Double tap and long press midi map/learn actions

edited November 2021 in Feature Wish-lists

Not many of us have multi-controller set ups.

For many of us, if we’re using a controller at all, it will be an akai mpk mini style keyboard or a pad controller like Novation launchpad or a mixer style affair like Korg nanokontrol.

This will mean that sooner or later the amount of physical controls will lack and we’ll have to compromise.

This doesn’t necessarily have to be the case.

There’s plenty of actions that can double or triple the mileage you’ll get from a single CC control. Admittedly this will apply mostly to buttons/switches but not entirely so. With faders it can be a combination of a button hold alongside the fader movement doubling its function.

@michael has been at the forefront of this on iOS with double and triple taps as well as hold and tap in Loopy Pro. Some people use mosaic and stream byter scripting to achieve this although I personally feel that it adds an unnecessary amount of complexity for some users, including yours truly.

I’m currently trying to convince @giku to implement a long press as a midi command (he seems onboard with this) but would love to see double taps too as they can hugely improve the amount of stuff that can be done from a controller.

There’s potential issues with using double taps where speed or timing is of essence. Muting or can be tricky with a long press in a live scenario.

The good thing is that if the options are there for the user, the user can then decide what actions to use for what.

I’d love to hear about your use of the above and if you know of software developers as well as hardware makers that have made a positive progress in the area.


  • Interesting points. Looking at the disadvantages of long press or double/triple taps versus immediate firing of events upon button/pad presses, I wonder if switchable controller banks wouldn't be a better idea.

    Say you have a limited Akai MPK Mini with 8 pads and 8 knobs but only 2 banks supported on the hardware, and even banks are not always available on other controllers.

    What do you think about this:

    Knob 8 will be reserved as a bank switch knob. Turning it will allow you to switch between 16 different banks (i.e. Drambo tracks or whatever) and while you turn the knob, one of the pads lights up for just one second to indicate the bank number. Banks 1-8 will be constant light, banks 9-16 are indicated by a fast flashing light. Pads 1..8 and knobs 1..7 will still be free for control.

    Another option would be to give pad 8 a special function and select banks by turning knob 8 while holding pad 8, using the same illumination scheme to confirm bank selection. This would keep all pads and controllers free for control.

  • I personally think that this is only an additional layer of complexity that may serve few users, but most will only get confused. I have never used a controller that made it worth the hassle it required. Even dedicated control surface support can be more trouble than gain.

    If I had to choose something, I would vote for customer shift/bank select buttons. Something along the lines of what rs2000 said. F.e on midi learn panel an additional A,B,C,D banks, which the user could assign to any CC, so it becomes bank switch (shifting CC or switching channel). May be useful for smaller controllers.

    I can’t see myself using any of this, double/triple/long tap is definitely not for me. Imo the more you add, the more additional stuff will be requested, a never ending chase, where no one is really ever satisfied…

    Imo the touch screen is much better / more customisable control surface, which is where I would focus related development, if that’s given it can be the front / screen for tactile controller support.

  • edited November 2021

    I get what you’re saying @rs2000

    My experience with banks on any of the controllers I’ve used was that I would often forget what bank I’m in, move the control only to realise I’m in the wrong bank. Since then I’ve decided that for me personally banks aren’t the way.

    Also quick dialling banks using a knob, even if notched can be hit and miss, especially in a live situation. Up and down button would be preferable.

    Still I’d be more in favour of a shift button that you’d need to hold to engage the second layer of controls, this way there’s no possibility of forgetting the state you’re in.

  • I'm with you @rec, I only use controllers when I have to tweak a lot of knobs during sound design or when I feel like using an old school step sequencer. Yeah, and sometimes an xfader and mixer + track mute controller to jam with a project.

    But a lot of people are constantly crying for MIDI controller support so there must be a fan base me thinks ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Audiobus has double tap and hold actions and work great and I use them all the time. Hold to clear and double tap to launch an app in the foreground works great too.

  • edited November 2021

    Perhaps those crying are people who play live as opposed to sound design?

    BTW I have similar thought about people moaning about the lack of piano roll or onscreen control surfaces but would never try to belittle it only because it’s not my perspective. People use Drambo in a variety of ways.

    @rec how can an extra option on the list be confusing?

  • @supadom The word "crying" wasn't meant in a dismissive way at all! Sorry if you've felt offended.

    What I meant to say was only to confirm that: People use Drambo in a variety of ways.

  • It would make sense to differentiate two completely different approaches. I think many many users confuse them, thinking there is a magic solution that will turn software into hardware. That’s a pipe dream.

    • bi-directional midi communication, taking away big chunk of lengthy setup process from the user, but requires dedicated support on the software side (@rs2000 imo this is what most users desire lately)
    • maximum flexibility in ‘midi learn’ facility to allow customise any controller (@supadom from what I’ve seen, this is what you need in the first place)

    The two are completely different, in term of use cases, necessary setup/competence, potential depth, required support from software side.

    I’m not against anything (certainly not options), I just never experienced/seen a complete solution, it’s always an ongoing fight that on its own can occupy a team of developers or it can be outsourced to competent users (like @supadom, customising your controller, reaching limits looking for more). When the average user runs into options he/she gets confused, but

    Not against it, but I can’t see myself using it… maybe you will change my mind watching your performances :)

  • recrec
    edited November 2021

    As a side note, imo Drambo in its current form is already a front runner in terms of flexibility.

    see @Gravitas developing his own workaround for his personal use case

  • I think you’re overemphasising the complexity of adding 2 more midi action.

    This is not about a magic solution to turn software into hardware but expanding the vocabulary of interaction between software and hardware.

    How hard can it be for someone to differentiate between tap, double tap and long press? This is basic shit.

    I could go on with how the piano roll (a feature that I don’t use at all) is a huge drain on support but I won’t because I know many people will benefit from it.

  • You just gave an example of somebody spending entire week and 100s of modules to make something that should (in theory) be a fairly straight forward affair.

  • recrec
    edited November 2021

    My understanding is that faking bi-directional communication (meaningful feedback) was the challenge. My point was that this is not always as easy as it seems, but D is flexible enough to achieve that. You are mixing the two… Most users want to avoid the lengthy setup process, long tap won’t help them, but if it helps you and there is a use case for it… ๐Ÿ‘

  • Yes, it would help me and many others beside me I’m sure, and it isn’t going to take much to implement nor service I expect.

  • @supadom Can you give me an example of mapping one pad/button to three different functions triggered by tap, double-tap and long-tap?

  • Anything: undo, clear recording in the upcoming audio looper, enable loop, select track, queue next scene, bring up keyboard or piano roll. I find long press very good for clearing stuff using foot pedals.

  • I’m not too fussed about double tap, especially because the software will need to delay any action until it’s sure that no second tap is coming. I included it in the thread to gauge people’s opinions on such actions.

    However this is not an issue with hold.

  • Agreed, menu functions are good candidates for these button gestures. Which also means that new destinations for MIDI mapping might be required.

  • edited November 2021

    It absolutely requires careful consideration.

    Perhaps 3 actions per pad would be overkill but I can definitely see myself using 2. Currently I’m out of buttons on my launch control XL so a long press here and there, mostly muting modules live would be useful.

    Since Drambo is such a knob heavy app, perhaps a shift button may be more appropriate though.

    Don’t know, just wanted to chat about this ;)

  • Long press sounds good because it's no problem to trigger menu functions on knob release so the knob-down-time can be evaluated easily.

    Shift button sounds like an option too - All these could find their way into the MIDI learn menu.

    Like the future parameter feedback to breathe life into pads and LED rings.

    Owning a Launchpad mini with 64 + a few pads plus an APC mini, I wonder if that wouldn't be a better option in your case? I've experimented a bit with it using the current Drambo modules, and adding LED feedback to pads isn't that troublesome as long as you don't start building your own sequencer like Gravitas did a while ago.

    Nothing beats dedicated illuminated pads for displaying what's going on IMHO, and the LP and APC mini are quite affordable (my personal preference is the APC mini because of the better pad illumination and 8 faders which are always good to have, even with your LCXL).

  • I’ve been moaning about the shift key for a while now although not naggingly so. I think shift is overall a cleaner idea although it requires another fixed button on the face of Drambo.

    Having my LCXL light up for mutes and record has been a night vs night experience. No more accidental event recording when I used to forget to disengage record button. I don’t know how much development effort it would take to implement bidirectional midi but I expect it would involve adding some code to all the modules.

    The current workaround works for me for most part apart from record button for which I needed to create a new instance of Drambo otherwise it would record the button press itself in automation and I’d end up with rec button having a life of its own ๐Ÿ˜…

    To be honest the only reason I need the long press is for a foot pedal action because shift is a no-go in that area since both hands are busy playing. If it’s easier to implement it locally, only in the upcoming audio looper I’m fine with that.

  • On the subject of shift button.

    I think someone’s mentioned it was already possible to make a contraption using existing modules that works like a shift key.

    ie if I send cc5 but hold a button the cc5 gets converted to cc66. Did I dream it up or is it actually possible to do on a small scale already?

  • edited November 2021

    @supadom It's possible in various ways, the easiest involving the new Morph module.

    You'll still need an external MIDI loopback app though.


    1. Another good use for a momentary button ... pleeeease ๐Ÿ˜
    2. Another good use for internal MIDI loopback. MIDI control does not worry about 10ms latency ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • @rs2000 the video link doesn’t seem to be working.

    So there is no way to make it work without 3rd party apps?

  • edited November 2021

    please try again @supadom. (It uses a module that will be available in the next major release).

    These apps are free and both support MIDI loopback:


    MIDI Rec:

  • Perfect info, thanks @rs2000

  • Enjoy ๐Ÿ˜Š

  • These little next version teasers are making me quite hungry. Hope the wait isn’t too much longer. ๐Ÿ˜

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