Old 05-25-2023, 12:32 PM   #1
vdubreeze
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Default Best Reaper approach for live keys?

In an attempt to cut down on the weight of the shlep I've tried Reaper as a VSTi host a few times at rehearsals with assorted degrees of success. Using a variety of small Focusrite interfaces, 2nd and 3rd Gen. What I'm aiming for is about as simple as it gets Just one acoustic or electric piano or organ at a time, and only a handful of VST3s from each to fill those. Never combining or layering.

What I've been doing is putting each on its own track, arming a track and option clicking the arm button to change patches. Works ok, not great. Too much need to use the trackpad, which I'd like to mostly avoid once it's set up. Ideally I want to move the laptop out of the way and use a controller on the keyboard to move the patch (track select) up and down, or however else works better than reaching for the trackpad.

What's the actual best way to use Reaper as a live keyboard host, especially considering it's jumping between only a handful of already set up instruments and not diving any deeper? Is it an entirely different approach?

Is there anything about MainStage that's makes it better suited? Getting the whole library of instruments is a nice incentive, but I don't really need them. Does MainStage not really do much more than a well laid out Reaper template would?

Thanks for any wisdom
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Old 05-25-2023, 01:13 PM   #2
TonE
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Not being an expert, I would probably send all my midi hardware to same virtual midi port, and using this single midi port as input in Reaper, going to 'MIDI INPUT track'. No vst there.
Then, doing all your routing needs from this single track.
Maybe this helps a bit, or you are doing this already.
Other than that probably a combination of all available live tools for Reaper.
- Realearn, with clip engine
- SWS LiveConfigs
- ...

I would start simple. Try it first with a single instrument. Finding your dream workflow, for this single instrument. Then try adding a second instrument, and find an elegant way of switching between both. Finally, transition from two to more instruments, and how to switch elegantly between those. Just a few general ideas. Have fun with Reaper, friend.

Last edited by TonE; 05-25-2023 at 11:33 PM. Reason: added SWS LiveConfigs to list
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Old 05-25-2023, 01:25 PM   #3
vdubreeze
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TonE View Post
Not being an expert, I would probably send all my midi hardware to same virtual midi port, and using this single midi port as input in Reaper, going to 'MIDI INPUT track'. No vst there.
Then, doing all your routing needs from this single track.
Maybe this helps a bit, or you are doing this already.
Other than that probably a combination of all available live tools for Reaper.
- Realearn, with clip engine
- ...

I would start simple. Try it first with a single instrument. Finding your dream workflow, for this single instrument. Then try adding a second instrument, and find an elegant way of switching between both. Finally, transition from two to more instruments, and how to switch elegantly between those. Just a few general ideas. Have fun with Reaper, friend.

For simplicity's sake I just have each track set to get all midi sent to it. I have ten tracks, each with one VSTi, and I choose them by option clicking the arm button, which instead of making an additional armed track makes the current one the only armed one.

It functions fine, more or less. I can go to any of the tracks and use the VSTi on that track but it's not smooth, partially because of the cursor needing a click to refocus on the tracks if I did anything else with it, and also because it requires both cursor movement AND option clicking. I don't want to have to have the laptop within reach, rather do it without touching it once it's set up. Using Reaper as VSTi host this way doesn't allow that, so I'm looking for a way to use any other means, from the controller keyboard or, if it has to be, arrow keys.

For example, MainStage allows you to create a patch list (which can be any VSTi, not just patches from one) and toggle up and down on it using arrow keys, IIRC. Trying to get something like this out of Reaper, where no track pad or clicking required to switch VSTis.
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Old 05-25-2023, 02:17 PM   #4
TonE
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Why option clicking, right click on arm button, there is an option of 'auto arming the current selected track'. Then you only need to switch between track, like in the old days, the standard Cubase behaviour. I have my hotkeys like (as in vim text editor)
- j going to next track down
- k going to prev track up
(I did not use the arrow keys as I am using those already for doing 1dB loudness, up and down)

Instead of j, k, you can use any key bindings you like, or any midi event, cc, or notes. The highest two black keys of your keyboard maybe, or the lowest. Something you do not use very often.

Last edited by TonE; 05-25-2023 at 11:48 PM.
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Old 05-25-2023, 10:57 PM   #5
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Take a look at the sticky thread in the "Live" subforum. Same is about exactly this. Please ask appropriate questions over there.

The easiest rather versatile way to set up a multi-patch live keyboard "instrument" by means of Reaper is using SWS LiveConfigs.
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Old 05-25-2023, 11:47 PM   #6
TonE
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vdubreeze View Post
For example, MainStage allows you to create a patch list (which can be any VSTi, not just patches from one) and toggle up and down on it using arrow keys, IIRC. Trying to get something like this out of Reaper, where no track pad or clicking required to switch VSTis.
Another thing you could do (as we can do whatever we want in Reaper).
1. Using as input program change events (0..127, or 1..128 if you want to start counting from 1 instead of zero).
2. Program change could do Reaper track selection, track 1..128. Thus there you would have your most general patch selection mechanism. Load whatever synths you want, vsti, hardware... Each track needs to be set up as auto-arming, as mentioned above. You could play solos exclusively among those 128 tracks/instruments. If you have even more tracks, those you could set up in a different form, if you want. You could use GM way of organizing patches, or in any way you like. GM way would give you at least rough ideas how those instruments could sound. Or make your own private list of instruments.

I did above trick*, converting program change events to Reapers bpm tempo, via osc (and oscii-bot), this script could be modified, instead of doing tempo changes, it would only select Reaper tracks. There you would have your solution. Simplest solution, I would say. Doing nothing complicated, program change INPUT, Reapers track selection OUTPUT. Simple and clean. Have fun with Reaper friend.

If you want to dive further later, and making things more complicated, also possible of course.

* https://forum.cockos.com/showpost.ph...09&postcount=4

Last edited by TonE; 05-26-2023 at 12:08 AM.
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Old 05-26-2023, 07:23 AM   #7
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Thanks TonE and mschnell for taking the time to respond. mschnell, funny that it completely went by me to post in the Live subforum, because being something I never do I've never checked it out and forgot it was there! Sort of like the Spatial Use sub. I've been here for ages but someone would have to point out to me that a question about spatial use should go there, if you know what I mean. Thanks

TonE, thanks for your suggestions but I have to say that they're far too complicated for the simple task at hand. I only need to toggle between a handful of core instruments and want to make it a more transparent effort than what I've been doing.

Cheers

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Old 05-26-2023, 03:34 PM   #8
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If you need even less CPU overhead maybe an app like vsthost could work. Haven't tried it on vsti but maybe. Reaper offers many more options though.

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Old 05-27-2023, 12:34 AM   #9
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I doubt that they will use less CPU than Reaper for the task, but there are some programs dedicated and limited to this issue and supposedly rather easily to use. E.g. MainStage and Camelot.
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