Community Tip - Using Cthulu - Alternative Workflow

02-19-2014 05:00 PM

Recently Russ made a show & tell video on Cthulu from Xferrecords and community member Matthias Schmidt tried it out and and sent in a suggestion on a different way to use it.
First of all thank you for all your help, support and advice over the last years on so many topics about Pro Tools, virtual instruments and plug-ins.
After watching the video I tried Cthulu and was very impressed. there was only one thing which actually had nothing to do with Cthulu but Pro Tools itself and how it is doing MIDI. I always like to keep at least one MIDI instrument track in record mode which has some disadvantages.
Once you worked out some chords, arpeggios, or whatever; you have to print it down to a MIDI track in Pro Tools to continue recording other stuff on other channels and instruments without interfering with the two Cthulu tracks. I wanted to avoid having to print down midi tracks when using Cthulu together with Pro Tools I did some in depth research and found a solution.
One of the best pieces of advice I have got from the Pro Tools Expert site within the last year was to introduce Vienna Ensemble Pro to every Pro Tools user as an essential tool to work with virtual instruments. So I followed your advice and I bought it immediately and I have to say it was an excellent decision. So here is how I use Cthulu, Pro Tools and VEP5….

  1. In Pro Tools, to all avoid any MIDI feedback loops with this setup, uncheck the box for MIDI input IAC Driver here: Setup > MIDI > Input Devices… > IAC Driver
  2. In Pro Tools, create a new stereo instrument track with an instance of VEP5.
  3. In Pro Tools create a MIDI track and route it’s MIDI output to the Cthulu MIDI channel you will use in VEP5.
  4. In VEP5, go to Preferences > External MIDI and make sure IAC Driver is activated for incoming MIDI data. You may have to quit and restart VEP5 to make the changes in the setup to become active.
  5. In VEP5, create an instrument track and instantiate Cthulu as an Audio Unit plug-in. Use the same MIDI channel going into Cthulu as you use for MIDI out in Pro Tools. This is the connection between Pro Tools and Cthulu. Cthulu will receive MIDI data from Pro Tools via VEP5 and transmit MIDI data via it’s MIDI output - the IAC driver.
  6. In VEP5 create another intrument track with a virtual instrument you want to control via Cthulu. Set the MIDI input in VEP5 for this instrument to the IAC driver.
  7. Voila! You are ready to go.

Record whatever you like with Cthulu and take full control of it. You can switch to another instrument track in Pro Tools and record something else alongside Cthulu playing the synth. Mute it, solo it … everything works. No more hassle with any red record buttons in Pro Tools. You do not have to print the MIDI to a destination track in Pro Tools anymore and you can edit and make changes anytime. Best wishes from Berlin.
Mike says, thanks Matthias for taking the time to explain this workflow so that the rest of the community can benefit from it.