Reaper Alpha Track
Reaper Alpha Track Manual...
Cockos Reaper and AlphaTrack Plug-In v0.83 Reaper Set-up This guide assumes you have already installed the AlphaTrack Windows driver and have the AlphaTrack remote ready for operation. (If not, see the AlphaTrack Users Guide, or Quick Start Guide for installation details.) It is based on using AlphaTrack v1.3.0 drivers with Alphatrack Plug-in v0.81 and REAPER v3.72 or later. Before starting Reaper, set the AlphaTrack control mode to "Native" by right-clicking the AlphaTrack taskbar icon. This will configure the AlphaTrack to send and receive the correct set of MIDI messages for use with the Reaper plug-in. For more information on Control Modes see the AlphaTrack Users Guide.doc. Click here to download the latest AlphaTrack plugin. Unzip the zip file, and copy the reaper_alphatrack.dll file to your REAPER\Plugins folder. (Generally C:\Program Files\REAPER\Plugins) Start REAPER and open the Options\Preferences window. Scroll down and click on the ‘Control Surfaces’ tab. Select “Add” to access the “Control Surface Settings” panel. Click on the drop-down and select “Frontier AlphaTrack - PRO”. Set the 'MIDI Input' and 'Midi Output' fields to "AlphaTrack". You can also set the default FX display mode here. There is also a 'Realtime Display' config option. This toggles realtime update of TCP for sends/FX knobs, which may cause issues/slow down when enabled. When disabled, zoom function is also disabled. The lamp test flashes all the led's when you start the AlphaTrack up to give quick visual confirmation that they are all working. There is an option which allows you to map the transport controls to midi cc numbers, which means you can over-ride the default transport control layout and map your own. Just enable the checkbox 'Transport Controls to CC#', and then map them by assigning actions as you would for the function buttons (explained in the next section.) The last option allows you to have 8 function buttons (F1-8) regardless of mode (checked) or 8 separate function buttons per each of the 10 modes (unchecked). Click ‘OK’ to close the Preferences panel.
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Operation The AlphaTrack features a high-resolution, 100mm, touch-sensitive, motorized fader, 3 touch-sensitive encoders, 5 mode select buttons, 8 general function buttons, channel dependent backlit Rec, Solo, and Mute buttons, 5-button transport controls, SHIFT key, touch-sensitive touch strip, and a 32 character LCD display. There are also 17 LED indicators. Silk-screened labels clearly indicate the basic functions of most of the buttons. On the back next to the USB connection is a ¼" jack for a standard momentary foot-switch. Pressing play will cause the project to begin playback just as if you had clicked the play button on the screen. Likewise most of the controls function just like their on-screen equivalents. While the AlphaTrack employs many advanced features, it is designed for ease of use right out of the box.
Encoders, Mode buttons and the LCD When you first open a Reaper project the AlphaTrack LCD displays 3 adjustable parameters, one for each of the touch-sensitive encoders. The exact parameters displayed will depend upon which of the 5 mode buttons is pressed immediately below the encoders. This will normally default to PAN when Reaper is first launched, displaying Track, Marker, and Pan values. As soon as any one of the encoders, or the fader, is touched the display will instantly update with additional information about that parameter. Turn or press an encoder to make desired changes. Releasing the encoder returns the previous display. This co-operative behavior between the encoders, mode buttons, and LCD are an important part of AlphaTrack's overall design. Each of the encoder modes are explained in detail below.
SHIFT The SHIFT key allows other Mode and Function buttons to perform more than one function, expanding the range of control that AlphaTrack has over Reaper. Press and hold SHIFT, then press another function button to access its expanded feature. However, SHIFT also has a "sticky" feature to simplify one-handed operation. Pressing SHIFT alone will lock it in the enabled position. The SHIFT LED will light steadily. Now a series of shifted functions can be performed without holding the SHIFT key. Press SHIFT again at any time to disable it. The shift key works with encoder 1 in all modes to select tracks. If you touch shift and encoder 1 in any mode it will briefly show the name of the selected track. If you turn encoder 1 whilst shift is pressed you can scroll to other tracks quickly. This is usfeul for larger projects. This shortcut also works with sticky shift. When changing tracks, the fader position will not update until the encoder is released. Reaper with the AlphaTrack Plug-in..... Page 2 of 10
Function Buttons 8 function buttons with discrete LED's occupy the center portion of the AlphaTrack. Most of these buttons also have a shifted function. The bottom row is pre-assigned and labeled Track Down, Track Up, Loop and Flip. When 'Shift' is added the first two buttons become 'Set In Point' and 'Set Out Point'. Shift and Loop(Punch) is user definable, so you can add an auto-punch action, or whatever you like. Shift and Flip (Window) is also user definable. The upper row of function buttons is labeled F1 - F4, and (when shifted) F5 - F8. In almost all modes these buttons are entirely user-programmable. They send different CC numbers in each mode, so that you can have 8 different functions assigned to these keys for each mode. For example, in Pan mode you could have your favourite 8 mixer functions, in Send mode 8 completely different functions, and so on. These buttons work slightly differently in the EQ modes, controlling four bands of the EQ in the standard mode. In the advanced EQ mode F1 and F2 step through the bands, and F3 and F4 are assignable as band on/off and band type if your plugin allows it. In advanced plug in mode, F1 and F2 are also assigned to page select. To program a function: open Reaper, click on 'Actions' -> Show action list... (or press '?') Find an action you would like to use. Click 'Add' next to "shortcuts for selected action". Select a mode and then press the function button on the AlphaTrack you wish to assign (F1-F4 or SHIFT F5-F8) - note that you can not assign F1-8 in standard EQ mode, F1-4 in advanced EQ mode and F1/F2 in advanced plugin mode. Press 'OK'. Add more actions, or close the panel when you are finished. If you would like the action for a particular function button to be the same in multiple modes, repeat the process above for each of the modes you would like. Alternatively, in the config dialog (Reaper->Preferences->Control Surfaces->Alphatrack PRO) there is an option to make the F-buttons ignore the mode, and always send the same 8 commands.
Footswitch Clicking the footswitch sends alternating CC messages 32 & 33 every time the footswitch is pressed. This allows (eg.) the selection to be changed on the fly. To set this up: Open Reaper, click on 'Actions' -> Show action list... (or press '?') Find an action you would like to use (for example - Time Selection: Set Start Point). Click 'Add' next to "shortcuts for selected action". Press the footswitch once. This should assign CC#32. Press 'OK'. Reaper with the AlphaTrack Plug-in..... Page 3 of 10
Find another action you would like to use (for example - Time Selection: Set End Point). Click 'Add' next to "shortcuts for selected action". Press the footswitch once more. This time it should assign CC#33. Press 'OK'. Close the panel. You will then be able to set the start and end point by clicking the footswitch. If you would like to assign a single action to the footswitch (for example, punch in/out) you can do this also: Find an action you would like to use (for example - transport record). Click 'Add' next to "shortcuts for selected action". Press the footswitch once. This should assign CC#32. Press 'OK'. Click 'Add' a second time. Press the footswitch once more. This time it should assign CC#33. Press 'OK'. Close the panel. In the example above, you can record arm a track, hit play, and then use the footswitch to activate/de-activate record to punch in/out.
Transport Controls The standard 5-button transport is located just above the touch strip at the bottom. REW and FFWD snap to bar. In addition to the basic REW, FFWD, STOP, PLAY, and RECORD functions, these buttons can also be used with the SHIFT key: Shift + Rwnd = Return to Zero. Shift + Ffwd = Go to End. Shift + Stop = Clears selection points. Shift + Play = Cycle Record Monitor. Shift + Rec = Toggle recording mode.
Fader section The high-resolution, 100mm motorized fader is also touch-sensitive to provide smooth operation and automation recording. There are 3 illuminated buttons for setting the current track's solo, mute, and record arm status, as well as LED's for automation status, and to alert you if any other track is soloed. As with the encoders, the fader and buttons here will affect the currently selected track or bus, regardless of whether it is selected with the AlphaTrack or the mouse. AlphaTrack will follow tracks selected with the mouse within Reaper. Shift+mute clears all mutes, shift+solo clears all solos, and shift+rec clears all record arming.
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Touch strip At the very bottom of AlphaTrack is located an innovative feature called the touch strip. This behaves in a similar way to a ribbon controller and is another touch-sensitive surface that can be used in several ways. Moving one fingertip along the strip in either direction will jog the project timeline in the same direction. Using 2 fingers will zoom the project. Double tapping the strip and dragging will draw a selection. Touchstrip+shift mode: snap to grid mode. Gives easy access to the in/out buttons to adjust your start and end selection. Move to the edges to jog. In midi controller modes A&B (Double click Pan or Auto mode button) the touch strip sends absolute midi cc data which you can assign to any parameter in reaper with the learn command.
FLIP In some modes the FLIP button allows you to switch the level control of the Fader with one of the encoders. In this mode the high-resolution fader can be used to adjust a parameter otherwise assigned to an encoder.
Modes There are five modes selectable by the mode switches beneath the encoders. The modes are PAN, SEND, EQ, PLUG-IN and AUTO(mation). Each mode also has an advanced sub-mode, which can be activated by pressing the mode button a second time. The mode light will flash to indicate advanced mode is active. The Alphatrack will remember whether you were in standard or advanced mode for each of the five modes. The following is a breakdown of the functions of the encoders (and fader when it is not controlling track volume) in each of these modes.....
PAN: Encoder 1 - Scrolls through tracks. (Also with shift in any mode.) Push to add a region for the current selection. Shift push to toggle Track Sync (Alphatrack follows tracks selected in Reaper.) Encoder 2 - Scrolls through markers. Push to add marker. Shift push to toggle clock. Encoder 3 - Pan, push to center. Shift push to select clock display mode. Push the FLIP button and the fader will control the pan of the selected track.
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PAN (Advanced): Midi Control Mode A. Encoders 1,2,3 - Send relative midi cc. Click to toggle Coarse/Fine adjustment range. The fader and touchstrip send absolute midi cc. To assign a controller, move the control in reaper you would like to assign, then press Param in the top right corner of the FX. Click learn, then move an encoder, the fader or move a finger on the touchstrip. Select 'Relative 1' next to CC mode in the learn dialog box for an encoder, and 'Absolute' for the fader or touchstrip. There is an option in the learn dialog called 'Enable only when track or item is selected'. By checking this box, the controllers can control up to five parameters for each track. Alternatively, you can leave the box un-checked which will give you quick access to a selection of five parameters regardless of which track you are on, so you could assign them for example to the wet controls of FX set up as sends, and then quickly control the overall level of five send channels. These settings are saved with your project. Another way you can set these controls up, is to assign them as actions, so that they always perform the same function in any project - for example you could assign the fader in this mode to always control the master volume. To do this, just follow the steps for adding the function buttons, but select 'Relative 1' next to Midi CC for an encoder, and 'Absolute' for the fader or touchstrip.
SEND: Picks up the first three sends configured for a track. Encoder 1,2,3 - Controls send level, push to mute send. To use flip: touch an encoder, then push the FLIP button. The display will now say "FLIP" instead of the value for that send, and the main fader will jump to the send value. Use the main fader to adjust, the display will show where it is being sent to and the value when you touch it. Press the FLIP button again or select another mode to exit.
SEND (Advanced): Encoder 1 - Scrolls through sends, push to mute selected send. Encoder 2 - Pan for selected send, push to center. Encoder 3 - Send mode. Select from post-fader, pre-fader and pre-FX. Reaper with the AlphaTrack Plug-in..... Page 6 of 10
In this mode, the fader controls the send level and the track mute button mutes & unmutes the selected send.
EQ: Looks for ReaEQ (The plugin must be named ReaEQ - if you rename it, it will not be found). If it finds it, it assumes that there are 4 bands. It picks up bands 1,2 and 4 and shows the frequency on the top line and the gain on the bottom line. Encoder 1,2,3 - Gain. Push and turn for Frequency. Click sets Gain to 0. This mode also takes over the function keys to control the first four individual EQ bands. F1 controls EQ band 1, F2 controls EQ band 2, etc. press the band again or the EQ button to go back to default mode. When F1-F4 is lit: Encoder 1 - Gain. Encoder 2 - Frequency. Encoder 3 - Q. To use flip when in single band mode (when one of F1-F4 is lit): Touch an encoder, then push the FLIP button. The display will now say "FLIP" instead of the value for that parameter, and the main fader will jump to the Frequency/Gain/Q value. Use the main fader to adjust the value. Use F1-F4 to change band while flipped. Press the FLIP button again, exit single band mode or select another main mode to exit.
EQ (Advanced): Sends cc#'s to allow you to assign your own EQ. It will control up to 24 bands. Use F1 and F2 to scroll through the bands. F3 and F4 send different cc#'s for each band, so that you could set them up as band enable/band type if your plugin allows it. Encoder 1 - Gain. Encoder 2 - Frequency. Encoder 3 - Q. F1, F2 - Band Down/Up F3 - Enable/Disable Band F4 - Band Type To map the encoders, move the gain control on band 1 of your EQ. Then click Param in the top right corner of the FX. Click learn, then move encoder 1. Select 'Relative 1' next to CC mode in the learn dialog box and place a heck next to 'Enable only when track or item is selected'. Repeat this for Frequency and Q for band 1. Then repeat all three steps
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for all of the bands you wish to assign (up to five). You can map F3 and F4 for each of the bands using absolute mode. If your plugin allows automation of muting the bands and selecting band types, you should be able to set this up. When you have finished mapping the EQ, open the FX chain window (if it is not already open) and right click on the plugin name. Select 'Save selected FX as a chain'. You can now open this chain in any track, and all of the control mappings will be remembered. Alternatively, If you click Param, there is an option at the bottom to save the mapping as the default for that plugin. You can map several EQ's in this way, and whichever you attach to a track will be controlled by the advanced EQ controllers.
PLUG-IN: Encoder 1 - Selects FX, push toggles show/hide current FX. Encoder 2 - Cycles through the parameters. AlphaTrack remembers the last parameter. Shift push cycles FX display modes. Available options are Off, Docked & Float. Encoder 3 - Adjusts the value. Push and turn for coarse adjustment, release for fine. Push the FLIP button and the fader will control the value of the selected parameter. You can change selected FX with encoder 1 while flipped. Alphatrack remembers the last parameter selected for each FX. You can change parameter with encoder 2 while flipped. You can change tracks while flipped. Press the FLIP button again or select another mode to exit.
PLUG-IN (Advanced): Track FX Mode. Encoder 1,2,3 - Track FX parameter levels, push toggles fine(--) or coarse() values. F1 and F2 allow you to scroll up/down through parameters 1-3, 4-6 and 7-9. In this mode you can use FLIP and the fader will control the last touched encoder. Press the FLIP button again or select another mode to exit. Please note that the fader is only sending midi information, so it will not update position to reflect the current value. This means the value may jump when you move the fader. This is a limitation of the current system.
AUTO: Encoder 1 cycles through automation modes. Reaper automatically adds and arms envelopes as you tinker with settings while in a write mode. For example, set the automation mode to 'Write', click play, click plug-ins or EQ and play with some settings; Reaper will automatically add an envelope for each parameter changed.
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Encoder 2 Toggles show / hide envelopes, and lanes on/off. Turn the encoder to select show/hide envelopes or lanes on/off, and push to toggle. Encoder 3 sends CC#s for left turn, right turn and click. These can be assigned to functions in the same way as the function buttons and footswitch. In this mode the main fader controls 'automation lane:set active fader (MIDI CC only)'. Just click on an automation lane with the mouse, and the fader will control it. Push the FLIP button and the fader will control 'last touched parameter'. Press the FLIP button again or select another mode to exit.
AUTO (Advanced): Midi Control Mode B. This mode works in exactly the same way as Midi Control Mode A, but the encoders, fader and touchstrip all send different midi cc numbers, so you can assign another set of five parameters.
AlphaTrack Function Buttons and Encoder Modes The following charts describe the normal and shifted functions of each button, and the encoder modes.
AlphaTrack Control Functions PAN
PAN (Advanced) SEND SEND (Advanced) EQ
(F1-F4) EQ (Advanced) PLUG-IN PLUG-IN (Advanced) AUTO AUTO (Advanced)
ENCODER 1 Track Select Add Region (push) Track Sync (shift push) Midi CC# (Rel) Coarse / Fine (push) Send Level 1 Mute Send 1 (push) Select send Mute send (push) Band 1 Gain B1 Gain 0 (push) B1 Freq (push+turn) Frequency Gain Coarse / Fine (push) Select FX Show/Hide FX (push) Track FX 1 (4,7) Coarse / Fine (push) Select Mode Midi CC# (Rel) Coarse / Fine (push)
ENCODER 2 ENCODER 3 Marker Select (turn) Pan Marker Add (push) Center (push) Toggle Clock (shift push) Clock Display (shift push) Midi CC# (Rel) Midi CC# (Rel) Coarse / Fine (push) Coarse / Fine (push) Send Level 2 Send Level 3 Mute Send 2 (push) Mute Send 3 (push) Send Pan Send mode Center (push) Band 2 Gain Band 4 Gain B2 Gain 0 (push) B4 Gain 0 (push) B2 Freq (push+turn) B4 Freq (push+turn) Gain Q Frequency Q Coarse / Fine (push) Coarse / Fine (push) Select Parameter Fine Value Adjust FX Display Mode Coarse Value (push+turn) Track FX 2 (5,8) Track FX 3 (6,9) Coarse / Fine (push) Coarse / Fine (push) LanesOn/Off-Hide/Show Env Midi CC# (turn or push) Toggle (push) Midi CC# (Rel) Midi CC# (Rel) Coarse / Fine (push) Coarse / Fine (push)
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FADER Volume Pan (Flipped) Midi CC# (Absolute) Volume Send Level (Flipped) Send Level Volume
Selected Param (Flipped) Volume Volume Selected Param (Flipped) Volume Track FX Param (Flipped) Automation Lane Last Touched Param (Flipped) Midi CC# (Absolute)
AlphaTrack Button Functions Name REW FFWD STOP PLAY RECORD TRACK TRACK LOOP FLIP F1 F2 F3 F4 REC SOLO MUTE FOOTSWITCH
Normal Function Rewind Fast forward Stop Play Record Move 1 track left/up Move 1 track right/down Toggle loop mode Swap fader and selected encoder User defined User defined User defined User defined Toggle record arm on/off Toggle track’s solo on/off Toggle track’s mute on/off User definable (sends alternate CC#s)
SHIFT + Function Return to zero Go to end Clear selection points Cycle record monitor Toggle recording mode Set in point Set out point User defined User defined User defined User defined User defined User defined Clear all recs Clear all solos Clear all mutes -
Shortcuts: The following are quick shortcuts for certain features: Stop + TrackL/TrackR = Go To In/Out Point. Stop + (Loop,Flip,F1-F4, 5 Mode Buttons) = User definable cc# functions. Shift & Encoder 1 = Track select. When the alphatrack is plugged in to your computer, but reaper is not launched, press Shift & Stop to enter the utility menu - here you can adjust the LCD, Light, Sleep time, and calibrate the unit by hitting F4.
You can also find the following charts on http://stash.reaper.fm/ under Extension Plug ins, which you may find useful to print off: “ReaperLayout.pdf” which serves as a quick visual guide for the AlphaTrack. "UserFunctions.pdf" which is a blank chart for you to fill in with your user defined functions.
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