Friday, July 5, 2013

Adjusting MIDI Velocity on the Fly in Cubase

Ableton Live has a handy little MIDI effect called Velocity. Among other things you can use it to set minimum and maximum velocity values for the current MIDI track. The result is that you can adjust the MIDI velocity values during playback without making any permanent changes to the MIDI clip itself. Here's a screenshot of a Velocity device that sets a velocity range between 64 and 96. Any notes in the clip with velocities below 64 will play back at 64, and notes with velocities higher than 96 will play back at 96.

This is such an easy way to make non-permanent adjustments to MIDI tracks and I've wanted a way to do something similar in Cubase. While Cubase offers many, many ways to permanently and temporarily edit MIDI data, what follows is the closest method I could find to mimic what the Ableton Live device does, and it should work on both full Cubase and Cubase Artist. The following example sets a minimum velocity of 64 and a maximum velocity of 96, just like the Ableton Live example. Once you understand the basic steps, you can customize to meet your own needs.
  1. Select a MIDI track or Instrument track where you want to limit the velocity range, and open up the MIDI Inserts tab on the left of the arrangement window.
  2. Add the Transformer effect to an insert slot. Note that the Transformer window has three sections: The Filter Target pane, where you will define notes to look for, the Action Target pane, where you define actions to perform on the found notes, and the Function bar, where you specify the general category of operation to perform.
  3. First off, make sure to select Transform on the Function bar.
  4. Click the + under the Filter Target pane and (if necessary) change the values that appear so the line says Type Is, Equal, and Note.
  5. Click the + under Filter Target once more, and a new line will appear. Make sure the bool setting of the first line says And, and change the second line so that it says Velocity, Less, 64. (It's a little confusing, but when changing the first field, you must choose Value 2, to select Velocity.)
  6. Click the + under Action Target and change the fields so they say Value 2, Set to fixed value, and 64. (Value 2 is the same as Velocity when performing operations on Note events.)
  7. To create a preset that you can use in other projects, click the Store Preset button (the little page icon with a plus on it) and enter a name for the preset.
  8. Now add another Transformer to your MIDI inserts list so we can set the maximum velocity value.
  9. Repeat steps 3-7, only this time specify a Parameter 1 of 96 for both panes, and make sure the Filter Target Velocity Condition is set to Bigger.
  10. Store a preset for this Transformer setup as well, and now you'll quickly be able to restrict the upper and lower MIDI velocity ranges to any MIDI or Instrument track in Cubase.
To learn more about the Transformer, see the chapter in the Cubase operation manual named "The Logical Editor, Transformer, and Input Transformer."

1 comment: