Navigating the Console

The System Console

The System Console gives you control over your project, and provides access to system critical functions. Learning how to navigate the console only takes a moment, but understanding what you can do with the console is central to creating successful projects.

This document will introduce and review all of the functions and tools available in the System Console, by breaking it down into sections and looking over what each section offers.

Audio Engine Controls

The Audio Engine tools on the System Console

The top-left section of the console is dedicated to the Audio Engine, and controls for the Master Out audio channel.

  1. Audio Engine Power Toggle - This toggle can be pressed to turn the audio engine on and off. When the toggle is white, the engine is on, and when the toggle is dark grey, the engine is off. If a driver has been selected that causes a conflict with the system, the toggle will stay off, or turn itself off.

  2. Driver, Input, and Output select menus - These menus allow you to select the driver, along with the input and output audio options for your project.

  3. Master Out Volume Control - This slider allows you to set the overall volume level for your project. The current decibel level is displayed as a pair of gain meters behind the slider. The top meter represents the left channel, and the bottom meter represents the right channel.

  4. Limiter Toggle - This toggle can be pressed to turn the output audio limiter on and off. The ‘LIM’ text is bright white when the toggle is on, and dark grey when the toggle is off. Turning on the limiter will make sure that your output levels never go beyond 0db, but carelessness with the output volume can result in the limiter distorting the expected signal.

  5. CPU meter - The CPU meter keeps track of the current CPU load generated by the audio signal processing in your project.

    Note that the CPU meter does not monitor video load on the GPU. It is common to see low CPU numbers even if you are only capable of outputting low frame rates from your video modules.

Board and Project Management

 Board and Project Management on the System Console

To the right of the Audio Engine section, the Board and Project Management section gives you access to new pedal boards, saved pedal boards, and additional project-critical windows.

  1. New Board - Possibly the most important button in the program, pressing this generates an empty Pedal Board.

  2. Select Board File Menu - Any saved Pedal Board in your project will be displayed in this drop-down menu. Clicking one of the saved board names in this menu will make a new copy of that board, even if an instance of that board is already open in your project.

  3. Import Board File - Pressing this button will generate an ‘open’ dialogue menu, allowing you to select any board file that has been exported from another project. This is a great way to combine boards from multiple locations into a single project.

  4. Delete Board - This opens up a secondary window, where you can select and delete any boards that have been saved in your project. You will be asked to confirm before any deletion occurs.

  5. Media Manager - The Media Manager makes it easy to add, remove, and preview any media files that you’d like to use in your project. Media files can be dragged and dropped into media modules like the Audio File Player, Video File Player, Audio File Granulator, or anything that uses audio files, MIDI files, plugins, or video files.

  6. Full Screen Toggle - Pressing this button toggles the application between ‘Full Screen’ and ‘Windowed’ mode. The default ‘Full Screen’ mode makes MSDP a full-screen application and gives MSDP Pedal Boards priority over other windows like web browsers. ‘Windowed’ mode removes the dark background and makes MSDP windows have the same priority as other applications.

    If you intend to use MSDP alongside other audio or video applications, turning the ‘Full Screen’ toggle off will allow you to see both applications easily.

    Video and Recording Tools

 Video and Recording Tools on the System Console

The top-right of the console contains the Video options and Recording tools.

  1. Video Options - currently, these options allow you to set the size of video output in VSYNTH modules. Other modules will use the native video sizes for their output.

  2. Recording Type - This menu allows you to set what type of recording you want to make. There are four options:

    • Audio file
    • Video file
    • Video file with embedded audio (Vidw/A)
    • Separate video and audio files. (V+A)

      Output Folders
      Recorded audio gets sent to the ‘Audio Files’ folder inside of the current MSDP project folder. Recorded video gets sent to the ‘Saved Video’ folder inside of the current MSDP project folder.
      If you are recording video with audio, the file will appear in the ‘Saved Video’ folder, and if you are recording both separately, the files will appear in the ‘Audio Files’ and ‘Saved Video’ folders respectively.

  3. Video channel for recording - This determines the video channel number that will be captured for any video recordings created in the project. For example, if you have multiple video signals, and want to record the signal going to channel 4, you would want to input the number ‘4’ in this location.

  4. Record On/Off Toggle - This button, when turned off, is a ‘mint’ colored circle, and when turned on, is a red colored square. When off, pressing this button will begin recording the current audio, video, or both, depending on what you’ve set as the recording type for the current project. Recording will continue until the record toggle is turned off again.

  5. Recorded File Name - Type the name you would like to use for your recorded files here. The first file you record will have ‘0’ appended to the end of it. Every successive recording made will have a new value appended to the end of the name in whole-number increments. This way, you can record multiple files without having to create a new name upon every recording.

    File Types and Recording Settings
    As of MSDP 2.0, most recorded file settings are set for you.

    Audio files will record as .wav files, and will record at the same sample rate as your project settings.
    Video files will save as .mov files, and frame rate can be set in the ‘System Preferences’ menu. Frame rates for recordings must be set to values that are divisible by 1000, meaning that 60fps is not available as a recording speed right now.
    If you want to record video at 60fps or higher, right now we recommend using 3rd party screen capturing software like Nvidia ShadowPlay or Open Broadcast System (OBS)

    The Metronome

 The Metronome on the System Console

The Metronome allows you to synchronize rhythmic events and automation across your project, and acts as a tool for performers. Understanding the metronome will help you unlock the full potential of the MSDP systems.

  1. Metronome On/Off Toggle - Turn this toggle on to start the metronome, and press it again to stop the metronome.
  2. Metronome Project Settings - a variety of critical settings for the metronome:
    • BPM - Beats Per Minute - Determines how many beats occur during one minute of time. Effectively determines how fast a beat is.
    • Length - Determines the number of beats per measure. Note that, unlike a normal time signature, we don’t have an option of setting what type of note is equivalent to one beat - use division to determine how many parts you will have to a beat.
    • Division - determines the beat sub-division of the display. Options include eighth, triplet-eighth, sixteenth, or custom. Use custom to get any beat division required.
    • Custom Division Setting - Use this to craft a custom beat division. Any number may be used for your custom division, between 1 and 100. Note that this custom beat division will only be displayed if you’ve set the ‘division’ menu to ‘custom’.
  3. Loop On/Off Toggle - This toggle determines whether the metronome will loop between a pre-determined start and stop point. These points can be set via the values outlined in #5 on this list.
  4. Reset Metronome - Pressing this will bring the metronome back to Beat 1, Measure 1, Subdivision 1, UNLESS the loop toggle is turned on. If the loop toggle is turned on, pressing this button will return the metronome to the Start Loop point.
  5. Metronome Loop Settings - Here you may determine the start point and stop point for loops on the metronome. For each, you may set a Measure number and Beat number. In the example above, the loop start point is set to Measure 1, Beat 1, and the end point is set to Measure 5, Beat 1. The result is that, when the metronome arrives at 5|1, the loop will start over. Note that this effectively makes a four-measure loop.
  6. LCD Display - This large read-out displays the current Measure, Beat, and Tick (Subdivision) that the metronome is set to.
  7. Clock Source - MSDP’s metronome can be controlled two-ways. The default setting, ‘Internal’, means that the metronome will be controlled by the internal MSDP system. However, setting the clock source to ‘Link’ will, instead, set MSDP’s metronome to listen for any application that is running Ableton Link in ‘master’ mode, and the metronome will act as a slave to the external application’s metronome. This function is still experimental, but should work as a great way to synchronize events across multiple copies of MSDP on the same network!
    8 Skip To - Selecting a Measure number and Beat number in the ‘Skip To’ box will force the metronome to immediately jump to that location.

The Clock

 The Clock on the System Console

To the right of the Metronome is the Clock. This is a comparatively simple section, but when paired with a tool like the Score Automator, it can provide a lot of control over your project.

  1. LCD Display - This is similar to the metronome LCD, but it displays the current Hour, Minute, and Second that the clock is at.
  2. Clock On/Off Toggle - Pressing this button turns the clock on/off. If ‘Tempo Link’ is turned on, this will be controlled by the metronome.
  3. Tempo Link Toggle - This toggle determines whether the starting and stopping of the clock should syncronize with the starting and stopping of the metronome. If Tempo Link is on, turning on one tool will also begin the other, and turning off one tool will also stop the other.
  4. Clock reset - Pressing this button will reset the clock back to Hour 0, Minute 0, Second 0.