Hands-free song selection

Hi guys,

We’ve been thinking about ways of making the song selection process a hands free operation.

This issue is a continuation of this thread but since that is a bit long I decided to start this new discussion. This is what we’re currently thinking of implementing:

While Aeros is stopped, hold down lower left button will cause the bottom button labels to change to the options below:

(currently the hold command on this button opens the mixer - we can keep this option so if you continue to hold the button the mixer will open. The song selection options only appear first while Aeros is stopped)

Save Song, New Song, Delete Song (“Cancel” label pointing at Play/Stop button)

New Song: Song List, 2x2 Song, 6x6 Song

Selecting 2x2 or 6x6 will open a new song with the last settings that were used for those songs.

Song List will go to the list of saved songs.

This makes new and saved song loading completely hands free. It also makes saving a song hands free and removes the delete song function from the play/stop all button to solve the issue of a short amount of the song playing before the delete option is implemented so this button can always be set to the downpress option.

Any feedback on this issue is appreciated :slight_smile:

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This makes sense and would be welcome. Time spent bending over selecting songs is time away from an audience and it detracts hugely from a performance.

It would be good to have access to the mixer when a song is stopped via some other means, though, even if it involved two clicks.

@Euan you will still have access to the mixer while stopped. You just continue to hold the lower left button for an extra second and the mixer screen will appear.

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It would be nice to push a beta version to try it out. Tomorrow I will write you my vision of the buttons / functions / distribution

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Sounds good! This’d definitely improve the live performance workflow! :love_you_gesture:t3:

@DavidPackouz How about we expand this thread to go beyond song selection to a general command mode?

I like:

  • The mapping to footswitches
  • The obvious way to activate it while stopped
  • The use of the button labels. It reinforces where commands appear and leaves the rest of the display clear. Perhaps we call this a command strip?
  • Use of the upper left button for cancel along with (an optional, vertical?) “Cancel” label.

For the general case, it would good to solve for:

  • Some foot action that activates this “command mode” when not stopped*.
    • This is an important, perhaps advanced feature.
    • Lot of use cases for this, such as selecting/setting up the next song/part/transition while playing, marking a part as one shot, queuing up the end of the song fade out, etc.
    • I’m assuming, one of the three chord button presses would work, but perhaps there’s a better idea that could be used with or in place of this.
      • Let the user configure which one of the three chords they want to use to activate the command strip
      • Later on let them map the other two chords to whatever two actions they want. Note that these could be used for two real-time actions (of the user’s choice) or to open up custom command strips. These real-time actions are very import to expand, and there’s no one size fits all here.
  • Some on screen button to activate command strip. First use can explain, setup foot activation, etc.
  • Supporting more than three options (plus cancel)
    • Idea: allow the use of the scroll wheel to “scroll” the commands (and display tiny arrows on the side(s) to indicate which are scrollable):
      • -- Save Song, New Song, Delete >> scrolls to …
      • << New Song, Delete, Song List >> by single element scroll … or perhaps scrolls by pages to the last page …
      • << Song List, Next Song, Mixer --

*Note: Some actions might need the Aeros to stop after the command is executed.

The ultimate goal is something that makes it easy to add other new commands not planned or known right now. Here are some crazy ideas (home, quick help, mute all but this track, delete track, toggle one shot/repeating, play n times, fade out and stop, double speed, half speed, reverse, bass pitch shift emulation). My guess is that some combination of hierarchy (submenus) and scrolling will be enough and not be tedious.

IMHO, it’s more than OK to have multiple ways to launch an action in a UI. There can be the basic way (e.g., when stopped) that is easy to use/discover … and the advanced way (which may be more flexible but you need to learn how to use it). Sort of like keyboard shortcuts versus menus versus buttons.

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I think it makes sense to talk about this as a general capability/tool (e.g., menus) and then (later) use that to design the “menus” that have specific commands in order…

Later we can let the users customize what goes in which menu.

@DavidPackouz

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Thank you very much for your consideration on this !

How would this integrate with BeatBuddy ? For example, with Beatbuddy as master, a great and perhaps ideal solution for me would be that the BeatBuddy “Song-Advance / SongBack” functions would send a midi command to the Aeros to do the same thing. (if Aeros is the master, then I guess a song-advance/back button on the Aeros would be needed. This would be great to have during a performance situation when using Beatbuddy with Aeros.

Some feedback, based on my original requirement : My use-case is that I’m in Looper-Mode and just finish performing a song in my set list. I just want to quickly go to the next song in my list. The above BeatBuddy solution would be ideal. From the Aeros, I was hoping to have a way to do this fast from Looper Mode. Would there still be any possibility of using say a double-click of the right-most button to advance to the next song in the list of songs ?

Some feedback on Thovy64’s diagram :

Removing the short unwanted playing of the current song would be valuable. For me a minimized number of button presses to delete a song would be important. I think the diagram is a pretty good solution for this.

One question : Once you get to the “Song Management” screen, how do you scroll to the wanted song ? Using your foot on the scroll wheel ?

(I guess Quad’s generic button assignment idea would give flexibility to many ways of working with the pedal. Would this topic be better in a separate thread ?)

Thanks again !

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Wow @Thovy64, that’s impressive, and I appreciate the work.

Going to take some time to ingest that! Generally, I prefer to think about the basic components, their tradeoffs and how they interact in the small scale before a grand design.

Your basic components are:

  • On Press Buttons that have one action that operates in real time. You can also have hold and double tap, as long as you are ok with also activating the on press behavior when you hold/double tap. If the on-press action is “undoable” then hold/double can simply undo. Record start is undoable. Play is not since you can immediately hear the the loop. Overdub start might be undoable depending on how Aeros is built (but Bryan Ewald’s video on looping makes a good case that the timing of overdubs is not as critical as you’ve already have set the loop duration).
  • On Release Buttons that have secondary actions on hold and double tap (and support no more than 3 actions). IMHO the limit of three actions might not be enough (which can be worked around with other components like the next one). Perhaps worse is that hold/double tap are challenging operations to remember and execute while playing music. They also can easily come in conflict with other uses of the button in subtle ways.
  • Jumps to other displays/modes. This is clearly important, but it might not be enough. Sometime you want need to do something without changing context too much, not wait the precious milliseconds to display the second screen, etc. We win if we can complement the Jumps with something a bit lighter than allows for more than three options more/less in place. There’s also the cost of the jump target needing to be a screen (that requires coding) versus something that is just a set of text labels.
  • Scroll Wheel - Changes some value or scrolls the display.

Some quick things to consider:

  • The most important screens to design are the 2x2 and 6x6 when the loop is playing. The stopped cases are important, but also easier to solve for (less going on and timing is less critical). I suspect the majority of your time with the Aeros is when it is playing. Where are mute and undo on these screens?
  • Moving the play/stop to another button may not be palatable (unless the choice is a user preference)
  • The printed label (not the oncreen labels) on the Aeros will be confusing. Not a big deal for me personally.
  • The location of the button for Play/Stop needs to be consistent across all the applicable screens/modes … including 2x2 and 6x6 while playing. Not sure which screens need the play/stop all button (see the next point for an idea). I like the idea that I can start/stop from the loop studio and the mixer. I can see this might be useful in the Song List.
  • The “Exit/Cancel/Return” action is pretty important.
    • Making it be easy and consistent will make its use second nature.
    • If some screens do not allow quick access to certain actions (e.g., play/stop all), then the act of exiting is pretty important. If the Exit button takes over Play/Stop All, then being able to click the same button a second time upon exit to Stop (or Start) is really helpful. (Note that a double click action gets in the way of a quick exit (first click) and stop (second click); you’d likely have to click, wait a bit to avoid double click, then click again)
    • IMHO, the Loop Studio is really “home” and the Aeros Home is a way to access other less used and “first use” features. Being more than one screen away from the loop studio is something to use sparingly (which I think you’ve done)
  • What happens when more features become available? Can we add a new action easily?
    • Do we need more buttons, cascading screens, triple taps?
    • Are the decisions in the design so complicate/intertwined that we need make more than one local change (and think about the change in terms of the larger, grand design)? ’
    • Will the user ever be able to customize this?
    • I think extending David’s idea of some command mode component that is extensible/scrollable would help. I think someway to activate this component when not stopped is important.
    • Pretty sure that no matter on the design, there will be a need for specific users to have one or two actions that they choose to place on a real-time action.
  • Addressing this via MIDI is a workaround, not a fix. This is a powerful device. Not infinitely powerful, but more capable that how we use it today.

Wow, that’s a mouthful. Sorry for the long post.

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on my diagram all the functions necessary to play are on the bottom buttons, with press mode and always in the same place whatever the page.
the buttons for the submenus and the parameters use the release, hold and double tap buttons for more possibilities. this only affects the two buttons on the left.
the functions are identical in 2x2 and 6x6 because it is simply logical.

@Thovy64 nice job!!! I like the idea of having the play/stop all on the bottom line of buttons.
Also, for a potential “Solo” feature in mixer mode, there’re a couple of spots available on hold function (bottom line, top right or middle button)

Yes I think it’s a very simple and common workflow with logical disposition of the buttons, always at the same place. The 2 Buttons to play on bottom right, the button to navigate on bottom left and menu switching on top left. and a real and funny page to customize and of loop.

I just remembered, a couple of weeks ago I was about to start a topic to suggest a way to reduce the time/interactions between turning on the Aeros and start the actual looping.
With all these ideas it might be possible!

For the moment there’s no replie from singularsound team about workflow consolidation.

So @DavidPackouz what do you think about that?

Thank you guys for your valuable feedback. @Thovy64 very impressive chart!

I think this thread got a little beyond my intended scope… right now we’re looking at fast ways of improving the user experience without having to redesign the entire system from the ground up. We are still focused on making awesome new features like the MIDI responsiveness, locked tracks and auto quantization and other things, so we don’t want to change the fundamentals of how the Aeros works.

That being said, we’ve carefully considered all of your suggestions and are keeping it in mind when thinking about design going forward. It’s very useful to know what kinds of things are important to you guys and what potential solutions there might be.

We can start off with my song selection system as I described in the original post and possibly add more hands free navigation after we finish up some of the more demanded features.

@Thovy64 I am curious about your chart – where is the song part navigation? How does 2x2 mode work if you move the play/stop button to the lower right?

@DavidPackouz you’re right about the scope creep!

By way (and off topic), I wrote something misleading above (and corrected it): button press is compatible with hold and double click … as long as you’re OK for hold/dc to trigger the press action or cancel (undo) that action.

“Record” is undoable. Starting to playing a sound or going to the start of the loop upon “Play” is not undoable. In theory “Overdub” is undoable but might be a bit harder. Overdub may not be as time critical; Bryan Ewald did a FB video on looping showing that the timing of overdub is less important since overdub start/stop does not affect the loop duration … and it’s more of a noise gate!

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@DavidPackouz
I refined and clarified things. I understand that you did not want to redesign the current worflow hands will show its limits when it will be necessary to add functions (reverse, chain mode, fade out, rooting management …) Hopefully it can be useful.
There is only one TracksXParts mode which evolves according to the number of tracks and parts that we create during performance.
I think it’s a simple worflow:
1 main page (looper mode, only one TxP operation, actions that require precision are on press mode)
2 sub-menu pages (EndOfLoop and Mixer)
1 page of file management
1 settings page

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I never realized how much empty space was on the song list. Perhaps make the font bigger and/or add a 4th song line?

Three lines feels clunky when scrolling.

Icon size is less important other than the touch area needs to be big enough.

Perhaps the page title (the one with back and +) scrolls off so you get a 5th line? (The settings page might benefit from this as well.)

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