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Thread: Control Surfaces and Reaper

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    Control Surfaces and Reaper

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    I got an email last night from Sweetwater, containing Mitch Gallagher's demo of the new PreSonus FaderPort. I watched it, and thought it does a lot of useful/cool stuff. I've been thinking for a while that I ought to invest in a small control surface; it seems as though it would make a lot of tasks easier than the basic mouse-screen interface.

    My question is, how well do these things work (or alternately, how hard is it to make them work) with Reaper? I see that the FaderPort has several modes. The first is a native mode to work with Studio One, but it also specs several other DAWs it will work with: "... Logic Pro X, Cubase, Live, and more via Mackie’s Control Universal emulation." Reaper is conspicuously absent.

    And it's not just just PreSonus. I get the impression that most hardware control surfaces will work with a variety of DAWs (maybe some better than others), but nobody ever mentions Reaper in their marketing spiel.

    How much hassle is it to set these little control surfaces up with Reaper, and what's the basic gist of the procedure (Cliff's notes version)? We're at it, I guess the same question applies to the small combination keyboard/drum pad/control surfaces.
    "Daddy grips the wheel and stares alone in to the distance. He knows that something somewhere has to break." - Sting

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    Reaper can do it. It's a matter of assigning whatever midi info the thing sends to whatever actions you want it to control. Doing it by hand can be a chore, but it allows you to customize it to exactly your preferences. But people have already done it for a number of different specific controllers as well as the generic MCU "protocol", and you can download things that "install" pretty easily and more or less just work. I personally don't have enough experience to tell you much more than that. The Reaper forum itself is probably a much better place for good answers to this question.

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    Faderport user feedback

    We had an original single channel Faderport and it was very useful indeed. Used it during tracking as a remote track selector / record button. Used it during mixing to write automation. When we upgraded the studio we bought a Faderport 16 and think it's marvellous. It speeds up level setting and writing automation. Some caveats, though:

    1. Latency means that really finely grained automation still needs to be hand-coded. But anything broader than boosting individual syllables becomes super quick.
    2. The controls don't always work as labelled in Reaper. For instance, the Pan button doesn't change the control surface view to pan, but the Track button does.

    I'm told there's a Reaper customisation script that improves the Faderport 16's integration with Reaper. I should install it at some point and see what it offers. But to date everything we need seems to be there, just not always in the expected place.

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