BlogThe usual and unusual happenings involving me and my musical projects

"Fixing" an Issue with MIDI Filters Tips and Tricks

neo | Jun, 18 2014 at 3:59 UTC | Tips and Tricks

For a long time I was experiencing issues with the volume of instruments loaded within Kontakt. The volume slider liked to jump to a certain position, which many times was nowhere near the original preset volume. I generally dealt with the issue by setting the output slider within Kontakt to counteract the volume change, as I assumed it was based on a playback state or an event that I just couldn't seem to find.

I have since found out this is not the case. It appears that the volume slider on my MIDI keyboard has gone erratic. While I could replace the keyboard, it seems like it'd be a waste to buy a new keyboard just because one slider, which I actually never even use, has gone bad. I felt like there needed to be another way to work around this problem.

One solution I did find was disabling the volume slider through the advanced functions of the keyboard. This worked great, until I found out the setting was reset when the keyboard was powered down. This wouldn't be a huge issue if it weren't for the fact the advanced function settings are really difficult to work with. I really didn't want to have to go through the manual everytime I restarted my computer.

My current solution was utilizing a feature I didn't previously know existed in Cubase: MIDI filters. Within the "Preferences" window, there is a group of settings dedicated to filters for MIDI controls. By simply adding the volume slider into the filters, I no longer experience volume jumps.

Obviously this "fix" wouldn't be for everyone, as I'm sure many people utilize the volume slider. (I happen to have a second controller I use for volume, panning, etc.) But, it definitely is a nice feature to know about.

Cubase and the Elusive MIDI Send Options Tips and Tricks

neo | Jan, 24 2014 at 9:55 UTC | Tips and Tricks

Not too long ago I came across a feature within Cubase that I didn't actually know existed- the MIDI send. The reason here is two-fold. First, I didn't have a need for it previously, and second, it's hidden by default! 

The purpose of the MIDI send is to allow you to send the MIDI data of a MIDI track to more sources than the instrument it's directly connected to. This type of thing could, for example, allow you to easily layer synths using a single MIDI track, making sure everything is always in sync. In my case, I was looking for a way to easily use a sampled kick drum along-side of EZDrummer. 

One could argue that this is a trivial task. You simply create two MIDI tracks, one for the kick and one for the rest of the kit. The problem is, now you have to edit the kick drum separately from the rest of the kit. It's much easier, in my opinion, to edit in a single piano roll.

For those who are in the dark (like I was) regarding the whereabouts of the MIDI sends, never fear, they are easy to find. You simply right-click in a blank area of the channel inspector column (far left side of screen by default) and check that you'd like to see MIDI sends. As a note, you should probably do this while inspecting a MIDI track.

Here is a partial screen shot showing a potential setup. You can see the MIDI track for Groove Agent SE doesn't have any MIDI data, as it's all coming from the track labeled "Metal Machine." As a note, in my situation I was looking to replace the kick, so the EZ Drummer kick is muted (not shown).