Breath Contoller please explain

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Breath Contoller please explain

Postby CaBleman » Sat Dec 31, 2016 12:39 pm

Hi there,
I'm stunned at what the G2M can do with some synths, e.g. Roland A-01 hardware synth or Massive and Serum soft synths.
But with a couple of soft synths, esp. on the iPad, it seems that the continuous Breath Controller data leads to confusion or tweaking of parameters that should not be tweaked. e.g. the Electro Harmonix (EHX) Mini Synth. Here the phase slider hops around all the time. But also on DRC and Nanologue it does not work that well.
Now I'm not a Midi noob, but I have never worked with Breath Controller data. I assume this is primarily for brass and wind instruments? Is it a bad implementation of a soft synth if it gets confused by breath controller data?

James, could you explain a little bit how this is implemented in the G2M? Is the velocity info also converted into breath controller data? Also, is it configurable to switch off Breath Controller data transmission?

Thanks a lot and I wish you huge sales and many new ideas for 2017!

Ciao, CaB
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Re: Breath Contoller please explain

Postby james » Sat Dec 31, 2016 12:58 pm

The breath controller is related to velocity - it uses the velocity scaling to work out the breath level. The amplitude of the signal at note-on sets the note velocity and this also sets 100% of the breath controller scale. While the note is playing, changes in level will send the breath controller. So if the signal drops to half the value at note-on, the breath controller will also drop to half-value (i.e., from 127 to 64).

It sounds like some synths have this hard-wired to control other parameters that you might not expect "breath" to control. Can the synth's mapping be changed?

In the G2M breath controller can't be turned off. On the i2M musicport, it can be turned off, and also assigned to other controllers instead of breath.

FYI: The original G2M didn't have breath, but it was a big request to add it to the i2M musicport (which we did a long time ago), and it has been a long-standing request to include it on the G2M, which is why it is now in the V3 G2M. We didn't have enough switch options to make this able to be turned on and off.

I also hope 2017 will be a very good year for us. I wish you a good 2017 too!
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Re: Breath Contoller please explain

Postby raimondsgr » Thu Mar 16, 2017 12:03 pm

Let me extend compliments for cool and innovative products. I would like to ask further question in relation to the breath controller. It was clearly explained above that, if the signal level drops, the value of the breath controller will decrease correspondingly. But what happens, if the dynamic of the sound is increased after the note attack? Will the dynamic of the note stay flat or increase? I am asking this question because dynamic swelling of notes is crucial for expression of vocals and wind instruments.
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Re: Breath Contoller please explain

Postby james » Thu Mar 16, 2017 12:40 pm

The breath controller has the same scaling as the note velocity. So if the note velocity is less than maximum (127) then you increase the dynamic of the sound, the breath controller value will also increase. However, if you do a loud note at maximum note velocity, the breath controller will also start at this maximum level, so will have no way to increase further.
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Re: Breath Contoller please explain

Postby raimondsgr » Mon Mar 20, 2017 2:35 pm

Thank you for the prompt reply. Let me ask one more hypothetical question. Would it be possible to order a custom programmed G2M device, which would send CC#11 Expression instead of the breath controller values?
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Re: Breath Contoller please explain

Postby james » Tue Mar 21, 2017 10:57 am

It's possible to custom-program a G2M, but it isn't a simple thing to do. It needs some wiring added to the PCB and possibly a small programming connector added too. Essentially, it takes a reasonable amount of time to do this.

Please PM me if you want to discuss this more and I'll work out what the additional cost would be.
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Re: Breath Contoller please explain

Postby cherrybyte » Thu Mar 23, 2017 12:15 pm

james wrote:It's possible to custom-program a G2M, but it isn't a simple thing to do. It needs some wiring added to the PCB and possibly a small programming connector added too. Essentially, it takes a reasonable amount of time to do this.

Please PM me if you want to discuss this more and I'll work out what the additional cost would be.
I'd sign up for one of these as well.
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Re: Breath Contoller please explain

Postby alechecco83 » Thu Mar 30, 2017 6:16 pm

I agree, breath controller is not the most used.
For example, a great low cost solution for bass players is anode meeblip: this monophonic analog synth supports other standard CC messages but not breath.
It would be great to be able to change that to aftertouch or expression or modulation...
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Re: Breath Contoller please explain

Postby AndyHornBlower » Sat May 13, 2017 5:28 pm

IMHO, there should also be the option of sending Aftertouch (as Channel Pressure), instead of Breath.

The reason being, most keyboard controlled synths are set up to respond to aftertouch. Channel pressure is the simplest form of it, and it also has another advantage over sending Breath or Expression - it's not a 3 byte CC message, it's only 2 bytes long, so it's slightly faster, and ties up the MIDI input of the synth for less time, so piggy backing another MIDI message, e.g. from a foot pedal, becomes more reliable.

Personally, I'm more interested in wind controllers than keyboards, so I'm fine with Breath, but I do agree that it shouldn't be the only option. If there's a version 4 of the G2M, at some point, it would be good if it offered the choice of Breath, Expression and Aftertouch (as Channel Pressure).

Among my small collection of electric wind implements are a couple of Casio DH-100s - MIDI sax toys, from a couple of decades ago. Interestingly, they chose to send Aftertouch, instead of Breath. If you plug one into almost any synth or rompler, you get some sort of response beyond simple Note On events like you get from hitting keys on a basic keyboard - there's some degree of response during the note, not just from the initial trigger. If you try the same thing with an Akai EWI4000s, or a Yamaha WX5, the results are generally less satisfying, until you spend time configuring the synth to respond to Breath properly.
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Re: Breath Contoller please explain

Postby james » Mon May 15, 2017 9:26 am

Thanks for the suggestion. I agree, aftertouch would be a useful addition.
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