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Topic: Breath Control--here's how to set up instruments

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  1. #1
    Senior Member Bruce A. Richardson's Avatar
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    Breath Control--here\'s how to set up instruments

    This got buried in another thread, so I thought it might be helpful to give it a topic of its own.

    Here\'s how to set up instruments to respond properly to breath control. Open the desired GIG file, and follow along...

    First, I copy and paste a new instrument in the GIG file, and prepend the existing instrument name with BC-...that way when I do a search I can get all my breath control instruments on the screen quickly.

    Select the \"response\" tab and set the library up for Linear/Low velocity response. That takes velocity out of the picture for volume changes and allows you to map it to the wind controller.

    Next, select the Mix/Layer tab, and change the \"attn control\" from none to Breath Control. In the case of GOS, you change the same thing, but with the EXP instruments, this will actually be tying the crossfade, not attenuation, to the Breath Control.

    Next, go to the EG/LFO1 tab, and look at the release time. Try something like .05, and see how it goes. Since your breath will now be \"sculpting\" a lifelike release when you stop blowing, you don\'t need the artificial ramp down that\'s generally programmed for keyboards.

    If you want to set up some filters, go to the filter tab, enable the filter, and choose Breath Control in the Fc MIDI Ctrl drop-box. For instance, a little Lowpass filtering will give you some timbral shift, going darker when you blow softer and brighter when you play louder.

    That\'s it...between attenuation and filtering, you can get an excellent breath response from almost any library. Pretty easy, huh?

    OK, not that easy. Here are the complications. If the library is mapped from \"single volume perspective\" samples, that is, the pianissimos are actually pianissimo rather than attenuated full-amplitude recordings, you will get a \"double attenuation\" when you add breath. There are a couple of things you can do. If you\'re lucky and they did not use the disk compression, you can blow out all the samples and normalize them, then re-build the instrument (careful, this will destroy the previous mappings...but you DO have legit CDs of the library, right?).

    You can also get a little more detailed in your Breath control design and start diddling with each layer\'s response. I won\'t go into it any more, because this could turn into a book.

    The basics are here, and even the most difficult instruments can generally be set up well for breath control, you must just get your hands dirty and take them on.

    And, here\'s a PLEA to sample developers. PLEASE support the addition of Export functionality for compressed sample libraries. When we users are \"locked out\" of editing the waveforms, it does a tremendous disservice to us. We need access, we need to be able to edit sample libraries as we wish, right down to the sample level. I have cursed Nemesys under my breath mightily for this oversight.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Bruce A. Richardson's Avatar
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    Re: Breath Control--here\'s how to set up instruments

    Oops...rather major oversight:

    Of course, you must SELECT the regions/dimensions in question and hit the \"apply\" after your edits. Usually, you can just select EVERYTHING, do the major functional edits, then when it comes to fine tuning of individual notes and velocity layers, etc., you\'ve already got the funtional stuff happening and you can concentrate on smoothing out the response. Breath control is pretty \"forgiving\" though, since you\'ll find yourself automatically responding with air to what you\'re hearing. I usually don\'t end up doing much tweaking at all.

  3. #3

    Re: Breath Control--here\'s how to set up instruments

    I thought I might add a little:

    I\'ve been patiently waiting for my breath controller and Ztar for a few months but have been tweaking with programming ideas for a while for it.

    If you are working with ensembles (or solo samples with mock ensemble patches). A combination of Layers and filters really works out well.

    Consider GOS\'s EXP control that allows you to fade between Piano, MP, MF , and Forte. Set this control to Breath Controller instead of Mod wheel (or re map the breath control CC to Mod Wheel in your sequencer) and you can probably get some great results.

    Now with Brass Add different filter settings to each layer and assign the cutoff frequency to be controlled by Breath Controller, on top of Crossfade control between layers. This creates a very playable instrument, with less \"quack\" from the filter use (since you\'re using a combination of filters settings).

    With Dan Dean Brass ensembles I built one with one piano layer and no filters, and 3 \"forte\" layers with different filters assigned to each.

    Another good thing to try and do is calibrate the filters and layers to a crecendo sample if there is one in the library.

    Bruce I wholeheartedly agree about the \"lockout\" of samples. However I understand that developers want tosave space with Nemesys compresion. There are a couple of trasnlators that export the *.WA_ files, I believe. I also believe it will convert back from *Wav to *.WA_. Not sure if you can do a \"replace samples\" after the conversion....hope so...otherwise its pretty useless.

    ------------------
    Really...I am an Idiot

  4. #4

    Re: Breath Control--here\'s how to set up instruments

    Bruce, I\'ve read your recent posts with great interest. I just got a Yamaha BC-3A last week and I\'ve been trying to set it up to work with gigasampler. My first problem is programming the midi solutions breath crontroller processor. I need to send it system exclusive messages, although I\'ve never done this before. I assume there is some way to do this using Cakewalk. Does anyone have any experience with this?

    I want to try using a breath controller, as opposed to a wind controller. I like the polyphonic capability of the keyboard and also there is the possibility that velocity could be used in some way... perhaps switching between samples with and without attack portions for better legato.

    Comments were made earlier about how wind controllers trigger attacks using breath, while breath controllers use the keyboard as the trigger, thus causing timing problems between tonguing and hitting a key. Might it be possible to use a realtime midi effect in Cakewalk to mimick what happens in a wind controller. If so, is it possible to create a realtime midi effect for Cakewalk using the cakewalk programming language..CAL?

    Duncan

    [This message has been edited by Duncan Brinsmead (edited 02-11-2002).]

  5. #5

    Re: Breath Control--here\'s how to set up instruments

    Hi Duncan-
    I\'ve been toying with the idea of doing exactly what you suggest as a feature in a stand alone (expanded) Maestro utility, but I wasn\'t sure there would be enough demand for it. Would it interest you, and for others reading does it interest you? Anyway, I think you should be able to program this with a CAL script. I think it should work well during playback, but CAL won\'t be as great during realtime work due to the latency.

  6. #6

    Re: Breath Control--here\'s how to set up instruments

    Interested


    Tho I dont know if it wwould be really worth it if its not good in realtime. Part of the reason to have it would probably be for the \"feeling\" it makes you have when you play

    ------------------
    Really...I am an Idiot

  7. #7

    Re: Breath Control--here\'s how to set up instruments

    I love the idea of a wind controller but I\'m apprehensive about spending $600 on an instrument I can\'t return if it doesn\'t work for me. Is there anything out there for less? (I do mean a wind controller not a breath controller). Also, which midi parameters do the wind controller basically effect by blowing a single note?

  8. #8

    Re: Breath Control--here\'s how to set up instruments

    Neal, I\'d say the quick answer is eBay. A little patience could snag a WX5 or some such for less than $350, perhaps.

    Bruce, thank you for the detail. I\'ll try this with my keyboard and breath controller tosee if it works.

    in the other post you mentioned something about wind controllers not needing (or using) the initial velocity. I don\'t understand, the Midi note on command includes an initial velocity as part of the transmitted code. Are you implying there is another way of turning on the note, or a low initial velocity, or something other?

    I really would like to try this without a wind controller, if it can be done, so I\'m willing to experiment once I can figure out the editor. This thread has helped that a lot.

    Dasher

  9. #9

    Re: Breath Control--here\'s how to set up instruments

    I am interested in purchasing a BC but are there any BC that you can connect directly on a PC\'s midi in? I think that MIDI Solutions has a product for this but this is an extra cost.

    Thanks

  10. #10

    Re: Breath Control--here\'s how to set up instruments

    I am very intersted in this topic since I just did purchase a Synthophone. For those who do not know what this is, it is a wind controler build into a real saxophone. For saxophone players it is ideal because you just play it as a real sax. The down side of it, is that it does cost about 4000 $ (US). In order to try to play with more control, I did buy a velocity converter from midi solutions, the programing is pretty easy, but you have to have their utility in order to do it with any sequencer. For slow, melodic passages it is fantastic, but for fast playing I do not feel comfortable with it, because of some delay.

    IGOR

    [This message has been edited by IGOR (edited 02-12-2002).]

    [This message has been edited by IGOR (edited 02-12-2002).]

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