Midi missed the point

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explodingtaco
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Midi missed the point

Post by explodingtaco » Fri Aug 10, 2012 11:43 pm

I'm posting this knowing this app is phenomenal, and that this update is a step in a bigger process, but I have to say this, hoping that it is noted by the developers.

Midi cc and xy pads are great, but what makes animoog really special as a midi controller is the polyphonic legato. There are four voices on the animoog, and each voice can shift like a mono synth. (each voice bends rather than retriggers when slid to the next key.) That is really where animoog stands out in terms of control. The midi implementation is lacking here, in the most important area. The midi out experience should be able provide the "polyphonic pitch shifting" as you call it, where each voice can slide between notes, rather than retriggering note with different voices. The way you guys set it up sliding notes just retriggers them, which doesn't mimic what would happen in animoog. Each voice would shift independently. The only way to truly mimic the behavior of the voices in animoog is to give each voice a midi channel that can be linked to a mono synth. I really want to use this app to control my DSI polyevolver, but the midi implementation is useless until each voice can be directed to a different midi channel so that the hardware synth can behave like the software synth. So I'm suggesting that each voice have its own channel destination so that 4 independent mono synths can operate like the four animoog voices would.

Sorry to be a bummer after a significant and useful update. But I was really hoping for this, because without it there's no reason to use animoog over other programsfor midi controlling.

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till
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Re: Midi missed the point

Post by till » Sat Aug 11, 2012 5:37 am

explodingtaco wrote:..."polyphonic pitch shifting"...

There is no MIDI protocol for this kind of data. Pitchbend is always per MIDI channel, and not per voice.

So the workaround would be sending each individual voice on a different MIDI channel. Many guitar to MIDI converters do so. And then setting up the external synth in multimode, with the very same sound in four different slots. And all of them set to monophonic (otherwise, releases would overlap not the way the Animoog does). And then there is another problem with MIDI pitchbend data: The pitchbend is sent as a numeric value with no fixed correlation of values to pitch shift amount. So you have to set the very same pitchbend maximum interval on the sending and the receiving MIDI unit. And then watch out for real heavy MIDI data streams being transmitted. I am not sure, if the iPad could handle this. And some MIDI interfaces might too small buffers to handle this when using much. And although pitchbend is sent with 14 bits per word, you might hear steps when doing a 2 octave glide, because the MIDI transmission speed is not fast enough for sending all 2 octave range pitchbend values for 3 voices within a second without skipping values.

Believe me, this is not something most MIDI controllers do. And this would cause most users plenty of headache figuring out, why their connected synth is only playing on of the Animoog voices. So Moog did not miss this feature, but MIDI is working not that way. And the chances for a change in the MIDI protocol are close to zero, due to so many MIDI gear already out there and no way to update them all.
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explodingtaco
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Re: Midi missed the point

Post by explodingtaco » Sat Aug 11, 2012 6:41 am

You're overcomplicating it. If you send each voice to channels 1.2.3.4 and set the portamento on that synth accordingly, you pretty easily have the same effect as the Animoog with correction knob all the way up, and the glide setting is portamento so it'll operate the same. You lose the ability to use the correction parameter, but its better than losing the ability to slide chords, which is essential to the playability of this app. I understand how midi works and this seems doable. I can understand the argument that this is more complicated than the average user will understand, but an advanced setting could fix that, especially in the "first pro synth app."

The more ambitious thing to do would be this... If you wanted to use the correction parameter, you could add a pitchbend data that resets by softly shifting rather than jumping back to zero when a new note is triggered, that way the bend would never have to be over an octave, because the biggest gap in the keyboard from one note to the next you can have is 1 octave. This would be the parameter where you'd have to worry about the zippery midi effect that you get with the limited resolution of a midi parameter. The more advanced synths have filters on certain midi controls so that filter sweeps are smooth and not zippery, so it could work with the right synth. I figure you'd have to tell animoog what your synth's pitchbend range is so that it can send the correct data, which hypothetically should be accurate as long as your pitch bend data is linear, so this would be more tricky on synths like the Nord Lead 2 which have exponential curves on their pitch stick. It doesn't seem far off since Animoog is designed so that the first moment a note is struck it is perfectly in tune and then shifts from there. I'm less confident that this part will be easy, so I'll gladly label this a pipe dream.

I honestly don't see midi being a big limitation here. If you know your synth enough to map cc's, you should be able to run your synth as 4 monosynths on 4 channels with portamento and get 80% of the way there. (I own a nord lead 2, DSI Polyevolver Rack, and plenty of softsynths that could easily be set up this way.) It may not be the exact same experience as Animoog, but why is 20% of the benefits preferable to 80%? Especially since its one of the defining qualities that makes Animoog such a fantastic synth.

All this being said, Moog is doing fantastic work with the app, and I'm grateful for their work. I think they understand the benefits of the iPad as a control surface and it comes across in the app, but the midi out really shortchanged the iPad's potential missed its chance to do something better than its competitors.

Amos
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Re: Midi missed the point

Post by Amos » Tue Aug 14, 2012 1:36 pm

explodingtaco wrote:what makes animoog really special as a midi controller is the polyphonic legato. There are four voices on the animoog, and each voice can shift like a mono synth. (each voice bends rather than retriggers when slid to the next key.) That is really where animoog stands out in terms of control. The midi implementation is lacking here, in the most important area. The midi out experience should be able provide the "polyphonic pitch shifting" as you call it, where each voice can slide between notes, rather than retriggering note with different voices.


Actually there are some special, extra MIDI messages which DO provide polyphonic legato.. IF you are sending the MIDI back into Animoog, which understands these messages. Since there's no MIDI standard implementation for this, we're doing something new and of course prior synths won't behave the same way in response to these new messages.

Sending MIDI for each "voice" on a separate MIDI channel would definitely expand your options for expressive control over other synths... but there are a lot of details to work out, and you'd need some UI to control all the features. That would have been a bit much for this update, but it's still early days for Animoog. I expect the future will hold further refinement and enhancement of the MIDI controller aspects, especially as we get feedback from players who are exploring the possibilities. :)

explodingtaco
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Re: Midi missed the point

Post by explodingtaco » Wed Aug 15, 2012 2:43 am

That's as good of an answer as I can hope for. Thanks for letting me know this has been noticed. Is there any way of getting details of what those secret messages are and how the work? You've got me curious. Would I be able to see it if I recorded animoog midi out into a sequencer in another program?

Amos
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Re: Midi missed the point

Post by Amos » Wed Aug 15, 2012 8:58 am

yes, although the v1.1 implementation that we have now is not as complete as I would like. You should see an NRPN CC message (CC99 I think) each time you slide a finger from one note to another; this CC indicates a legato tie between two notes. When Animoog receives these NoteOn, CC, NoteOff sequences, it knows which notes are supposed to be tied together legato-style.

Newstech
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Re: Midi missed the point

Post by Newstech » Wed Aug 15, 2012 10:24 am

I think we need documentation on:
A. Which MIDI input commands Animoog recognizes, particularly standard controllers.
B. What the add-on MIDI output looks like, with guidance on how to use in other apps, VSTs, etc.

TffShtt
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Re: Midi missed the point

Post by TffShtt » Tue Mar 08, 2016 8:15 am

Sorry for reviving this thread...I understand the complexities of implementing this but couldn't quite tell from this thread:

Is it correct that animoog *cannot* send pitchbend or notes per channel?

dysamoria
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Re: Midi missed the point

Post by dysamoria » Thu Dec 22, 2016 9:12 pm

Has anything changed on this yet?

I see that Model 15 sends pitch and modulation from the wheels, now, but the keyboard itself still doesn't send controller messages on slide (Animoog mode or keys).

dysamoria
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Re: Midi missed the point

Post by dysamoria » Fri Mar 01, 2019 10:34 am

MPE was added to the MIDI standard. Has anything changed in the MIDI implementation in Moog iOS apps?

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