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How to get higher res control when mapping parameters to midi controllers?

Was reading the section about midi in Loopop’s book:

‘CC messages have a limited resolution of 128 discrete values (0 to 127), something that can generate noticeable stepping when controlling certain parameters like the cutoff of a filter, pitch of an oscillator, wavetable positions, etc.’

This has bothered me in the past.

So how do we get a finer resolution so there’s no stepping when mapping parameters to a midi controller on iOS? Including to virtual midi like Sonic Logic etc. Is there a way? Sometimes 127 steps just isn’t fine enough. Especially for dialing in things like delay in free mode, not synced.

Comments

  • edited May 23

    Open Sound Control (OSC) was partly invented to overcome this limitation but never really stuck. There are some apps that use it but I can’t remember which ones.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_Sound_Control

    (edit) Lemur I think is a controller app that can use OSC.
    Also the TouchOSC app - https://apps.apple.com/us/app/touchosc/id288120394

  • MIDI NRPNs are designed to do this, in a rather kuldgey way: 2 CC messages to select the parameter number, 2 more CCs to specify the 14-bit value. The hard part is finding hardware and software that implements this scheme. I suspect it's mainly used between a hardware synth and the manufacturer's computer app for the synth. Working with normal hardware controllers and typical software synths, we're stuck with the standard CCs that they implement.

  • This is something that often triggers me too! I have found a way to work around it though..but not really.

    Remember that post I made last month about the 'AUv3 synths that are also music effects'?

    The problem is that CC modulation is too coarse.
    My solution was to find apps with audio input, that have native modulation options. So.. native control triggered by external events.

    For example, instead of using a midi envelope to control the cutoff of SugarBytes WOW filter, I'd use the filter in Synthmaster (or model 15, or Volt, etc), and use its native envelope to control it instead. No more steppy envelopes.

    The new FAC phaser sounds great. It does have some native modulation, an LFO.. but, it doesn't have an envelope, and key tracking would need to be done over midi too - 127 values.

    Solution: Drambo has a phaser, and plentiful native modulation sources. Route keyboard pitch to the phaser freq, and you've got smooth as silk key tracking. Could even add slew, or a rise/fall lag processor. I get irritated just thinking about how that would sound with midi CC instead!

    I know it's not a perfect solution, but it may it may work in some cases.

    ..I wish more FX apps would include a midi triggerable envelope generator to give finer resolution modulation without resorting to CCs. The iVCS3 VCA does it. Those new filter fx like the polyvoks often include envelope followers, but those are a great deal less reliable or flexible.

  • @uncledave said:
    MIDI NRPNs are designed to do this, in a rather kuldgey way: 2 CC messages to select the parameter number, 2 more CCs to specify the 14-bit value. The hard part is finding hardware and software that implements this scheme. I suspect it's mainly used between a hardware synth and the manufacturer's computer app for the synth. Working with normal hardware controllers and typical software synths, we're stuck with the standard CCs that they implement.

    14 bit MIDI actually exists outside of NRPNs. With 14 bit MIDI the first 32 controllers (0-31) are the MSB and the next 32 (32-63) are the LSB. So, e.g. Bank Select allows 14 bit selection when CC0 (MSB) and CC32 (0 + 32; LSB) are paired. The Channel Volume (commonly CC7; MSB) could be 14 bit when paired with CC39 (7 + 32; LSB).

    NRPNs are a way to get more than 120 controllers as the CC 99 (MSB), 98 (LSB) pair specify the controller and 6 (commonly the Data Entry; MSB) and 38 (6 + 32; LSB) specify the control amount.

    Some iOS apps work with 14 bit MIDI: The Moog synths can respond to 14 bit; MIDI Designer Pro can send 14 bit MIDI.

    Then there are some apps that work with NRPNs: MDP again can send NRPNs; apeSoft apps can respond to NRPNs. Since apeMatrix can respond to NRPNs and they can be learned for control, it's possible you could host AUs in apeMatrix and get 14 bit control over the AUs parameters by sending NRPNs. Of course, the limiting factor is what sends NRPNs (I'm only aware of MIDI Designer Pro).

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