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american_audio_vms2

American Audio VMS2

The American Audio VMS2 is a 2-deck all-in-one controller. It is a USB class compliant MIDI and audio device that works with GNU/Linux, Mac OS X, and Windows. It features a 4 channel input and 4 channel output sound card with 2 phono preamps. The main output has XLR and RCA outputs (do not use both at once). There is a separate RCA booth output. The VMS2 can also be used as a stand-alone mixer with analog sources without a computer by setting the USB/Analog switches on the front of the device to “Analog”.

Audio Setup

No driver needs to be installed on GNU/Linux or Mac OS X. However, on Windows, it is recommended to install the driver from the manufacturer to be able to use the ASIO sound API.

Unlike most controllers with built in sound cards, which rely on Mixxx to do all mixing in software, the VMS2 mixes signals from the sound card in hardware. To use it with Mixxx:

  • Bypass the built-in hardware equalizer of the VMS2 (i.e. use Post-EQ Mode). Hold the forward search button on the right deck as you turn the VMS2 on to switch between Post-EQ and Pre-EQ modes. See section 15 of the manufacturer's manual for details.
  • Set the USB/Analog switches on the front side of the VMS2 to “USB”
  • In Mixxx's Sound Hardware Preferences:
    • Set the sample rate to 48000 Hz
    • Select channels 1-2 for Deck 1 output
    • Select channels 3-4 for Deck 2 output

Note: You cannot use the preview deck to pre-listen in this setup, as Mixxx routes the preview deck to Mixxx's headphone output, which is not mixed with the Deck 1/2 outputs. You could use a separate soundcard and route the headphone output there to also pre-listen using the preview deck. Of course, if you do so, attach the headphones to that other soundcard instead of the VMS2.

Input and Recording

The analog inputs are captured by the built-in soundcard as input signals. They can be used for timecode signals (e.g. timecode vinyl), as the VMS2 also features built-in phono preamps. FIXME I did not try that, please verify!

The microphone input is mixed directly into the master output signal of the VMS2 in hardware and cannot be captured through software. If you want to record voice over using the Mixxx software, you will need a different solution. You can use a separate microphone attached to the computer, but that signal will not be routed to the VMS2 and therefore not be on the VMS2 master output (but in the Mixxx recording from the software master/record output).

Mixxx's Deck 1/2 outputs are affected by the Mixxx software EQs. However, the VMS2's volume faders and crossfader (as well as the headphone buttons) control the VMS2's hardware mixer and do not affect Mixxx's Deck 1 and Deck 2 output signals. Therefore, a recording using the Mixxx software will sound different from what is played through the VMS2 master output, as the crossfader curve and signal mixing are not the same in hardware and software. If you require a recording that captures exactly what the audience will hear, use a separate soundcard and recording software to record from the VMS2 booth output.

Mapping description

Mixxx Versions / History

The VMS2 has been fully mapped for Mixxx by the community. Different versions of the mapping exist. Most of them are linked somewhere in the Mixxx VMS2 forum thread. As of Mixxx 1.11, two mappings were included with Mixxx: the first one by Groschi, and a second, called “(Alternative)” by snu (that's me ;-)).

Groschis mapping mapped the controls also found on the VMS4 for the VMS2. The rotary knob in the middle section was left unmapped. The “Alternative” mapping improved on that by mapping all controls. The rotary knob was used for library browsing. It also featured EQ kill buttons on the secondary IN/OUT/RELOOP buttons and an obscure way switch between scratch mode and pitch mode.

As of January 2016, a new mapping has been proposed and a pull request is filed (see Links section). If everything goes well, it will be shipped with Mixxx 2.1.0, and replace both older mappings.

This description is for the latest VMS2 mapping, currently available in a pull request against master (see Links section). This is currently only a 2 deck mapping.

Mixer section

All main functions are mapped straightforwardly:

VMS2 Control Mixxx Control
Crossfader Crossfader
Volume Fader Volume Fader
Cue (PFL) PFL
Cue Mix Cue Mix (PFL / Master)
Headphone Gain Headphone Gain
Channel Gain Channel Gain
Master Gain Master Gain

As noted in the Audio Setup section, these control the VMS2's hardware mixer. Although the state of the controls is reflected on screen in Mixxx, the actual mixing is done by the VMS2's hardware mixer.

Deck Control

Deck control is straightforward, too:

VMS2 Control Mixxx Control
Play Toggle deck play/pause
Pause Pause the deck
Cue Cue Point (configure behavior in software)
Pitch +/- Temporary pitch bend +/-
Pitch Fader Pitch Fader
Range (Shift+Sync) Cycle pitch fader range (+-8/10/30/100%)
Sync Sync to other deck
Search «/» Search through currently loaded track
Keylock (Shift+Vinyl) Toggle pitch independent time stretch (KeyLock)
Vinyl Toggle between Scratch mode and Pitch mode
Platter Touch sensitive platters! Scratch or Pitchbend
Shift + Platter Scroll through library quickly

In Pitch mode, moving the platters from either the top or side will only bend the pitch of the deck. In Scratch mode, the platters act like vinyl turntables and can be used for scratching. Touching and holding them from the top stops the deck. Moving them from the edge does not stop the deck.

Library and Track loading

Use the encoder in the center of the controller to browse through the library. Press the encoder to switch between library main window and sidebar. Unfortunately there seems to be no way to expand entries in the sidebar through the controller script.

Use the [LOAD] buttons to load the currently selected track into either the left or right deck.

The four directional buttons around the knob also control the library:

Button Library function
Up Previous library entry
Down Next library entry
Left Previous sidebar entry
Right Next sidebar entry

If you hold Shift and then rotate a platter, you can scroll through the library much faster.

Equalizer

The per deck EQ rotaries are mapped to their software counterparts. The VMS2 has no dedicated kill switches for the EQ. However, in Mixxx, pressing the following buttons with Shift acts as EQ kill switches.

VMS2 Control Mixxx Control
Shift+IN Kill Switch Low
Shift+OUT Kill Switch Mid
Shift+RELOOP Kill Switch High

Hotcues

The VMS2 can control 6 hotcues per deck.

VMS2 Control Mixxx Control
1 / 2 / 3 Set/Jump HotCue 1 / 2 / 3
Vinyl + 1 / 2 / 3 Delete HotCue 1 / 2 / 3
4 / 5 / 6 = (Shift + 1 / 2 / 3) Set/Jump HotCue 4 / 5 / 6
Vinyl + 4 / 5 / 6 = (Vinyl + Shift + 1 / 2 / 3) Delete HotCue 4 / 5 / 6

Pressing the vinyl/keylock button will not toggle scratch mode or keylock as long as a hotcue is deleted before releasing the vinyl/keylock button.

Loops

VMS2 Control Mixxx Control
IN Mark beginning of loop
OUT Mark end of loop
RELOOP Leave / Reenter current loop
LOOP Start a 4 Beat loop from current position
Smart (Shift + Loop) Toggle quantize
(:2) / (*2) Halve or double the current loop length

As Mixxx currently only supports one active loop per deck, the secondary loop controls have been remapped to EQ kill switches.

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american_audio_vms2.txt · Last modified: 2016/04/07 21:00 by be.ing