I am about to make a few videos showing how I set up my Akai MPK249 & MPK225 (I typically use the “MIDI OUT” preset on those – which works the same on an MPK261) and Alesis QX49 controllers, as well as the knobs on my Kawai K5000 additive synth and the sliders and buttons on my Peavey PC1600x controller box to control various settings in both the mixer and within plugins.
Before I do, here are my notes – the outline thus far. I would appreciate any suggestions for improvements to these before I commit this all to a video format!
Samplitude Hardware Controller Mapping
To get started, first open the mixer and at by clicking the icon at the top-left of the mixer screen, make certain you do NOT have “Hardware Controller Easy Learn” checked as in the following image as you begin. We will check that later, but having it checked as you are setting up a new controller can mess up all of your efforts to do so.
MAKE SURE THIS IS UNCHECKED! 🙂
Now, hit “Y” to get to the settings, then click “Hardware Controllers” and once there on the Basic Settings page, add the controller as a new controller by clicking “Add New”, choosing “New” from the list (or perhaps a preset if you have an included controller).
At this point I usually go into the Options page right away and check “Ignore SysEx Input Data” and “Do not send SysEx data” if working with a CC-only controller that does not send or receive SysEx, as this stops the program from repeatedly asking me about this.
Now, back at the Basic Settings page, select its input (and output if it can react to messages sent to it) and use Save As to give this setup a name. All done here.
Next, again returning to the Options page, set things up as follows:
Protocol = Generic MIDI
Internal Mode = Default Set
Tracks = 8
(for most controllers, equals number of sliders. Arturia Keylab series would use 9.)
Bank Switch Count = 8
(for most controllers, equals number of sliders in each bank. Arturia Keylab series would use 9.)
Output to Disable
Display Mode, Time Display Mode, Peak Meter Mode all to OFF
Check Ignore Sysex Input Data
Check Do not send Sysex Data
Un-Check Use Assignment Display
Un-Check Use Knob LEDs
Now to the Customize Controllers page. We are going to use the “Hardware Controller Easy Learn” process to add our controllers.
Note: The manual does not, at the time of this video, show the “MIDI Learn” checkbox shown below. The MIDI Learn checkbox is not needed for the “Hardware Controller Easy Learn” approach to add controls from the Mixer, but it MUST be checked to use the Hardware Controller Easy Learn from any plugins for that menu item to appear as “checked” and work at all. Best to just leave it checked if you are doing MIDI Learn operations, IMHO. (In Pro X4 they seem to have improved things where this box now checks itself if you select “Hardware Controller MIDI Learn” from the Mixer drop-down menu.)
You can check that box now, and then close the Hardware Controllers dialog for the time being, as we will be first working with the Mixer.
The following image shows a Mixer menu with Hardware Controller Easy Learn enabled – the very item you made certain was UNCHECKED when we began. Show this menu by either right-clicking the mixer menu bar or by left-clicking the system icon on the left of the mixer, or for plugins by clicking the word “Plugin”. This item will already be checked if you have “MIDI Learn” checked in the Customize Controllers page (required for plugins). You can still access it here in this menu to un-check Hardware Controller Easy Learn in order to terminate the selection and the controller adding process.
Again, you do NOT actually need MIDI Learn checked to assign the Mixer controls – that only applies to plugins.
(As an aside, one can simply add all of your controllers without assigning them to anything first from within the Hardware Controller “Customize” dialog by checking the MIDI Learn box and just moving each controller. Then you can assign them later using the “Select Function” box or by using Easy Learn.)
With Hardware Controllers Easy Learn checked, you move the screen item you want controlled first, then move the physical controller, and in a few seconds turning the knob or moving the slider will work to move the screen item.
(If it is not working with certain sliders or knobs, see “If you have some incorrectly sensed items” a little ways down below, as once in a while a knob will be seen as a switch and a switch as a knob, so you need to repair that issue manually.)
Now enter the Customize Controllers page and you will see in the Easy Learn column on the right all of the assignments that actually worked. Click the title “Easy Learn Function” to sort them, and shift-click the topmost and bottommost ones to select all the ones having assignments, and then right-click on those and select “Adopt Easy Learn Function” to make it permanent. THIS IS REALLY IMPORTANT!!!
Although you have now created some “permanent” assignments, you can use to same “Easy Learn” technique to assign temporary replacements of different items controlled with the same physical controllers, like a plugin, for instance. You can also remove individual temporary “Easy Learn” assignments via a right-click (“Delete Easy Learn Function”), or go into the Options page and hit “Restore Modes” to clear them all in one swoop.
If you have some incorrectly sensed items, right-click in the offending control’s “Type” column and select the correct one from the list. Usually the mis-identified ones are sliders or knobs mis-identified as buttons. Simply assign “Fader” in most cases. There are also assignments for two kinds of knobs available, “Absolute” for knobs having a bottom and top position, and “Relative” for encoder-type infinite turn knobs.
About the Button types:
My Akai’s buttons are mostly “toggle” style by default when using the “MIDI Out” preset, meaning they send 127 when pressed the first time and zero when pressed the second time, which Samplitude calls a “State Button“.
It also can be set to send a “momentary” button press, which sends a 127 when pressed and a zero when released, which Samplitude calls a “Button“.
The third kind of button Samplitude can assign is called a “Push Button” – a button that sends a signal when pressed but nothing when released.
Of the knobs and sliders, make sure the knobs and sliders are set on your physical controller to “Controller” for output, and not to “Inc/Dec”.
Lastly for this video. most of your controls will want to be set to “Global track”.
“Active Track” will allow one set of controllers that will work on the selected track upon whichever control item is in that same “slot” or position.
Items like the Master Volume and Monitoring Volume will be of the “Master” type.
This part I am not entirely clear about:
If you use the “Controller Track” type shown above the others, you can change the assignments between “Mixer” and “Active Track” from the Options page.
Synchronize with Active Track: If the active track is changed, the controller area will be adjusted so that the active track is within the controller area.
Synchronize with Mixer: If a change is made to the controller area, the beginning of the mixer area will be adjusted according to the beginning of the controller area.
Also, I could not find any reference in either the Pro X2 or the Pro X3 manual as to what the “Absolute” checkbox shown in the image above actually does.
The biggest “gotcha” for me that was not clear in the manual was that you needed to check the “MIDI Learn” checkbox before the dropdown “Plugin” menu at the upper-left of any plugin would allow me to select the “Hardware Controller Easy Learn” item. (True in both Pro X2 and Pro X3.)
Also, the manual does not actually SHOW the “MIDI Learn” checkbox at all, nor is there any mention of it that I can find.
(I believe that has been fixed in the Pro X4 manual.)
The other major “gotcha” was the unexpected situation of the “Hardware Controller Easy Learn” mis-identifying only CERTAIN knobs and sliders as being buttons. One needs to fix that right away for them to be useful, of course, but at least this IS mentioned in the manuals.
The Hardware Controller section of the manual begins on page 435 of the Pro X4 Suite manual, starts on page 445 of the Pro X3 manual, is on page 498 of the Pro X2 Suite manual, and is on page 360 of the Pro X manual I downloaded. (Check the table of contents under “Hardware Controllers” for your version of Samplitude if not found on those pages…)
ADDENDUM: Native Instruments S-Series Controllers
(I just discovered that this same approach is what is necessary to make the Transport buttons work on a Native Instruments (NI) S-Series Komplete Kontrol controller as well.
After setting it up as a General MIDI item (not as a Mackie Universal Control as NI would have you believe), just use MIDI Learn with each transport button and assign from the list as shown above.)
Here are the Word .docx and PDF formats of this article for you to use however you like:
(Right-click link to download)
http://terrybritton.com/Samplitude Hardware Controller Mapping.pdf
http://terrybritton.com/Samplitude Hardware Controller Mapping.docx
38 responses to “Samplitude Hardware Controller Mapping – Pro X2, Pro X3 & Pro X4”
thanks for taking the time to write this,much appreciated 🙂
This was incredibly helpful. Thank you!!!
Thank you for this . Much appreciated.
I’ve been struggling to set up my Roland A-Pro 800
Controller. PDF downloaded 🙂
Regarding the A-Pro, have you worked out a way to control more than 8 tracks?
I don’t have a Roland A-300pro to test. I use a Behringer BCF2000 and it has “banks” which make it easy because the sliders are using different MIDI CC numbers for each bank.
See if your A-300 has a bank switch and use the MIDI monitor to check what it is sending out.
Samplitude Pro X2 Suite, Roland A-300pro.
No “MIDI Learn” tickbox option in the hardware controller setup window. What’s the trick?
You have Pro X2, and I think that check box must have been added with Pro X3. Like I mention in the article, there is no mention in the manual (at least at the time I wrote that) of the check box at all, and that manual is likely mostly info from Pro X2.
So fantastic! Thanks for writing this!
Very glad you found it helpful! 🙂
I’m using Samplitude Pro X4 and having problems saving controller settings. After I set up Sam with my Akai MPK261 to you instructions and saving, after closing a file and reopening it later, the controller does not work. I have to “try” to reset everything from the start.
Can you advise as to what I may or may not be doing that is causing this ongoing problem?
I am not sure. I’ll download the demo of Pro X4 and see if I can get to the bottom of this. Just a question – did you update to the latest version of Pro X4 already? The updated version is the one I will be examining.
Hi, Yes I have the updated version of Samplitude X4. Since the time I had post this question, I have lost all control using my Akai MPK261 controller.
Thank you for your help.
I now have the full version of Pro X4 and will make a serious effort to test out the controllers this weekend if not later on today. That sounds VERY odd that you would have lost all control of the MPK261. As I have both the MPK249 and MPK225 I will be able to make tests relevant to your setup and will get back to you.
Sounds nice, much appreciate you taking the time to look into this.
I’ll be checking periodically to view your findings, thank you!
Got delayed due to a death in the family, but I’ll get on this as soon as I can.
Totally understand. Sorry for your loss. Offer my condolences. There’s no rush. Thanks.
Does this thread need to be refreshed?
Sorry, hadn’t “approved” the last comment – thank you for your thoughts! I’ll be back shortly with some info as things calm down around here.
Thank you. I appreciate your time and effort in helping me with solving this kind of ridiculous problem. Why Akai would have problems with mapping Samplitude Pro X4 is beyond comprehension.
It would appear that either my browser needs to be refreshed or the mapping of the Akai MPK261 is more problematic than anticipated. I have since tried many a time to find out why Samplitude Pro x4 will not work well with the Akai MPK261. Nevertheless, I shall check back from time to time to see if there was any answer or progress finding a solution.
No, I’ve been sick PLUS have been swamped with all kinds of things not related to the studio at all. I’m working on a video right now showing how to make it all work. I will post here when it is done. However, I am having no problems that are out of the ordinary with doing the assignments beyond the oft-encountered misreading of controllers by Samplitude during auto-learn — Sliders mistaken as knobs, knobs mistaken to be switches, etc. Easily fixed if you know to look for it by right-clicking on the item and selecting the correct type. Anyway, I believe all your problems are arising from such things, not from any incompatibility with the MPK261 (we are only talking about simple CC numbers here, not complicated SYSEX messages after all). Hold tight.
I do not have auto-approve of comments turned on, so I need to have checked my email to notice that you have replied. That is what is causing the delay. I had to do that because I was receiving a lot of spam comments.
I understand. Trust me, I was actually giving you the benefit of the doubt. I can imagine how swamped you probably are with your work. I’m also a firefighter / emt and believe me, time is scares.
Thank you for your time in looking into this problem. I really do appreciate it. I will give you all my patience with this problem. It’s not as if life will end if it isn’t solved by tomorrow.
No pressure Terry. I’ll check back when ever I have the chance.
I had suffered a breakdown of my main computer and haven’t been following your thread for a couple of weeks. Everything is back up and running. I still have controller mapping issues with Samplitude x4 pro and the Akai MPK261. The only control that continues to work are the sliders on the Samplitude mixer. Any transport controls are non-workable. However, it appears you have included x4 with your tutorial. I shall work with it and see if I can install any changes to my advantage. First off, thank you so much for all your hard work and dedication to those of us that require professional instructions and help.
OK, I’ve pretty much gone through your instructions and have successfully mapped out the sliders and knobs to the mixer. However, I fail to see how to set up the “transport” on the Akai 261 to the Samplitude mixer. I thought it would be on the same principle as the sliders and knobs but apparently not.
Any insight or suggestions?
I did have the transport working once, if I recall correctly. I think I had to set the transport buttons in the Akai itself as “CC” for it to be picked up by Samplitude, but do not remember the details.
Sorry I have not uploaded the video – I had a first take done that needed some changes (a second take) as I used the wrong recording mode so the video did not show the drop-down menus, but then slipped and fell, twisting my back badly and pinching a nerve in the spine, and have not been able to sit in the studio (or anywhere!) for the last month. As soon as that is healing I will get back to it.
Wow! You’ve had your fill of opposing luck. Sorry to here. Hope you recover soon. I’ll dive into the MPK to see where that change is made. Thanks again for all your help and hard work. Get well soon!
Hello, your guide help me out with the midimix and samplitude. And sorry for your lost and I hope all is well, I have some questions maybe you could help me out?
1, what are the slots used for?
2, I saw that I can add one of the knobs to the paid plugins as an effect, but how could I use it with the plugins that are already on samplitude? Because I want to use more than one knob for mixing, since it’s only 3 per track.
3, if I assign the record or the mute buttons to midimix, they doesn’t stay lighted up on once I release my figure of the them. I’d have to keep me figure on those buttons if I want to record, mute etc.
Slots refer to items in the tracks, particularly in the mixer strips.
Some of the Samplitude plugins have midi-learn buttons in the very bottom-left corner, but not all of them do.
Glad to see you got the button to work! Did you see the note I made regarding the three types of buttons you can assign to one switch?
Yes, I have. Thank you. I’m still messing with it though.
Ok, I see how the button thing works, first, I make it learn the button, then assign it once it learned. I don’t need to hold it now. For now. Lol
You wrote : “I am about to make a few videos showing how I set up my Akai MPK249 & MPK225 …’
I am curious to know if you made the videos in the meantime? If so, where could
I find them?
Thanks for all the effort you put into this. I think it really helps a lot of people.
I got quite ill with the flu right after saying that, and right upon getting well again, got a new apartment I had been on the waiting list for, and have been moving all month. So, you didn’t miss anything – I’ve simply been remiss in getting those videos out there!
Glad you are feeling better. I have been trying to set up my Alesis QX49 to control VSTi synth parameters as well in Pro X4 and nothing seems to work. I’ve spent hours on it to no avail. I’ve no idea what I’m doing wrong and it has become a big frustration for me. I can map the controllers in the hardware setup window like you demonstrated, but MIDI LEARN seems to do absolutely nothing at all. Would it be possible or helpful for you to let me have your saved QX49 setup file if you still have it? I’m not sure what else I can try. I’m having the same issue with my Korg nanoKONTROL as well.
Thanks very much,
Is it working for ANY of your controllers? The QX49 is about as basic as it gets in a MIDI controller. I wish you could make me a video showing what you are doing so I perhaps could spot what is missing in your procedure.
I did get over the flu some months ago now, but only just finished moving. (I’m still stuck in that “constantly moving” cycle, but breaking out of it at last!) I hope to get back to making music and videos about making music soon.
buenas tardes, yo tengo un problema, no puedo hacer q el pedal sustain de mi controlador funcione con samplitude, no sé como configurarlo. tengo un controlador nektar se49 y samplitud pro x2
English: Good afternoon, I have a problem, I can’t get my controller’s sustain pedal to work with samplitude, I don’t know how to configure it. i have a nektar se49 controller and samplitud pro x2.
Eso debería estar incorporado. Un pedal de sostenido generalmente envía el controlador # 64, con un valor de cero sin sostenido y un valor de 127 con sostenido. Eso no tiene nada que ver con Samplitude. Vea si puede encontrar un monitor MIDI (hay uno en la sección del controlador de Samplitude, pero no es del todo obvio). Yo uso MIDIox para tales pruebas en Windows. De esa manera, puede verificar que su teclado está enviando cualquier cosa. Asegúrese de tener el pedal de sostenido enchufado en el enchufe correcto; generalmente hay dos: uno para el pedal de sostenido y otro para un pedal de expresión / volumen que toma valores continuos entre 0 y 127 (un pedal de potenciómetro). Necesita el pedal de sostenido o “Hold”.
English: That should be built-in. A sustain pedal typically sends controller #64, with a value of zero being no sustain and a value of 127 being sustain. That has nothing to do with Samplitude. See if you can find a MIDI monitor (there is one in Samplitude’s controller section, but it is not entirely obvious). I use MIDIox for such testing on Windows. That way, you can check your keyboard that it is sending anything at all. Be certain you have the sustain pedal plugged into the correct plug – there are usually two – one for the sustain pedal and one for an expression/volume pedal that takes continuous values between 0 and 127 (a potentiometer foot pedal). You need the sustain pedal or “Hold” one.
This was extremely helpful, even in Pro X7. I did have two questions, though.
Is it possible to assign controls to multiple plugins? If I use follow active track, it moves from one instance of a plugin to another, but if I repeat the learning and assigning process with another plugin, I lose the previous one.
Second, is it possible to set up a controller with EQ116 (the onboard EQ for the Samplitude mixer)? I can’t see any way to do it.
Thanks so much for your help!