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Topic: Keyboard MIDI Controllers - Switching Touch-Sensitive On Or Off

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  1. #1

    Keyboard MIDI Controllers - Switching Touch-Sensitive On Or Off

    I am trying to choose a keyboard MIDI controller and have searched our forums for user views.

    Apart from the usual must-have features such as mod-wheel, pitch-bend and after-touch, I would like a touch-sensitive keyboard (the harder a key is pressed, the louder the sound). There are plenty of models that have this but I can find very little mention of the ability to switch this off when not needed. I am thinking of the times I would use the keyboard to play instrument patches that wouldn't want this such as organ and harpsichord. I know that when playing these instruments I could take particular care to keep my finger pressure even but I don't feel that this is an ideal situation.

    The only keyboard I can find that has any mention of switching the touch-sensitive feature on or off is the M-Audio Oxygen 61 which does offer three set velocity options. Apparently, the higher M-Audio range of Axioms don't have this feature. Nor can I find any mention of this in other manufacturers such as the Edirol or CME ranges.

    I would appreciate any advice on this.

    Thanks.
    Michael
    Patience is a virtue, sensitivity is a gift

  2. #2

    Re: Keyboard MIDI Controllers - Switching Touch-Sensitive On Or Off

    Most organ / harpischord patches across various platforms that I have played with have that built into their programming - in other words, the patches themselves are designed to not respond to velocity. Perhaps it won't really be an issue you will need to deal with?

    Rob

  3. #3

    Re: Keyboard MIDI Controllers - Switching Touch-Sensitive On Or Off

    Hi Michael,
    when you play and record your various instruments with your keyboard, almost always, you will want your "velocity" to be recorded as part of the midi data, especially since most instruments in most libraries are in some way affected by the velocity. The organ and harpsichord are indeed a few instruments that are not in any way affected by velocity, so keeping your touch consistent is not necessary for those.

    When you play the keyboard and record parts for things like organ and harpsichord, the sequencer or notation program will record the velocity, but it won't matter because those instruments are not controlled by velocity.

    Ultimately, as far as I am concerned, a midi keyboard that has nice "real" piano feel is only good for piano, but when you record other things like woodwinds, timpani, brass, strings... it is actually more ideal to not have weighted keys.

    Dan

  4. #4

    Re: Keyboard MIDI Controllers - Switching Touch-Sensitive On Or Off

    Sometimes the On/off of the "Touch" is not a single button, and you need to navigate some menus of your keyboard or read the manual for some combination of key pressing. Even old yamaha psr line had that feature.
    But, if you are using it to control software, you can do that inside the computer.
    It´s easy to do in Sonar/cakewalk using the MidiFX, and i guess that is possible too in Cubase and others softwares.
    You can also do that with the freebie "MidiOx" that works with any software.

    When you play the keyboard and record parts for things like organ and harpsichord, the sequencer or notation program will record the velocity, but it won't matter because those instruments are not controlled by velocity.
    In a well programmed instrument yes. But sometimes it`s not the case. By example, if you load it in a sampler that always use the velocity with any instrument. That`s the case with some free samplers.
    Marcelo Colina

  5. #5
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    Re: Keyboard MIDI Controllers - Switching Touch-Sensitive On Or Off

    All MIDI keyboard sends out velocity with each note played these days. Velocity is always recorded as an event with the note on. It's not like extra controller, aftertouch or pitchbend info.

    In programs such as Sonar you can highlight the whole track after recording and then set the velocity for all the notes to the same value.

    Jim

  6. #6

    Re: Keyboard MIDI Controllers - Switching Touch-Sensitive On Or Off

    Most digital pianos have fairly easy-to-use scaling of the velocity, which usually includes an "off" setting, where all the notes have the same velocity, such as 100 (out of 127).

    But Haydn is correct - velocity is an integral part of the MIDI note-on message, and cannot be "turned off".

  7. #7

    Re: Keyboard MIDI Controllers - Switching Touch-Sensitive On Or Off

    Quote Originally Posted by Haydn View Post
    ...

    In programs such as Sonar you can highlight the whole track after recording and then set the velocity for all the notes to the same value.

    Jim
    If you are using Sonar, go to the "effects" section of the midi track you are using, click on "midi>cakewalk fx>velocity". A window is opened. There "Set to" 127 or any other value, and you will play, in realtime, without velocity variation, so no volume variation. It looks like this:

    Marcelo Colina

  8. #8
    Senior Member dominick's Avatar
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    Re: Keyboard MIDI Controllers - Switching Touch-Sensitive On Or Off

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael_uk View Post
    I would like a touch-sensitive keyboard (the harder a key is pressed, the louder the sound). .
    As mentioned by others, you can control velocity settings in your sequencer/DAW, otherwise, velocity settings are part of an instrument's sample. Pressing a key hard means pressing it fast - if you press slowly and apply heavy pressure only when the key is down, the velocity will still be low.

    What you may be more interested in is the filter and amplitude envelope generators in your sample player, which control the shape of a sound as it is expressed from the time a key is pressed and released? You can add a lot of expression in orchestral instruments playing with these devices, but they can also detract from realism.




    Wider is better.

  9. #9

    Re: Keyboard MIDI Controllers - Switching Touch-Sensitive On Or Off

    Thanks everyone for all your help. Fantastic forum support as always.

    Now I can look at all manufacturers and models; the Edirol PCR-800 is looking good at the moment.

    If anyone has one of these and would like to share experiences or if anyone has anything to add to previous threads on tried and tested keyboards I would be interested know.

    Thanks again.
    Michael
    Patience is a virtue, sensitivity is a gift

  10. #10
    Senior Member dominick's Avatar
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    Re: Keyboard MIDI Controllers - Switching Touch-Sensitive On Or Off

    I have the Edirol PCR-80, and the PCR-800 has quite a bit more features. The PCR-80 has 12 velocity curves, but I tended to use only the linear one, as it played with a more natural expression. However, I have been using a Novation keyboard (Remote 37SL) in recent months and prefer this to others. The reason being is that it has two 144 character LCD screens that automatically map to my DAW, which is Reason, indicating which controller is being used.

    This makes it very easy to use the midi controllers, without looking at my computer monitor. If you tend to use the most frequently mapped controllers, this makes it more fun to use automation to shape your sounds as you are playing back to record more nuances in your work.
    However, the auto-mapped controller's description remains the same if you assign a pre-mapped controller to another device. I can't comment on how it might work for other DAWS, but it is great for Reason.
    Wider is better.

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