Is there a way to apply an LFO to an automation in your DAW?

mobius017

Aspiring ∞ Creator
Apr 8, 2018
1,694
If you've used a wavetable synth like Serum or Vital, you're probably familiar with how they have a few built-in LFOs (low-frequency oscillators). You can use these to do things like change the cutoff value of an EQ filter over time (producing a "sweep"), or change the volume over time, or change a parameter of the reverb over time, etc.

I'm wondering if there's a way to do that for things outside of Serum/Vital. This would basically be like somehow having an LFO take the place of drawing in automations in your DAW. I'm not sure exactly what form that might take, or how other people would succinctly describe it, though, so searching online is a bit difficult :) . Hopefully it makes sense, though. Does anyone know a way to do something like that? (Maybe an LFO plugin that somehow is able to control an arbitrary parameter of another plugin...I guess?)
 

parallax_fifths

Passionate Fan
Jun 27, 2019
163
If you're after what I think you're after, Reaper comes with a JS plugin called MIDI CC LFO Generator. It should be pretty straight forward to figure out.

Of course, that's only helpful if you're using Reaper...
 

mobius017

Aspiring ∞ Creator
Apr 8, 2018
1,694
Hm, as it happens, I'm using Studio One. But...that name you suggested gave me an idea. It turns out that Melda Productions makes a free tool called MCCGenerator. The verbiage on the page...well, it'd make more sense if I knew what "MIDI CC values" were...but the video they provided at least makes it look like this might do what I'm describing.

It looks like the MCCGenerator has an LFO in it (and a bunch of other stuff), which you can wire up to a particular MIDI CC (which I think is one of the things I've seen as available for automation while I've been working before). But then...how do you connect the MIDI CC to whatever parameter you want to change? You'd basically need to have access to the desired parameter inside of MCCGenerator somehow, or else somehow be able to map the MIDI CC to an arbitrary parameter of whatever plugin....
 
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mobius017

Aspiring ∞ Creator
Apr 8, 2018
1,694
Hm, happily, I seem to have been correct in thinking that MCCGenerator would do what I was wondering about. Sadly, Studio One seems to be the odd DAW out and is without support for MIDI CC (at least that is applicable to this usage), which is what is apparently needed for MCCGenerator (or the comparable XFer LFOTool) to work.

There's a (somewhat convoluted, IMO...or at least cludgy) workaround in the video at the bottom, but...ugh, it's been like 2.5 hours of research to get to this point, and I'm feeling like it'd be just as well to draw the fracking automation myself orz.

Thanks for the feedback, anyway!
 
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IO+

Resonance47
Apr 22, 2021
130
Studio One doesn't offer any modulation capabilities apart from automation, there is some tool like midishaper(29 USD) as the name suggest without knowing CC Values.

For the MIDI CC values.

- CC 1 = Modulation wheel
- CC 2 = Breath Control
- CC 7 = Volume
- CC 10 = Pan
- CC 11 = Expression
- CC 64 = Sustain Pedal (on/off)
- CC 65 = Portamento (on/off)
- CC 71 = Resonance (filter)
- CC 74 = Frequency Cutoff (filter)

These are common parameters, I don't think Studio One can send Midi CC using an FX plugin though, but worth a try.

anotherUnfotunate, pitchbend is technically NOT a continuous controller (CC). Because of the greater resolution wide bends require (to prevent “stair-stepping”), pitchbend has been assigned its own dedicated MIDI message type…
 
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mobius017

Aspiring ∞ Creator
Apr 8, 2018
1,694
So, I don't like giving up on things, which is why I'm still thinking about this despite my frustration from yesterday :) . I found a guide that worked much better for me at explaining how to set up a situation similar to what I have in mind. It covers both when the plugin whose parameter you want to control supports MIDI Learn and when it doesn't.

Cableguys | Audio Plugins

The guide is discussing MidiShaper, but I would think it would work similarly with MCCGenerator and probably other similar tools. MCCGenerator doesn't have MidiShaper's Teach feature, which limits output to one MIDI CC at a time so that the controlled software can learn what to listen for, but you can do that manually by simply only passing one thing from MCCGenerator at once, I'd think.

It's...still an involved process, though it might not seem too bad once you get the virtual MIDI loopback port set up (if you're using Windows, at least) and create the virtual controller in Studio One. Both of those things seem like they should be reusable, so I'd think you should only have to do them once. Although the guide does encourage you to write your MidiShaper signals to automation in case your MIDI port setup changes. (If your MIDI port setup can just change at random times, I feel that that kind of defeats the point.... Can that truly just randomly happen on its own?)

Also potentially with noting is this advice from Schleiereule in the kvraudio thread I linked yesterday:
Just make to sure to set "Smart Interpolation" to "minimal" in the settings of MCCGenerator - otherwise the virtual MIDI port overloads quickly (at least on my machine).

Anyway, at least once it's all written out like this, the process seems much clearer in my mind and easier to consider.

Out of curiosity, the guide mentions MIDI Yoke and LoopBe as software for setting up the virtual MIDI port. The video I mentioned before also discusses loopMIDI. I've also seen CopperLan mentioned. Has anyone used any of these? Any preferences?

In case anyone has a need, I found a list of MIDI CC values, too, to add to the ones @IO+ shared.

MIDI CC List (Quick Guide) - Professional Composers
 
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Stigbn

Aspiring Fan
Jul 21, 2018
62
Denmark
I don't know if this is what you're after

in youtube search for "Learn Studio One 3 | Automate Any Parameter in Seconds"

The video is not quite uptodate, but I checked and it still works. Once you have recorded a part with some 'filter cutoff' for example, you can draw any kind of lfo shape in the new filter cutoff window in the parameter lane.
 
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IO+

Resonance47
Apr 22, 2021
130
A small note about MIDI Continuous Controller values.
Some software instrument, plugins have a few different CC values, e.g propellerheads reason, Native Instruments that's have their own standard, some instrument have their own dedicated MIDI message type, so read the manual before using is recommended.
 
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mobius017

Aspiring ∞ Creator
Apr 8, 2018
1,694
To begin with, I'd just like to thank everyone for all their ideas and help. It means a lot to ask a question and have so many people help out!

@Stigbn: That is very similar to what I'm looking for! The difference in what I'm looking to do is have an LFO take the place of the automation. So instead of drawing a series of sine waves in the automation lane, add an LFO somehow that feeds that automation data to a parameter in an instrument or effect.

@IO+: Thanks--that's good to be aware of!

As an update, I gave the written directions I found from Cableguys, as well as the video directions from earlier, a try with MCCGenerator. But it doesn't seem to work for MCCGenerator. It seems like, if MCCGenerator is in fact sending MIDI signals, they apparently aren't making it to the virtual loopback MIDI port I set up. In fact, I think that might be the whole problem--I've no idea where in MCCGenerator I can tell it to send to the virtual loopback MIDI port, or if there even is such a spot. There are lots of pages of settings, even a MIDI one, but nothing that suggests to me that it would serve that purpose.

I may try one of the other plugins (LFO Tool, Midi Shaper) to see if I can make them work. I've found instructions specifically for those :) .
 
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