Why Do No(?) Synths/MIDI Controller Keyboards Send All Velocity Values, 0-127?

Anything about hardware musical instruments.
bvc
KVRist
144 posts since 3 Feb, 2011

Post Mon Dec 02, 2019 11:10 pm

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!

User avatar
BertKoor
KVRAF
11333 posts since 8 Mar, 2005 from Utrecht, Holland

Re: Why Do No(?) Synths/MIDI Controller Keyboards Send All Velocity Values, 0-127?

Post Tue Dec 03, 2019 12:45 am

I thought it was well known most controllers cannot send all the possible values 1-127. One reason is that the sensor itself has its limitations. FYI: usually it's implemented as a speed sensor: there are actually two contacts closed when the key is pressed, one shortly after the other. The time difference is measured between them.

Then the controller software transforms that to the midi value, often using a curve. It might be that the "linear" target curve requires already an S-shaped transformation curve, so resolution at the extremities gets sacrificed.
bvc wrote:I know of certain patches that do interesting things in the 1-5 range
Then the patch designers made the stupid assumption all players & controllers can control their velocity that precise.
We are the KVR collective. Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated. Image
My MusicCalc is back online!!

rACatkvr
KVRer
12 posts since 10 Mar, 2009 from Australia

Re: Why Do No(?) Synths/MIDI Controller Keyboards Send All Velocity Values, 0-127?

Post Wed Dec 04, 2019 1:25 am

The Yamaha DX’s were also notorious for not having the full MIDI range of velocity.
Atlier 45, PC3x, PC2R, Event Processor+, 12Step and BCF2000

User avatar
Jace-BeOS
KVRAF
5233 posts since 7 Jan, 2005 from Corporate States of America

Re: Why Do No(?) Synths/MIDI Controller Keyboards Send All Velocity Values, 0-127?

Post Wed Dec 04, 2019 7:31 am

I’ve noticed this too, not just with key-strikes but also mod wheels and other things, on my M-Audio Oxygen 25 (which, granted, is a POS). Also, my Korg PadKontrol has a few pads that are less sensitive than others, and the aftertouch on my Alesis QS8 and Fusion 8HD requires a ton of force, making the range (full?) difficult to use.

It’s really irritating how low resolution most MIDI controllers are, even within the shitty MIDI 1.0 specification.

Then I try to play my violin and I wish it were... uh... less responsive to subtlety :-D :lol:
- dysamoria.com
my music @ SoundCloud

Acid Mitch
KVRAF
1950 posts since 5 Oct, 2005

Re: Why Do No(?) Synths/MIDI Controller Keyboards Send All Velocity Values, 0-127?

Post Wed Dec 04, 2019 8:01 am

BertKoor wrote:
Tue Dec 03, 2019 12:45 am

Then the patch designers made the stupid assumption all players & controllers can control their velocity that precise.
It could be that the patches were designed to be programmed instead of played or that the patch designers had controllers that could hit those valaues.

Return to “Hardware (Instruments and Effects)”