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Thread: Pangolin users - APC 40 controller on sale!

  1. #1
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    Default Pangolin users - APC 40 controller on sale! (and info about use with other software)

    For any of you Pangolin (especially Beyond) users that might be on the fence about adding an Akai APC 40 controller to your gear mix -

    Sweetwater has them on sale this weekend for $199 !!

    http://www.sweetwater.com/feature/la...laborday2014-1



    Update -
    Here's a link to the post below discussing the use of the APC 40 with software other than Pangolin Beyond:

    http://www.photonlexicon.com/forums/...024#post299024
    Last edited by Stuka; 08-27-2014 at 15:23.
    RR

    Metrologic HeNe 3.3mw Modulated laser, 2 Radio Shack motors, and a broken mirror.
    1979.
    Sweet.....

  2. #2
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    Wow, that's super tempting, thanks for the heads-up!

    Does the Pangolin gear (and LSX, I think they both have MIDI input capabilities) work best with a particular MIDI interface, or are they all more or less the same? I'd need to pick up a MIDI interface too.

  3. #3
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    The APC40 is USB and uses Midi over USB to talk to Pangolin (It's got a proper name, but I don't remember what it is) so you won't need a MIDI interface just for the APC...
    If in doubt... Give it a clout?

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    Quote Originally Posted by WookieBoy View Post
    The APC40 is USB and uses Midi over USB to talk to Pangolin (It's got a proper name, but I don't remember what it is) so you won't need a MIDI interface just for the APC...
    +1

    Also, keep in mind (as I found out just before picking up mine at SELEM) that while many of the Akai USB controllers are programmable on the controller side, the APC 40 is basically "hard-coded" on all it's controls.
    No editor, but a MIDI control map is available from the Akai website.
    So, any customizing would need to take place inside of the software application that you would be using with the APC 40.

    Pangolin has developed a free downloadable Beyond template that takes care of all the MIDI control assignments inside of Beyond, along with a Beyond-specific skin that can be purchased from them.
    Also, while it seems to be quite sturdy, there are a LOT of knobs and sliders on the APC, so if you plan to transport it a lot, you might want to think about some sort of padded carrying case for it.

    I had the chance to tinker with Adam's APC at "Club SELEM" -
    VERY cool & intuitive controller options when using it!!
    RR

    Metrologic HeNe 3.3mw Modulated laser, 2 Radio Shack motors, and a broken mirror.
    1979.
    Sweet.....

  5. #5
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    I also spent some quality time playing with the APC 40 at "Club SELEM" and thoroughly enjoyed it. After watching the QuickShow tutorial videos on YouTube, I now feel like I would be able to produce much more interesting results teaming with the DJ now that I know what all of the options and controls do!

    Is the Beyond template modifiable to allow control of the Beyond abstract generators with the APC 40? Or, can the inputs be re-mapped with Pangoscript?

    Has anyone hooked up an APC 40 to LSX? It would be great if the same board could be used to drive both programs, depending on your mood.

  6. #6
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    The template can definitely be modified from within Beyond if needed.
    And actually, I believe the template is already included with the most recent Beyond releases, and pretty much has it's own support thread on the Pangolin forums.

    The APC 40 could be used with any software that allows assignable MIDI control inputs ~
    So, it should work fine with LSX, QuickShow, LivePro, many dedicated DMX-controller packages, and just about any software out there that uses assignable MIDI input.
    (Of course, it's custom-made to work with Ableton Live, but I can foresee some custom mappings for my Cakewalk Sonar DAW rig in the near future...)

    Cool stuff!!

    PS -

    On the subject of MIDI interfaces (again, NOT needed for the APC 40) ~
    If you happen to be a user of music apps on iPad / iPhone as well as computer, you might want to take a look at some of the "iConnect" MIDI interfaces.
    They're made to provide standard MIDI DIN I/O connections on iOS devices and PC / Mac via USB.
    Work great!

    Randy
    Last edited by Stuka; 08-27-2014 at 10:17.
    RR

    Metrologic HeNe 3.3mw Modulated laser, 2 Radio Shack motors, and a broken mirror.
    1979.
    Sweet.....

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    Quote Originally Posted by tribble View Post
    ... QuickShow ...
    I thought Quickshow won't work with the APC40, because Quickshow doesn't have a MIDI remapping tool? I could be wrong and it could be Quickshow only works with the APC40 but won't work with anything else. Just thought I'd warn for this as the title says Pangolin users, but it's only useable in Beyond.

    Quote Originally Posted by tribble View Post
    Has anyone hooked up an APC 40 to LSX? It would be great if the same board could be used to drive both programs, depending on your mood.
    I don't think anyone has but LSX is fully MIDI configurable. It has an automap feature so you can select a midi command (like midi key which selects a live cue, or the masterbeam control sliders) and hit a button/slider on the MIDI controller and it connects the incoming message to the command you selected. Takes a couple minutes to set it up but you can save MIDI profiles so you only need to do it once.

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    Hmm, I'll have to check my QuickShow install this evening after work to verify.

    I know there "is" a workaround -
    BOME MIDI translator, which (I believe) is still available as a free utility.
    It can translate any MIDI command to another MIDI -or non-MIDI - command.

    I've used it to control laser software via MIDI (from an old iPhone) that wasn't MIDI-enabled to begin with...

    UPDATE -


    Okay, so here's the deal with QuickShow and LivePro (and possibly other similar software):

    The APC 40 is definitely usable with these two applications, but it will take some initial work with the setup.
    The "weak link" in the equation, if there is one, is the unusual way the APC 40 is hard-wired.

    The biggest hurdle seems to be the way the APC is hard-coded on the clip launch matrix & associated controls.
    Each column - from the top clip launch button down to the slider at the bottom of the column - is hard-coded to a particular channel
    (Columns 1-8 send MIDI messages on Channels 1-8, respectively).

    Horizontally, each row of buttons & sliders is actually sending the same MIDI note or controller message, just on different channels.
    VERY unusual coding, and evidently very specific to the layout of Ableton Live.

    Most of the live controls can be mapped to individual APC encoders without any issue, but by default, the cue grid in the Pangolin software is designed to accept consecutive MIDI note messages - pretty smart, since that makes just about any conventional MIDI controller (other than the APC 40) VERY easy to use with the software. You can set the starting MIDI note, map pages to MIDI channels, and do all kinds of cool things with FX channels and live controls, but moving through the cue grid requires the use of consecutive MIDI note messages, which is EXTREMELY limited on the APC 40.

    (I'd be willing to bet other laser control software would run into similar issues...)

    SO, to get the APC clip launch grid (and associated controls) to work with the cue grid in QuickShow and LivePro, you would need to use a MIDI mapper (BOME MIDI Translator, MIDI-Ox, etc.) in the loop between the APC and the Pangolin app. It would definitely take a bit of effort up front - definitely not "plug and play" - but it is certainly "doable", and once setup, the mapping could be saved for easy recall.

    Thanks to the VERY extensive programmability in Beyond, Pangolin has taken the work out of that for Beyond users by incorporating a template that handles all the mapping chores behind the scenes. It's also worth noting that the Beyond template enables the bidirectional LED status communication between Beyond and the APC 40, while other apps that aren't made specifically made to work with the APC probably will not support that feature.

    There's nothing magic about the messages the APC 40 is sending -
    it's just good old MIDI, that just happens to be hard-wired in a rather unusual fashion.

    Personally, after seeing first-hand how usable this controller is for a live performance, if I didn't already own Beyond, I would think it would be well worth the effort it would take to setup a MIDI mapping utility app so the APC 40 would work with QuickShow, LivePro, or probably several other laser, lighting and music apps.

    In fact, I can see me revisiting LivePro now that I have the APC, and also using it along with some Enttec DMX software I have
    Last edited by Stuka; 09-09-2014 at 09:37.
    RR

    Metrologic HeNe 3.3mw Modulated laser, 2 Radio Shack motors, and a broken mirror.
    1979.
    Sweet.....

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by colouredmirrorball View Post
    I thought Quickshow won't work with the APC40, because Quickshow doesn't have a MIDI remapping tool?
    No idea. But, it looks like the Quickshow tutorials apply to a reasonable percentage of the Beyond GUI as well, that's all I was saying. So if you're looking for a Beyond tutorial video set, there is a series for the 3D editor, a series for Universe, but for the basic features all I could find was the QS set.


    Quote Originally Posted by colouredmirrorball View Post
    I don't think anyone has but LSX is fully MIDI configurable.
    That, in conjunction with this FAQ entry, sounds very promising!
    http://www.akaipro.com/kb/article/1444#q9

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by colouredmirrorball View Post
    I thought Quickshow won't work with the APC40, because Quickshow doesn't have a MIDI remapping tool? I could be wrong and it could be Quickshow only works with the APC40 but won't work with anything else. Just thought I'd warn for this as the title says Pangolin users, but it's only useable in Beyond.
    Not exactly the case (and notice I did specifically mention Beyond in my original post, even before I added the update).
    Here's the case with QuickShow & LivePro (and probably other similar software):

    http://www.photonlexicon.com/forums/...024#post299024


    Quote Originally Posted by colouredmirrorball View Post
    I don't think anyone has but LSX is fully MIDI configurable. It has an automap feature so you can select a midi command (like midi key which selects a live cue, or the masterbeam control sliders) and hit a button/slider on the MIDI controller and it connects the incoming message to the command you selected. Takes a couple minutes to set it up but you can save MIDI profiles so you only need to do it once.
    Ditto with Beyond, QuickShow, LivePro...
    Last edited by Stuka; 08-27-2014 at 15:27.
    RR

    Metrologic HeNe 3.3mw Modulated laser, 2 Radio Shack motors, and a broken mirror.
    1979.
    Sweet.....

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