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How to setup a Breath Controller

Discussion in 'KONTAKT' started by coroneddu, Sep 2, 2014.

  1. coroneddu

    coroneddu NI Product Owner

    hey all!

    I just got a TEControl breath controller and I need to set it up in KTK (5) so that I can benefit from all the various layer of expressions
    say the Flute in West Africa or a Trumpet ..

    as far as I've discovered only few libraries are Breath Controller ready so to speak .. with the others you'd need to set it up ..

    thing is I have no clue on how to do it so here I am ..

    how do you tell KTK to deal with all the various layers of expression when modulating with your breath?

    anything else might be useful to know to get the most out of a BC?

    any help, as little as i might be is super appreciated..
  2. MarioD

    MarioD NI Product Owner

    Coroneddu, on occasion I use an EWI-USB wind controller in Kontakt and setting Kontakt up to accept it or a BC is very easy.

    I am going to assume that your BC is set to send CC2 MIDI messages; most are. If it is set to something different just change all of the CC2s in this to the one the BC is set up for.

    Load a patch into Kontakt. Now on the main Kontakt toolbar, the one right under the large Kontakt logo, look on the far right and click on Auto, then MIDI automation. A list of CC numbers will appear. Left click, I'm assuming a Window OS, on CC2 and drag it to the volume slider in the instrument's window, i.e. upper right. Now the BC will control the instrument's volume and velocity.

    Don't worry about the layers of expression as they are programmed into the velocity of the patch and your BC is controlling that.

    Note that I do not have a Mac but the process should be the same.
  3. coroneddu

    coroneddu NI Product Owner

    Hey Mario!
    many thanks!
    thing is that if I do so it's controlling the volume only .. which makes it sound still unrealistic and a little weird to play since the velocity is still controlled by the keys and not by my mouth
    I was wondering where can I find stuff like velocity, portamento, expression, aftertouch and so forth ..so that I can drag and drop them to CC2

    btw I assume I can assign multiple things to CC2 right?
    I knwo I know.. I'm a midi noob :)

    thanks again!
  4. DarkStar

    DarkStar NI Product Owner

    MIDI Automation can control any of the main knobs on the instrument GUI (unless some scripting is overriding that).

    Looking at the West Africa User Guide only a few knobs are shown, so you may not be able to control all you want. You may be able to access some other knobs by clicking the wrench icon to open the Instrument Editor.

    And, yes, you can map the same MIDI CC# to more than one control - just drag it onto them. You can see / remove / adjust the depth of them in the Browser, in the panel below the CC Automation list.
  5. coroneddu

    coroneddu NI Product Owner

    Thanks Dark :)
    a quick question:

    how can I remove the velocity control from the keyboard and assign it to the BC?
    this is what is super puzzling me..

    cos there are multiple dynamics in all the instruments I'm playing but the velocity is still assigned to the keyboard.
    while, having a BC, is something you definitely want to control with your mouth

    also, know anything about the previous question?
    I was wondering where can I find stuff like velocity, portamento, expression, aftertouch and so forth ..so that I can drag and drop them to CC2

  6. DarkStar

    DarkStar NI Product Owner

    Velocity is embedded within each note - to remove it you might be able to set the keyboard to send notes at a set velocity, or use some for of MIDI FX before Kontakt to set the velocity.

    I do not have this library, but, for the other parameters - can you see them on the GUI or in the Instrument Editor? If not then they will not be controllable.
  7. coroneddu

    coroneddu NI Product Owner

    mm .. didn't really get what you mean lol
    tho' it happens the same with the Factory Library .. just load the Trumpet and you'll hear multiple velocity layers depending on how hard you strike the key...
    so... there are multiple velocity layers and that they're controlled by the keyboard... so, in my noobness, I suppose this assignment must be somewhere in KTK.. and I want to assign the same behavior to my BC...
    in few words that's what I'm looking for :D

    unless, still using the factory Trumpet as an example, this assignment is hidden and you cannot change it..
    :eek: !!
  8. stephen23

    stephen23 NI Product Owner

    Congratulations on getting a wind controller. It will make a huge difference to your music. I use a Yamaha WX5.

    First you must understand about controls. BC is a continuous controller, actually no 2 (cc#2 for short), like volume (cc#7), expression (cc#11), modulation (cc#1) etc. Aftertouch is slightly different but works exactly the same way. So BC is an alternative to these controllers, not something than can control them. According to the manual, your device can actually deliver any of four different cc#s (page 6).

    Velocity is different because it is part of the note message and is one-off - like the force used to play a piano key - and cannot be changed after the note is started (i.e it is not continuous). I guess that will be determined by the keyboard you use with your BC. Your particular BC can't control this.

    The best way to set yourself up is to do what I do and build your instrument from scratch. Kontakt makes this easy.

    But if you just want to modify an existing instrument, you need to select a cc# for your BC to deliver, then find out which cc#s are currently controlling the parameters you want to control with BC, and change them to your chosen cc#. (But the scripts which everybody seems to use these days might make this difficult or impossible.)

    Or it might be even simpler just to get your controller to send modulation or volume, whatever the designers of the instrument use to control the loudness. Experiment.

    I wouldn't recommend controlling the master volume with BC, because this will also affect all the "effects" - pretty disastrous for echo, reverb, convolution etc if the instrument has them. (They will fade out along with your notes)
  9. coroneddu

    coroneddu NI Product Owner

    Thanks Steph!

    okok this gets interesting..

    take a quick at this video: it should be @ 00:48 .. otherwise just skip to that timing

    here he says

    "with this you can actually blow the intensity of a note"

    this is what I'm looking for... it's about intensity which, and here I might be wrong at this point, I thought it was the velocity...
    by "intensity" I mean: if you hear that french horn he uses you can hear that the more he blows the more the sound (naturally) changes ..
    now I'm capable to hear this only by striking the keys ...not with my mouth..

    what he did in this video is exactly what I'm trying to achieve :)

    he's using the same exact BC as mine so I'm really really curious to find out how to do it hu ha
  10. stephen23

    stephen23 NI Product Owner

    If you want to do stuff like that, you need to get to know Kontakt! There are loads of effects that can be used to change the quality of the sound, and all are controllable by any cc#.

    Simplest way is to start with a "loud" type horn sound and apply adjustable EQ, or alternatively use a low-pass filter, using your BC to control cutoff.

    If you want to use several different sets of samples for loud >> soft, you can either use AET (Big Bob has done a tutorial on these I believe) or

    Cross-fade them by putting each set of samples in a separate group, stretching each vertically so it covers the whole velocity scale; then modulating volume by your cc#, adjusting the modulation shaper (4th box along) separately in each group, so that each sound type is made active at different points in the scale of volume.

    These last 2 are pretty advanced, and success is not guaranteed - it depends very much on the samples.

    There's no easy way.
  11. coroneddu

    coroneddu NI Product Owner

    well .. using FXs to change the quality of the sound in another topic I think and I'm good with it since I know how to assign stuff to the BC now ..
    I don't think this about EQ'ing an instrument .. it's about crossfading between the various layers of intensity...

    I'll look into this AET thing ..

    jeez I thought it was something much more straight forward :D

    this MIDI controller world never ceases to amaze me on how boring/complicated it can get awfully quick lol

    anyways .. you said it's going to make a huge difference .. I'd reaaaaly love to know how :D
    know any tips, tutorials you can point me to? anything interesting you've done that I can hear?
    been searching since friday with no luck (apart from videos of enthusiastic people already playing it eheh)
  12. MarioD

    MarioD NI Product Owner

    Coroneddu, what he is referencing too in the video as intensity is actually volume intensity. What you are looking for are tonal changes via velocity and apparently your BC does not send velocity data. But to be sure try this experiment. Load your DAW and Kontakt. Select the trumpet from the band section, set the volume to respond to CC#2 and record. While trying to press a single key at the same pressure play a series of short notes, first with very softly up the very loudly, i.e. blow lightly to very hard. Now look at the recorded and if the velocity is all the same then you are not sending velocity data.

    In the video he is getting that buzz from his expression pedal. He has a patch the will add buzz via a CC#. You may be able to do that with you BC IF you have a patch that allows that. I do this all the time with my EWI-USB and SampleModeling's saxes; I set growl to correspond to volume, i.e. the louder I play the more growl I get.

    Have you ever played another instrument say a sax, trumpet or flute? If so an EWI-USB is an inexpensive way to get into wind controllers. You would not be having these problems with a wind controller. For example using the trumpet experiment above the velocity changes via how hard I blow into the controller.

    Good luck and let us know how the experiment turned out.
  13. coroneddu

    coroneddu NI Product Owner

    Hey Mario
    thanks for your insights!

    so.. I'm 99% sure that what he's talking about is tonal changes via velocity .. while I'm 100% sure he's dealing with tonal changes and not volume changes .. you can clearly hear the "grit" of the french horn as he blows stronger...

    on the other hand the pedal provides a further layer of expression which is usually called "strappato" if I recall correctly .. but it's a separated layer of expression for sure.. (even in real life it's a different technique)

    what you described is the very first thing I've tried (suggested by Tom from TeControl) but it' definitely not the same thing...
    but if you think about it, this won't send any velocity data since it's volume that is mapped :D

    I contacted the kind guy from the video tho' and this is what he suggests:

    Usually intensity is assigned to #CC1 (which stands for the mod-wheel).

    Now all you should have to do is find that setting or that value and assign whatever is assigned to #CC1 to #CC2 (CC2 is the breath controller).

    I'm not savy about the various settings of the various libraries and where the settings are, but again:
    You just have to look out where you can find the #CC1 value and change it to #CC2.
    #CC1 is usually the default setting, that means, usually (by default) you controll the intensity of an instrument via #CC1 (the mod-wheel).
    Just change it to #CC2 and you should be able to control whatever you want via breath controller instead of the mod-wheel.

    However not all libraries are refined enough to controll the intensity via mod-wheel. Check that out. If you can controll the intensity of a note via mod-wheel,
    you should be able to just change #CC1 to #CC2 and it should work.

    so my next question for all you KTK tweakers is

    how can I change this in KTK5? :D

    cos I know how to do it the other way around by dragging CC2 to whatever parameter... but I don't know which parameter controls the intensity in the Factory Library

    but most of all ahahaha.. is it actually possible in KTK? :cool:

    PS: I'm yet to try the AET tho' ..
  14. coroneddu

    coroneddu NI Product Owner

    Tried with the AET which seems to be exactly what I'm after (whohooo) ...but again the velocity is obviously assigned to the keys and now is in conflict with the BC inputs since I've assigned the CC2 (mapped for general breath controllers) to "Morph" ..

    so back to my first question :D
    any of you know how to "remove" the velocity from the keys?
  15. MarioD

    MarioD NI Product Owner

    I still think we are talking about two different things. He talks about freeing up his expression pedal. Thus his expression pedal was set for CC11, another volume CC. Now that it is free he is using it to get the buzz or as you call it grit. That is as he blows harder he is pressing down on his pedal and he is matching it with his BC volume. As has already been stated velocity data will not increase or decrease with volume changes. Thus if the grit is set by velocity say at 10% of the volume it would stay at 10% regardless of volume changes. With his expression pedal he can increase or decrease that percentage at any time.

    I still think that he is talking about volume when he is talking about intensity. When he starts mentioning CC1 being assigned to intensity I think he is talking about some software were CC1 is assigned to volume. Garritan's software is this way.

    Now for assigning CC2 to the mod wheel, click on the wrench at the top of the Kontakt instrument. Click on the down arrow next to modulation. You may see MIDI assignments listed, note that many do not have this option. Click on the up arrow next to the 1s and change them to a 2. But you may be disappointed as many Kontakt instruments use the mod wheel for vibrato.

    Me thinks that the only way to accomplish what you are trying to do with what you have right now is to press harder on the keys and to get an expression pedal.

    Have you tried any software written for wind controllers? Things like Garritan Jazz and Big Band or SampleModeling's software. I'm not sure that they would help but if you can get a demo you can find out.

    Have you looked into a wind controller? They can send many different CC numbers at once and they do sent velocity data. EWI-USBs are the least expensive wind controllers, around $300, out there. Any wind controller will solve all of your problems.

    This is my take on your problems. Maybe someone else has more and/or better information.

    Good luck.
  16. MarioD

    MarioD NI Product Owner

  17. stephen23

    stephen23 NI Product Owner

    Your question is meaningless.

    Perhaps what you mean is, how can I transfer control of which_set_of_samples_I_use from velocity, (a one-off value assigned when the note is first played), to a continuous controller, so that I can change from a soft sample to a more "gritty" sample in the middle of a note.

    Forget velocity! You can't change velocity in the middle of a note! The confusion arises because nearly all multilayered instruments are designed for use with a keyboard, and select the loud/soft sample with velocity - i.e. you get a different sample according to how hard you hit the key. Breath control works in a completely different way, and if you want how hard you blow to continuously determine which sample is used, there are 3 ways that you can adapt the instrument which I have detailed above. The latter 2, which allow you to change samples in the middle of a note, will require complete restructuring of the mapping of the instrument.

    A fourth option would be to do what the guy in the video suggested, except that instead of changing assignments in the instrument, it would be simpler just to change the cc number that your device transmits to modwheel or whatever. But this won't hop across velocity layers and change samples in midstream!

    Incidentally be clear that there are 2 sorts of AET - velocity morph and articulation morph. You will only get the effect you want with the latter, for the reasons I've just said.
  18. coroneddu

    coroneddu NI Product Owner

    wow .. thanks for all your insights pals

    okokok .. let me get this straight (remember I'm almost a midi noob) :D

    I've carefully read your posts and I'll try what you proposed for sure...but since I want to really get how this works there's this question I've found on the net which I'd like to know the answer:

    The guy is talking about the GPO's Woodwind/Brass to be precise but it's important for me to know if this is something that varies from library to library, sampler to sampler or of it's a common MIDI procedure with any library/sampler.

    First, you need to flatten or disable the response from Velocity input to the amplitude of output, since you'll want the breath controller to take over that task.

    is this possible in KTK?
  19. DarkStar

    DarkStar NI Product Owner

    Outside my comfort zone, but ... yes it will vary between libraries and samplers.

    The MIDI velocity of the notes in Kontakt is often used to select different samples to playback (giving you a different "intensity" for the notes, soft, low, medium high etc. Here is an example, looking the Bansuri Flute in the Mapping Editor:
    Bansuri_zones.png (click the image to see the big picture)

    Each note has 4 samples - mapped to different MIDI note velocities. High velocities play the samples at the top, low velocities play the samples at the bottom. I pressed D4 on my keyboard (with "average" pressure) and the sample corresponding to velocity 80-ish was played.

    It sounds like you wish to get Kontakt to ignore the note velocity and use the Breath Controller (CC#02) messages to set the note intensity. I cannot think of an easy way to map a CC message to Note Velocity in Kontakt. A script might be able to do it.

    Or a specialised MIDI FX before Kontakt in the Chain that will remember the last Breath Control message received and put its data value into the Velocity field of the subsequent MIDI notes. Those modified notes will then be passed to Kontakt and different samples will be played back, depending on the velocity (i..e the strength of the last breath Controller message received).
  20. coroneddu

    coroneddu NI Product Owner

    good good good .. thanks for the explanation DS

    so it's not as straight forward as I'd expect .. okidoki

    I'll keep this post updated in case I bump into something (musically) meaningful to share..

    thanks everyone!!!