Cakewalk // Documentation // SONAR // Assigning faders and knobs to control SONAR parameters
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External devicesCakewalk Generic Surface plug-in ► Assigning faders and knobs to control SONAR parameters

The Cakewalk Generic Surface property page has separate sections that control track parameters (the Track Parameters section), plug-in parameters (the ACT Controls section), and global parameters (the Global Parameters section).
1.
In the Cakewalk Generic Surface property page, in the Use ACT or Strip Params fields, make sure that either the ACT Enable check box is disabled, or that the Both check box is enabled. If the Both check box is enabled, your controller/surface is controlling both track and plug-in parameters.
2.
In the Configure Strip Number field, use the drop-down menu to choose which track strip in the current bank of tracks you want to configure (the number of tracks in the current bank is listed in the Number of Track Strips field).
4.
Click the radio button of the Parameter that you want to configure (choose from Parameters 1-16).
7.
Click the Learn button in the dialog box. The MIDI message that the control you moved sent out appears in the MIDI Message for the Current SONAR Parameter section.
When you’ve finished your edits, either type a name for this group of settings in the Presets window and click the Save button (recommended), or just click the Save button to overwrite the current preset. You can then reload this collection of track settings any time you want to by choosing the name of the preset that you saved in the Presets window.
2.
In the ACT Controls section of the Cakewalk Generic Surface property page are radio buttons 1-9 and A-G. These buttons control plug-in parameters in the active effect or synth plug-in. You first need to assign a knob or control on your controller/surface to each one of these radio buttons. Do this by clicking a radio button, moving a knob or control on your controller/surface, and then clicking the Learn button in the Cakewalk Generic Surface property page. You can check what MIDI message you’ve assigned to each button by clicking a button and then reading the value in the MIDI Message for Current SONAR Parameter section. If the None radio button is highlighted after you click an ACT Controls radio button, you have not assigned a control to that ACT Controls radio button. When you finish, save your assignments as a preset.
3.
Next, in the Cakewalk Generic Surface property page, in the Use ACT or Strip Params fields, make sure that either the ACT Enable check box is enabled, or that the Both check box is enabled. If the Both check box is enabled, your controller/surface is controlling both track parameters and plug-in parameters.
The name of the plug-in appears in the Context field in the Cakewalk Generic Surface property page.
5.
Enable the ACT Learn Mode button in the Control Bar’s ACT module.
8.
Disable the ACT Learn Mode button in the Control Bar’s ACT module.
As soon as you disable the ACT Learn Mode button, any plug-in mappings that you keep are saved globally, and will be the same in every project for a particular plug-in. Now your controller/surface can control whatever soft synth or effect currently has focus. If you want to control only a single instance of a plug-in, regardless of which plug-in has focus, enable the Lock Context check box. For more information about ACT, see ACT.
The Forward and Rewind assignments are special cases in the Cakewalk Generic Surface property page. When you click select either of these parameters, notice that Literally/Toggle field becomes grayed-out, and the On/Off fields become available. This is because the Forward and Rewind commands both require two different MIDI messages to function: one MIDI message to turn the operation on, and a different message to turn the operation off. This kind of operation is best assigned to a button that sends out one MIDI message when you hold or push it down, and a different MIDI message when you let the button up. The property page can usually fill in the On field and the Off field correctly if you push the desired button a few times and then click the Learn button. But it helps if you know exactly what MIDI messages the desired button sends out. That way, you can fill in the correct trigger values in the On and Off fields if the displayed values are incorrect.
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Assign a two-way knob or button to control two different parameters. If a knob sends out one MIDI message when it’s turned to the right and a different MIDI message when it’s turned to the left, you could use it to control 2 toggle-type parameters, such as Solo and Arm. For example, if a knob sends out NRPN # 5000 with a data value of 1 when you turn it to the right and a data value of 16383 when you turn it to the left, you could use a Trigger Value of 1 to turn the Arm button on and off, and a Trigger Value of 16383 to turn the Solo button on and off. That way, each time you turn the knob to the right, the Arm button turns on or off. Each time you turn the knob left, the Solo button turns on or off.
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Assign a two-way knob to control a continuous parameter. If your fader is assigned to control Volume, you can use a two-way knob to control Pan or some other continuous parameter such as Send 1 Level. For example, if a knob sends out NRPN # 5000 with a data value of 1 when you turn it to the right and a data value of 16383 when you turn it to the left, you could use a value of 1 in the Increment/Decrement Plus + field, and a value of 16383 in the Increment/Decrement Minus - field. That way, each time you turn the knob to the right, the Pan parameter (or whatever parameter you want) increases by 1. Each time you turn the knob to the left, the parameter decreases by 1. The parameter continues to increase if you keep turning the knob to the right, and decreases similarly if you keep turning the knob to the left.
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Use multiple strips to control one track at a time. Assign as many knobs and faders as you want to control lots of parameters on only one track (leave the Configure Strip Number field set to 1 while you’re assigning faders and knobs). Then assign a couple of buttons to Move 1 Left and Move 1 Right, so you can shift your controller/surface one track at a time.
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