Helpful ReplyHow to make ACT Learn button work in any Sonar version

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azslow3
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2016/05/19 19:41:29 (permalink)

How to make ACT Learn button work in any Sonar version

ACT Dynamic mapping is a part of Cakewalk ACT (Active Controller Technology) responsible for changing focused plug-in parameters (FX, ProChannel module, software instrument) from external controllers (hardware MIDI surfaces, apps on tablets, etc.).

The major advantages compare to direct MIDI mapping is a possibility to create individual mapping per plug-ins, per controller and extend the number of parameters using software banks (instead of switching the device to send another messages).

Ones configured, that approach is working fine. And ACT Dynamic mapping supposed to be as easy to configure as MIDI mapping:
  • enter learning mode using "ACT Learn" or "AL" button you can see in any plug-in window or Control Bar panel
  • touch plug-in parameter
  • touch hardware control
  • end learning model.
The result is saved in the system, per plug-in, per controller. The mapping is global and it is not project dependent.
 
As with many good ideas, the devil is in details... If you have already tried to use ACT Learn, probably you hit at least one of these problems:
  • The mapping is not persistent. Once you restart Sonar, everything is a mess. It can be you have observed that from the beginning, it can be it become "broken" after a while or does not work just for some plug-ins.
  • You had "good" configuration, but you have changed it by mistake and there is no "undo"
  • You want start mapping "from scratch", but all controls are already assigned to some parameters
  • You want "clean" some controls, may be there are duplicating other, may be you just want a layout with some unassigned controls
  • You want edit the mapping as a text, but the files are not aligned. And even in XML editor you see cryptic IDs instead of plug-in/controller names
  • You want transfer good mapping from one surface to another
  • Learning VST3 parameters does not work at all
All that problems can be solved just with several mouse clicks. For any Sonar version (tested with X2 and 2016)  and for all surfaces with Dynamic Mapping support (ACT MIDI, Generic surface, A-PRO, VS-x00, etc.)

You will need a small program with does the trick, direct download from here: AZ ACT Fix.
No installation is required (put it on your Desktop for easy access), no adds, no dependencies and free to use. As you know, I have to add: provided "as is", without warranty of any kind, use on your own risk.

Important: do not use this utility while Sonar is running. Exit Sonar before running it, exit the tool before starting Sonar again. Following this rule will avoid surprises.

And now, what to do against each mentioned problem:
  • The mapping is not persistent. Exit Sonar, start AZActFix, press "Save and exit" button. "ACT Learn" should work again (backup is saved automatically, on each "Save and exit" button press)
  • You had "good" configuration When you have a "good" configuration, do the sequence (1). That saves a backup. To restore: exit Sonar, start AZActFix, select the backup from top combo-box (with "<Current mapping>"), press "Save and exit" button.
  • You want start mapping "from scratch". Exit Sonar, start AZActFix, select your controller from the long combo-box (f.e. "ACT MIDI", initially "<Generic>" but the choice is saved), select the plug-in(s) (use shift/ctrl to select/deselect several) in the left list, press "Clear" button, press "Save and exit".
  • You want "clean" some controls Exit Sonar, start AZActFix, select your controller from the long combobox (f.e. "ACT MIDI", initially "<Generic>" but the choice is saved), select the plug-in in the left list, select controls you want to clean ((use shift/ctrl to select/deselect several)  press "Clear" button, press "Save and exit".
  • You want edit the mapping as a text. Follow the sequence (1), saved XML files are nicely formatted for editing. "Copy"/"Paste" to itself (see next sequence) in case the plug-in has no "*" prefix for your surface, that will copy generic mapping into surface specific.
  • You want transfer good mapping from one surface to another. Exit Sonar, start AZActFix, select the source surface, select plug-in(s), press "Copy" buttons, select target surface, press "Paste" button, press "Save and exit" button.
  • Learning VST3 parameters does not work This one is a bit tricky, that is more a work around then simple fix. But it works:
    • "Visit" VST3 plug-in in question in Sonar, do not "ACT Learn" yet, just open its GUI
    • Exit Sonar, start AZActFix, select your surface, select VST3 plug-in, press "Clean" button, press "Save and exit" button.
    • Start sonar, do "ACT Learn" for the plug-in as usual, but note the following: do not try to learn "Host bypass", do not assign the first ACT button ("Host bypass" will be assigned to it during fixing), during learning you will not see learned parameters correctly, the mapping will not work till fixing.
    • Do the complete mapping first, "fixing" will work only once, if you want change the mapping after fixing, you need to start from the beginning (cleaning)
    • Exit Sonar, start AZActFix, select surface, select plug-in, press "VST3 fix" button, press "Save and exit"
    • Not always required, but if the sequence does not work ("VST3 fix" button is grayed), select "<All surfaces>", select VST3 plug-in (check it is still selected), press "Forget" button, press "Save and exit". Then start from the beginning ("visit", clean, etc).
I can make a demonstration video if you want. As usual, comments and/or questions are welcome.

Sonar 8LE -> Platinum infinity, REAPER, Windows 10 pro
GA-EP35-DS3L, E7500, 4GB, GTX 1050 Ti, 2x500GB
RME Babyface Pro (M-Audio Audiophile Firewire/410, VS-20), Kawai CN43, TD-11, Roland A500S, Akai MPK Mini, Keystation Pro, etc.
www.azslow.com - Control Surface Integration Platform for SONAR, ReaCWP, AOSC and other accessibility tools
#1
Brando
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Re: How to make ACT Learn button work in any Sonar version 2016/05/19 20:38:14 (permalink)
Alexey - many thanks for your continued generosity on behalf of the SONAR community. Awesome.

Brando
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rabeach
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Re: How to make ACT Learn button work in any Sonar version 2016/05/19 21:07:12 (permalink)
Thanks
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rmfegley
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Re: How to make ACT Learn button work in any Sonar version 2016/05/19 22:13:03 (permalink)
THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!
 
I'd posted about ACT problems a month or so ago and you'd given me some tips using a couple of your other utilities, but I'd never taken the time go through the process you outlined. This new one and your instructions above greatly simplified things and worked perfectly. I tested it by clearing out all the mapping for NI Massive and then reassigned things to my liking and I finally have it set up the way I want. Really can't thank you enough for this. :D

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Anderton
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Re: How to make ACT Learn button work in any Sonar version 2016/05/20 00:06:22 (permalink)
Alexey is effing awesome. 
 
That is all.

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Rob[at]Sound-Rehab
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Re: How to make ACT Learn button work in any Sonar version 2016/05/20 02:17:24 (permalink)
Thanks Alexey,
 
I will definitely give this a try. Been waiting for something like this for ages and my own solutions were always left half-baked ... and Cakewalk no longer cares about ACT
 
BTW, does this also work with FX chains? Because they suffer from similar problems like VST3 ...

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#6
azslow3
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Re: How to make ACT Learn button work in any Sonar version 2016/05/20 03:14:50 (permalink) ☄ Helpfulby Rob[at]Sound-Rehab 2016/05/20 15:46:11
Rob[atSound-Rehab]
... and Cakewalk no longer cares about ACT

Not really  But if/when all that is fixed inside future Sonar, that will not help users of older versions.
 
Rob[atSound-Rehab]
BTW, does this also work with FX chains? Because they suffer from similar problems like VST3 ...

No, FX chains have a different problem. From the mapping perspective, there is no FX chains but only one FX chain plug-in. So when you map one FX chain you effectively re-map all FX chains. That can not be fixed using external utility. That also can not bit fixed inside Sonar, the problem is inside FX chain plug-in itself which should expose as automation all possible parameters instead of currently defined (after checking that does not break existing projects with FX chain automations...). So while the mapping is the same, visual controls of FX chain should be controlled by the same hardware controls, preset independent.

Sonar 8LE -> Platinum infinity, REAPER, Windows 10 pro
GA-EP35-DS3L, E7500, 4GB, GTX 1050 Ti, 2x500GB
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Rob[at]Sound-Rehab
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Re: How to make ACT Learn button work in any Sonar version 2016/05/29 18:25:44 (permalink)
Does the ACT fix from 2016.05 fix what your tool fixes, Alexei ???
 
Sorry for the triple "fix" question, but I haven't had time to take it for a ride yet ... still I'm pleased that Cake hasn't given up on ACT yet.
 
I won't be able to install and test ACT on 2016.05 for another few days, so anyone checking out ACT in the latest version, please share your experiences!

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#8
azslow3
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Re: How to make ACT Learn button work in any Sonar version 2016/05/29 19:48:23 (permalink)
One long standing issue is fixed in 2016.05, but not yet all of them.
"AZ ACT fix" was born as just a fix. But in current incarnation it is solving several problems as well as providing functionality not existing in Sonar so far.

Sonar 8LE -> Platinum infinity, REAPER, Windows 10 pro
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mettelus
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Re: How to make ACT Learn button work in any Sonar version 2016/05/29 21:23:17 (permalink)
Quick post so I don't lose track of this thread. Nothing to see here. Carry on (my wayward son...)

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FCCfirstclass
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Re: How to make ACT Learn button work in any Sonar version 2016/05/30 08:29:03 (permalink)
Much thanks Alexey. 

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And away we go!
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Rob[at]Sound-Rehab
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Re: How to make ACT Learn button work in any Sonar version 2016/10/03 17:52:59 (permalink)
only just got around to give ACTfix a try and it does not work for me.
 
my current (working but not extendable) ACT mapping file throws the immediate warning "current ACT mapping is probably severe corrupted, please restore from backup or delete ..."
 
when I remove the ACT files for a test and start with an empty ACT file I can normally map the ProChannel EQ on the VS-700C ... and also the ProChannel Compressor. Yet the new much smaller ACT file also throws the identical warning and does not allow me to do anything further.

GOOD TUNES LAST FOREVER
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DAW: Platinum/X3e, win10 64 bit, i7-3930K (6x3.2GHz), Asus Sabertooth X79, 32 GB DDR3 1600MHz, ATI HD 5450, 120 GB SSD OCZ Agility3, 2x 1TB WD HDD SATA 600
Audio-Interface: 2x MOTU 1248 AVB, Focusrite OctoPre, (Roland Octa-Capture)   Control-Surface: VS-700C 
VSTi: WAVES, NI K10u, FabFilter, IK, ... (too many really) 
#12
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