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Does AudioLayer do velocity layers for multisampled instruments?

I want to have different MIDI velocities play different samples from the same multisampled instrument. Can AudioLayer do that? All I can find is that it does multisamples for different frequencies by laying them out in zones of MIDI notes, and then velocity controls volume. But I'd like to have velocity select the samples themselves, which are already recorded at difference volumes where you can also hear the differences in timbre.

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Comments

  • edited May 13

    Yes, you can. The velocity is set by height of the sample in the zone. Putting samples at different heights in the zone to trigger at different velocity.

  • Great, so there's a way to put, for example, 32 different samples of the same kick drum on middle C, then trigger each sample separately with a middle C note on and one of the MIDI velocities 1 through 32. I'll have to examine the documentation more closely because I just can't find where it says how to do that. I see very little documentation of the app at VirSyn's web site.

  • @blipson said:
    Great, so there's a way to put, for example, 32 different samples of the same kick drum on middle C, then trigger each sample separately with a middle C note on and one of the MIDI velocities 1 through 32. I'll have to examine the documentation more closely because I just can't find where it says how to do that. I see very little documentation of the app at VirSyn's web site.

    Yes. You can do that. AudioLayer gets its name from having velocity layers.

  • @blipson Use the zone view, and resize the zone to your velocity and note position.

  • @blipson said:
    Great, so there's a way to put, for example, 32 different samples of the same kick drum on middle C, then trigger each sample separately with a middle C note on and one of the MIDI velocities 1 through 32. I'll have to examine the documentation more closely because I just can't find where it says how to do that. I see very little documentation of the app at VirSyn's web site.

    It's more common to spread the zones out so that samples trigger over the full range of 128 possible velocities. If you triggered at velocity 33, nothing would play. So, I think what you'd want is for each sample to play over a range of 4 velocities. Sample 1: 0-3, Sample 2: 4-7, Sample 3: 8-11, etc...

  • 32 samples/layers on one note seems like a lot!
    Is there a limit to the number of samples/layers you can place on one note in AudioLayer?

  • @wim Yes, I want to assign each sample a range. I'd divide 128 by 16 and assign each sample a range of eight velocities, but I might need to adjust those ranges for best performance.

    I should have said that my 32 samples per instrument are stereo samples, so I'd like to now ask if it's possible to assign two samples per 8-velocity range, one sample outputting to the left channel, and one to the right?

    @CracklePot a lot, but still not optimal. On my laptop, I have hundreds of percussion instruments that each have 128 velocity layers. When playing with a quality MIDI controller, the dynamic response of fewer than 128 velocity layers under your hands is quite noticeable.

  • wimwim
    edited May 14

    @blipson said:
    @wim Yes, I want to assign each sample a range. I'd divide 128 by 16 and assign each sample a range of eight velocities, but I might need to adjust those ranges for best performance.

    I should have said that my 32 samples per instrument are stereo samples, so I'd like to now ask if it's possible to assign two samples per 8-velocity range, one sample outputting to the left channel, and one to the right?

    You can have as many samples on a single key range as you like, and you have panning control over each zone. But, I don't see why you'd need two samples if the sample is stereo, unless I'm misunderstanding you. If you have two mono samples and want to pan them left and right, you can do that. But that's the same as having a single stereo sample.

  • @wim oops, I meant two mono samples meant to be panned left and right.

  • wimwim
    edited May 14

    Ha! Cross-posted.
    Well, anyway, no problem. You will just have to have two zones overlaying each other, and pan one left and one right. You can't pan individual samples, but you can pan individual zones or layers.

    Bottom line: you can do what you need.

  • @blipson said:
    @wim oops, I meant two mono samples meant to be panned left and right.

    It’ll be less work to use interleaved stereo files.

  • Good point. I'm using what I have on hand right now to quickly see if AudioLayer will be a good enough sound module for my percussion controller. If it works out, then I'd like to find drum kit pieces that are multisampled with more than 16 layers, as close to 128 as possible.

  • edited May 14

    @blipson said:
    Good point. I'm using what I have on hand right now to quickly see if AudioLayer will be a good enough sound module for my percussion controller. If it works out, then I'd like to find drum kit pieces that are multisampled with more than 16 layers, as close to 128 as possible.

    Wow, you must really love the details!

  • I have a controller that works well with heavily multisampled percussion, and you really feel the difference. I used BFD3 for years, which is the gold standard, but it currently doesn't work with MacOS Catalina. If I could get something similar working with iOS, that would be better in any case.

  • edited May 14

    @blipson said:
    I have a controller that works well with heavily multisampled percussion, and you really feel the difference. I used BFD3 for years, which is the gold standard, but it currently doesn't work with MacOS Catalina. If I could get something similar working with iOS, that would be better in any case.

    What controller is it?
    The ones I liked best by now are the Roland mesh pads and an Alesis DM10 box.
    Indeed, if you need this many velocity layers, AL seems like the only choice.

  • I've been using Zendrums for years, and own several. They're the only controller I've ever used that plays with a full dynamic range like a real drum kit. Here's a good demo.

  • Wow!
    That one looks like it allows for a very natural way of playing. I enjoyed playing the Dynacord Rhythm Stick a lot years ago but the Zendrums look like a great successor with a similar concept.

  • Yeah, it's the best for a natural feel with super-sensitive action so that you can use all 10 fingers and other parts of your hand. MPC's etc. require a much heavier stroke, which limits what you can do with expressive drumming that uses full-range dynamics. But without heavily multisampled percussion, there's not much advantage to a Zendrum. 16 layers is only the absolute minimum.

  • @blipson Have you also thought about creating synthesized drums?
    It may sound like a step backwards at first but when I have seen experienced musicians play MIDI controllers with a wide dynamic range, sound synthesis seems like the more expressive and not necessarily bad-sounding choice.

    I know about the advantages of synthesized drums very well, one worthy to mention is the (theoretically) unlimited freedom to change and slightly randomize the sound over the whole velocity range in a different way than on a real drum or percussion instrument.
    Problem is that it's hard to find any software that does it well, even on desktop OS.
    Do you own the Drambo app?

  • edited May 14

    Natural-feel synthesized percussion is my Holy Grail. I have two Nord Drum 3P's that I like a lot, but I haven't had access to them for three years due to being stored very far away and then delivered to a now-quarantined location. They would also be space hogs in my current setup. For the past 6 months, though, I've gone all in on my Soma Labs Pulsar-23, but I needed to be able to remap MIDI velocity before it would respond to the Zendrum with a good feel. After months of working on it, I only worked out those technical issues a few days ago (fingers crossed), and it's great. That's why I'm just now going back to getting a multisampled drum kit situation going. If I can make that work in a big way, I can sell off the Roland TD-50 drum brain that I currently use with my Zendrum. The TD-50 is a form of synthesized percussion meant to sound like acoustic kits. It's very good, but BFD3 is much better when it comes to acoustic kit emulations. The real problem is how big and bulky it is, and it's way overkill unless you use it with a Roland e-drum setup. Being able to sell it off would bring in a lot of money, too.

    I've messed around with Drambo, and it's next on my list for interfacing my Zendrum with my iOS devices. I'm only just now working out the technical issues involved with that due to previous MIDI interface issues in my setup (don't ask), which has been easy enough. But I'm finding that these iOS percussion apps, which sound so good, aren't built for detailed playing via external controller. A few days ago, I tried DrumJam, which I love to use, but it sucked with the external controller, and that was a surprising disappointment. AudioLayer is next, then Drambo, then I have this other app SDS-x that I haven't tried yet. After that, I'm out of iOS options.

    I used to use the laptop, but it's been a major bust since MacOS Catalina, both with BFD and the Native Instruments stuff I used to use. I don't even have the option of downgrading the os on my MacBook Pro 16"--and I have two of those and do not want to go back to any earlier MacBook model due to the butterfly keyboard issue, which caused me quite a lot of pain for three years. I tried SugarBytes's DrumComputer with my Zendrum, but that didn't work out either due to MIDI interface issues. I do have that new interface now, but this still might be a Catalina issue. I won't care if things work out on iOS because I'd prefer the portability.

  • Thanks @blipson for going into details, it gives me a much better impression about where you're coming from.
    I do have to try SB DrumComputer, definitely! 😉
    Like the Pulsar-23, Drambo only gives you the tools, and it will take your time to get something decent-sounding out of it. But I think it's worth it.
    Try my factory "Metal Snare" (Add > Generator > Instrument > Presets > Instruments > Factory > Drums > Snare > Metal snare) and when playing on the built-in keyboard, make sure that "simulate velocity" is enabled in settings.

  • Thanks. I'm hoping that Drambo will have some basic settings with MIDI learn and velocity response so that I can pretty much plug in and get some working sounds to start tweaking. But first, I want to test out AudioLayer, which is going to be time consuming to adapt my set of 16-layer samples. If anyone has a suggestion for a vendor of percussion multisamples, I'd appreciate the tip. I found stuff at mpc-samples.com, but as far as I can tell, they're all only a few layers though they don't explicitly say.

  • @blipson - Drum Drops has great acoustic drum multisamples which come with EXS and SFZ patches which you can import into Audiolayer. Regarding percussion multisamples - in their recent newsletter they revealed that they will be releasing a Conga pack in the near? future.

  • edited May 14

    Thanks, I'll check that out. It seems that Audio Layer's user interface is not suited for manually creating extensively velocity layered instruments. On my iPad mini, when the width is one key and the velocity height is 7, each "cell" is so tiny that's it's virtually impossible to adjust mistakes without touching something else. Am I right that the UI can only be pinch-zoomed to a limited amount? I think that's a really dumb limitation to build into an iPad app because it looks like Audio Layer does not provide a way to edit the data of each cell. Am I right that you can inspect it, but not, for example, enter a velocity range manually? If so, that's two weirdly inappropriate and unnecessary limitations on the UI design. I understand that I can watch the data change as I drag a cell around, but each one is about 3mm wide, so it's virtually impossible to grab and place the right one with any consistency. Luckily, I have a 12.9" iPad Pro with a Pencil that should make this kind of editing much easier, but even then I'm afraid that 128 velocity layers--the standard for percussion apps like BFD--would be impossible to create and maintain with Audio Layer.

    Another problem is that I can't find any batch loading, and I have to drill down into a folder of multisamples every time, and then manually count down to the next one. This is so error prone, and Audio Layer makes it so difficult to correct mistakes when you have a lot of multisamples, that I think it's not going to be useful to me except as a proof of concept. If a third party like Drum Drops has prefabbed, heavily multisampled kits that can be loaded in one go, I'd definitely pay for that. There's nothing particulalryl special about my two sets of 16-layer multisampled kit pieces. Too bad my expensive BFD purchases are all in their proprietary format that won't work in any other app.

    @gosnote EDIT: Dang it: it looks like Drum Drops's most mulltisampled kits are 16 and 24 layers, and those are $40 each. Can they be loaded into Audio Layer in one smooth load operation? If so, all the work it saves me would be worth it even if the results aren't much better than what I already own.

  • You cannot import more than 7 velocity layers in one go if you do automatic import using specific names.
    What you can do is find libraries in EXS24 or SFZ format and import these.

    Importing WAV files that are named correctly works very well, that's my preferred way of importing instruments. When I need more than 7 layers, I select and move each key zone layer by layer and import again.

    For direct WAV file batch import, the following velocity ranges are available, in this order from low to high:
    ppp
    pp
    p
    mf
    f
    ff
    fff

    When I have to reduce a huge instrument that has, say, 24 velocity layers in the original version, I usually pick more samples in the upper velocity range because the lower velocity response can more authentically be approximated by filtering inside AudioLayer.

    Also, it's easy to change the velocity of multiple selected notes so you don't really have to worry what exact numbers the velocity shortcuts actually represent.

    Converting note numbers to note names and velocity value ranges to these shortcuts can be done by shell scripts, python/basic programs, maybe even Excel or Numbers, if you're into that.

  • wimwim
    edited May 14

    @rs2000 said:
    You cannot import more than 7 velocity layers in one go if you do automatic import using specific names.
    What you can do is find libraries in EXS24 or SFZ format and import these.

    Importing WAV files that are named correctly works very well, that's my preferred way of importing instruments. When I need more than 7 layers, I select and move each key zone layer by layer and import again.

    For direct WAV file batch import, the following velocity ranges are available, in this order from low to high:
    ppp
    pp
    p
    mf
    f
    ff
    fff

    When I have to reduce a huge instrument that has, say, 24 velocity layers in the original version, I usually pick more samples in the upper velocity range because the lower velocity response can more authentically be approximated by filtering inside AudioLayer.

    Also, it's easy to change the velocity of multiple selected notes so you don't really have to worry what exact numbers the velocity shortcuts actually represent.

    Converting note numbers to note names and velocity value ranges to these shortcuts can be done by shell scripts, python/basic programs, maybe even Excel or Numbers, if you're into that.

    Audiolayer now supports importing with filenames that have the velocity in them rather than the ppp, pp ... nonsense. It works so much better now!

    Filenames like "M1 Neuromance_C1_063.wav" now work were 063 is the start of the velocity layer.

    This works terrifically well with Synthjacker, which can create a sample set that imports seamlessly. I never use the UI to build patches now - it drives me nuts. I would rather re-do a full import than mess around with that.

    Of course, I now use the newly built-in auto sampler as well.

    Maybe the auto sampler is a way to get some drum sets built up from apps @blipson already owns?

  • @wim said:

    @rs2000 said:
    You cannot import more than 7 velocity layers in one go if you do automatic import using specific names.
    What you can do is find libraries in EXS24 or SFZ format and import these.

    Importing WAV files that are named correctly works very well, that's my preferred way of importing instruments. When I need more than 7 layers, I select and move each key zone layer by layer and import again.

    For direct WAV file batch import, the following velocity ranges are available, in this order from low to high:
    ppp
    pp
    p
    mf
    f
    ff
    fff

    When I have to reduce a huge instrument that has, say, 24 velocity layers in the original version, I usually pick more samples in the upper velocity range because the lower velocity response can more authentically be approximated by filtering inside AudioLayer.

    Also, it's easy to change the velocity of multiple selected notes so you don't really have to worry what exact numbers the velocity shortcuts actually represent.

    Converting note numbers to note names and velocity value ranges to these shortcuts can be done by shell scripts, python/basic programs, maybe even Excel or Numbers, if you're into that.

    Audiolayer now supports importing with filenames that have the velocity in them rather than the ppp, pp ... nonsense. It works so much better now!

    Filenames like "M1 Neuromance_C1_063.wav" now work were 063 is the start of the velocity layer.

    This works terrifically well with Synthjacker, which can create a sample set that imports seamlessly. I never use the UI to build patches now - it drives me nuts. I would rather re-do a full import than mess around with that.

    Of course, I now use the newly built-in auto sampler as well.

    Maybe the auto sampler is a way to get some drum sets built up from apps @blipson already owns?

    That's great! I must have missed that feature update. Good to know.

  • @rs2000 said:

    @wim said:

    @rs2000 said:
    You cannot import more than 7 velocity layers in one go if you do automatic import using specific names.
    What you can do is find libraries in EXS24 or SFZ format and import these.

    Importing WAV files that are named correctly works very well, that's my preferred way of importing instruments. When I need more than 7 layers, I select and move each key zone layer by layer and import again.

    For direct WAV file batch import, the following velocity ranges are available, in this order from low to high:
    ppp
    pp
    p
    mf
    f
    ff
    fff

    When I have to reduce a huge instrument that has, say, 24 velocity layers in the original version, I usually pick more samples in the upper velocity range because the lower velocity response can more authentically be approximated by filtering inside AudioLayer.

    Also, it's easy to change the velocity of multiple selected notes so you don't really have to worry what exact numbers the velocity shortcuts actually represent.

    Converting note numbers to note names and velocity value ranges to these shortcuts can be done by shell scripts, python/basic programs, maybe even Excel or Numbers, if you're into that.

    Audiolayer now supports importing with filenames that have the velocity in them rather than the ppp, pp ... nonsense. It works so much better now!

    Filenames like "M1 Neuromance_C1_063.wav" now work were 063 is the start of the velocity layer.

    This works terrifically well with Synthjacker, which can create a sample set that imports seamlessly. I never use the UI to build patches now - it drives me nuts. I would rather re-do a full import than mess around with that.

    Of course, I now use the newly built-in auto sampler as well.

    Maybe the auto sampler is a way to get some drum sets built up from apps @blipson already owns?

    That's great! I must have missed that feature update. Good to know.

    I roundly hated the naming scheme before. It's so much better this way.

  • @blipson said:
    Thanks, I'll check that out. It seems that Audio Layer's user interface is not suited for manually creating extensively velocity layered instruments. On my iPad mini, when the width is one key and the velocity height is 7, each "cell" is so tiny that's it's virtually impossible to adjust mistakes without touching something else. Am I right that the UI can only be pinch-zoomed to a limited amount? I think that's a really dumb limitation to build into an iPad app because it looks like Audio Layer does not provide a way to edit the data of each cell. Am I right that you can inspect it, but not, for example, enter a velocity range manually? If so, that's two weirdly inappropriate and unnecessary limitations on the UI design. I understand that I can watch the data change as I drag a cell around, but each one is about 3mm wide, so it's virtually impossible to grab and place the right one with any consistency. Luckily, I have a 12.9" iPad Pro with a Pencil that should make this kind of editing much easier, but even then I'm afraid that 128 velocity layers--the standard for percussion apps like BFD--would be impossible to create and maintain with Audio Layer.

    Another problem is that I can't find any batch loading, and I have to drill down into a folder of multisamples every time, and then manually count down to the next one. This is so error prone, and Audio Layer makes it so difficult to correct mistakes when you have a lot of multisamples, that I think it's not going to be useful to me except as a proof of concept. If a third party like Drum Drops has prefabbed, heavily multisampled kits that can be loaded in one go, I'd definitely pay for that. There's nothing particulalryl special about my two sets of 16-layer multisampled kit pieces. Too bad my expensive BFD purchases are all in their proprietary format that won't work in any other app.

    @gosnote EDIT: Dang it: it looks like Drum Drops's most mulltisampled kits are 16 and 24 layers, and those are $40 each. Can they be loaded into Audio Layer in one smooth load operation? If so, all the work it saves me would be worth it even if the results aren't much better than what I already own.

    You can use pinch to zoom in and zoom out, and you can batch load samples with or without auto-mapping. In the import dialog, tap the select button and tap all to select all or the files you want to import.

    If the files are named a certain, they will get automapped to the right key and velocity zone

  • edited May 15

    @wim said:
    Filenames like "M1 Neuromance_C1_063.wav" now work were 063 is the start of the velocity layer.
    Maybe the auto sampler is a way to get some drum sets built up from apps @blipson already owns?
    @espiegel123 said:
    If the files are named a certain, they will get automapped to the right key and velocity zone

    This will be wonderful--I'll get right on it.

    @espiegel123 said:
    You can use pinch to zoom in and zoom out, and you can batch load samples with or without auto-mapping. In the import dialog, tap the select button and tap all to select all or the files you want to import.

    The problem here is that the pinch-zoom is limited: at maximum zoom in, each 1x7 cell is still too tiny too select and move--or even see--with a fingertip. They built a great app with a clever and useful UI, but due to a couple of trivial oversights made it useless in the obvious use case of heavy multisampling.

    Yeah, I have other apps and hardware percussion boxes, but doing my own 16-layer (I'd want more!) multisamplessamples also seems like a lot of frustrating work.

    Do these SFZ format multisamples from Drum Drops import smoothly? I see three of their kits described as having SFZ patches: Vintage Funk, Tony Allen Afrobeat, and 60s Motown.

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