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MIDI Polyphonic Expression vs Polyphonic Aftertouch

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Re: MIDI Polyphonic Expression vs Polyphonic Aftertouch

Postby Dave B » Tue May 07, 2019 1:16 pm

johnny h wrote:I hear a lot of complaining about lack of poly aftertouch

I’m quite sympathetic on this one. The industry reached a high point around the late 80s early 90s era when quite a few machines had the ability. Yes, it was hampered slightly by the transmission bandwidth but modern midi systems are now much closer to the star topology that Dave Smith originally wanted midi to be and so should not suffer in this regard - so just as we get to the point of removing the last obstacle, the manufacturers all pull a moody and try to tell us we don’t want it. (Which literally adds insult to injury)

In fact, we - that is the people who are prepared to fork out for quality kit - DO want it. But the average kid on the street with a laptop and fruity loops - who seem to be the new target demographic- doesn’t so, perversely, we get worse and worse equipped gear.

So all that we can do is moan - politely, but firmly, about this situation. (Although the various reps at Synthfest probably feel I could be less firm .. lol) Sooner or later, the big boys will twig that we are spending a small fortune on ‘boutique’ gear (not the silly Roland toys, but proper boutique stuff) and wonder how they can persuade us to give them some of this cash. Maybe then they will put 2 and 2 together and produce gear with features that were commonplace three decades ago ...
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Re: MIDI Polyphonic Expression vs Polyphonic Aftertouch

Postby desmond » Tue May 07, 2019 1:32 pm

I was just reading a GS thread about the CS80 reissue, and one guy was like (paraphrasing) "A five-octave keyboard is pointless when you've got Octave keys..." and I just thought :headbang:

The current trendy thing in electronic music is self-generated modular warbling (requires no playing ability or keyboard) or maybe painting in a few notes to the event list (in which case, *any* keyboard is a luxury).

And we wonder why companies are not selling performance tools for people that *play* music any more...
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Re: MIDI Polyphonic Expression vs Polyphonic Aftertouch

Postby BigRedX » Tue May 07, 2019 1:37 pm

Dave B wrote:Yes, it was hampered slightly by the transmission bandwidth but modern midi systems are now much closer to the star topology that Dave Smith originally wanted midi to be and so should not suffer in this regard

It would also be great if MIDI connections were made using XLRs as was originally specified.
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Re: MIDI Polyphonic Expression vs Polyphonic Aftertouch

Postby The Elf » Tue May 07, 2019 8:43 pm

I'm curious about the Roli, since it may ease my orchestral creations, but it represents a commitment to a new technique that may be too cumbersome. It also represents quite a financial commitment. Neither am I too impressed by the lack of keys on the two-octave versions, or the space I'd have to free up for the four-octave. The goldilocks version doesn't exist for me.
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Re: MIDI Polyphonic Expression vs Polyphonic Aftertouch

Postby RobinC » Tue May 07, 2019 9:19 pm

I’ve got a roli (49 key and block) I like it, but it’s a bugger to play and the whole black keys thing really doesn’t help
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Re: MIDI Polyphonic Expression vs Polyphonic Aftertouch

Postby Sam Spoons » Tue May 07, 2019 9:24 pm

44 notes is my perfect keyboard size . I hate mini keys too so it has to have standard piano/synth size keys. I can probably manage with 37 notes but, having just bought a 49 note keyboard which I'm going to return tomorrow 'cos it's too big for it's intended use (I have a 61 note Roland Juno-D if I need more).

I'm a guitar player though so WTF do I know, and my (very limited) keyboard skills were developed while selling home organs back in the late '70s (hence the 44 note ideal).
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Re: MIDI Polyphonic Expression vs Polyphonic Aftertouch

Postby The Korff » Fri May 10, 2019 11:40 am

johnny h wrote:I hear a lot of complaining about lack of poly aftertouch on this forum.

Does anyone here have experience with the Roli keyboards? I've read the SOS review but I don't recall much discussion about it on the boards. It appears to do everything poly aftertouch can do, and a hell of a lot more. I find it seriously impressive, although I wonder how long it would take to master.

It does require MPE, which rules out Ableton Live and a few other DAWs (if you're going to use it properly).

I've spent a fair bit of time with the old Seaboard Grand... It's rather good! And it's also possible to bodge it to work with Kontakt, even in non-MPE-compatible DAWs.

The fudge is to set it up in single-channel mode, then load up (up to) 16 instances of the same Kontakt instrument (within a single Kontakt instrument), and set each to its own MIDI channel. It works quite well! The setting up is a bit of a faff but you can save the Seaboard settings and Kontakt multis so you don't have to set it up every time.

Note: the older Seaboard Grand doesn't do the front-to-back thing that the newer Roli instruments do. (I wasted a good number of hours trying to follow instructions for setting up a Seaboard Rise with Kontakt, which *does* have front-to-back sensitivity...)
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Re: MIDI Polyphonic Expression vs Polyphonic Aftertouch

Postby johnny h » Wed Jun 19, 2019 6:18 pm

Dave B wrote:
johnny h wrote:I hear a lot of complaining about lack of poly aftertouch

I’m quite sympathetic on this one. The industry reached a high point around the late 80s early 90s era when quite a few machines had the ability. Yes, it was hampered slightly by the transmission bandwidth but modern midi systems are now much closer to the star topology that Dave Smith originally wanted midi to be and so should not suffer in this regard - so just as we get to the point of removing the last obstacle, the manufacturers all pull a moody and try to tell us we don’t want it. (Which literally adds insult to injury)

In fact, we - that is the people who are prepared to fork out for quality kit - DO want it. But the average kid on the street with a laptop and fruity loops - who seem to be the new target demographic- doesn’t so, perversely, we get worse and worse equipped gear.

So all that we can do is moan - politely, but firmly, about this situation. (Although the various reps at Synthfest probably feel I could be less firm .. lol) Sooner or later, the big boys will twig that we are spending a small fortune on ‘boutique’ gear (not the silly Roland toys, but proper boutique stuff) and wonder how they can persuade us to give them some of this cash. Maybe then they will put 2 and 2 together and produce gear with features that were commonplace three decades ago ...
I very much doubt it. Apparently adding polyphonic aftertouch to a keyboard is no trivial task and would add hundreds to the asking price of a traditional keyboard synth.

Considering the market is so price sensitive most manufacturers can't even be bothered to install internal power supplies, what's the likelihood of them spending the cash offering a poly-aftertouch keyboard that will only be appreciated by a tiny minority of potential customers?
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Re: MIDI Polyphonic Expression vs Polyphonic Aftertouch

Postby The Elf » Fri Jun 21, 2019 7:55 am

The ROLI LUMI Keys is set to have poly AT. I find it an oddly schizophrenic device, TBH - reduced sized (sigh...), light-up keys, but poly AT.

It would be interesting if one of the bigger synth manufacturers were to embed ROLI's technology into a mainstream (with full-size keys) instrument...
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Re: MIDI Polyphonic Expression vs Polyphonic Aftertouch

Postby Folderol » Fri Jun 21, 2019 8:13 am

The thing is, with modern (tiny) semiconductor strain gauges it should be possible to design completely contactless keyboards that combine true velocity sensing and aftertouch for individual keys with greater precision and in an easily matrixed form.

There would be an initially high first-time development cost, but after that it would be peanuts.
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Re: MIDI Polyphonic Expression vs Polyphonic Aftertouch

Postby Dave B » Fri Jun 21, 2019 8:18 am

johnny h wrote:I very much doubt it. Apparently adding polyphonic aftertouch to a keyboard is no trivial task and would add hundreds to the asking price of a traditional keyboard synth.

Yes and no. There have been periods when it was popular and it was not an addition that raised the overall cost of the product - it may have reduced the profit margin slightly, but that's a different thing. Ensoniq led the charge on this and, whilst some people thought that the keybed was a little 'clunky', I found it perfectly playable. Great synths too. Yes, it was on the proper full-fat versions and not the scaled back ones, but in those days, scaled back meant you got mono aftertouch and a decent full sized keybed. These days, you don't even get that!

Besides, this is kind of irrelevant. Most manufacturers use one of a small number of keybeds and if the manufacturers of those units were to build it in as standard, the price could be recouped over a vast number of units. The real issue here is that there is no will to give us a fully spec'd product.

What will be interesting is the forthcoming Berry CS80 clone .... I do wonder if that will change the scene slightly...
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Re: MIDI Polyphonic Expression vs Polyphonic Aftertouch

Postby The Elf » Fri Jun 21, 2019 8:40 am

Dave B wrote:What will be interesting is the forthcoming Berry CS80 clone .... I do wonder if that will change the scene slightly...
I'm similarly curious. Uli has said that he is 'aiming for' poly AT, but Uli is careful with words and hear no guarantee there.

Can you imagine the DS80 with some ROLI magic strips above/below the keys, for example? Mmm...
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