Avoiding keyboard commands going to mixer

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tim
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Avoiding keyboard commands going to mixer

Postby tim » Fri Apr 23, 2010 14:06

All of us learn our way around DAWs by repeating certain "moves", and learn to avoid pitfalls (hopefully) after making the same mistake a few times. There is one pitfall in Pyramix which I - as well as a few other users I've spoken to - simply cannot learn to avoid, even after years of daily use: every time I "reach over" & click on something on the mixer, and then immediately enter a keyboard command which I expect will produce a "normal" (i.e. "timeline activated”) result. With my keyset, this is invariably something like an up or down arrow (which I have mapped to Zoom-In/Zoom-out). After a few keystrokes, realizing that no zoom is happening, I look over & realize I have instead dropped or raised a fader on the mixer by a few 10ths of a dB.

Much of this depends on how people work. Since 70% of the time I work with a controller, this is often not an issue. But there is the other 30% of the time, working with keyboard/mouse only, where I find myself continuously wishing there was a way to "lock out" those keyboard-mixer commands, and "lock in" the keyboard-timeline commands…regardless of whether mixer is currently activated.

This is obviously a "learned behavioral" issue, and I don't know why it is that I have managed to teach myself how to accomplish virtually everything I want to be able to do in Pyramix with relative ease - except to remember to always re-activate the timeline after clicking anywhere on the mixer, before touching the keyboard. (I have mapped "View > Set focus to timeline" to a very easy-to-reach key.)

Anyone else?

Tim Martyn
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fl
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Re: Avoiding keyboard commands going to mixer

Postby fl » Fri Apr 23, 2010 16:44

I agree, Tim - I've got myself into hot water a number of times with the issue of "what is the keyboard looking at, while I'm looking at something else...". It seems that this very issue is at the root of the development of the "Safe Record" setting (where you can't inadvertently come out of Record without first de-activating the setting). When recording concerts, I have the habit of entering the titles of the various selections into the "Notes" tab, so that I can copy and paste them into markers as I drop them on the fly while recording. I've also mapped the keyboard command to drop a marker to the "/" key (because my laptop doesn't have a numeric keyboard). I can't tell you how many times I've been unable to drop a marker, only to find that the entry in my Notes is now replaced with "////". Then there's the whole issue of hitting the space bar for "Play" and getting a clip playing in the Media Manager, instead of having the timeline play, which has been the cause of much profanity on my part.

Over on the Mac OS, they seem to have implemented the feature that the mouse/keyboard controls whatever the mouse is hovering over - so that if you roll the scroll wheel/ball over a finder window that is not active, you will still scroll through that window, rather than the window that is "active" (which is what happens in XP, maddeningly). I seem to recall that I was able to do this on my old Atari computer as well. Wherever the mouse pointer is, that's where the focus lies. It's a nice case of telling the computer to, "do what I want, not what I say". I wonder how hard something like that would be to incorporate into the Windows environment, or more specifically, into Pyramix. I guess I need something like what Stephen Hawking uses, to track the movement of his eyes over the computer screen, and shifts the focus to whatever he's looking at.

I suppose a short fix would be a "Lock all Keyboard Entries to the Timeline" setting, but I'm sure the minute I enabled something like this, I'd find it an unwanted limitation, and I'd be activating and de-activating it all the time - so that's really no improvement over the "Set Focus to the Timeline" command we have now.

A more radical answer would be to limit the scope of keyboard control, so that set commands do one thing and one thing only, regardless of the focus of the program (so that your up arrow would ALWAYS zoom the timeline, regardless of whether you had last clicked on the mixer, or any of the Tabs), but I'm sure that would undermine one of the most powerful features of the program - its capacity for total user configuration. This would most likely require all key commands to use modifier keys, otherwise you'd never be able to enter straight text anywhere.

I guess I need a button for the "Just do what I want, dammit!" function, that I can pound on in moments of stress...
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tim
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Re: Avoiding keyboard commands going to mixer

Postby tim » Fri Apr 23, 2010 17:28

Thanks, Frank. I know there has been discussion about Timeline focus vs. Tab window focus (CD Markers/Media Mgr/Library)...and the resulting confusion with keyboard commands for these windows. But of course we will always need to keep the ability to type entries into the Tab windows.

But right now, I'm wondering how many users are employing keyboard commands to control mixer functions? I almost never do. So I would certainly like to have a "direct keyboard commands to timeline rather than mixer" option.

Tim
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Re: Avoiding keyboard commands going to mixer

Postby Perfect Record » Fri Apr 23, 2010 17:53

My hang up is needing to zoom in or out in the timeline while the focus is on the mixer. If I'm refining something in mix automation I often need to zoom out, or move down the timeline so that I can see what's going on. In an ideal world, I'd be able to move around the timeline without having to click in the project window, then back in the mixer.

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Re: Avoiding keyboard commands going to mixer

Postby tim » Fri Apr 23, 2010 18:37

Yes...precisely. So if enough users agree that the mixer keyboard commands are of limited use, maybe we could convince Merging to include a check-box option in Gen Settings to "direct kybrd commands to timeline rather than mixer". Similar to the option which (thankfully) exists for the FEW. One could always un-check this box to return all the keyboard behavior to the way it is now.

Tim
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Re: Avoiding keyboard commands going to mixer

Postby charlienyc » Fri Apr 23, 2010 18:43

Perfect Record wrote:My hang up is needing to zoom in or out in the timeline while the focus is on the mixer. If I'm refining something in mix automation I often need to zoom out, or move down the timeline so that I can see what's going on. In an ideal world, I'd be able to move around the timeline without having to click in the project window, then back in the mixer.


same here, though often i'll have the zoom level set correctly but can't scroll the timeline left or right when the mixer's selected. it is annoying when automating.

Frank, can i recommend you pick up a USB numeric keypad to use on remotes? i think you said in another thread how you're running low on available ports, but if you do employ a hub, maybe give it a try. i've experimented and used several combinations of trackball mouse, full keyboard, numeric keypad and footswitch controller based on how much room i have for my control room setup. when space is at a premium, i'll give the little numeric keyboard priority. toggling the num pad on to start & stop recording or drop a marker, then off to open & close the mixer is really a ridiculous thing to be doing in the heat of recording. then again, perhaps i should research different keyboard shortcuts... :roll: apologies, this is a bit ot.

cheers,
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Re: Avoiding keyboard commands going to mixer

Postby charlienyc » Fri Apr 23, 2010 18:45

tim wrote:maybe we could convince Merging to include a check-box option in Gen Settings to "direct kybrd commands to timeline rather than mixer".


that sounds good to me, so long as we can keep that little "p" to clear peaks!
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Re: Avoiding keyboard commands going to mixer

Postby phaseboy » Fri Apr 23, 2010 20:50

charlienyc wrote:
tim wrote:maybe we could convince Merging to include a check-box option in Gen Settings to "direct kybrd commands to timeline rather than mixer".


that sounds good to me, so long as we can keep that little "p" to clear peaks!


I totally support this option - but I do think it needs to be an all or nothing option - no exceptions (if we want it soon and to work).
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Re: Avoiding keyboard commands going to mixer

Postby Silas » Sat Apr 24, 2010 15:19

Hi All,

Tim - thanks so much for bringing this up. I can't count the number of times I've inadvertently changed fader levels or changed phase even (!) accidentally because of this. Between this and the Tab windows stealing focus it is a workflow killer as I need to stop, undo the mistakes, sort out the focus by grabbing the mouse etc and then resume - a break of concentration / listening attention. It may seem like a little thing but I find it hard enough to maintain listening attention as it is ;-)

Thanks,
Silas
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Re: Avoiding keyboard commands going to mixer

Postby Davey » Sun Apr 25, 2010 19:48

Thanks Tim for bringing this up. This has also been bothering me for a very long time. I kept thinking it was my fault for always forgetting to click back to the timeline. So I'm glad that I'm not the only one who has struggled with this. I would love to see this fixed!!!

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Re: Avoiding keyboard commands going to mixer

Postby Perfect Record » Thu Mar 24, 2011 17:31

Yes, I know this is an old topic, but it was on my mind after a long day of mixing.

One huge problem, which may have been fixed in V7 is that there is no visual feedback of which window has focus. It would be a huge help if the header bar at the top of each window would dim when it's not the active window.

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Re: Avoiding keyboard commands going to mixer

Postby tim » Thu Mar 24, 2011 21:16

Hi Preston,

At least in Win XP, if you "disable skins" in the settings menu, you will get the active blue banner at the top of the main window when the timeline is active, and the banner will turn grey when the mixer (or another window) takes focus. But you can't tell by looking at the mixer. Not sure how this works in Win 7, I'm still running XP on all my Pmix systems.

Beginning with V7 (or maybe even with V6.2), my understanding is that the four arrow keys will always control the timeline, regardless of whether mixer or timeline is active. But I believe you may need to enter a registry key to make this happen (available from Merging). The arrows controlling faders were the source of annoyance to some of us, and this was addressed.

Tim Martyn
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Re: Avoiding keyboard commands going to mixer

Postby avi » Fri Mar 25, 2011 20:14

Might it be simplest if the keyboard commands which control the mixer (when in focus) were just displayed in the keyboard shortcut editor?
That gives any user the choice of setting up their own preferences, something which PMX is known for.

One could either leave the commands (say up arrow and down arrow) the same as the timeline, in which case they would be active depending on the window in focus... or change them, in which case they could be permanently active.
For me, for example, I'd leave up/down as timeline zoom, and set, say CTRL-ALT-UP/DOWN to be current fader move up / down by 0.1dB

AVI
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Re: Avoiding keyboard commands going to mixer

Postby Daniel Keinath » Sat Mar 26, 2011 23:16

excellent idea!
It might not even be necessary that the mixer is in focus. This has always worked fine for the fade editor. You can audition crossfades with your individual shortcuts at any time, even when fade editor is closed. Why should this not be possible in every other instance of pyramix like Mixer or Media manager? In my opinion this would be a great improvement!
Editor tabs and mixer must not claim a shortcut priority in the DAW environment. This makes things very confusing and causes unwanted mistakes.

cheers
Daniel
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Re: Avoiding keyboard commands going to mixer

Postby J.Wajer » Sun Mar 27, 2011 11:46

Daniel Keinath wrote:Editor tabs and mixer must not claim a shortcut priority in the DAW environment. This makes things very confusing and causes unwanted mistakes.
Disagree. There are numereous double shortcuts you take for granted without even realising they are double. F.I. Play/Stop in media manager
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