Alesis Ion NRPN

Hi, I have an alesis ion, that uses NRPNs for its knobs, such as filter sweep. I am trying to record this as automation in ardour on my midi track. However, this doesn’t work because the knobs aren’t 0-127. So i think it sweeps through multiples of 0-127 to cover the full range?
To solve this problem, i have found this patch for puredata, however I have never used puredta, is anyone able to tell me if this would would be able to be patched into ardour?
If not, is there a way to disable ardour from recording my automation, and use some other mapping to cc values?
I appreciate i have not included much information about the Ion itself, however i’m not exactly sure on the documentation myself.

Please use a MIDI tracer (Ardour has one builtin under Window > MIDI Tracer, or use an external one for your platform) to record some movement from the Ion. From reading the manual, it is far from clear that it sends NRPN’s.

HI paul I found this Sound on Sound article that mentions the NRPNs? To be clear the issue i’m having- ardour seems to be recording the automation as it should. It’s the playback to the ion that’s not functioning - the filter sweep is not smooth - it is stepped. What information should i post from the tracer?

The actual MIDI messages seen by the tracer.

and yes, that SoS article does make it look fairly grim. But lets see the data first …

I’m getting data like this: ( a filter sweep down)

Blockquote
68455954 Controller chn 2 26 13
68455954 Controller chn 2 26 13
68456405 Controller chn 2 63 0e
68456405 Controller chn 2 63 0e
68456457 Controller chn 2 62 00
68456457 Controller chn 2 62 00
68456499 Controller chn 2 06 03
68456499 Controller chn 2 06 03
68456541 Controller chn 2 26 12
68456541 Controller chn 2 26 12
68456980 Controller chn 2 63 0e
68456980 Controller chn 2 63 0e
68457029 Controller chn 2 62 00
68457029 Controller chn 2 62 00
68457070 Controller chn 2 06 03
68457070 Controller chn 2 06 03
68457107 Controller chn 2 26 11
68457107 Controller chn 2 26 11
68457512 Controller chn 2 63 0e
68457512 Controller chn 2 63 0e
68457553 Controller chn 2 62 00
68457553 Controller chn 2 62 00
68457596 Controller chn 2 06 03
68457596 Controller chn 2 06 03
68457638 Controller chn 2 26 10
68457638 Controller chn 2 26 10
68458682 Controller chn 2 63 0e
68458682 Controller chn 2 63 0e
68458725 Controller chn 2 62 00
68458725 Controller chn 2 62 00
68458767 Controller chn 2 06 03
68458767 Controller chn 2 06 03
68458809 Controller chn 2 26 0f
68458809 Controller chn 2 26 0f

Yep, NRPN’s all right.

Sadly, as with the complications described in the SoS article, you can’t bind these to a parameter in Ardour. The knob is actually sending (up to) 2 different messages and Ardour’s binding system for MIDI is strictly one-message <=> one parameter.

There’s a different model that some DAWs might implement, where there’s a sort of “MIDI controller state” representation, and you could connect changes in value of a given controller or NRPN to a parameter. Alas (in this case), Ardour’s generic MIDI support doesn’t work this way.

Yep. As I feared. Do you have any experience with puredata - whether that patch might be able to ‘map’ the knobs to a single value? Otherwise i might try and do as they suggested in the SoS article - a feature of the ion is assigning a CC value to a hardware knob - however i don’t think this works to record into ardour.

If you can change the Ion to just send a single CC message when the knob is turned, it will all just work fine in Ardour.

I can get the ion to respond to a cc in ardour but i dont think this works the other way around. Which is a shame ill have to investigate. If i did this, is there a way to disable some automation channels in ardour so I don’t get the bogus nrpn data?

There’s no way to disable them in the sense of them not existing.

Also, I apologize for mis-reading your initial question. I have been going on about MIDI bindings, when you just want to record.

Recording should just work with no effort from you at all. Ardour will record all the messages send by the Ion, and will play them all back during playback.

What you cannot do (as noted in the SoS article) is to edit the recorded data with anything like what we might call “ease”.

oh okay - maybe my issue is on the ion end then? or maybe usb - midi interface?

What happens when you just record and play it back?

The filter sweep is really stepped - its not smooth at all. It jumps in whole revolutions of the dial which makes me think a midi message isn’t getting through somewhere.Edit: It’s fine going up - very stepped coming down.

Can you use the MIDI tracer on Ardour’s MIDI Control Out port and see if what it is sending looks right?

It looks about right to me, i think it may be an ion issue. Edit: Further reading has taken me here https://forum.ableton.com/viewtopic.php?t=109134 i will try and change my ASIO buffer size.