Trigger Finger/Enigma Tutorial

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b rock
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2005/06/04 21:21:17 (permalink)

Trigger Finger/Enigma Tutorial

Now that it's mandatory of all P5 users to purchase a Trigger Finger [read the Terms of Service Agreement], I thought that I'd better get cracking. There's nothing too sexy here [that'll come in future installments], but the basics need to be addressed with this "easy" editor. Before you get started here, you might want to read about how the writers of the Enigma software documentation decided on its content. Read about it here. OK, enough with the jokes; I need to write this down before I end up confusing myself all over again:

Customizing a User Bank
First, create a New User Bank using either the "plus" icon in the GUI, or in the File menu [Ctrl+N], and name it to something appropriate. Keep the confusion down by de-selecting Show ROM Presets for All Evolution Devices in the Options/Preferences menu. At this point, you should import the settings contained internally in the TF to the Enigma interface, to see what you're dealing with [Download Device to Device Bank, or Receive, depending on where you read about it]. Use this "red icon" Trigger selection as a holding area for transferring to & from the device's internal memory.

Getting Clipped with the Hit List
OK, now what? There's few ways to go with this. The Graphical View seemed to be the way to go, but you can only change one parameter at a time there (in the Control Editor [Ctrl+I]). Use the toggle switch at the bottom-right to switch to the List View. Here you can Shift+click or Ctrl+click several parameters at once, and change them all. If you Ctrl+click & drag a grouped selection, that will replace the destination, rather than swap with it [as with clicking and dragging]. In all cases of drag & drop, you're looking for that "F1-F4 sliders" icon that appears after clicking and holding.

You can also drag a User Bank's preset pad to the same pad in another bank, like your "Trigger" placeholder area, but remember that Pad 14 (for example) will only get dropped into Pad 14 of the destination Bank. For pad 'shifting', use the Copy and Paste functions in the Edit menu. That'll allow you to jump pad numbers from one bank to another.

There's also a handy Describe Clipboard selection to keep you straight on what's exactly in there. This especially comes in handy when you've Copied several individual parameters from the List View for placement elsewhere. The standard Windows shortcuts apply here, but it's worth noting that all of your carefully chosen labels also get copied and pasted. That just adds to the confusion, and requires renaming the pad preset later.

A Trip to the Library
The best-kept secret in the TF is the Library; receiving only a passing mention in the .pdf file. Click on the icon under the "Enigma" title to bring up a floating window that contains most everything that you need. There are collections of MIDI Note numbers and all the standard CC messages with extended parameters of both the MIDI spec, and those specific to the TF [GM; GM2 and Sysex; Trigger Finger Controllers]. There's also Transport controls [MMC], and dozens of parameter collections of very common soft-synths [freebies and commercial].

Although it's in .xml [like the User Banks], I haven't been successful in saving my own libraries yet, but I'm working on it. What a boon to Project5 if we could save & exchange our own synth templates. For now. we'll have to settle for User Bank exchange, which can accomplish the same thing (along with MIDI Remote Control and/or Device Chains).

The Library allows you to drag all of these listed values to your User bank, if only by one parameter at a time. But the advantage is that they're all sitting there for the taking, and you can place one window beside the other for a quick transfer. No more thinking, "Was pitchbend the extended CC# 144, and which one was Note On/Off Toggle"? It's all there in plain English, and the numeric translations are done for you already.

One special note: The TF uses that damnable "down two octaves" MIDI note convention, like one particularly stubborn synth manufacturer. So, if you're looking to add a C5 [as seen by Project5], load a C3 instead. Everything is transposed down 2 octaves. And C0 is represented as C-2, which always ends up looking like C2 to me. Just get it in your head that this is the way it works, and step around that potential stumbling block.

Bring It On Home
This one gets everyone, and it's underdocumented (like almost everything in this tutorial). When you hit the Send Changes in the Device Bank to the Device or Send Current Bank to the Device icons [Update and Send in the .pdf], you'll see the unit flashing "SYS". Immediately hit the Save & Exit button on the TF, followed by the pad number that is the destination. The changes will not be activated until you do so, and fiddling with any other controls before doing so inevitably screws up the process.

At one point, I had a real problem with the Sysex transfer timing out. It seemed that if I placed the unit in USB mode [Peek and Select buttons pressed simultaneously], the transfer would go more smoothly. That didn't make much sense at all, as this action deals with the MIDI Out jack in the back. But, hey: it worked. I ended up uninstalling the Enigma software [yes, you can overwrite the "ROM" presets <g>], and re-installing the software seems to have mitigated that problem.

A Few Notes of Interest
Once you get around these "little" roadblocks, the rest of the procedures should prove to be a little easier. But I have a feeling that this will be a continuing tutorial, as I haven't scratched the surface of the functionality or noted all of the potential pitfalls. This one was just to get your foot in the door ...

Here's a couple of things to look out for, though. When transmitting pitchbend messages via the pad, the range of the message goes from the negative maximum to the positive maximum. Unlike a Pitch Wheel, there is no spring-loaded return to center. So, if your softsynth's upper and lower PB ranges are both set to two semitones, the pressure in a pad will transmit starting from the inactive zero value. It'll go down 2 semitones, at half-pressure it'll cross zero again, and top out at a +2 semitone value. There is a potential for some "stuck" PB messages, especially in conjunction with the Note On/Off Toggle settings.

Those Toggle settings are supposed to alternately send a Note On; then a Note Off message. But the Note Offs don't seem to get received correctly, and you can get a lot of hung notes that way. As a matter of fact, whatever notes drift onward aimlessly becomes stuck on another [KB] controller sharing the same Port/channel. An All Notes Off cures the situation, as well as a double-click on the CPU meter in P5. Use that procedure to unstick PB messages, too. There's some neat things to be done with a Toggle setting like this, but you can approximate many of them using a Sustain footswitch [parallel in software.]

Now that that's out of the way, I can concentrate on the actual cool stuff that you can do with this unit, including controlling three destinations at once with a single pad. Questions/comments/corrections are welcome ...
post edited by b rock - 2005/06/04 21:23:50
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    puffer
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    RE: Trigger Finger/Enigma Tutorial 2005/06/04 23:21:49 (permalink)
    One thing I've found with Enigma, is that you can indeed change several parameters in the graphic view at once with Ctrl-click. Say, if you wanted to change all the Program data on several pads to 145, you can Ctrl-click all the pads you want to change as such and then drag the MIDI control from the library. *But* - it seems a little *too* sticky and if you try and do more than 3 or 4 Enigma goes haywire and starts multiple selecting many parameters until you have to shut it down.

    Does that make sense?

    digitallofi.bandcamp.com
    #2
    b rock
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    RE: Trigger Finger/Enigma Tutorial 2005/06/04 23:43:12 (permalink)
    Enigma goes haywire and starts multiple selecting many parameters until you have to shut it down.
    Yeah, Puff: I should've said "only one parameter with any reliability". What you've described actually works very well with the clipboard functions. At times it seems to go crazy, though; I thought I'd keep that one low profile. If you want everything selected in the Graphic View, you can always use Ctrl+A, or that nifty lasso function that allows you to 'rope' a contiguous section. BTW: How are you liking the TF in general, Puff?
    #3
    techead
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    RE: Trigger Finger/Enigma Tutorial 2005/06/04 23:47:03 (permalink)
    This TF article has been "wikified" and may be found here:

    http://p5.sonarama.com/p5/index.php/Hardware_List

    Tom, thanks for sharing this gem!
    #4
    b rock
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    RE: Trigger Finger/Enigma Tutorial 2005/06/05 00:10:28 (permalink)
    This TF article has been "wikified"
    Thanks for doing the 'dirty' work again for me, Bob. I went to the Wiki today and started perusing the "How To" file. I had intended on posting a Dimension program analysis at the Wiki. But the best of intentions ...

    Here's how it went: I started ripping down a Dimension patch. Then I thought that an added MIDI Control adaptation of Rene's Shifting the Piano would be a nice icing on the Cake. I got bogged down on the MIDI control, which turned into an exploration of an MFX solution. TenCrazy failed me, so I turned to DXi automation patterns. That got me involved in the quirks of the Inspector's clipboard in search of the perfect Retrogrades, and a comparison to 1.5.

    The "icing" turned out to be unexpectedly strange: usable but more 'stepped' than would have liked. So I turned to the multiple message capability of the TF's pads for a possible solution, and got stalled in the mechanics of Enigma. By now, I'm pissed, and I decided to smack down this Enigma; once & for all. And here we are.

    After all of that, I ended up revisiting familiar territory, and just zipped the tutorial off at the forum. It was already the long way home, and here is the path of least resistance. Now where was I at with that patch reverse-engineering ...
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    b rock
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    RE: Trigger Finger/Enigma Tutorial 2005/06/06 19:17:19 (permalink)
    One special note: The TF uses that damnable "down two octaves" MIDI note convention, like one particularly stubborn synth manufacturer. So, if you're looking to add a C5 [as seen by Project5], load a C3 instead. Everything is transposed down 2 octaves. And C0 is represented as C-2, which always ends up looking like C2 to me. Just get it in your head that this is the way it works, and step around that potential stumbling block.
    Another way to step around this situation is to use the Global Transpose in the Trigger Finger to offset the -2 octave convention. I didn't mention this earlier so as not to add to the confusion, but this is just too easy of a workaround to keep quiet.

    In the Control Editor of the Enigma, load any parameter [double-click on anything in the Graphic View] and go to the Extra Variables tab. Here's where you set the parameters that affect the entire current bank in the Trigger Finger. There'a the Global MIDI channel [defaulted to Ch. 10: as if the TF is geared towards drums ... <g>]. You can also set the velocity curve [one of nine response shapes; see the .pdf], the pressure sensitivity [C0-C3 = increased pressure output for less physical pad pressure], and the velocity mode. This last one determines if you're outputing the usual pad-controlled velocity values [Off], maximum velocity value of 127 [Full], or the per-pad values set in Vel Lock [Lock].

    I haven't worked out the kinks in the last mode, or the fact that you can enable all three at once [that has potential!]. But the last Extra Variable available is Transpose, with a value range of 24 semitones in either direction. If you drop this parameter down to -24 [Save everything regularly!], every note that you drag from the Library will now align with the visual feedback in the Inspector KB's highlighted notes, and audibly as well.

    When you hit the 'negative numbers' [C-2=C0 and C-1=C1], though, you're on your own. <g> If you do choose to take this course, make sure that you make it a habit to always start a new bank with a template that contains the -24 Transpose setting, or this 'fix' will do more harm than good.
    #6
    b rock
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    RE: Trigger Finger/Enigma Tutorial 2005/06/06 22:34:14 (permalink)
    Those Toggle settings are supposed to alternately send a Note On; then a Note Off message. But the Note Offs don't seem to get received correctly, and you can get a lot of hung notes that way.
    By way of an explanation for this: There's a 'problem' in the way that many (including M-Audio) controllers treat MIDI Note messages. It's really a 'difference of opinion' that can lead to problems, and undoubtedly springs from concerns over development costs and ease of implementation.

    As defined by the MIDI spec, a true Note On message consist of the hex numbers 9nH. That indicates a Note On [the nine part], a MIDI transmit channel [[ n+1 equaling the MIDI channel number], and the "H" (sometimes "&H") just stating that it's a hexidecimal number. This is the status byte, and (in this case), it's followed by two data bytes: the first being the actual Note number; the second value for the velocity struck.

    A Note Off command follows the same definition, but with 8nH, followed by the same two types of data bytes. Controllers that follow this specification actually send two different MIDI messages: a Note On when struck, and a Note Off upon release of the key. This can lead to some cool & realistic effects [programming a harpsichord sound to include the quill lightly touching a string on release], and allows you to use the Release Velocity parameter in Dimension's MIDI Matrix, among other things of interest.

    But some manufacturers (and this is acceptable under MIDI convention) use a MIDI Note On [with a velocity value of zero in its last data byte] to substitute for a true Note Off value. All M-Audio controllers that I've tested use this velocity 00 Note 'Off' scheme, including Oxygen8 and the Trigger Finger. And I suspect that Project5 is looking for an actual Note Off message, although M-Audio controllers other than the TF shut notes down correctly, so there must be an allowance in P5 for a "Note On" Note Off command.

    So, for this to all work correctly, any Note On that you press must be followed at some point downstream by either a Note Off, or a Note On with 00 velocity on the same MIDI channel. After studying the stream from the Trigger Finger, I see a lot of Note Ons [with the setting of Note On/Off toggle], but no Note Off of either variety with consecutive taps on the pads.

    You know that I hate to throw out the "B" word without completely testing this "non-behavior", but so far, I can see no Note Off equivalents to shut down a Note On message in the Note On/Off Toggle selection command. So just be aware that these notes will drift on like ghosts, wandering aimlessly throughout eternity without resolution. That is, unless you reset the CPU, send an All Notes Off command [CC#123], or power down your DAW for the evening.
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    ba_midi
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    RE: Trigger Finger/Enigma Tutorial 2005/06/07 00:10:19 (permalink)
    My TF will be here June 9.

    THANKS for all this info sharing, Tom!


    Billy Arnell (ba-midi)

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    DayDrumFour
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    RE: Trigger Finger/Enigma Tutorial 2005/06/07 05:39:48 (permalink)
    Thanks B Rock

    This is more helpful than anything "official" from M-Audio. You should send them an invoice!
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    WhyBe
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    RE: Trigger Finger/Enigma Tutorial 2005/06/07 09:07:52 (permalink)
    You know that I hate to throw out the "B" word without completely testing this "non-behavior", but so far, I can see no Note Off equivalents to shut down a Note On message in the Note On/Off Toggle selection command. So just be aware that these notes will drift on like ghosts, wandering aimlessly throughout eternity without resolution. That is, unless you reset the CPU, send an All Notes Off command [CC#123], or power down your DAW for the evening.


    In Sonar (I'm sure P5 is similar) all MIDI notes are represented by their note on and an accompanying gate time--how long the note is held. So you will never see note off messages per se.

    At this point in MIDI evolution, I would think the all modern software would recognize both types of note offs and implement both correctly.
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    b rock
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    RE: Trigger Finger/Enigma Tutorial 2005/06/07 18:23:44 (permalink)
    all MIDI notes are represented by their note on and an accompanying gate time--how long the note is held. So you will never see note off messages per se.
    You certainly will with a MIDI monitor. I was speaking of the transmission end of a MIDI input device, not the application receiving end. But Note Offs are still utilized heavily in Project5; in MIDI Remote Control, within a pattern, and within a 'live' track.

    The parameter in the TF that I'm referring to is Note On/Off Toggle. This function sends a Note On message with the first tap of a pad. The second press of a pad is supposed to send a Note Off message of the same value and MIDI channel; in effect resolving the first message sent. The function does not perform as described. The notes do in fact remain active in the MIDI stream without resolution, affecting other controllers on the same MIDI channel.

    And to show how this will also affect a pattern recording, try out this little test: Set a Trigger Finger to transmit note values under the Note On/Off Toggle setting. Play three or four pads in succession that would make up a chord or note cluster that you can readily recognize. Listen to the notes drift on, as if accompanied by a sustain pedal [CC#64] message. Then Create a New Pattern, and keep you fingers away from any pads or keyboards. Hit the pattern Record, and that chord or note cluster that you input minutes [or hours] before will suddenly jump out at full velocity volume.

    {Edit: As a matter of fact, the "stuck" notes will show up in blue as 'triggered' Note Ons in the Editor's KB display, but will never be recorded as such from the Trigger Finger. A switch to using those same notes under the regular Note On/Off mode will be recorded, and the recorded notes appear in the pattern as soon as a MIDI Note Off message is received by the Inspector [Editor].}

    The notes that you input from the TF under that Toggle mode don't have a resolving Note Off, and are still hanging on. You can create new pattern after new pattern, anf the same chord cluster results will still be there. They're not recorded, but will pop up every time you hit the Record button. Now (as stated above), if you draw a CC#123 at any value over 63 at the start of the pattern, the "ghost" notes will be eradicated [by an All Notes Off "Panic" message]. The same thing will happen if you double-click the CPU meter, resetting the audio engine (and I assume), also sending out an 'all notes off'.

    So while I'm all for the way things should be, in this case seeing and hearing is believing.

    This is more helpful than anything "official" from M-Audio. You should send them an invoice!
    I need for you guys to chat me up, Dameon. If I get enough invoices fulfilled, maybe I can give up this career path at Mickey D's.
    My TF will be here June 9.
    I knew that it was only a matter of time before you caved, Billy. I'll be landing at JFK around 3:00 PM on the 8th. Let's jam some dueling Trigger Fingers. PSYNtology AT cs DOT com
    post edited by b rock - 2005/06/07 20:16:51
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    ba_midi
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    RE: Trigger Finger/Enigma Tutorial 2005/06/07 23:45:59 (permalink)
    I knew that it was only a matter of time before you caved, Billy. I'll be landing at JFK around 3:00 PM on the 8th. Let's jam some dueling Trigger Fingers. PSYNtology AT cs DOT com


    How long you gonna be in NYC for? We should def try to get together.
    Let me know
    if you email me, I'll give you my #
    ba-midi AT ba-midi dot com

    Billy Arnell (ba-midi)

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    Music gives me life, so I give life Music.
    Thanks for listening - Let's Dance to the rhythm of life! :)
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    trolek
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    RE: Trigger Finger/Enigma Tutorial 2005/06/08 13:23:43 (permalink)
    Thanks Tom!
    I purchased a Trigger Finger a couple of weeks ago to go along with P5V2. I have been having a lot of fun with it but have yet to use the software that came with it. This information will be very heplful. Thanks again!
    -Todd
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    ba_midi
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    RE: Trigger Finger/Enigma Tutorial 2005/06/09 15:46:46 (permalink)
    Just got mine today. Now all I need is some TIME to play with it.


    ORIGINAL: trolek

    Thanks Tom!
    I purchased a Trigger Finger a couple of weeks ago to go along with P5V2. I have been having a lot of fun with it but have yet to use the software that came with it. This information will be very heplful. Thanks again!
    -Todd


    Billy Arnell (ba-midi)

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    Thanks for listening - Let's Dance to the rhythm of life! :)
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    puffer
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    RE: Trigger Finger/Enigma Tutorial 2005/06/10 00:57:32 (permalink)
    I'm finding more and more that the perfect way to use this is a combination of the Enigma software and programming directly. Of course, I don't have any deep understanding of MIDI (more, just enough knowledge to get the job done), so it's gonna be awhile before I venture into that cool territory that b rock hints at.

    Just tonight I discovered that setting the pad sensitivity of 1 was giving my delicate touch too much credit: I have been unable to get a credible drum beat going. 2 seems to be working better. But in terms of setting it up for the Groove Matrix, it's tres cool.

    Enigma is not totally useless. As an editor, once you get the hang of sending banks back and forth between the software and the device it's good for backing up your settings and quickly copying/adjusting properties.

    Still, you can't help but notice that, surely, the irony of the name was lost on the coders.

    digitallofi.bandcamp.com
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    ba_midi
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    RE: Trigger Finger/Enigma Tutorial 2005/06/10 11:03:52 (permalink)
    ORIGINAL: puffer

    I'm finding more and more that the perfect way to use this is a combination of the Enigma software and programming directly. Of course, I don't have any deep understanding of MIDI (more, just enough knowledge to get the job done), so it's gonna be awhile before I venture into that cool territory that b rock hints at.

    Just tonight I discovered that setting the pad sensitivity of 1 was giving my delicate touch too much credit: I have been unable to get a credible drum beat going. 2 seems to be working better. But in terms of setting it up for the Groove Matrix, it's tres cool.

    Enigma is not totally useless. As an editor, once you get the hang of sending banks back and forth between the software and the device it's good for backing up your settings and quickly copying/adjusting properties.

    Still, you can't help but notice that, surely, the irony of the name was lost on the coders.


    I got my TF yesterday, and I agree, I think the best approach so far is a combo of Enigma+direct programming.
    I'm not thrilled with Enigma frankly, nor am I thrilled with the way Sysex is handled.

    If I didn't read Tom's message about having to hit "Save & Exit" immediatley, I would have been pulling my hair out for days.
    ALso - I notice sysex dumps are not immediately reflected in either direction.

    But, I got the device and am off to do a lot of banks for my use, so that's all that matters for the moment I suppose

    Billy Arnell (ba-midi)

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    Music gives me life, so I give life Music.
    Thanks for listening - Let's Dance to the rhythm of life! :)
    #16
    NoelEiffe
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    RE: Trigger Finger/Enigma Tutorial 2005/06/10 13:08:47 (permalink)
    Hey..would it be possible to share these bank exports here or on the Wiki?

    I've spent a load of time with Enigma and my 02 and haven't gotten that far...and just got a TF as well. Configuring controllers is, in my opinion, ridiculously complicated, and so "non-musical" in value.
    post edited by NoelEiffe - 2005/06/10 13:11:52
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    techead
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    RE: Trigger Finger/Enigma Tutorial 2005/06/10 13:23:04 (permalink)
    Mike enabled a file upload feature on the wiki. That might be the ticket.
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    ba_midi
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    RE: Trigger Finger/Enigma Tutorial 2005/06/10 16:54:19 (permalink)
    Just as an aside... I'm NOT thrilled with Enigma as software. I think it could be much more intuitive than it is.

    However, the TF seems to work fine, though it takes some getting used to the 'feel' of the pads (even with various velocity/pressure curve settings).


    Billy Arnell (ba-midi)

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    Rizingstar
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    RE: Trigger Finger/Enigma Tutorial 2005/07/05 00:37:26 (permalink)
    hey, is there anyway to reset the TF completely. It won't send midi data to my computer. Its on but all it says is C-2 and 00 whenever I tap a pad. thanks
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    ba_midi
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    RE: Trigger Finger/Enigma Tutorial 2005/07/05 00:58:33 (permalink)
    ORIGINAL: Rizingstar

    hey, is there anyway to reset the TF completely. It won't send midi data to my computer. Its on but all it says is C-2 and 00 whenever I tap a pad. thanks


    Did you make any changes since you got it? You can use the enigma software to restore the default settings.

    Billy Arnell (ba-midi)

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    Music gives me life, so I give life Music.
    Thanks for listening - Let's Dance to the rhythm of life! :)
    #21
    Rizingstar
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    RE: Trigger Finger/Enigma Tutorial 2005/07/05 03:26:12 (permalink)
    How do you do that?
    #22
    b rock
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    RE: Trigger Finger/Enigma Tutorial 2005/07/05 06:41:41 (permalink)
    There's a couple of possibilities here. C-2 is a very low Note# in the Trigger Finger scheme. Some synths and patches won't respond audibly to a note that low. It's the equivalent of C0 in the Project5 scheme; as low as you can go. As a diagnostic, right-click on any control in P5 and choose MIDI Remote Control. Hit the Learn button, press the pad in question, and see if you get a C0 from the Trigger Finger on it's MIDI channel that's detectable by the MRC. If so, you're all set. The Note# is just too low to be heard in your current Device Chain.

    If you're still getting nothing, go to the Enigma software. You can try dragging a single note from the Library to the pad in question, and send that to the TF. "SYS" will flash. [See the saving procedure detailed above.] This is if you don't want to overwrite your carefully crafted presets. To restore to the factory defaults, look in Enigma for the Trigger Finger Defaults; next to a "blue icon" ball. Send that and save it, and you'll be back to the way that the TF shipped.

    If you have no "blue ball", but a "purple" one (along with the "orange" & "red" ones), you may have overwritten the factory preset .xml. [It is possible.] In that case, lick your wounds and re-install the software. Your home-grown presets will vanish, but you'll be back to square one. HTH
    #23
    Rizingstar
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    RE: Trigger Finger/Enigma Tutorial 2005/07/05 14:30:59 (permalink)
    thanks alot
    #24
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