Velocity curve on incoming notes?

Hi all - I’m considering a Pyramid for my set-up. Is it possible to set a velocity curve / velocity scale for incoming MIDI? My master keyboard, a DX7s, has a light touch. It’s nearly impossible to hit 127 without cracking a key. I’d like to add maybe 20% to incoming velocity.

Looking through the Pyramid manual, I haven’t been able to find this function. It’s not listed as a MIDI effect.

Pete

Excellent question for those of us who use vintage gear. I used to use a DX7 as my controller (well, the 80s/90s) and that velocity issue was indeed an issue.

If I remember correctly, the earlier models of the DX7 only responded to max velocities of 100, but I may have that incorrect. This means that despite recording a velocity >100, it won’t mean a whole hill of beans anyway.

One smart-ass suggestion is to install a Grey Matter E! board…? :slight_smile:
(I wonder if we can find any of those on Reverb)

A thing to help me wrap my brain around things is that I sort of map things like ‘velocity curve’ strictly to controllers - that is, a velocity curve is part of the controller determining what value to translate how hard you hit a key - the translation between the specific physical component to a MIDI value. Compartmentalising this way, I dont’ think I can offer simple suggestions to alter the curve specifically, but you can modify the actual velocities in different places along the data path for recording, editing, and/or playback.

Realistic suggestions follow:

  • MIDI Solutions Velocity Converter which specifically states using for older synths such as the DX7. (I had one of these, btw) MIDI Solutions Products Application Examples

  • If it’s just a matter of increasing individual events, or even just increasing the range, this is easily done via the Step Editing Menu on the Pyramid. To quickly gloss over the workflow, it would be a matter of: record note events, enter Step Edit Mode, adjust Zoom to get all your Note Events, select all the Note Events (by pressing first and last pads), then use the Encoder to adjust Velocity. This can increment/decrement Velocity for all Note Events…so if Note Events were recorded with Velocities of 50-100 (for example), by adjusting the knob for +10, then the Note Events will now have Velocities of 60-110. Of course, if it’s only a few Note Events you want to adjust, you can easily just adjust those events in Step Mode. (This would be my preferred method, but my workflow works well for me, but is far from universal)

  • Creative usage of the MIDI EQ Effect could also result in incrementing/decrementing Note Velocity. Basically it creates an arbitrary Low-Mid-High range based on Note # and allows you to increment/decrement Velocities. By loading this Effect on a Track, you can adjust the Velocity in realtime - and even modulate those values since MIDI Effect parameters can be modulated by incoming MIDI CC’s or within the Track Automation itself. If you’re a Tricky Pete /Tricky Becky with MIDI, a Loopback might also apply to your workflow depending on how much focus you want to dedicate to this, your comfort levels, and your sense of adventure into the world of Topics Which Make You Less Likely To Get Invited to the Cool Parties.

  • If you use an Event Processor extensively, you can modify MIDI data at any point in your data chain, such as controller-to-Pyramid during recording, or Pyramid to device during playback, etc. Using something like a BomeBox which allows you to create complex scripts with logic and maths, you could actually build Velocity Curve Translators - an approach I find thrilling and wish I had time to play with that idea because it’d be a neet thing - although unnecessary for me since for flexible Velocity Curves I tend to use a Nektar controller.

Note: Never underestimate wrapping your brain around the idea that “MIDI is just data” and that the data path can be interrupted and modified in a variety of ways, with and without Event Processors.

An example is that my annoyingly overly complex performance scripts for a BomeBox include a routine inspired by the Pyramid MIDI EQ Effect where for each song I can define MIDI Channels that will modulate Velocity based on an incoming ‘meta-control’. That is, for each song I define a MIDI Channel that will get modified with a parameter I loosely term ‘Intensity’. As I increase/decrease the Intensity meta-control, all Tracks tagged with this variation will increment/decrement the Velocity values before being sent to their destination synths. (Note: I dont’ recommend this method - it’s sort of my albatross, but each Channel even has a LoVal, HiVal, and Scale…so I guess if I paid more attention to maths then it technically is the aforementioned Velocity Curve Translator…but my brain hurts now, so I think I’ve overwhelmed you - I’m sorry…but you can do a lot, if you recognise the tools might not be exactly what you’d expect. :slight_smile: )

Glad you have a DX7 - still one of my fave synths ever.

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Yeah, Pyramid does not have such an effect. In the “but if you buy another box” category of solutions, MidiHub has various options to treat velocity, at least:

  • amplify (by constant percentage)
  • rescale (to specified target range)
  • limiter (clip to specified range)

Thanks for the reply, @CreepyPants. I have a DX7S. It’s the same line as the DX7II FD, but limited to a single patch at a time, like the original. The MIDI implementation on the second generation is improved. Velocity (theoretically) goes to 127. By pounding the keys, I can get it there.

I adore the DX7. I was born in the early ‘70s, and the ‘80s is my fav music decade. I grew up on it. I don’t make retro music, but the DX7 is a versatile and creative tool for anyone willing to learn 6-op FM programming. It’s far less difficult than most people realize.

It sounds like adding velocity in the Pyramid is easy post-recording. I was hoping for an automatic incoming proportional adjustment. It’d be a great addition to MIDI effects, because it’s a common issue for people with older gear. There’s an iOS app that does it from a developer called MIDI Tools. I use that one when making music on the iPad.

I get the “MIDI is just data” concept, although I’ve never sat down to learn it. Time to hit the books/youtubes.

Wow - that thing looks amazing! Do you have one?

Not a bad price considering what MIDI Solutions charges for their single-function boxes.

I have one, yes, a bunch of people on the forum do (try searching for “MidiHub” in the forum). Velocity fixup has been it’s primary function for me - I prefer live recording over step-mode, but I’m a lousy keyboardist and without some velocity-correction my performances tend to be a tad too, err, dynamic :laughing:

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