How to control your guitar or keyboard effects from a Web browser

How to control your guitar or keyboard effects from a Web browser

In this article I’ll show you how to control your guitar or keyboard effects (or any other instrument effects) by using a Web browser on any computer, laptop, smartphone or device, and OSC in Gig Performer.

Previous blog articles covered proprietary applications for your mobile phone or tablet with which you could establish the control of your live gig built around Gig Performer (see here for OSCAR, here for Lemur and here for TouchOSC).

But is there any solution that allows you to control your live gig by using just a Web browser, running on any platform (Windows, MacOS, Linux, Android, and iOS) which sends OSC messages to Gig Performer, and completely for free?

OpenStageControl, Gig Performer, control your guitar or keyboard effects with Web browser

Yes, and it’s called Open Stage Control, an open-source OSC and MIDI controller.

Please note I’ll build this article on this previous blog article describing OSCAR, so please read it first before you continue with this one, and download the GIG file for Gig Performer. That article is great to learn the basic OSC concepts and see my setup, because I’ll use the same setup for this article.

I’ll show you how to set up a knob and a button widget, so you can easily add to that, creating your own layouts. Don’t forget to visit our Community, and review the OSC category, to learn more about this topic (I used the first screenshot from this thread).

While you can indeed control your guitar or keyboard effects by connecting from a Web browser on any device, Open Stage Control server must be run on a computer running either Windows, MacOS or Linux. In this tutorial I’ll download and run Open Stage Control on the same laptop where Gig Performer is installed.

 

Open Stage Control Configuration

 

Let’s get started! Download Open Stage Control for your platform here; I’m on Windows, so I downloaded open-stage-control-1.0.2-win32-x64.zip (63.1M). Since Open Stage Control is a portable application, only unzip the downloaded archive and run the executable open-stage-control.exe to start the application: 

Open Stage Control and Gig Performer OSC setup

This is a side-to-side view of Open Stage Control’s and Gig Performer’s parameters respectively. You only need to configure two parameters (send and osc port) to get OSC working; set the parameters to match your own configuration and then click on the button to start the server:

Open Stage Control Server Running

OK, the server is started and it’s ready to accept client connections in your local network.

Note the moment after you start the server, the following window will appear:

Open Stage Control New Session

Click on the menu button, then Session and New session:

Open Stage Control Adding Widgets knob

Add a knob widget, by right mouse clicking on the surface and selecting Add widget -> Sliders -> knob. Add also a button widget with: Add widget -> Basics -> button:

Open Stage Control, knob widget sends OSC to Gig Performer

Note that you can only move widgets by dragging them on the upper-left corner, as depicted above with (1). To get OSC working between Open Stage Control and Gig Performer for the knob widget, click on OSC (2) and enter the address (3): /knob1/SetValue

As simple as that! Now try moving the knob widget – it gets synced with Gig Performer’s old school knob (it works also vice-versa).

Repeat these steps for the button widget, and enter the address: /button1/SetValue

Now the button widget gets in sync with Gig Performer, too. 

Click on the Menu button, then Session, and select Save to save your layout.

 

Access the Open Stage Control server by using a Web browser

 

In order to control your guitar or keyboard effects from a Web browser, note the address of your Open Stage Control server; the address of my server (for example) is:  http://192.168.100.48:8080

I typed in this address in the Web browsers of my two smartphones, like in the article where I described OSCAR. Please note that we don’t need to set up OSC Broadcast mode in Gig Performer, since Open Stage Control provides its own server, and every client (phone, tablet, PC…) connects via a Web browser to that server.

Here’s a screenshot from my phone:

Open Stage Control Smartphone Screenshot, OSC

OK, this is familiar: tap on the menu button -> Session -> Open:

Open Stage Control Smartphone Load JSON

Note that this is the file structure on your computer/laptop where Open Stage Control was started (don’t mix this with the file structure on your smartphone/tablet). Open your layout:

Open Stage Control, Smartphone, Loaded Session, OSC

If you slide or tap on your widgets on either Gig Performer (1), Open Stage Control Layout Editor (2) or your smartphone/tablet (3), you’ll notice that every widget state is in sync with others:

Gig Performer, Open Stage Control, Smartphone In Sync

You can control your guitar or any other instrument effects straight via the Web browser on your smartphone. Now tap on the menu button -> Editor -> tick Enabled:

Open Stage Control Smartphone Edit Mode

You can now edit your layout and widget parameters straight from your phone. Note that for OSCAR and TouchOSC you needed to download a separate application to create and edit your layouts and then transfer them to your phone.

The layout changes are not applied instantly, as you move widgets; you need to tap on the menu button -> Session -> Save, to update their positions.

I didn’t find information in the Open Stage Control documentation as to how many clients can be connected at the same time to a server; I tried with 3 different clients simultaneously and everything went OK.

Open Stage Control proved to be a valuable free alternative to paid software such as Lemur, TouchOSC and OSCAR.

Happy experimenting and please visit our community thread to upload your own layouts, find tips and discuss this software with the other members. If you like this article, please share it.

Own the Stage™ and enjoy Gig Performer!

Nemanja Pudar

 



Scaling curves allow you to control the shape of the output of a widget or convert an incoming note velocity to a new velocity. Various predefined curves are available and they can be tweaked as necessary. You can also just draw your own curve as well to achieve the effect you require.

 

MIDI File Player Plugin


You can load up to 128 MIDI song files in a single plugin instance. Switch from one song to another, mute tracks and/or change their channel numbers. Tempo can be controlled by individual songs or you can use the global tempo and tap tempo to control the BPM interactively.

 

Favorites and Presets


Create a sound by placing and interconnecting your desired plugins, such as a synth, some effects and perhaps a mixer. Select them all and then save the selection as a named favorite. The favorite will subsequently show up in all plugin insert menus, making it easy for you to recreate that configuration whenever you need it again. This feature is also very powerful for creating your needed sounds on your studio computer and then transferring them to your touring laptop.

 

Probabilistic Sound Designer


Parameters you select in an open plugin are captured into the Probabilistic Sound Designer dialog window. When you click Randomize, you're only adjusting those selected parameters. Each entry in the PSD dialog has a curve but unlike widgets where the curve controls scaling, in the PSD the curves are used to define the probability of particular values being selected. Make sure the filter cutoff never gets too slow so as to block all sound. Perhaps adjust the max range of the VCA attack parameter so that the sound doesn't have too much delay. Constrain the octave ranges of the oscillators, perhaps ensuring that 1/3rd of the time we select 8' and 2/3rds of the time we select 4'. The possibilities are endless.

 

More Widgets


Numerous new widgets are included in Gig Performer - a new sustain pedal, plastic knobs, drum pads and more colored sliders. Shapes can be colored with different borders and fill colors and morphed from rectangular to circular. Your creativity is now the limit to creating fabulous front panels in Gig Performer.

 

MIDI Message Helper


Select MIDI devices by name. Choose the MIDI message type and adjust the appropriate parameters for the specific type

 

  

Layout management


Gig Performer supports arbitrary resizing. Layout your widgets the way you want - resize the main window and the widgets will grow or shrink as necessary to maintain the same interrelationships. No matter what size screen you have, your front panels will still be neat and usable.

 

Undo Support


If you move your widgets around and/or resize them, or even delete them by mistake, the Undo facility will correct your mistake. Minor moves to a widget by mistake will no longer spoil your design

 

Plugin Channel Count


Some plugins support a large number of outputs and they depend on the traditional channel strip to control how many ports should be available.   When you only need a stereo pair, it is convenient not to have a large horizontal block. In Gig Performer, the number of available ports  is controlled by the channel count override, which can be applied to individual plugins and will be remembered when the gigfile is reloaded or if the plugin is saved as a favorite.

 

Input muting and output fading


Rather than a single audio length tail, Gig Performer 4 gives you the ability to control input muting and output fading separately. Input muting controls how much time it takes for audio input to be silenced when you leave the rackspace. Output fading controls how much time will be taken for audio to fade out when you leave the rackspace.

 

Faster Plugin Finder


Instead of searching through menus of perhaps hundreds of plugins (you know who you are!), the Quick Plugin Finder makes it easy to find the plugin you need by simply typing partial strings. For example, as shown here, to find the Modartt Pianoteq 7 plugins, it's enough to type pia mod 7 (in any order, by the way)  to restrict the list of available plugins to those matching your query. The Quick Plugin Finder also knows about manufacturers, presets and favorites.

 

  

Touch Friendly Input


Any entry field can be changed by either dragging your mouse (or finger) up or down, or by using the large popup touchpad where you can just tap on the squares to enter a value. The large popup keypad also does validation so you can't enter an invalid value. You can also just tap the BPM field to pop up a larger view where you can quickly change tempo, tranpose, trigger Tap Tempo and enable Ableton Link, the last allowing you to synchronize Gig Performer with any other application that also supports Ableton Link.

 

New Tuner Display


The tuner view makes it easy for guitarists to quickly check and adjust their tuning. You can toggle into the tuner view from any other view and toggle right back as soon as you're done. All output will be silenced automatically while you're in tuning mode. You can adjust the concert reference pitch from its default of 440 Hz to suit your own needs. The tuner view fills the entire screen so you can easily see it from a distance.

 

GP Script Enhancements


GP Script adds new language improvements such as multiple initialization sections, initialization with declarations and enhanced callbacks. The WidgetValueChanged callback now supports multiple widgets. Sysex messages are now built-in with numerous supporting functions. String array handling is much faster. Integer bit manipulation is now built-in. A new global GigScript allows incoming MIDI messages to be modified and redirected on the fly. It also allows you to define keyboard macros for your computer keyboard to control Gig Performer itself. For complete information, please review the GP Script Language Manual available through the Help menu.

 

Scriptlets


Scriptlets make creating custom MIDI processors easy. You don't have to be a programmer to use them - you can just download scriptlets from our ever-growing collection on our website and drop them right into your rackspaces to use them. Use scriptlets for simple operations such as turning your single notes into chords, modifying, duplicating or converting one kind of message into another, automatic chord latching (AutoSustain), threshold detection, sysex manipulation... imagination is the limit.

 

Other Improvements


  • System Actions plugin
  • MIDI Out to OSC converter
  • Comment plugin
  • New GUI dialog to define MIDI events to send on song part change
  • MIDI Out blocks can automatically send multiple MIDI events
  • Open/close a plugin editor from a widget
  • Choose default startup view
  • Quick find for plugin parameters
  • Large collection of startup hints
  • OSC Patchbay mode
  • Plugins now default to stereo I/O
  • Dragging presets into the wiring view will automatically create the required plugin
  • Numerous other minor (but nice) usability and workflow enhancements

Numerous other enhancements and optimizations serve to make Gig Performer 4 a superb platform for performing artists.

 

Songs and Setlists


You can organize your rackspaces into songs and your songs into setlists and then just select the setlist you need for a show. Then simply cycle down through the parts, or use your control surface or a MIDI Guitar pedal controller to select individual parts directly.

 

Predictive Loading


Predictive Loading™ is an advanced feature that reduces your RAM and CPU resources by only loading rackspaces (or songs) as needed.

 

 

The Global Rackspace


The Global Rackspace can receive audio from whatever rackspace is currently active. Instead of inserting effects in every rackspace, simply insert them once in the Global Rackspace and all your local rackspaces will have access to them. The Global Rackspace can also send audio to the currently active rackspace. So you can insert a looper that receives audio directly from your guitar (say) and then send the looped audio to different effects in different rackspaces. If a particular instrument such as a piano or organ is needed everywhere (or almost everywhere), put it in the Global Rackspace.

 

   

Zoomable Wiring View


Gig Performer 4 provides a virtual view allowing you to spread out your blocks and connections to make them easier to see and manage, even if you have a very small screen. You can zoom in or out and you can use the Auto-Fit option to position your blocks to fit in the available space.