Can MIDI Velocity Control a VST parameter live?

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trad_rotis
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Joined: 10 Feb 2024

Post 12 Feb 2024

Hello everyone! (This is my first post on ReasonTalk.) Thanks for all of the information you've posted in the forums thus far.

I'm using Spitfire Audio's LABS VST, in which there's a slider/fader/parameter called "Dynamics". Adjusting that parameter really makes the sampled instruments sound natural. Unfortunately, the "Dynamics" parameter is not linked to/synchronized with the velocity of striking the keys on my MIDI keyboard. I'm stuck turning a knob or drawing in an automation lane for it, rather than just feeling it in the moment while I'm playing, varying it with the velocity I strike the keys.

Please tell me there's some way to use the Reason Rack to route the velocity of MIDI input to the Dynamics parameter on this VST. (?) It seems like something Reason should be able to do.

Maybe there's a solution with CV? I found a post about using Thor to turn Velocity into a CV signal, but when I try routing Thor's Velocity signal to LABS, no sound comes out, and I don't see where the MIDI notes can be routed from the keyboard (or Thor) to LABS.

(I'm still new to Reason's Rack and playing with the virtual cables often does not produce the effect I want. There are probably some fundamentals I'm missing, even though I've been watching lots of tutorial videos and reading instructions.)

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selig
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Post 13 Feb 2024

I would think that velocity is mapped internally, no? But even so, this type of control really needs to be “performed” IMO since it affects the sustain and not just the attack. I use it to create swells and decrescendos and all the “inter note” movement real players do naturally.

Meaning you are not “stuck” with this control, you are blessed with it! I can’t believe there is no way to do velocity control with such a high end library - sorry I’m not familiar with their stuff, I use other libraries for orchestral instruments.

Hopefully there’s someone here with more direct experience with the Spitfire libraries.
Selig Audio, LLC

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huggermugger
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Post 13 Feb 2024

You can route Velocity to the Dynamics parameter using a Combinator. Have you tried that?
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DaveyG
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Post 13 Feb 2024

Some Spitfire libraries and quite a few others only use velocity for their "short" sounds (eg. Staccato strings). For the longer sounds they use CC1, which is the modulation wheel. It starts to make a bit more sense when you consider how those sounds are used. You ride the mod wheel to change the dynamics whilst holding down the chord(s) or, if you are a keyboard klutz like me, you record the string part, make a bunch of edits on the piano roll then record the mod wheel as a separate process to get the desired rise and fall. It gives a much more realistic end result. I guess they could get a similar thing using aftertouch but many keyboards don't support it and even on those that do it is much harder to control compared to a wheel.

It takes a bit of getting used to but you get better results in the end.

trad_rotis
Posts: 4
Joined: 10 Feb 2024

Post 13 Feb 2024

Thanks, all!
@huggermugger I will try your suggestion tonight; it seems like you've got it figured out. (Combinator is just not intuitive to me, so thank you.)
@DaveyG I can understand using a mod wheel for strings swelling, sforzando, etc. And I, too, can be clumsy on the keyboard, so I appreciate being able to tweak things after recording--velocity included. I think it's strange that the Autograph Grand piano instrument doesn't use velocity for dynamics. That's the main instrument I want to do this with.

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selig
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Post 13 Feb 2024

trad_rotis wrote:
13 Feb 2024
Thanks, all!
@huggermugger I will try your suggestion tonight; it seems like you've got it figured out. (Combinator is just not intuitive to me, so thank you.)
@DaveyG I can understand using a mod wheel for strings swelling, sforzando, etc. And I, too, can be clumsy on the keyboard, so I appreciate being able to tweak things after recording--velocity included. I think it's strange that the Autograph Grand piano instrument doesn't use velocity for dynamics. That's the main instrument I want to do this with.
Hang on, are you saying a grand piano instrument doesn’t use velocity for dynamics, there must be something else going on here. I hear obvious dynamics in the examples I’ve looked at, so we must be talking about different things…
Selig Audio, LLC

trad_rotis
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Joined: 10 Feb 2024

Post 14 Feb 2024

@huggermugger My Combinator looks different from yours. I cannot select Velocity as a Source--only Rotary 1-4, Button 1-4, Pitch Bend, Mod Wheel, Breath Controller, etc (screenshot attached). Also, it says "Key Mapping" and "Modulation Routing", not "Editor". I can't find any Editor. Maybe I'm using a different version than you? (Reason 11 Intro) Does that mean I can't do what you're suggesting? Or do I need to connect some of those virtual wires on the "back" of the Rack?

@selig Upon closer inspection, I'm noticing that the LABS Autograph Grand is actually using Velocity, but it's only using it for a very subtle volume difference, not the "Dynamics" parameter controlled by a slider in the VST. I don't know why they did that, but that's how it's functioning for me. Do you think there's another way for me to configure it?

Thank you.
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huggermugger
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Post 14 Feb 2024

trad_rotis wrote:
14 Feb 2024
@huggermugger My Combinator looks different from yours. I cannot select Velocity as a Source--only Rotary 1-4, Button 1-4, Pitch Bend, Mod Wheel, Breath Controller, etc (screenshot attached). Also, it says "Key Mapping" and "Modulation Routing", not "Editor". I can't find any Editor. Maybe I'm using a different version than you? (Reason 11 Intro) Does that mean I can't do what you're suggesting? Or do I need to connect some of those virtual wires on the "back" of the Rack?
I'm using R12 with the new Combinator.

trad_rotis
Posts: 4
Joined: 10 Feb 2024

Post 15 Feb 2024

Update: I got this sort of working using a Combinator and Thor (as suggested here: viewtopic.php?t=7504196 thanks @madmacman). Unfortunately, the MIDI note reaches the LABS instrument before the Velocity data does, so each note comes out with the velocity from the previous note.

I understand that Velocity isn't dynamic; it's fine for it to stay at the level of the previous note in between notes, but the velocity needs to change right before the note is sent to the LABS instrument, or at least be sent at the exact same time, and right now, it seems to be getting sent right after the note. Is there a way to pass the note through Thor to the LABS instrument the way the velocity is being passed through? (instead of MIDI input triggering both LABS and Thor at the same time, like it seems to be doing inside the Combinator?)

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