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Neyrinck V-control pro part 3

It’s the third article about this controller application, the first was about the installation mainly, the second offered some usage tips, and now in this third one, some more usage tips. These are not complete software tutorials, but rather some random techniques, tips that show some of the methods how I use V-control pro.

Last week I wrote 3 usage tips, so now we continue with the 4th one.

#4 Controlling effect sends

Though I have no problem adjusting some parameters with the mouse/trackball, adjusting send levels with “feel” and precision is much better if we have some faders. Yes, even if those are touch faders and not real ones. As every control surface worth its money, V-control offers the same flip mode as any other product. It took me a few days to really get used to the virtual faders, but now they are as comfortable for me as their physical counterparts. The movements can be subtle or big, depending on your finger movements.

I have a strange habit: sometimes I create a little fx session with 10-15 different effects, and experiment with them, e.g. send the effects through different kinds of reverbs, special plugins, etc. These sounds can be anything from metallic, short, long, deep, high, loud, soft, sloppy, high impact, etc., the point is to hear them through varying types of effects. It’s fascinating to hear how the diverse palette of sounds changes as they driven through the effect plugins. I control the wetness from the iPad, sometimes quickly changing the send or the amount of signal fed into a processor.

The flip fader method is also comes very handy at recording sessions where the talent need something in her/his headphones. Before the session begin, I usually set the mix in the headphones via the V-control. Being there in the vocal booth for example, trying out microphones, adjusting effects and finalizing the cue mix. It’s a different experience than just sitting in the control room and doing this from there.

#5 Surround panner

My new favorite. I always thought that surround panning should be performed with more “personality”. I mean the joystick method is not bad at all, but using your fingers is even more fun, more inspiring. This is why I tried to make the Magic Trackpad work as a surround panner, and it does a great job actually. It’s great, but now we have something even better. Enter the world of full screen surround panning via the iPad.

Choose V-window and from its menu choose surround panner, then tap the little double-arrow to enlarge it. We still have the counter, the transport controls and a few other things, but the main point is the huge green area with the grid. Panning in surround has never been so much fun. With the little arrows you can go through the channels or up and down the sends. You can tap to specific points, or wander around with your finger to pan across the sound field. Very much fun for normal surround panning and also great for automation purposes. It’s almost like a brand new toy for a child!

#6 Monitoring through VCA groups

I almost always use VCA groups in virtually every session. They are good for a number of reasons, but if you won’t use it for anything else but for monitoring, that’s still a valuable thing. In this case I recommend to move all your VCAs to the most left part of your session, so when you launch V-control pro, the first tracks you’ll see are the VCAs. From this point, monitoring the stems and making adjustments to any of your VCA groups is a very easy and efficient task, and the best of all, you have all these things at your fingers all the time. I find this especially useful in fx editing sessions. No big console, no unnecessary clicking around with the trackball, just a few tap on the screen, and I only hear the things I need to hear.

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Neyrinck V-control pro part 2

Last week I wrote about this useful controller app, how to install it, and two basic usage tips for starter. Now I would like to share a few more workflow tips i.e. how I constantly use V-control pro during editing, mixing and recording. I won’t mention all the capabilities of the software as it is very deep and can be adapted to virtually any workflow with little effort.

It is so elegantly fit into any work environment whether you use an Icon, or Artist series controller, or just sitting in an editing suite that has no controller. Even with a big surface at your fingertips, there are multiple use of it.

#1 Foley and Effect recording session

As it is capable of controlling Pro Tools wirelessly, one thing I like to do is record myself performing foley, or controlling some fx recording session. Stand up, leave the control room and get your hands dirty! The only thing I bring is the iPad loaded with the V-control, and the fun begins. I can easily record multiple takes, different things onto different tracks, and even make some layering to get an idea about what to do next.

First I make a session with one stereo cue mix (that’s for me) and a few audio tracks. Start recording and redo it as many times as I want. If I’m not really sure about how to proceed, I usually make a very basic temp mix – via the iPad – so I can easily check out the direction, or what will likely to work. As this is a fantastic instantaneous feedback, I can quickly change anything in order to get a more desirable outcome. At this point, without any plugin in the audio chain.

If creative spark really hits I even do some preliminary automation to inspire myself. These are things that you can easily do with V-control without even touching your machine. One little advice: keep the iPad either behind the microphones or behind yourself so you won’t destroy it. I had a few sessions where I was very lucky that my iPad eventually survived. No matter how versatile the iPad is, it’s definitely doesn’t like moisture  and as it has huge glass screen, any breaking, falling object can destroy it. Don’t forget to save your sessions regularly ( tap save twice on the screen)!

#2 Controlling the stem recorder

It comes handy if you have a separate stem recorder rig, but works even if you record your stems into the session. If it’s a different machine, there is no need to switch the control surface as you have virtually everything at your fingers. Even when sitting in front of a big Icon while mixing, having the iPad to control stem recording is very practical and efficient. You can put it anywhere on the big console as it is big enough to control Pro Tools, but small enough that it won’t cover too many things. Without a push of a button you’ll always have your stems right in front of you.

If it’s the same machine and same session then I usually keep the stem tracks in front of me on the iPad screen and execute record or punch-in from the V-control software. This way I can be anywhere deep in the session tweaking parameters or still do little edits, and when I’m ready a few tap on the iPad takes care of the recording part of the job. This might  be less of an issue with a big controller, but in editing sessions I love this as the only things I have there are the keyboard, the expert mouse and lately the magic trackpad.

#3 Automation window

With the new V-window feature we can easily keep any Pro Tools (or other) little window in front of us on the iPad’s screen. One thing that I found extremely useful is to keep the automation window open all the time while I’m mixing.

I’m a huge fan of automation. Any kind of it from volume to different little plugins’ parameter. So, while mixing and doing automation passes, all the the useful buttons are there for you. Need to switch off the possibility of plugin automation? Just tap it. Need to capture or preview automation? It’s right there. It is more comfortable this way. And again it is convenient if you use a huge surface but also very useful on its own.

Probably the most attractive thing with the V-control pro is that there is virtually no learning curve. It is so naturally blend into your daily job that it becomes second nature within days.

To be continued with even more usage tips...
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Neyrinck V-control pro part 1

I know that many of you already know this app, but as I am a really early adopter and a happy user, I thought I would share my thoughts, and some of my workflows with this fantastic app, which got an awesome free update just a few weeks ago. I believe in that we have to talk about what we use, to promote these very useful apps. This way even more people can try it and use it, and the developers can benefit from it too. In my opinion it is a kind of support from the user toward the developer. This little controller application comes from Paul Neyrinck and his team, and it is really something insanely great. I’ve tried almost all of the controller apps for the iPad in the past, and I wasn’t satisfied. Waste of money and time. Well, not with the V-control pro. It blows other controller apps out of the water!

Setup

First, a little setup for those who don’t know this app yet. It’s really easy, only a few minutes. First (obviously) you have to buy this app for the iPad. There are two versions in the app store: V-control free (limited functionality) and V-control pro (full app). The pro version is 49.99$, and for this, you’ve got it all! So, you have the app, then you need to go to Neyrinck’s website and download the Ney-Fi utility. It’s a free little utility that will connect your iPad (and V-control pro) to your DAW. Install it. Then we need to set up a few things in Pro Tools.

Launch Ney-Fi, then Pro Tools. In Pro Tools, go to Setup-Midi-Input Devices, here you can find three check boxes:

  • V-control
  • V-pan1
  • V-pan2
Select all of them. Then go to Setup-Peripherals,  select the MIDI Contorllers tab and set up these three controllers:
Click OK, restart V-control pro on the iPad. One important thing: your iPad must be on the same Wi-Fi network as your Pro Tools machine. That was all the setup needed. I told you it’s easy.
The user interface
Nothing really new or revolutionary here, and to be honest, probably this is one of the strongest points here. It is instantly usable by anyone who ever worked with a control surface or with Pro Tools.  Usability is the key here, and this is what we get with V-control exactly. Though it’s not Eucon based, still, it does so many things:

• Fully-featured Pro Tools control using HUI and Surround Panner protocols

• One-touch access to all automation modes per track

• Sends A-E level, mute and pre-post select control

• Fader-flip mode for sends

• Dual surround panner controls

• Plug-in editor with bypass, compare, and assign

• Stereo track level, peak hold, and clip metering. Double-tap to reset

• One touch group suspend and automation suspend

• Full transport control including pre-roll and post-roll

• Counter display with optional big counter display

• Mix and edit window display switch

• Scrub / Shuttle strip controller

• Numeric keypad window for locating

• “Modifier” buttons

• Cursor Diamond for zoom in/out control and edit navigation

• Mark in/Mark out controls

• Input/output assignment

• Marker create and select buttons

• Various window show/hide buttons

• Automation enable/disable controls

• Editing mode select buttons

• Editing tool select buttons

• Edit command buttons

And these functions are not promises, they are actually working! Flawlessly. But enough praise for now, let’s see some practical usage. V-control pro had a major update a few weeks ago, which gave us not only minor facelift of some gui elements, but a very practical new feature called V-Window. With this, you can control virtually everything within your DAW or even outside of it right from the iPad. Plugins, marker window, any sound card’s software monitor controller, etc.

(RME totalmix in V-window)

I have to tell you that this V-Window thing is very addictive. While you are able to choose what you want to see in V-Window, transport controls are still there at your fingertips, as well as the modifier keys and the counter. And you can switch back to “mix” view anytime you want with a simple touch. This new feature goes even further as we can adjust the V-Window screen: move, zoom, switch to fullscreen mode on iPad.

Usage examples

#1

Probably the most basic operation here happens while the client is here to approve a mix or master. She/He sits in the sweetspot, while I’m controlling Pro Tools from the couch for example. This is easy as I only need the transport controls, some mute or solo and the markers obviously. Before this update, I used the keypad to recall the markers.

For example:

recalled marker 58. Now as we have the V-Window it’s even easier to execute this as I can have my marker window visible on the iPad’s screen.

#2

Scrub/Shuttle. With a mouse, it’s a pain. With a trackball it’s getting better, but with V-control pro, it’s a dream. During editing sessions the setup goes like this: left hand side – iPad with V-control pro, middle – keyboard, right side – Kensington Expert mouse and Magic Trackpad. I know it may seem too complicated or cluttered, but this is an insanely powerful editing setup. Within the Neyrinck app in V-window select the Edit window, so the scrub/shuttle area is visible in front of you. Now with your left hand you can easily scrub/shuttle anytime with great precision and speed while with very little hand movement you’ve reached your keyboard, and your right hand operates the trackball and/or the trackpad. Besides the scrub/shuttle operation, from this window you can also change edit modes, tools, zoom sets, etc.

To be continued with more usage tips…

 

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