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Do No Synths/MIDI Keyboards Send All Velocities, 0-127? #3018402 12/04/19 04:04 PM
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bvc Offline OP
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There have been arguments that MIDI as it stands is too low-resolution, but the consensus is that it's probably good enough. However, it may not even be the 128 steps we think, in terms of velocity.

I recently decided to use my Studiologic SL-161 (with the respected Fatar TP/9S keybed) as my main controller over my Yamaha DX-11, as the DX can only hit a max velocity of 121, and that's if you're banging on it. I also noticed, via the MIDI meter at the bottom of Logic Pro 9, that there were a lot of holes in the values it was registering; for example, it could only send 100, 110, and 114, and nothing in between those.

So, I tested my SL-161, and the results were surprisingly bad as well. In the upper registers, it was hitting only 114, 120, 124, and 127, and nothing in between.

I then got out a Roland A-800 Pro MIDI controller (one of the better ones out there), and there were also a lot of missing values, and notably (regardless of which velocity curve was selected), the lowest velocity it was able to hit was 7. I know of certain patches that do interesting things in the 1-5 range, so this controller is unable to do them at all.

[Yes, I am aware that velocity can be bumped and curved in software, but that's just spreading and redistributing the values your hardware is putting out, so it will only ever be sending out 85 (or what ever) out of 128 values, which is a pretty unsatisfactory solution.]

Can anyone with good synths or master keyboards see if they are capable of hitting, say, 120, 121, 122, 123, 124, 125, 126, and 127 (all of them), without any missing/unable to ever be registered?

(The test was just hitting record, banging away at the same key for a good while, and reading the results of the individual note inputs in my DAW.)

Thanks in advance, everybody!

KC Island
Re: Do No Synths/MIDI Keyboards Send All Velocities, 0-127? [Re: bvc] #3018412 12/04/19 04:58 PM
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The Real MC Offline
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My Kurzweil MIDIBoard transmits ALL the values. It's just a MIDI controller, no built in sounds.

It is well known that many synths only send discrete ranges. My Korg DSS-1 only transmits aftertouch in 16 (or some other value, I'm not in front of it) discrete values out of 128!

Re: Do No Synths/MIDI Keyboards Send All Velocities, 0-127? [Re: bvc] #3018420 12/04/19 05:31 PM
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I'm getting the full range of 1 to 127 on my A800 Pro. I also looked to see if there was any quantizing to coarser divisions of the 1 - 127 range but I see values like 1, 3, 4, 5, 7, and 9 on the low end so it doesn't seem like it. On the top end I have a problem getting a mix of different values, possibly due to the exponential velocity curve I have programmed. I can get 127s by very forceful playing but when I back off a bit I see only 123s and 115s. This could speak to the admittedly imprecise way I strike each note or limitiations due to non-space-shuttle tolerances in how the membrane switches are actuated by the keys, or both. One thing I know for sure is that you'd have to be a freak of nature to attempt and succeed at consistently hitting the same velocity number multiple times in a row.

I do know that many synths don't send 14-bit pitch bend (my A800 does). [edit - maybe! Gonna confirm or not in a while)!

Last edited by Reezekeys; 12/04/19 06:59 PM.
Re: Do No Synths/MIDI Keyboards Send All Velocities, 0-127? [Re: bvc] #3018460 12/04/19 08:22 PM
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Mark Schmieder Offline
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I got all values from Arturia's KeyLab when I still had it, and still do from my Moog Voyager as well. Most if not all of my other keyboards over the years (all sold by now), fell flat on many fronts (even DSI's!), as evidenced by MIDI monitoring tools (and my ears).


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Re: Do No Synths/MIDI Keyboards Send All Velocities, 0-127? [Re: bvc] #3019148 12/11/19 11:23 AM
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Thank you for the info. Does anyone else know of any keyboards that can for certain deliver all values? I'm especially interested in the Gem S2, but it is doubtful anyone reading this will have experience with this synth.

Re: Do No Synths/MIDI Keyboards Send All Velocities, 0-127? [Re: bvc] #3019172 12/11/19 04:09 PM
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