller I own, it’s padKontrol specific. Sorry about that. Note that because it is discontinued, they are fairly inexpensive second hand ;)

If anyone wishes to take this code and port it for a different controller, feel free to do so.

The pKing tool takes control over all aspects of the padKontrol device and provides dedicated buttons (with led feedback) for various options within Renoise. There are currently two completed operating ‘modes’ - ‘Pattern Edit’ and ‘Song Sequencer / Mixer’. A third mode - Instrument Edit - is currently in progress.

Some of the notable features include:

  • Dedicated buttons for actions with led feedback.
  • Input prompts for parameters with accept and cancel options.
  • Realtime note entry via the pads.
  • Automagic pad mapping to banks of individual slices for sliced samples.
  • Simplified edit position display (bar, beat, subbeat).
  • Simplified record quantize display (in note terms - e.g. 1/4, 1/8, 1/8 triplets etc).

Tutorial / Demonstration Videos

Since words cannot easily explain the workflow with this tool I have created three quick ‘tutorial’ videos for the pKing tool. Apologies for the jerky editing, I had to hold the camera with one hand while using the padKontrol with the other.

Version 2.x alpha quick demo:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=juFmnWZnHcg

Version 2.x Jackson beat demo:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TL4HJ2txUFs

Pattern Edit Mode (version 1.x):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FSnLm0_41O0

Song Sequencer / Mixer Mode (version 1.x):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pPmA9-D_ejw

Instrument Editor Mode (work in progress, version 1.x):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c0jLeN-Z5aU

Step Sequencer Mode (new for 0.6, version 1.x):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SW7FEMTq0W4

Installation / Setup

Once installed, you will need to modify both the Renoise midi inputs and set up the pKing preferences as follows:

The padKontrol has three midi input ports and two output ports.

By default, the midi is transmitted on input port #2. When pKing starts, it remaps midi input to the port #3. Thus, you will need to modify Renoise’s midi input settings.

pKing uses the second port as the control port. Thus, in the pKing preferences, you need to select padKontrol port #2 for both input and output ports. Additionally, in the pKing preferences you can toggle the illuminating of pads during note entry.

The pKing preferences, start and stop commands are in the Tools -> pKing menu.

On Windows the settings should be as follows:

  • Renoise midi input from padKontrol (non pKing): padKontrol PORT A
  • Renoise midi input from padKontrol (with pKing): padKontrol PORT B
  • pKing control midi input port: padKontrol PORT A
  • pKing control midi output port: padKontrol CTRL PORT

On Linux, the ports are simply names #1 to #3 so the settings should be as follows:

  • Renoise midi input from padKontrol (non pKing): padKontrol MIDI 2
  • Renoise midi input from padKontrol (with pKing): padKontrol MIDI 3
  • pKing control midi input port: padKontrol MIDI 2
  • pKing control midi output port: padKontrol MIDI 2

I do not know what the ports are called on Mac OSX, so if someone could provide this information, that would be very helpful.

Downloads

Download version 0.5 beta and quick reference from this post. pKing 2 has been released - download the tool and manual from the tools page.

Further Developments

As mentioned previously, the instrument editor mode is fairly sparse at the moment. Any suggestions for this mode or any other suggestions would be much appreciated. However, since the videos were recorded, sample recorder dialog visibility, sample record start/stop and sample record cancel have been added to the instrument editor mode.

Possible future features:

  • Slicing of samples
  • Sample editing (crop, convert, etc.) - this would pend API access to these functions
  • Track DSP editing
  • Instrument envelope editing
  • Musical key based pad mapping (select a root note and a scale)
  • Step sequencer edit mode - done

Changelog

0.6

  • Gracefully handle song closing and opening
  • Step sequencer edit option added to Pattern Edit mode

0.51

  • LCD displays note names rather than midi note numbers during sample mapping prompts
  • Gracefully handle missing midi ports on startup
  • Made live input more responsive by optimised the edit position LCD updates when recording live (updates on change of beat rather than per line when recording and play line follow is enabled)
  • Fixed a bug of continuously sending pad led data in song sequencer / mixer mode - this has the unfortunate affect of not picking up pattern matrix pattern track mute changes from other sources - I’m looking into a fix
  • Fixed an off by one bug when removing patterns from the pattern sequence in song sequencer / mix mode

0.5 - First public beta

Many thanks to Jenoki for testing alpha versions of this tool on Windows.

Enjoy!


Song Mode - Like in MPC
(phuture) #2

impressed! :]

dont have a controller myself right now, but im very interested in groovebox workflow like that you got going here. perhaps it time to get the a pk once again :P


(Djeroek) #3

I now need to buy my mates padkontrol :yeah:


(mxb) #4

Updated version in the first post, see changelog section for details.

Enjoy!


(Cas) #5

infinite knobs rule

by the way mxb: I’m inspired to post my controller code too, so, please don’t get mad ;) when a post much like this appears
I also like to know how you made the .pdf, thumbs up


(mxb) #6

Yet another new version this morning! Version 0.6 is in the first thread post.

This version fixes some issues with loading/closing of songs, and adds a step sequencer pattern edit mode.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SW7FEMTq0W4

Inspiring people is excellent! I won’t get mad if you post your tool.

If your tool is for a different controller, then that’s excellent. If it’s for the same controller, then competition drives progress, also excellent! :)

Basically, it’s a win-win situation.

The pdf is made in a presentation tool (Powerpoint, OpenOffice etc.). I set the image of the controller as the slide background, and drew shapes with text over the top. Then export as pdf.

Hope this helps and look forward to seeing your code soon.


(danoise) #7

Congrats mxb, you’re on CDM - again :slight_smile:


(Jenoki) #8

Some issues I have in pking 0.6. I’m using Windows 7 64bit and Renoise 2.8.1

In pking’s Step Sequencer Mode, the pads will not let you enter or disable notes. Sysex works (only to turn off lights on pads from notes which are already directly in renoise entered)


(shawhan) #9

this looks great! can’t wait to try.


(Silicon/Silicium) #10

confirmed here. I cant turn off the light when pressing the pad, but it has no effect in renoise, and it’s lit on again when I switch pages.
Other features seems ok.
I miss an edit step on/off and settings.


(mxb) #11

Ok, I have an idea about what the problem is, I’ll look into it.

It probabaly makes the most sense to make the edit step the same as the record quantize step (dual purpose rotary).


(xero) #12

sup guys. i’ve discovered this tool via createdigitalmusic.com and interested in pairing my old trusty padkontrol with msi wind u135dx netbook. i’ve heard about running renoise on atom netbooks, but have no expirience with trackers - so i’ve got a few questions:

  • is my netbook capable of using renoise demo i’m downloading now with this tool? any good experience with this config?
  • as i mentioned i’m not familiar with trackers but willing to try renoise. how steep the learning curve is? can my madskillz in fl studio help me learning it quick enough to perform on renoise by the next 6 months? :)

thanks :)


(mxb) #13

Hi xero,

Renoise works perfectly fine on a netbook as long as you don’t use too many CPU intensive activities. If you use no/limited VST instruments (render to sample is your friend here) and limit use of ‘heavy’ DSPs such as reverb. Don’t expect Renoise to magically fix your machine if it struggles with plugins in FL Studio. The best thing is just to try the demo and see.

Hint: Most of my tools have been written on and for a netbook ;)

As for learning Renoise/trackers. The best way is to load up the tutorial / demo songs which come with Renoise and examine how they achieve certain sounds/effects. For some people, they pick it up quickly, others take longer.

I’m not sure your experience in FL Studio will assist with navigating Renoise, but the general music knowledge should help. It may assist to think of the Renoise pattern as a large step sequencer to start with (the ‘toggle switches’ in the step sequencer in FL Studio as the individual lines in Renoise).

Hope this helps and if you have any questions either ask in the forum or on IRC.


(mxb) #14

Quick update on this tool: It’s not dead.

I’m finding it fun to use, but the original code is fairly spagetti like, so I’m doing a rewrite with what I’ve learned along the way and also fixing bugs as I go (e.g. pads work fully on Windows now).

Once it’s at approximately equivalent feature level, I’ll post a beta.


(Tekknovator) #15

Great to hear that! Just joined the forum to let you know how much I enjoy playing with this and making beats right now!!!

Oh and btw:
the midi port names on a mac:

padKONTROL (MIDI IN)
padKONTROL (PORT A)
padKONTROL (PORT B)

padKONTROL (MIDI OUT)
padKONTROL (CTRL)


(mxb) #16

After a number of days coding, pKing2 (the rewrite of 0.6) is at least partially usable.

Here is a quick Saturday night demo video of it as it currently stands:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=juFmnWZnHcg

Features used in order of the video:

  • Set pattern length (16 beats)
  • Transport controls (start/stop)
  • Toggle metronome
  • Toggle edit mode
  • Adding notes
  • Clearing tracks in the pattern
  • Moving the edit cursor and adding notes in step time
  • Selecting tracks
  • Setting record quantize step
  • Live record overdub
  • Song/Mixer mode
  • Setting track volumes
  • (back to Pattern edit mode)
  • Selecting instruments

I’m still adding modes and the features contained within, but I thought you’d like a quick progress update. :)


(mxb) #17

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TL4HJ2txUFs

Version 2 coming soon once there’s been a bit more testing and I’ve done a manual.

Many new features and more operating modes for your enjoyment!


(sevenscientist) #18

Mr mxb , I was just browsing the wonderful web when I stumbled upon your article in CDM … well I watched the vid in about 2 minutes jumped on a webstore and purchased a padkontrol HA! love your work feel free to rip any of the code from the MPD tool for tap tempo and slice…


(Silicon/Silicium) #19

really seems promising! the first version really make me rediscover renoise.


(fladd) #20

This looks awesome! I might get a PadKontrol to try it out.
Quick question: In Instrument Edit Mode, can you also set the attack and release of a sample? And can you layer them in any way (either by resampling or by assigning one pad to different notes/samples)?