NoLaE (Novation LaunchControl Editor)
A Linux filter/mapper for Novation LaunchControl XL controllers
NoLaE is a tool that acts as a filter for Novation LaunchControl XL controllers. There is no editor for LaunchControl on Linux and, as far as I can tell, if you don't have a Windows or OSX computer, virtualization won't work with it.
It can work with (possibly) any existing mapping already set on the LC, and, much more important, it allows you to set custom midi actions for every controller.
NoLaE uses mididings as an interface between LC and your MIDI devices. Mididings is a powerful MIDI router and processor based on Python.
Note: at this moment, NoLaE supports only the LaunchControl XL, not the "standard" one, since I don't own it. If you have it, feel free to contact me and I might be able to add support for it in the future: the protocol is the same, so it's enough to know how the controls and leds are mapped.
- Create up to 16 templates (accessible through the Templates button on LC);
- Configure custom output ports and redirect the output for each controller;
- Set custom LED colors and actions for each controller;
- Graphically group mapped controllers to easily recognize them;
- Python 2.7
- PyQt4 at least version 4.11.1
- Jack Audio Connection Kit (optional [not supported yet])
NoLaE needs two files to work, a mapping file (.nlm) and a config one (.nlc).
The mapping file is necessary to let NoLaE understand to which controller any incoming MIDI message is assigned to. There is a default.nlm included, which should be based on the LC factory default.
If you are sure that you never edited the LC using the official editor from Novation, you should be fine with it, read on if you want to know how to ensure that it works as expected.
To check the existing default mapping:
To edit/check an existing mapping:
./launchcontrol.py -Mm _mapfile.nlm_
To start a new mapping use this command:
The NoLaE window will appear in "mapping mode". If you started NoLaE without an existing mapping you will see that every controller is "empty". By now you might use the "automap" function, just press the "Start/Stop" toggle button on the Mapping panel in the lower right of the window. You will see that the first knob LED on the LC will start blinking, just rotate it and NoLaE will assign it; after that the next knob will blink, rotate it and go on.
Once you have set all controllers and buttons, NoLaE will automatically switch to the next template, if you don't want that, just uncheck the "Continuous" box.
At any time, you can see the actual result of an already set controller on the NoLaE window, if you find out that you missed a controller (or moved a wrong one by mistake), just toggle the "Start/Stop" button, right click on the controller/button you want to reset and select "Remap". Alternatively, you can clear the mapping by choosing "Clear". If you press again "Start/Stop" the mapping will begin from the next not mapped controller.
If the controller has inverted values or a limited range (because it has been configured so using the Novation editor), you may change it using the set range menu item for that controller.
It is possible to change the current template by selecting it from the NoLaE buttons in the upper right corner, or using the normal template switching function on the LC.
When you are done with the mapping, remember to save it.
To start NoLaE in editor mode, run this command:
To use an existing configuration file:
./launchcontrol.py -Ec _configfile.nlc_
NoLaE will start, showing an editor window, that has to be used to set the controllers, enable/disable them, configure the LEDs, etc.
NoLaE has always at least one output port, you can edit the ports using the panel on the lower right of the window.
The ports can be renamed by double-clicking them. Additionally, you can set a default input port it will try to connect to on startup. Multiple ports can be set using commas, the format is ALSA/JACK standard (device:port) but regular expressions can be used:
By default, NoLaE will ignore every message received from LC. This is by choice, to avoid sending unwanted messages to any output device NoLaE is connected to.
To set a controller just click on it and configure it using the editor window.
The "Destination port" is one of the outputs set before.
The "Text" will be displayed in the label under the controller (or on the button); if no text is set, the editor will show a "(set)" text just to let you know that the controller is enabled.
The "Destination channel" allows to easily route the event to a specific channel. Leaving to "source" (default) will leave the incoming event unchanged; keep in mind that usually LC uses a different channel for every template.
The "Force to Ctrl/Note" transforms the incoming event according to the selected radio button, if the event is of the other type. Further control will be added in the future (see "Toggle" function)
The "LED" combobox allows you to select to which LED the controller is linked to, you can use the default one (which is automatically selected) or assign it to any other led you want.
The "Base color" allows you to choose which color the LED will have on startup. The values refer to the Novation coloring system. Of course, you can disable the startup value by selecting the first item (0x00)
The "Action" combo lets you choose what will happen when the controller is triggered.
The "Pass" action means that NoLaE will use the default "triggered" value, which is full red for channels buttons (the last two rows of buttons) and directional buttons (on the right of the knobs), full yellow for the 4 device buttons (on the right of the faders); for the knobs you will have shades from green to red according to the value of the knob (0 is green, 127 is red).
The "Patch" box is used to input standard mididings commands. By default, every enabled controller has a "Pass" patch, which means that any value received by the LC for that controller will be transmitted to the selected output port. You can input almost any mididings patch in there, but remember that they will work just for the selected Ctrl/Note event received from the selected controller.
For example, to filter a Ctrl and let pass just values from 30 to 50, you can type this:
To route the incoming MIDI event to the first and second output ports at once, use this (using this will ignore the "Destination Port" value):
Remember that port values start from 1, and you are not allowed to set a port number greater than the number of existing output ports.
To see the list of available filter and modifiers and learn how they work, visit the mididings documentation page
There are some ready-to-use utilities that can be selected from the "Templates" dropdown menu. More will be added in the future. The patch editor has a simple syntax-check system, and will try to guess if the entered patch is valid or not.
Finally, the "Toggle" function allows to filter incoming events and cycle through a list of values. This is expecially useful for buttons, because allows to emit a different midi event value everytime the button is pressed. For example, for switching on or off an effect or enable/bypass an audio filter.
To change the output ports of multiple controllers at once, drag your mouse while holding the right button pressed to select them, a dialog window will ask you to which port you want to set them.
The small "eye" button will show at a glimpse the output port and assigned LED of every enabled controller for the current template.
Groupboxes can be used to graphically group controllers, just drag your mouse while holding the left button pressed to create a new group, a dialog box will ask you the name for it. The right click menu for the group will allow you to rename it, delete it, change its background color or raise/lower it if it intersects with another group.
Each template can be renamed by double-clicking it.
Once you have finished, just save your configuration file.
Well, you are done! :)
To start NoLaE, run:
./launchcontrol.py -c _configfile.nlc_
If you have a custom map file, use this:
./launchcontrol.py -m _mapfile.nlm_ -c _configfile.nlc_
NoLaE will start up, showing only the enabled controller set in the configuration file, and will try to connect its output ports to the devices you set (if you configured any).
##Known issues NoLaE is still in development, so it has bugs. Please, carefully test your configuration before using it in live performances!
- Threading is not perfect yet, this means that sometimes the mididings engine doesn't shut down correctly. While using ALSA this shouldn't be a major problem, it might be if you use JACK. Check your patchbay for the NoLaE client, if it's still there you should try to kill its process before running it again, otherwise JACK could even crash.
- A fixed graphical layout has been used, so it might look ugly when using a non standard Qt theme.
- Default values in the editor window do not always set
- The patch syntax checking system is not very reliable, you could type any "valid" python expression, even if it does not make sense as a patch
- LED default colors in the editor window don't always match the actual ones
- When 2 controllers are assigned to the same LED, the latest used controller will overwrite the previous value.
- Toggle buttons are not recognized, and will behave as you were keeping the button pressed.