1. IMPORTANT:
    We launched a new online community and this space is now closed. This community will be available as a read-only resources until further notice.
    JOIN US HERE

Using variable (not just on/off) sustain pedal in Kontake - help?

Discussion in 'KONTAKT' started by chrisken, May 18, 2017.

  1. chrisken

    chrisken New Member

    Messages:
    10
    Hi,
    I don't know if anyone can help me here. I've been trying to use my Kawai electric as a MIDI controller for various NI pianos in KONTAKT and I'm having an issue getting the sustain pedal to trigger properly.

    The sustain pedal is graduated to allow for half pedalling, etc on the electric piano, however as it's not just a simple on/off switch the data being sent to contact isn't triggering the sustain pedal correctly as it only triggers the sample in Kontakt when it's at 100% and I'm sending it a range of values depending on how rapidly or how hard I press the pedal. This is basically making all the piano libraries I have unusable.

    Any ideas how I can fix this?

    I've attached a photo with an example of the MIDI data I'm sending to Kontakt to give you an idea. Essentially the sustain pedal in Kontakt only triggers when I have my sustain pedal 100% pressed and I need it to tigger before that as it's cutting off the sustain on a lot of the notes in the left hand.

    Thanks.
     

    Attached Files:

  2. David Das

    David Das Moderator Moderator

    Messages:
    7,060
    This is the first I've heard of a graduated MIDI sustain pedal. I've also never heard of any piano library (that I know of) supporting this feature. CC#64 has traditionally been an off/on thing (0 and 127 respectively).
     
  3. chrisken

    chrisken New Member

    Messages:
    10
    Hi, thanks for your reply. Yes, it's a fairly high-end electric piano so has samples for half pedalling etc and the pedal is designed with a TRS connector so it can detect how far you are pressing the pedal and trigger the samples more like on a real piano - you can even do things like a full sostinuto moving to a half press, and then back to full press without having to fully release the pedal. I guess I could just get a standard "mono" sustain pedal and use that instead (it has has a separate input for one), but it would have been nice if I could have triggered half pedal samples, ect if a library supported it and not have to buy another sustain pedal.
     
  4. chrisken

    chrisken New Member

    Messages:
    10
    I believe the Pianoteq piano supports half-pedalling, quarter-pedalling etc, I just hoped this might be I could achieve with one of the Kontakt piano libraries I have as I prefer the sound (I have The Maverick and Alicias Keys). Perhaps another library supports this feature or is it just something that is not possible with a Kontakt piano entirely?
     
  5. bLUiVORY

    bLUiVORY NI Product Owner

    Messages:
    45
  6. airflamesred

    airflamesred NI Product Owner

    Messages:
    600
    It's possible but the EP the OP is refering to has it's own system with a stereo sustain pedal. It's a specific bit of hardware that would need to be converted.
     
  7. stephen23

    stephen23 NI Product Owner

    Messages:
    565
    Variable cc#64 values have been around for years. My first Clavinova CLP155 - vintage 1995 - had 8 settings. I would have thought it should be standard on today's piano libraries.

    But I would be wrong - I recently bought Pianoteq 5 (what an amazing instrument!) and also Addictive Keys. Pianoteq implements variable sustain, AK doesn't (0-63 off, 64-127 on). As a pianist, I spotted this deficiency in Addictive Keys almost at once, and sent a sharp admonition to their support. But from what you say, maybe this is the rule rather than the exception.

    On thinking about it, partial sustain is quite a complex matter which a specialist piano instrument would have to interpret, and it's not obvious how a generic program like Kontakt would deal with it. I note that in Instrument Options you can choose to use Kontakt's implementation, whatever that is, or to treat it as any other cc.

    Following the link above, I note that someone has reported that Cubase will only send values of 0 or 127. If that is true, someone should certainly send them a sharp admonition! Could that be the cause of your problem?
     
  8. chrisken

    chrisken New Member

    Messages:
    10
    Yes, my old Yamaha Clavinova had variable sustain too and had the same issue with Kontakt based piano libraries.

    That's good to know about Pianoteq - I might look at buying that as I find the lack of half pedalling with Kontakt quite frustrating sometimes

    Cubase (I'm using version 8.5) records and sends all values in the full range from 0 to 127 (not just on.off). It's detecting it correctly - it's just Kontakt isn't interpreting it correctly.

    I guess one solution would be if I could set Kontakt to activate the sustain pedal if the value was any number greater than 1 - at least then I would get some form of sustain when the pedal is only half pressed. Any idea if that would be possible to implement?
     
  9. EvilDragon

    EvilDragon Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    19,938
    Galaxy pianos support it, so do NI's pianos like The Giant, The Gentlemen, Una Corda and others (needs to be enabled in Anatomy->Pedal->Repedalling and Half pedal buttons - consult the user manuals!).
     
  10. chrisken

    chrisken New Member

    Messages:
    10
    Hi, thanks for your reply. It has helped a bit turning them on in the Anatomy - but not ultimately solved the issue.

    I've attached an image as an example.

    In the example, Kontakt triggers the sample for the half pedal, but does not move to a full pedal sample with the notes still ringing afterwards.

    On a real piano, the strings would sill be vibrating enough that when the pedal was fully depressed they would sustain fully throughout the bar even though the notes were no longer being pressed down. (My Kawai ES8 electric piano also does this)

    I am a professional pianist so am used to the way a pedal works on a real piano and do not always choose to use the sustain pedal in a simple on/off way in certain pieces and would prefer not to have to alter my playing style.

    Perhaps this is something that is beyond the abilities of a sample based piano library (hence why, from what I understand, this might be possible in Pianoteq), however as my electric piano is capable of behaving like a real piano in this way, I was hoping that a Kontakt based piano library could.

    Is it just a limitation of the software or is it something that I am doing wrong?
     

    Attached Files:

  11. EvilDragon

    EvilDragon Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    19,938
    Yeah for some things they are just not possible with sample libraries, and Pianoteq would be your next best bet. ESPECIALLY if you're a pro pianist.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  12. chrisken

    chrisken New Member

    Messages:
    10
    Ok, thanks for your help. Most appreciated.
     
  13. stephen23

    stephen23 NI Product Owner

    Messages:
    565
    If you want to hear what Pianoteq 5 can do, have a listen at

     
  14. chrisken

    chrisken New Member

    Messages:
    10
    Thanks. I just tried out the demo of Pianoteq 5 and it feels very natural to play and the pedalling works as it should.

    The sound is also good - although I still feel that the sample based piano instruments sound slightly more like a real piano in a room. It's probably a worthwhile sacrifice for the playability though and it's convincing enough to fool most listeners.

    I will probably purchase Pianoteq; however it would be a shame to give up on the Kontakt piano instruments I have entirely.

    One last thought... Does anyone know if it is possible to configure Kontakt to activate the full sustain piano samples when the figure is less than 127? That way, I would have at least get a full sustain pedal instead of the cut off or half-pedal sound that I currently get due to my graduated pedalling (and the sound would then be usable in a mix). Perhaps this is something that could be done with a macro in Cubase if not within Kontakt.

    Essentially can I make Kontakt trigger a full sustain sample when the CC#64 figure is ANYTHING greater than 0?
     
  15. EvilDragon

    EvilDragon Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    19,938
    Perhaps you could try using a multiscript that modifies any CC64 events above 64 to be 127 instead. It would be like this:

    Code:
    on midi_in
        if ($MIDI_COMMAND = $MIDI_COMMAND_CC and $MIDI_BYTE_1 = 64 and $MIDI_BYTE_2 > 63)
            ignore_midi
            set_midi($MIDI_CHANNEL,$MIDI_COMMAND,$MIDI_BYTE_1,127)
        end if
    end on
    However I am not sure this will give you correct (re)pedalling behaviour.


    (By the way - if you're checking out Pianoteq, I heartily recommend to try ALL the models, and play with microphone positioning as it can greatly influence the sound. I am especially fond of Model B and the Grotrian!)
     
  16. stephen23

    stephen23 NI Product Owner

    Messages:
    565
    Having now tested it in my setup, the default Kontakt behaviour (here) is to sustain with cc#64 at values 64-127, release with values 0-63. (I suspect this is pretty standard.) So if you are getting release with values 64-126, there is some other influence in your setup causing this - ?script ?DAW. Maybe you just need to adjust your foot position to push the pedal further.

    For a piano in Kontakt to deliver variable sustain, sophisticated scripting would be needed. There has to be at the very least a reduction in volume, and probably also a change in the quality of the sound with special (partial) release samples. (And of course Kontakt's own interpretation would have to be switched off in Instrument Options.) I can't think of any way to do this with normal editing.
     
  17. chrisken

    chrisken New Member

    Messages:
    10
    Thanks - I will give the other models a try. Only tried the standard presets on the D4 and K2 so far.

    I'll give the script a try and see how I get on.

    Probably the best solution otherwise, is just to get a basic on/off sustain pedal and connect it when I want to use a Kontakt piano library and not worry about half pedalling or anything - I guess it's not that much hassle changing pedals.
     
  18. chrisken

    chrisken New Member

    Messages:
    10
    It's not that I'm getting release values with 64-126; its that as the sustain pedal on my electric piano mimicks the size, weight and feel of a real piano sustain pedal. As a result when playing fast passages I have sometimes released the note before the pedal has reached the 64-126 range and so that note gets cut from the sustain. This wouldn't happen with a real piano.

    I'll try to explain the best I can with an example:
    On a real piano (and my electric piano), if you play a note, start to push the sustain pedal down, release the note at the point where the sustain pedal is lets say only a 1/3 pressed down, then continue to press the pedal down fully and play another note afterwards, both notes will sustain. (this is something that happens a lot when pedalling through fast passages or playing stride piano). With Kontakt, the first note will not sustian and will sound staccato as the pedal wasnt quite half way down at the point it was released. (Essentially that's the biggest issue I'm having - more so than whether I'm getting half pedalling or not.)
     
  19. stephen23

    stephen23 NI Product Owner

    Messages:
    565
    We clearly misunderstood you. EvilDragon's script will enable you to adjust the pedal position where sustain cuts in. Adjust the number at the end of the first long line (currently 63) downwards - to 0 if necessary - until you get the action you want.
     
  20. chrisken

    chrisken New Member

    Messages:
    10
    Thanks for all your help. Just to confirm the script works perfectly to achieve a usable result with Kontakt piano sounds and a graduated sustain pedal. I changed the script a little to set the minimum value a bit lower and turned off half pedalling in the anatomy of the instrument as it's not really that noticeable in the mix anyway. I'll probably still get Pianoteq for when I want to do pieces with more intricate pedalling; but the script allows me to use the Kontakt libraries I have without needed to change for a basic on/off style pedal. :)