Novation X-Y Controller Pad with Dimension Vector Mixer

Integrate the Novation series controller's X-Y touch pad with P5 and Dimension.


By Tom Brockway (b rock) from P5 Forum

First (as you probably already know), you have to program in at least one MIDI message per X and Y into a Novation template. Don't go by that quadrant chart in the manual; it's all screwed up. Use the Novation's display in the Edit mode and tap on the four quadrants to determine whether you're currently programming X1, X2, Y1, or Y2. If you do program in two parameters each in two different planes, you'll have to remember the two CC#s (or other MIDI message) that you want specifically for the Vector Mixer later on. If you want the X/Y pad to return to the center value on both axes like the Vector Matrix does, press the Template select button, and navigate to the Touchpad X (and Touchpad Y) Type windows. Set the values in both to Spring Centre, and save your template.

Go to the Track Inspector (in V2) for Dimension, and click the right-pointing arrow to expose the eight 'widget' parameters for the synth. You're looking for the Vector Mixer X and Vector Mixer Y assignments. If need be, right-click on any of the 'widgets' and go to DX Automation, and then locate one of the Vector parameters. Repeat the process on another 'widget' for the other direction of the Mixer. Now right-click again on each of these widgets in turn to "bind" your MIDI message transmitted by the Novation X-Y pad.

In MIDI Remote Control, you have a Learn function. If you've only programmed one CC per-plane in the Novation, just click on Learn and tap the proper quadrant on the Novation. If you have two messages per-plane in your template, you'll have to enter the proper one(s) manually in MIDI Remote Control. The Learn process gets confused with receiving multiple messages at the same time. Repeat the procedure for each quad (X1 and Y1; or X2 and Y2; or both), and you're all set.

Note that you can also remotely control the Desaccel function in the Vector Mixer, which (in effect) tailors the response of the pad by introducing a curve into the mix. Higher values result in a 'slower' response time. You can also flip the High/Low values in the Novation template, and/or experiment with the Jump/Pickup Pot/Slider control.

As for the MIDI Learn in Dimension, René has mentioned that everything is considered if it's put in as a formal feature request. I've personally gotten used to doing all Remote Control through the P5 interface. That way, I have it all in one spot, can save each set of assignments as a Device Chain template, and don't have to deal with each synth's individual peculiarites in their MIDI Learn implementation. One size fits all.

If you're just getting into the Novation end of things, make sure that you download the 2.x O/S for the Remotes from You get the benefit of some bug fixes, Keyboard Zones; enhanced controller options, and a whole lot more.

At the same link, you can download the Learn files. They're useful for general information relating to control surface support, but nothing specific to Project5 (Sonar, though). There's also the newest MIDI drivers, the factory defaults for all of the templates, and a template editor that'll sure make life easy on you. All of it's free for the asking.

When you start getting into the X-Y pad programming, check out using pitchbend in an X direction, and Mod wheel in the Y. You can do some things with this that can't be duplicated in any other way. Stuff like whammy bar 'slams' & 'leans', PB 'tapping' effects, PB vibrato with adjacent mod wheel effects, bent trills, hammer-ons and pull-offs, staccato sample mangling, and a host of other effects.

Same goes for filter parameters. I don't know how I ever got along without the X-Y pad, and it sits there right under my left pinky (finger, that is ...). If I had room to put it, I'd consider a Kaoss pad just for the X-Y, but it'd have to bunk up with the Trigger Finger. There's just no good spot to put anything else, unless I go vertical with a controller rack. Hmmm ...

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