Hanz for President: Filter and EQ Rack for Live Performance

 

Creative Commons License photo credit: mrpstr

For this article I will be revisiting our Allen & Heath Triple Filter Rack, adding a Three Band EQ, and explaining how to best implement this Audio Effect Rack for live performance with Hanz’s custom APC 64-40 python script. Find out how after the jump.
For a refresher, see this article: DJ Essentials: Triple Filter (Allen & Heath)

Now, back to Hanz’s script. This script enables a shiftable functionality to the Track Control Knobs of the APC40 (These are the upper 8 knobs.) So it essentially gives you three extra pages of track control knob real estate via (SHIFT + SEND A, B, or C with SHIFT + PAN being the default APC 40 mapping functionality page)

With this script, if you press [SHIFT + SEND B], then the Track Control  knobs will automatically map to the last Audio Effect Rack in the signal chain (Which is usually where we want our filters.) It will also remap the selected channel’s Sends A, B, and C. However, the layout of the macros is a bit different, but more intuitive I think for the purposes of this triple filter.

Here’s how it works

This may seem a bit counter intuitive at first glance, but let’s revisit how we have created the Triple Filter.

So, we have Macro 1 = Resonance/Q. Macro 5 = Frequency. This vertical orientation is fairly intuitive.

Knobs 2 – Knobs 4 are our Sends A, B, and C, also intuitive.

Since we mapped the Filters’ On/Off function to Macros 6 – 8, we now have them conveniently mapped to Buttons, instead of Knobs. So the layout of the EQ/Filter Rack on the Track control Knobs looks like this:

Now that we understand the mapping of the rack, let’s round it out with a Three Band EQ. For ease of demonstration, I’ll use an EQ3, but you could also use an EQ8 if you want more control of the EQ settings.

All that is left to do is to simply drag an EQ3 from the browser, and place it on the same chain as the filters, at the beginning of the chain (Before the LPF)

Next, we need to map the volume parameters of each band to the 3 remaining macros. Macro 2 = Low, Macro 3 = Mid, Macro 4 = Hi.

Remember, you can right click [CNTRL + Click] on any parameter of an effect within a rack to map it to a macro.

Finally, since I mostly use my EQ for subtractive purposes, I like to set the max value of the EQ Gain Parameters to 0. To do this, simply click on the Map Mode button in the racks title bar, and adjust the max values for the EQ.

That’s it! Not to bad, eh?

Remember, for this device to map properly while using Hanz’s APC 64-40 script, it must be the last rack device in the chain. To get into this mode, simply press [SHIFT + SEND B]. If you want to effect another track with the Device Control knobs, be sure to hit [PAN] to lock the Track Contol knobs to the current channel’s EQ/Filter Rack before selecting another track.

I understand that some of you, who have already read Hanz’s blog, may have a few more questions about this setup which I did not address above for purposes of formatting this tutorial. I have quoted some of his material below:

http://remotescripts.blogspot.com/p/apc-64-40.html

I have also included a more in depth description of the setup and explanations for why I chose to setup the rack in this way.

Reference, How and Why:

“TRACK CONTROL MODE 3 (SHIFT + SEND B) – EQ/FILTER/SEND MODE. This mode is used to control track EQ and Filter parameters and Send amounts. In this mode, Track Control knobs 1 & 5 will automatically map to the current track’s Device Filter & Cutoff controls if the track contains one of the following devices: AutoFilter, Operator, OriginalSimpler, MultiSampler, UltraAnalog, or StringStudio. Track Control knobs 1 & 5 can also be used with Audio Effects Rack controls 1 & 5, if this device is the last device in the Track’s chain. … Track Control knobs 6, 7 & 8 will automatically map to the current track’s first three EQ controls, if the track contains an EQ3 or EQ8device. If the last device in the track’s device chain is an Audio Effects Rack, Track Controls 6, 7 & 8 will automatically map to Audio Effects Rack controls 2, 3 & 4 and the SEND A, B & C buttons will be mapped to Audio Effects Rack controls 6, 7 & 8 respectively.”

Here is the caveat: If there are any racks on this channel, than the knobs will automatically jump to the last rack in the signal chain, regardless if you have an EQ or Auto Filter that exists outside of the Effect Rack. So the auto mapping of the EQ3/8 and Auto Filter described above is void if you want to use a rack.

Here are my arguments for going with the Rack:

  • 1) The auto mapping of the Auto Filter does not let you change filter types. You only have control over Frequency and Resonance/ Q.
  • 2) Going with the Rack method, we will not only be able to utilize our Triple Filter that we made previously, but we will also be able to have any number of other Instrument or Effects Racks in the chain. Otherwise, if you’d rather use Hanz’s auto mapping, you cannot have any racks in the effect chain.

Downside:

We will have to make a slightly less traditional signal flow by having the track’s EQ at the end of the effects chain. (The EQ is normally the first device in the signal path of a standard DJ mixer). However, the end result is only mildly different.

Example:

Traditional signal flow: EQ -> Effects -> Volume Fader. In this setup, the effects may generate some extra harmonic content from the EQ’d audio, which will be present in the mix.

Proposed signal flow: Effects -> EQ -> Volume Fader. In this setup, the EQ will be the last bit of processing, so any extra harmonic content that is generated by the effects will be filtered according to the settings of the EQ. However, if the EQ is wide open, then there is no difference.

Since the purpose of the EQ in a DJ performance is primarily used in a subtractive method to make room for the material that we are trying to bring in during a transition, then I argue that having the EQ at the end of the effect chain is preferable.

I hope that this extra content has answered all of your questions and concerns. Be sure to check out other articles in the series, “Hanz for President” to see some of the other devices that I have made for this APC script. And as always, thank you for visiting AbletonOp.

This project will work in Live 8.1.1 or higher. Live 7 users: Feel free to build this rack if it has inspired you. You can still use it via the Device Control knobs. You just won’t be able to access it with the Track Control knobs without Hanz’s script (which I’m afraid only works on Live 8).

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