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Thread: Optimal Wacom features for music control?

  1. #1


    These are more general questions concerning use of a Wacom tablet as a music controller than an Osculator-specific one. I hope that's not out of line... Because Osculator provides such awesome support for graphics tablets, I thought there might be a fair amount of collective experience here.


    I have been using a 4"x5" Graphire 2 tablet with Osculator and I am finding it to be an expressive and intuitive controller, almost as much as using an EWI (but with a Wacom tablet, you can sing at the same time!).


    As it is, with x, y, pressure, choice of pen or eraser, proximity detection, rocker switch buttons, it provides a lot of dimensions of control. But with an Intuos tablet, there would also be tilt in two dimensions. If you use an Intuos tablet, do you get a lot of mileage out that extra control?


    Also, does a larger tablet provide much added benefit for music controller use?


  2. #2


    Hello Yasha,


    I am using a medium sized (A4) Intuos 3, and I think that I would not like a smaller one.

    In fact this is the best size if you want a good precision but something that fits in your backpack. With smaller tablets I find it difficult to be in tune when playing sounds that have a pitch.

    Before the Intuos I tried the Graphire and found the overall feeling good bot not as great as an Intuos series. What I mean is that you not only get access to the tilt parameters, but you also have a pen that feels smoother and more precise. I think the Intuos 3 or 4 can be a good upgrade over the Graphire.

    This week I tried the new Intuos 4, and I think the design is even better, but I am not sure that it is good enough to justify an upgrade since I don't need the oled display. I have heard the pen was even more precise, but again, I am not sure it would make that much if a difference in my music.


    Best,

    Camille


  3. #3


    Thanks for your help, Camille. With a larger tablet, I wouldn't have to restrict the pitch range as much as I'm doing right now, which would be very nice. Now I just have to earn a lot of money so I can afford one.


  4. #4


    I can't say enough good things about having tilt data! Mostly I use it for basic modulation of attack and release envelope parameters; having the ability to fluidly shape a sound in a dynamic fashion makes for very expressive instrument control. Controlling a synth or sampler like this is great, and only aided by the possibility of adding another data source for your non-drawing hand (like a Wiimote with Motion+, or even a knob or fader controller). Add a foot pedal controller to a setup like this and soon you have almost too much control over your sound.


    With smaller tablets I find it difficult to be in tune when playing sounds that have a pitch.

    I agree. Even with a larger tablet it can be hectic trying to hit specific notes without implementing a way to scale the number of octaves you are attempting trigger over. Something I found helpful in maximizing the range vs. accuracy is to use a midi plugin or other method of quantizing note data to a specific key or mode. There's a plugin in Ableton that does this, and there is a mac/pc vst plugin in the PIZ midi plugin bundle that does it as well, though with an arguably less intuitive user interface. Alternatively, you could roll your own solution to this in a modular environment like Max/MSP or Plogue Bidule.


    RE: cost, it shouldn't be too hard to find a used oler model Intuos tablet (the Intuos2 had a model with USB connectivity, I believe). Good luck with your earning/saving!!!


    -Scott


  5. #5


    Something I found helpful in maximizing the range vs. accuracy is to use a midi plugin or other method of quantizing note data to a specific key or mode.
    Definitely. I've using been the modal constraints in Numerology 2. Also, I've been creating .tun files with Li'l Miss' Scale Oven to retune Zebra 2 to xenharmonic scales.


    A Wacom tablet is great for microtonal music, because you don't have to work around the pattern of white & black keys and arbitrary scale length of a keyboard controller.


    Thanks for your comments on tilt data.


    -- James / "Yasha"


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