Old 01-09-2018, 07:12 PM   #1
MaleXLR
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Default Kontakt velocity range too small...

This may be better on a Kontakt forum, but I'll start here because I always get good advice. I have dabbled with some Reaper plugins to fix the problem, but it's a bit like EQing frequencies that were never in the original recording...

I’ve got an instrument – Solo Cello legato NV-V BPD v1_1 that I really want to use, but it doesn’t respond very well to velocity, so I can’t get the dynamics that I want.

With the a Technics P30 and a Keystation 88 there are some dynamics but still not enough and my preferred MIDI guitar pickup is just hopeless.

I see that I can change the dynamics with the modulation wheel – tricky when playing the guitar – or I guess I could map the expression pedal to the modulation wheel controller!?! (Rubs belly and pats head!)

Perhaps I could record it, playing the dynamics – hearing them on the guitar, but not through Kontakt and once it’s how I want it, try to do a second pass on the recorded track, using the modulation wheel to make it sound more real…

However, this seems a tad silly if I can use the velocity that is already being sent!

Incidentally, I don’t have this problem with the standard library sounds. The patches respond beautifully to the velocity changes from the MIDI pickup, but (of course) now that I have found a cello that I like, nothing else is good enough!
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Old 01-09-2018, 07:29 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by MaleXLR View Post
This may be better on a Kontakt forum, but I'll start here because I always get good advice. I have dabbled with some Reaper plugins to fix the problem, but it's a bit like EQing frequencies that were never in the original recording...

I’ve got an instrument – Solo Cello legato NV-V BPD v1_1 that I really want to use, but it doesn’t respond very well to velocity, so I can’t get the dynamics that I want.

With the a Technics P30 and a Keystation 88 there are some dynamics but still not enough and my preferred MIDI guitar pickup is just hopeless.

I see that I can change the dynamics with the modulation wheel – tricky when playing the guitar – or I guess I could map the expression pedal to the modulation wheel controller!?! (Rubs belly and pats head!)

Perhaps I could record it, playing the dynamics – hearing them on the guitar, but not through Kontakt and once it’s how I want it, try to do a second pass on the recorded track, using the modulation wheel to make it sound more real…

However, this seems a tad silly if I can use the velocity that is already being sent!

Incidentally, I don’t have this problem with the standard library sounds. The patches respond beautifully to the velocity changes from the MIDI pickup, but (of course) now that I have found a cello that I like, nothing else is good enough!
I think your problem is crossfaded layers. Many times when they crossfade layers for dynamics, CC1 MOD is usually used as a controller and velocity intensity is at 0%, which means that velocity has no affect.

It's perfectly logical that this is done, if the velocity intensity was at a level (20% and higher) where it affected the volume output, it would make the crossfade controller (CC1 in this case) less useful.

If you have a continuous controller pedal that delivers CCs from 0 to 127, that's your ticket.
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Old 01-09-2018, 10:50 PM   #3
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I don't know anything about "Solo Cello legato NV-V BPD v1_1", but with the virtual Cello I use, (by default) expression (i.e. loudness) is mapped to a midi controller (e.g. wheel or food) while velocity mainly influences portamento time. This is how such a sound is decently playable with a keyboard.

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Old 01-09-2018, 11:13 PM   #4
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I don't know anything about "Solo Cello legato NV-V BPD v1_1", but with the virtual Cello I use, (by default) expression (i.e. loudness) is mapped to a midi controller (e.g. wheel or food) while velocity mainly influences portamento time. This is hiow such a sound is decently playable with a keyboard.
Yes that's possible too, the manual will tell you.
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Old 01-10-2018, 04:32 AM   #5
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Thanks muchly,

Yes, the portamento thing - it all makes more sense now and I am actively working on growing another hand...

But seriously, yes I see the problem and although I fiddled with a Kontakt multiscript I realised that my tinkering around was going to destroy what the sampling engineer had created.

Using the instrument section of Kontakt I was able to disconnect my expression pedal (from the volume) and simply reassign it to what on my sample is "Dynamics". Gonna take a while to master, but should be fun.

I would still prefer a softer sound, but as this cello was never played that way I guess that will have to search for a different sampled cello.
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Old 01-10-2018, 07:15 AM   #6
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Back in the 90's when I first started dabbling in midi keys and recording, I would take a cello or violin sample, play it on the keys and then when I played it back, would do volume swells with the wheel, resulting in something that you are describing. I'm not sure how that works with Kontakt or in Reaper (as I'm new here), but I know that in the 90's I did it, so I'm sure that it's the same principle.
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Old 01-10-2018, 10:28 AM   #7
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Which library is "Solo Cello legato NV-V BPD v1_1" from? Who is the library designer?
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Old 01-12-2018, 09:34 PM   #8
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shredhead7 - That is what I had wondered too, but I haven't tried it yet. I found using the expression pedal while playing hopeless and although all the dynamics were there in my head during the recording, on playback it was a very small range of dynamics.

DarkStar - Now there's an interesting thing! I have it as a quick load and when using the (useless) Kontakt database the status line tells me it's "Created By: Kontakt". However it is definitely a Spitfire instrument and possibly from one of my Albion libraries. If you have a trick of how to find the library I would be hugely grateful...

As per my previous post, I am now resigned to not messing around with the Designer's intended instrument performance!
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Old 01-13-2018, 02:25 AM   #9
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I found using the expression pedal while playing hopeless
A breath controller is a lot more playable on that behalf.

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Old 01-13-2018, 05:32 PM   #10
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I found using the expression pedal while playing hopeless and although all the dynamics were there in my head during the recording, on playback it was a very small range of dynamics.
Yeah, dynamic crossfades of the layers can be pretty modest, depending on how the samples were recorded. The difference between the recorded volumes of the softest to the loudest samples is the determining factor.
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Old 01-13-2018, 09:45 PM   #11
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A breath controller is a lot more playable on that behalf.
There ya go - assign a breath controller to the dynamics, an expression pedal to the volume and another expression pedal assigned to vibrato and I've still got two hands free to play the guitar!

Might be time to brush up on my keyboard skills!
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Old 01-14-2018, 01:15 AM   #12
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There ya go - assign a breath controller to the dynamics, an expression pedal to the volume and another expression pedal assigned to vibrato and I've still got two hands free to play the guitar!

Might be time to brush up on my keyboard skills!
I use a TEC BBCv2. That device not only detects breath pressure, but also "bite" (-> bow pressure force), head nod (-> pitch bend), and head tilt sidewards (-> vibrato speed). I also use keyboard aftertouch for vibrato strength.

It might be a nice idea to try a combination of a BBCv2 with a guitar-to-Midi converter to play Cello or solo violin, but I never saw this done, yet.

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Old 01-14-2018, 04:57 AM   #13
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I've grappled with this problem over the years too. A lot of modern sample libraries use modulation as an 'intensity' control and so the velocity dynamic range can often be more constrained, but you are expected to use modulation as the primary controller to add expression. Of course, on a normal piano keyboard this is difficult. Even keyboards with aftertouch are problematic because in most cases the aftertouch requires quite heavy key pressure and the effective control range is very limited; it is hard to smoothly add the required amount of pressure due to hardware limitations.

For this reason I've become convinced that it makes more sense to use an alternative controller which properly supports key pressure. As discussed on other threads there are options ranging from the Seaboards through to a set of overlays you can stick onto an existing keyboard. These are very expensive options though and the Seaboard controllers can be challenging to adapt to. For this reason I have settled on a couple of KMI Qunexus controllers (and its cheaper sibling, the K-Board, is equally capable in this role). To get round limitations of the stock firmware I created a free Reaper JS plugin (available on the stash) which allows me to play 'idiomatically' i.e, press harder to add expression, tilt to bend, wiggle from side to side to add vibrato. These are the obvious expressions a keyboard player would 'like' to make, so it feels much more natural than 'trying to rub your tummy while patting your head' as someone marvellously said on this thread. That's the problem with any kind of controller like a foot controller or even breath controller, the coordination just feels unnatural when you are really interacting with the keys you are pressing.

I also have a P30 master keyboard and so I just sit one of the Qunexus controllers on top of it; it's a tiny little thing but after a little practice you should find you can play quite well and it certainly allows you to express wind and string lines idiomatically. I am really looking forward to the 4 octave version that KMI have under development which, for a final price I believe of 599 bucks and with a conventional piano key layout, will be a very attractive option. Assuming KMI give access to the raw sensor stream I can then adapt my plugin for this controller as well, which has the advantage that you can save all the mapping and sensitivity settings etc. as part of the track itself, something that would be difficult if you relied on actual firmware settings on the controller.
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Old 01-14-2018, 06:05 AM   #14
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Qunexus controllers
The example videos I found in the Internet are horrible. But that does not mean it will not work when trying to do decent music with it.

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Old 01-14-2018, 07:07 AM   #15
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The stock firmware has some significant limitations. However the Reaper plugin totally bypasses the firmware and processes the raw sensor value streams directly (it does not change the firmware in any way; there are Midi SysEx messages to enable this mode).
Consequently you can do a LOT more than the demos. The underlying hardware is pretty capable. I really need to put together a YT demo video I guess, but trust me, it is actually quite a nice piece of kit as a controller.
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Old Yesterday, 04:32 AM   #16
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Thanks again.

Some great information there and for ajaym's post I'm gonna need a lot of free time to Google some of the suggestions (and I will) and a brain transplant to understand it...

How does it go? How do you get a guitarist to play quieter? Give him the music! Perhaps better to give this guitarist a MIDI implementation chart! That should shut me up!
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