TASCAM 2488 Neo (or MKII) Mixer Automation


Code: 2488-Neo Mix Automation
Tascam 2488/Neo Instrument Definition for Sonar

TASCAM 2488 Neo (or MKII) Mixer Automation

and Remote Control With Sonar or any Controller

I've been looking at 2488 MIDI implementation chart and commands and I find out that to remote control Faders and Input Gain, also some others others parameters from a controller or Sonar is not that complicated. It applies to all versions of 2488.

The only setting necessary on 2488 is to set the Faders to JUMP or CATCH on the 2488 MIXER Setting instead of REAL. I personally prefer JUMP. You don't need to change any Midi parameter to Remote or so, unless you are also controlling transport.

Before start your test with 2488 I recommend to create and work on a test song so you don't mess with any song you are working seriously.

The main concept is that 2488 permits to control actually most of parameters (not the Master Section on Neo or the Sub-Mix on all versions).

Tascam 2488 controls the tracks parameters in 3 groups of 8 channels/tracks and one group for the Input (including Gain). With Midi Controllers messages it is possible to control Volume, Gain, Pan, EQ, Sends and select Effects but for one group at the time.

Click to enlarge

These instructions can be used to program any Control Surface or Controller that can be programmed to send Bank Select and Midi Controllers.

At the end you will find instructions to configure Cakewalk Sonar defining 2488 as a instrument as any other Synth.

The only difference is that won't be any note, you will record only Controllers, Volume, Pan, etc.

Controlling the MIXER

Eight Midi Channels will respectively correspond on 2488 to one track, 2488 permits select only one group of 8 tracks at a time.

Another Midi Channel will be used to select which group will be active. And another will be used for the Stereo output track and it is not part of any group.

These will be the Midi Channels that control the Mixer. More Midi Channels are used for Effects, but I will explained on other section.

Midi Channels 1 to 8 - Are the track strips. Remember that just one group of 8 tracks can be active at the time, when then it will be able to receive values to set Mixer parameters, Volume, Gain, Pan, EQ, Sends.

First group are tracks 1 through 8, second group are 9 through 16, third group are tracks 17 through 24 and fourth group are the input A through H. Only one group can be active at the time.

The group is selected sending a Bank Select message to channel 15.

Midi Channel 15 - On this Channel will be sent the Bank Select message to choose which group will be active:
  • Bank 0 means group of tracks 1 through 8, using Midi Channel 1 through 8 to receive Midi Controllers to correspondent Track
  • Bank 1 means group of tracks 9 through 16, using Midi Channel 1 through 8 to receive Midi Controllers to correspondent Track
  • Bank 2 means group of tracks 17 through 24, using Midi Channel 1 through 8 to receive Midi Controllers to correspondent Track
  • Bank 3 means Inputs A through H, using Midi Channel 1 through 8 to receive Midi Controllers to correspondent Input
Midi Channel 16 - Is the Main Stereo. It doesn't matter which Bank is selected on Midi Channel 15. Midi Channel 16 will always be the Stereo.

There is no information about the Sub-Mix, thus is not possible to control the Sub-Mix. The same with the Master section on Neo.

The controllers that can be send to 2488 to the selected tracks on Midi Channels 1 to 8 and to the Stereo track when it make sense are:

7- Volume, Master Level on Channel 16
10- Pan
11- Attenuation
16- EQ Low Freq
17- EQ Low Gain
18- EQ Mid Freq
19- EQ Mid Gain
20- EQ Mid Q
21- EQ High Freq
22- EQ High Gain
23- Loop Effect Level, Send Level on Channels 1-8, Master Level on Channel 16
24- Effect 1 Level, Send Level on Channels 1-8, Master Level on Channel 16
25- Effect 2 Level, Send Level on Channels 1-8, Master Level on Channel 16
80- EQ OFF/ON (0/1)
81- Loop OFF/PRE/POST (0,1,2)
82- Effect 1 OFF/PRE/POST (0,1,2)
83- Effect 2 OFF/PRE/POST (0,1,2)
84- Fase N/R (0,1)

Ex 1: To change the Level of Track 2 select Bank 0 on track 15 and change the value of controller 7 on Midi Channel 2.

Ex 2: To change the Pan of Track 16 select Bank 1 on track 15 and change the value of controller 10 on Midi Channel 8.

You can find details about all these parameters on 2488 manual like range and values correspondence.

Easy but weird. I agree. But, it is specially useful to make fine adjusts to Inputs A to H because 2488 knobs doesn't have precision on the adjust. Also is useful to save some moves on mixes on Sonar. And, if you use Sub-Mixes you can easily control a whole Mix. It up to your imagination.

Note : As on 2488, when the tracks 1 to 12 are not Linked as Stereo Tracks each Midi Channel will control the respective track and the Stereo Tracks (13/14 - 23/24) will be controlled by the Odd Midi Channel. Different from the Faders on 2488, when the Single Tracks are linked Stereo, both channels Odd and/or Even will change the Level of the Stereo. You can see it on the Null Screen. To see the Input Faders go to Fader/Pan Screen.

Programming a Control Surface or a Controller

I don't know which controller you are using, so check the controller manual to see how to set one knob to send Bank Select message (midi message BD 00 XX) to choose the active group and how to send this message to Midi Channel 15.

Then check how to program a fader (or faders, 8 faders will control the whole group and one more for the Stereo) as Midi Controller and send it to a Midi Channel between 1 to 8, and 16. Is the same method used to send Midi Messages to any Synth, Sound Module, Drum Machine, EQ or whatever.

Defining 2488 as a instrument on Sonar

First make sure you know which number is the Midi Port Output you have connected to Tascam. Go to Options -> Midi Devices and check the Output, as you do for any Synth.

I defined a instrument named Tascam2488 on a file named Tascam2488.ins and it is available for download the file tascam2488.zip on the top of this page.

You can import this instrument into Sonar Instruments Definition.
  • Go to Options -> Instruments -> Define -> Import.
  • Browse to find where you put the file Tascam2488.ins and open it.
  • Pick Tascam 2488 and click OK.
  • Then you can close Define Instruments and Names.
  • Now you highlight the 16 Midi Channels on the port 2488 is connected to and choose Tascam 2488 on "Use Instrument" side.
  • Then click OK.

As you do with any Synth associate a Track on Sonar to 2488 port and Set Midi Channel 15 and choose the Select the Bank/Group you will work with.

On another Sonar Track associate it with Tascam port and choose Midi Channel 1 to track 1, open a total of 8 tracks, Midi Channel 1 to 8.

You are set to control 2488 tracks 1 to 8.

If you want to control another group, change the Bank on Midi Channel 15.

Open another Midi Track to control the Stereo strip on Midi Channel 16.

It is not really necessary to create 8 tracks on Sonar, just the ones you need to control.

Advanced Tip: One way to change parameters on different group on Sonar is to insert on Event List a SysxData event on a certain point of the song that send a Bank Select Command to switch groups during play back or even on Record Automation, or yet just before a envelop node. The SysxData will be BD 00 XX where XX is 0, 1, 2 or 3 corresponding to the Bank selected.

Easy ? Yes , it is. Just take your time to understand the concept and see Tascam 2488 as you any other Synth.
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