Vague Software has released Selector, a freeware utility in VST plugin format that is designed for controlling the parameters of external MIDI hardware.
Selector controls both bank and patch changes, as well continuous control (CC) messages. The plugin can use Cakewalk’s instrument definition file format (*.ins) to store and recall settings including banks, patches, and any other MIDI controllable parameters. It also supports bank names so you can name your banks conveniently, which is especially handy for recalling drum settings or your favorite set of pads or bass synth patches. Selector also supports MIDI Thru, allowing its users to pass MIDI data through the plugin and into external hardware gear.
The great thing about Cakewalk Instrument Definitions is that they are widely available for a range of different hardware devices. Performing a quick Google search for them reveals that there are many sites and forums where links and downloads for *.ins files can be found. If you are looking for more information about the format, or simply a place to download some *.ins files, a great place to start would be Cakewalk’s official website.
Selector’s user interface features 16 small rotary encoders which can be set to control the MIDI parameter of your choice, either by using the encoders or the drop down lists below them. There are three large knobs for the bank, program, and patch changes, and three text drop boxes to the left of the large encoders listing the selected bank, program and patch names. The choice between different input controls makes it possible to adjust the value of the selected parameter quickly, using either the drop downs or the rotary encoders. Just below the large knobs, there is a small gray triangle that gives you direct access to CC changes. As additional settings, the two green buttons at the bottom of the interface let you switch the MIDI Thru on and off. Also, there’s a button marked “CC to PC” which resends current control change messages when a patch is changed using either the drop down menu or the large program wheel.
All things considered, Selector is a well-made MIDI utility packed in an interface that is both nice looking and user-friendly. I could see this plugin being a huge workflow boost to those who use external hardware synths, both for studio use and live performances.
Selector is available for free download via KVR Audio (927 KB download size, ZIP archive, 32-bit & 64-bit VST plugin format for Windows).