All About MIDI Polyphonic Expression (MPE)

Interactive, forum-based, in-depth reviews, tips, tutorials and more!
KVRist
307 posts since 12 Sep, 2007

Post Wed Sep 01, 2021 5:02 am

Another vote for Reaper, it's handled MPE very well from the start.
The ability to filter midi by channel and specific CC #'s, so really easy to specifically import, export, and edit.

User avatar
KVRAF
3874 posts since 15 Aug, 2003 from seattle

Post Wed Sep 01, 2021 7:19 am

jules99 wrote:
Wed Mar 31, 2021 10:32 am
zerocrossing wrote:
Mon Mar 22, 2021 8:26 am

I’d be curious to hear your take on Live 11 v Bitwig 3. I ditched Live when I found out that they ignored MPE and polyphonic aftertouch in v 10. I was sick of waiting for what seemed to be something that was never coming. I’m happy with Bitwig, but I miss Live’s ability to create an audio loop using Looper and have the length of the loop dictate the tempo of the project. Nice trick for creating ambient music where you later bring in a rhythmic aspect.
Since I own, use, and regularly test these three DAWs (Ableton, Logic and Bitwig), I got curious: how is MPE implemented?

So I did a little test: Using the Seaboard block and the latest update of Equator2 and its standard preset, I played the same little chord progression in each DAW:

- Logic 10.6.1
- Ableton Suite 11.0.1
- Bitwig 3.3.6

Test system was a 2016 Macbook Pro with macOS Catalina 10.15.7 installed.

One thing, I attempted, where all of them failed completely, is MPE-Clip export.
I exported the recorded MIDI clips with their respective MPE data in each DAW and attempted to import them in the other DAWs.
- At least between Ableton and Logic, there happens "something", as in there is MPE modulation audible, but nothing can be edited in the clip.

- Bitwig creates individual MIDI tracks when you import from Logic Pro. No modulation data visibile or audible.

Also, Bitwig refused any pitch bend data. I tried the scripts for Seaboard GRAND and Seaboard RISE as there was no Seaboard BLOCK script, but neither worked for pitch bend. The other MPE dimensions worked just fine.

This worked out if the box in both Ableton and Logic. I may have to fiddle more with different pitch bend amount settings in Bitwig.

On the other hand, Bitwig is the only one of the three DAWs that displays note pitch bend without any secondary view options (Expressions tab in Ableton Live, Show Automation in Clip View in Log).

Logic is still pretty old school in its MPE data depiction. In said Automation view, you can switch through the different MIDI channels and their respective MPE data (Brightness, Velocity, Pitchbend, Aftertouch), but there is no visual relation between each channel and the actual MIDI notes in the clip.

On the other hand, Logic seemed to have the least amount of trouble with the Seaboard. No additional controller setting, no second MPE mode, it just worked.


Since this is not a dedicated weeklong test with more DAWs and more controllers, I don't think there is enough to actually draw a conclusion from.

One thing I can say is that in order for MPE to actually be wider spread (besides hopefully having many more controllers to choose from), there is still a long way to go in these three DAWs. I have not heard or seen a deeper integration in any other DAW, but this would be for the community here to answer.
One thing you're missing here is Logics inherent MPE limitation, Logic does not differentiate incoming MIDI by port, so unlike Bitwig, Live, DP etc. it cannot control more than one MPE instrument at a time without workarounds lowering an MPE instruments channel count. A single 16 channle MPE instrument is all that can be used in Logic at one time, In Bitwig for instance I can have a half dozen instruments assigned to the 6 controllers laying around here making virtual instruments feel like using hardware etc.

I'm often surprised that people don't catch this, but I do have over 6 control surfaces and MIDI controller laying around, so to me it's blatant, and noteworthy.

User avatar
KVRAF
6366 posts since 6 Jan, 2017 from Outer Space

Post Tue Sep 07, 2021 8:55 am

machinesworking wrote:
Wed Sep 01, 2021 7:19 am
One thing you're missing here is Logics inherent MPE limitation, Logic does not differentiate incoming MIDI by port, so unlike Bitwig, Live, DP etc. it cannot control more than one MPE instrument at a time without workarounds lowering an MPE instruments channel count. A single 16 channle MPE instrument is all that can be used in Logic at one time, In Bitwig for instance I can have a half dozen instruments assigned to the 6 controllers laying around here making virtual instruments feel like using hardware etc.

I'm often surprised that people don't catch this, but I do have over 6 control surfaces and MIDI controller laying around, so to me it's blatant, and noteworthy.
Already from pre Apple times Logic inherited the environment. There you can route Midi to your liking. Its a pain to program, but you can prepare channel strips to receive Midi from a single source…
In the environment select the click & port layer, delete the connection from the sum output and connect your port… This would do it globally for the sequencer, but you can connect Midi in the Mixer Layer directly to an instrument…
You would mainly need that in a Live situation to have different controllers connected to different channels without the need to arm the track…

User avatar
KVRAF
3874 posts since 15 Aug, 2003 from seattle

Post Tue Sep 07, 2021 9:33 am

Tj Shredder wrote:
Tue Sep 07, 2021 8:55 am
machinesworking wrote:
Wed Sep 01, 2021 7:19 am
One thing you're missing here is Logics inherent MPE limitation, Logic does not differentiate incoming MIDI by port, so unlike Bitwig, Live, DP etc. it cannot control more than one MPE instrument at a time without workarounds lowering an MPE instruments channel count. A single 16 channle MPE instrument is all that can be used in Logic at one time, In Bitwig for instance I can have a half dozen instruments assigned to the 6 controllers laying around here making virtual instruments feel like using hardware etc.

I'm often surprised that people don't catch this, but I do have over 6 control surfaces and MIDI controller laying around, so to me it's blatant, and noteworthy.
Already from pre Apple times Logic inherited the environment. There you can route Midi to your liking. Its a pain to program, but you can prepare channel strips to receive Midi from a single source…
In the environment select the click & port layer, delete the connection from the sum output and connect your port… This would do it globally for the sequencer, but you can connect Midi in the Mixer Layer directly to an instrument…
You would mainly need that in a Live situation to have different controllers connected to different channels without the need to arm the track…
Yeah I used Logic primarily for about 8 years. There are multiple issues with separating out controllers by port in the Environment. I gave up when I tried it, it messes with control surfaces, at the time my Mackie Control got hosed by doing this, I can't imagine it would be bette now that Logic has a dedicated control surface section. Plus, you have to "hardwire" ports to soft synths etc. for this to work, there's no by port input selectable in the arrangement/tracks etc. window.

Compare this to literally any other DAW, where you can arm multiple soft synths to multiple controllers by port in the arrangement page, and switch that at whim. In Bitwig and DP you can separate out in the DAW MIDI channels per MPE controller even, so with the Linnstrument you can have two different instruments on the same device, plus the Seaboard Block controlling another one, and regular MIDI tracks. In Logic you either get only separation by channel, or deep diving into the Click and Ports layer of the Environment, which will not behave nicely with various other aspects of Logic.

It's definitely IMO a shortcoming of Logic, if it didn't bother me so much I would probably still work in Logic but personally I find it annoying.

KVRist
140 posts since 12 Mar, 2011

Post Thu Nov 04, 2021 11:41 pm

Hey,

Does any one have experience with bitwig >4, linnstrument, and sending midi from bitwig to hardware via midi-DIN?

Last time I tried, the midi hardware just gave up. Regurarly got stuck notes on midi to cv converter, and even midi output slows down considerably.

User avatar
KVRAF
6366 posts since 6 Jan, 2017 from Outer Space

Post Tue Nov 16, 2021 6:49 am

It might be a problem of the hardware you are sending Midi to. There is an option in the LinnStrument to thin out the continuous data. USB can simply handle more than one Midi event per millisecond and playing expressively creates a lot…

User avatar
KVRAF
3874 posts since 15 Aug, 2003 from seattle

Post Tue Nov 16, 2021 9:36 am

machinesworking wrote:
Tue Sep 07, 2021 9:33 am
Tj Shredder wrote:
Tue Sep 07, 2021 8:55 am
machinesworking wrote:
Wed Sep 01, 2021 7:19 am
One thing you're missing here is Logics inherent MPE limitation, Logic does not differentiate incoming MIDI by port, so unlike Bitwig, Live, DP etc. it cannot control more than one MPE instrument at a time without workarounds lowering an MPE instruments channel count. A single 16 channle MPE instrument is all that can be used in Logic at one time, In Bitwig for instance I can have a half dozen instruments assigned to the 6 controllers laying around here making virtual instruments feel like using hardware etc.

I'm often surprised that people don't catch this, but I do have over 6 control surfaces and MIDI controller laying around, so to me it's blatant, and noteworthy.
Already from pre Apple times Logic inherited the environment. There you can route Midi to your liking. Its a pain to program, but you can prepare channel strips to receive Midi from a single source…
In the environment select the click & port layer, delete the connection from the sum output and connect your port… This would do it globally for the sequencer, but you can connect Midi in the Mixer Layer directly to an instrument…
You would mainly need that in a Live situation to have different controllers connected to different channels without the need to arm the track…
Yeah I used Logic primarily for about 8 years. There are multiple issues with separating out controllers by port in the Environment. I gave up when I tried it, it messes with control surfaces, at the time my Mackie Control got hosed by doing this, I can't imagine it would be bette now that Logic has a dedicated control surface section. Plus, you have to "hardwire" ports to soft synths etc. for this to work, there's no by port input selectable in the arrangement/tracks etc. window.

Compare this to literally any other DAW, where you can arm multiple soft synths to multiple controllers by port in the arrangement page, and switch that at whim. In Bitwig and DP you can separate out in the DAW MIDI channels per MPE controller even, so with the Linnstrument you can have two different instruments on the same device, plus the Seaboard Block controlling another one, and regular MIDI tracks. In Logic you either get only separation by channel, or deep diving into the Click and Ports layer of the Environment, which will not behave nicely with various other aspects of Logic.

It's definitely IMO a shortcoming of Logic, if it didn't bother me so much I would probably still work in Logic but personally I find it annoying.
It should be noted that Logic 10.7 finally has multi port MIDI inputs, I haven't tried it with the Linnstrument and Roli Seaboard Block, but it should work now. :)

KVRist
140 posts since 12 Mar, 2011

Post Thu Nov 25, 2021 5:19 pm

Tj Shredder wrote:
Tue Nov 16, 2021 6:49 am
It might be a problem of the hardware you are sending Midi to. There is an option in the LinnStrument to thin out the continuous data. USB can simply handle more than one Midi event per millisecond and playing expressively creates a lot…
No problem with ableton live 11 - not a hardware problem. Yeah ive tried with with lower transfer rates.

Return to “KVR Experts”