Make it Go: The Launchpad as Monome (Part 2 – MIDIYoke and Polygome)

Welcome back! Last time, we went over the initial setup of the Launchpad as Monome and reviewed rudimentary use of the beat shuffling program MLR. If you’ve gone through that how-to, you’re prepared for what will follow in this article. If you haven’t, I highly reccomend you complete at least the first part (Initial Setup) of that tutorial. If you’ve got no need for beat shuffling, you can skip the MLR portion.

Also, in case you did not get ahold of it last time, here’s every program you’ll need in one convenient package:
Launch-Mono Starter Kit.zip

Intro to Polygome

First, plug in your Launchpad and launch nonome. Depending on what you were doing last time you used a Max5 patch, nonome might try to access ASIO4ALL, even though it does not need any audio outputs.  Why? Max5 Runtime will try to use the same audio device it used last time you opened a Max patch, so even if your current device (nonome) does not require access to the soundcard, Max5 will claim it anyway. So check your icons in the lower righthand corner of your screen.
You don't want this
If you see the ASIO4ALL play or pause symbols, Max5 is trying to claim your soundcard. There’s no way to make it stop from the nonome or Max5 menu, but if you open a program that includes dsp settings you can tell Max5 to stop trying to use your soundcard. Click on Launch-Mono Starter Kit\mlr_Aes mdb 0.42\_mlr.maxpat to open mlr. Go to options -> dsp_options and in the driver field select None.
Set to None

Close mlr and close nonome. When you reopen nonome, you shouldn’t see any ASIO4ALL icons in your dock. If you do, review the above and try again.

Once you’ve sorted out your audio drivers, dig into your the Starter Kit and run Launch-Mono Starter Kit\polygome64v98\_polygome64.maxpat. When the app pops up click on the sys\prefix\gome button.
Click the \gome button
This sets your nonome to the \gome prefix and ensures that these two applications talk to each other. The OSC prefix in nonome should now read /gome.
nonome should read "/gome"

This is typical of almost every monome app you’ll use. Every app has its prefix, and setting nonome’s OSC prefix to match enables communication between the two. Many apps have a button like polygome that sets the prefix automatically, but some require that you edit the OSC prefix in nonome yourself.

Also, be sure to select Launchpad in the Select Launchpad dropdown menu in nonome.  This is especially important for using Polygome.  If you route nonome to the Microsoft Synthesizer or other device, you may produce unwanted MIDI data.

Switch back to Polygome and set the MIDI Output to Microsoft Synthesizer if it isn’t already.

Now, grab your monome and start pressing buttons. If you’ve done everything correctly you should hear a piano arpeggio. Congratulations! You’ve got Polygome working. Polygome does not make any noise by itself, it only sends MIDI data. If you’ve followed the instrucitons above, you’ve routed that MIDI data to your soundcard’s default MIDI bank. The piano arpeggio is the result of successful communication between the two.

Installing MIDI Yoke

Now that Polygome and your Launchpad are working together, the next step is integrating it into your VST host (Ableton, FL Studio, Cubase, Reaper, etc.).  This is how you will use Polygome to run your favorite softsynth.

MIDI Yoke will create several virtual MIDI channels you can use to route MIDI data from one program to the next:  from the Polygome to your VST host.  Double click MidiYokeSetup.msi in the starter kit and click through the installation dialog.  When the programs asks you to reboot, do so.

Integrating Polygome with your VSTi Host

Upon reboot, fire up nonome and Polygome as per the Intro to Polygome part of this tutorial.  But this time when you select MIDI output on the Polygome you should see MIDI Yoke channels in the dropdown menu.  Instead of the Microsoft Synthesizer, Select Out to MIDI Yoke: 1 – Channel 1.

On top of sending data, Polygome will need to receive data from your host in order to stay synced to your host’s tempo.  To enable this, choose beat clock under source in the clock options.  Uncheck the internal checkbox, and select In From MIDI Yoke 2 in the recieve beat clock from dropdown.  Later, you will set up your VST host to send clock data to this Yoke channel.

Note that if you’ve set up Polygome correctly, you won’t hear anything.  You’ll have to set up your host to make any noise.  This next section will use Reaper as the host, so the exact instructions for the host of your choice might be a little different, but the principles are the same.  You may need to consult your host’s manual to find and adjust for differences your setup procedure.

Open Reaper and start a new project.  Create a new track (Ctrl-T) and put your favorite VSTi in the FX slot.  To gain access to the new MIDI Yoke MIDI devices, you may have to adjust your host’s preferences.  If you’re using Reaper, go to Options -> Preferences and choose MIDI Devices in the lefthand menu.  To allow Reaper to accept data from the Polygome, right-click In From MIDI Yoke 1 and select Enable input.

Next, tell Reaper to transmit it’s tempo to Polygome by right-clicking Out to MIDI Yoke: 2 and select Configure input. . . When the Configure MIDI Output dialog box shows up, check Enable output to this device and Send clock/SPP to this device.

Reaper and Polygome are now comunicating with each other in general.  All that remains is to route Polygome to the track containing the VSTi you’d like to run.  On that track, arm for recording and enable monitoring by clicking the little ar button to the left of the fader and the button with the speaker icon to the right of the meters.

You should now see a dropdown menu appear over the meters.  Left-click on it and select MIDI Input -> In From MIDI Yoke: 1 -> Channel 1.

Everything is now connected and properly routed, but Polygome will not produce MIDI data for your VST until it gets a tempo from Reaper.  Press Play in Reaper to begin transmission of this tempo.

Congratulations! If everything has gone well, you how have Polygome hooked up to your host, and routed to your favorite VSTi.  Like mlr (covered in Part 1), there is a lot more to Polygome than I’ve covered here.  You’ll have to consult the documentation and experiment with it to gain full access to everything it can do, but this should be enough to get you started.

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10 comments

    1. Not yet, I have no Mac and I’ve only got Mac instructions on the other tutorial based on input from others who have commented. But . . . .

      I think that you’ll be able to use Apple Core Audio (as in the mlr tutorial) and MidiYoke won’t work on a Mac. But the IAC should allow you to do the same thing. Go to /Applications/Utilities/Audio MIDI Setup. From there you can add and name virtual MIDI ports as you need them.

      Again, I’ve not tested because I’m not on a Mac, but everything I’ve found suggests that it should work. Let me know how it goes.

      -Thanks

      1. hi i’m new to launchpad,

        i went through the first tutorial and it worked gr8.
        ( though settings don’t seem to save so you have to start from scratch each time )

        i was wondering if you had a chance to test this second tutorial on a mac yet?
        or if maybe you knew of a link where someone had?

        thx for such a complete a thorough tutorial especially including all files need to do it
        i for one really appreciate yo sharing your knowledge

      2. Hi Will,

        Unfortunately, I’ve not been able to test this second setup on a Mac and I’ve not seen any other tutorials of the same nature for a mac. Should you stumble across any solutions, please let me know and I’ll add them to the tutorial. I can only say that I think doing part 2 on a mac will be easier because you’ll be able to use the built in applecore audio as your midi router rather than needing to install midiYoke. The interface for AppleCore will be different, but you’ll be doing the same thing. Somewhere in that applecore menu is a midi settings tab or button; open it when you have all other programs set up and running. Then set up a MIDI channel to come out of Max5/Polygome and then into your DAW of choice. Should do the trick.

        This tutorial has helped others with this:

        http://fox-gieg.com/tutorials/2007/inter-application-midi/

        As for adding this to your performances, once you have things running the way you’d like, it should be as simple as buying a 1/8th inch stereo miniplug to two 1/4″ (left and right) adapter. That will allow you to jack into just about any mixer or DI. Just set the latency (in applecore or in your DAW) as low as you can get it without the sound stuttering.

        As for getting Edison’s setup, it looks like he’s using two launchpads: One for mlr and the other dedicated to launching clips in ableton. Part one of the tutuorial should get you up and running with mlr, but I’ve really not used the launchpad for clip launching at all. I know that’s what I’m supposed to use it for, but all I really wanted was a monome. I’ve answered everything in the questions section as well.

  1. Hi. Excellent Article! I remember it being a deciding factor in me getting my TWO launchpads. So thanks big time. I have a question regarding the Polygome adventures you mention right at the end.

    I’ve sync’d Polygome and Logic just fine and everything is working great. The only issue is this: that every button pressed on Launchpad generates a note in Logic. So on top of the Polygome sounds (Launchpad–>MAX–>DAW) I’m getting an extra midi signal directly from Launchpad to DAW.

    Any idea how I can tell Logic to ignore the Launchpad’s raw signals and only play what’s coming via Polygome?

    Best, O

    1. Hmmm . . . I must admit I’m not terribly familiar with Logic. I’ve not replicated your conditions, but . . . have you selected ‘Launchpad’ in the dropdown menu on nonome? I’ll dig in the program soon and see if I can’t come up with something.

  2. Fantastic article! I’m really looking forward to creating something interesting with my setup. My only problem so far is the Midi Yoke part. I’m using mac so MidiYokeSetup.msi won’t open. Is there a mac version of this? Thanks

  3. hi i’m new to launchpad,

    i went through the FIRST tutorial and it worked gr8.
    ( though settings don’t seem to save. so you have
    to start from scratch each time, very annoying )

    i was wondering if you had a chance to test this second
    tutorial on a MAC yet?
    or if maybe you knew of a link where someone had?

    i really want learn to perform shows with this thing,
    but not sure where to start.

    thx for such a complete a thorough tutorial especially
    including all files need to do it
    i for one really appreciate you, sharing your knowledge

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