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Concerns about buying the MP11SE due to possible MIDI issues #2803235
01/17/19 06:14 PM
01/17/19 06:14 PM
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Scriavel Bachmanin Offline OP
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Hello,

I've been trying to decide on which digital piano to buy for a couple of months now. My plan is to use it as a MIDI controller for the many VSTs that I have.

However, I've read on a German Kawai forum that the MP11 seems to have trouble producing lower velocity values (sub 30) even when playing as quietly and carefully as possible, meaning that this piano probably wouldn't be a very good choice as a MIDI controller. I am quite concerned about ordering this piano because of this. The piano I had before had a similarly gimped velocity range, and I could never make it so the dynamics responded realistically on any VST I tried, no matter how much I tinkered with the velocity curves. Could anybody confirm/deny? This is very important to me as my main goal would be to practice AND record classical repertoire (I'm currently working on the Goldberg Variations and Godowsky's Passacaglia). It seems like its keyboard has a great reputation, but it's quite heavy so having to return it after trying it myself would be a bit of work. If any of you guys have made or know of any good recordings made using this piano alongside VSTs, I'd love to hear them. I couldn't find much myself in that regard.

Thanks very much


Last edited by Scriavel Bachmanin; 01/17/19 06:16 PM.
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Re: Concerns about buying the MP11SE due to possible MIDI issues [Re: Scriavel Bachmanin] #2803240
01/17/19 06:26 PM
01/17/19 06:26 PM
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Gombessa Offline
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I don't have an SE, but from my experience with the MP11 (which has the same Grand Feel action), I had no such issues hitting low MIDI velocities. I was regularly able to hit velocities under 10 as wanted/needed.


Yamaha P-85, P-105, CP50, Kawai MP11 || Kawai NV-10
Re: Concerns about buying the MP11SE due to possible MIDI issues [Re: Scriavel Bachmanin] #2803275
01/17/19 08:03 PM
01/17/19 08:03 PM
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I don't know how to gauge velocity levels with my MP11SE. If someone can tell me how, I'll see what range if covers in the various settings (Normal, heavy, light and light+).

God Bless,
David


Yamaha AdvantGrand N1X
Mac mini 2018/Focusrite Scarlett 2i4/KRK Rokit 6 G3 Studio Monitors
Duane Shinn 52 Week Crash Course; Lessons 1-39 Completed
Re: Concerns about buying the MP11SE due to possible MIDI issues [Re: Scriavel Bachmanin] #2803286
01/17/19 08:38 PM
01/17/19 08:38 PM
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Originally Posted by David B
I don't know how to gauge velocity levels with my MP11SE. If someone can tell me how, I'll see what range if covers in the various settings (Normal, heavy, light and light+).

God Bless,
David


Hi David,

On Mac, I use a free app called MIDI Monitor, which simply displays/records the MIDI events coming into the computer. It's more than enough to show all real-time Note-On events with their corresponding velocity. I think PC equivalents exists such as MIDI-OX.


Yamaha P-85, P-105, CP50, Kawai MP11 || Kawai NV-10
Re: Concerns about buying the MP11SE due to possible MIDI issues [Re: Scriavel Bachmanin] #2803290
01/17/19 08:46 PM
01/17/19 08:46 PM
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Or you can load the demo version of Pianoteq, and open the "File / Audio-MIDI Setup / MIDI" window, and watch the MIDI velocity numbers as you play.

I have watched the green lines on the "Velocity" graph, but they're a bit harder to interpret.


. Charles
---------------------------
PX-350 / microKorg XL+ / Pianoteq / Lounge Lizard / Korg Wavedrum / EV ZXA1 speaker
Re: Concerns about buying the MP11SE due to possible MIDI issues [Re: Charles Cohen] #2803300
01/17/19 09:07 PM
01/17/19 09:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Charles Cohen
Or you can load the demo version of Pianoteq, and open the "File / Audio-MIDI Setup / MIDI" window, and watch the MIDI velocity numbers as you play.

I have watched the green lines on the "Velocity" graph, but they're a bit harder to interpret.



I have Pianoteq and what I don't understand is the discrepancy between the velocity graph in the main window and Audio-MIDI window. The audio MIDI window shows that I can hit a range from 1 - 127, however, the velocity graph (with the vertical lines) shows the most I can get is around 100. So I don't know which one is right.

I cannot find Gombessa's app "MIDI monitor" in the App store.

God Bless,
David


Yamaha AdvantGrand N1X
Mac mini 2018/Focusrite Scarlett 2i4/KRK Rokit 6 G3 Studio Monitors
Duane Shinn 52 Week Crash Course; Lessons 1-39 Completed
Re: Concerns about buying the MP11SE due to possible MIDI issues [Re: David B] #2803308
01/17/19 09:35 PM
01/17/19 09:35 PM
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Originally Posted by David B

I cannot find Gombessa's app "MIDI monitor" in the App store.


The Mac App Store is...an unfortunate artifact of history, especially for one of the world's most valuable companies frown

You can download MIDI Monitor here: https://www.snoize.com/MIDIMonitor/


Yamaha P-85, P-105, CP50, Kawai MP11 || Kawai NV-10
Re: Concerns about buying the MP11SE due to possible MIDI issues [Re: Scriavel Bachmanin] #2803309
01/17/19 09:45 PM
01/17/19 09:45 PM
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I own an MP11 and it is very difficult to get midi velocities under 25 perhaps because of let off simulation, who knows. By the way on the older CL35 it is easy to get the whole range from 0 to 127.


Pianoteq / Kawai CL 35 & MP11 / Old 1920's Upright Zimmerman
Re: Concerns about buying the MP11SE due to possible MIDI issues [Re: Scriavel Bachmanin] #2803323
01/17/19 10:56 PM
01/17/19 10:56 PM
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Scriavel Bachmanin Offline OP
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Thanks for the help so far! I actually have found yet another person who seemed to have trouble configuring it to work with VSTs. From this thread:

Quote
Another problem is the inability to set a proper midi curve with lots of vsti's (I never managed to achieve the smoothness in playing with them, but connecting a cp4 to my pc, everything was fine: smoothness, dynamics, fast return of keys).
- Pegi


And in this thread, Marcos Daniel also seems to have the same issue, while Gombessa doesn't? I've read about the Yamaha P45 having similar issues, but it just seems odd for that to happen with such a high end keyboard. Do you think it would be possible to get an official response from Kawai on this if I sent them a mail (and does anyone happen to know the proper contact)?

Re: Concerns about buying the MP11SE due to possible MIDI issues [Re: Scriavel Bachmanin] #2803326
01/17/19 11:02 PM
01/17/19 11:02 PM
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I downloaded MIDI Monitor (Thanks Gombessa) and I learned something. The full range of 1-127 is available no matter what setting is selected on my MP11SE, i.e., Heavy+ all the way down to Light+.

However, only in Heavy and Heavy+ can I play below 30 playing as lightly as I possibly can. That's pretty much in the 20-30 range playing as lightly as I can. To my ears the amplitude if very low and unnatural sounding with Heavy and Heavy+ selected, so I would never play with those settings. In the normal setting where I usually play I'm above 30 playing as lightly as I can.

Someone else might have different results, but my experience tells me that if you want to play below 30 in the normal setting and not Heavy or Heavy+, then the MP11SE might not be the best choice for you.

I'm glad I got this app. It's pretty cool.

God Bless,
David


Yamaha AdvantGrand N1X
Mac mini 2018/Focusrite Scarlett 2i4/KRK Rokit 6 G3 Studio Monitors
Duane Shinn 52 Week Crash Course; Lessons 1-39 Completed
Re: Concerns about buying the MP11SE due to possible MIDI issues [Re: Scriavel Bachmanin] #2803341
01/18/19 01:29 AM
01/18/19 01:29 AM
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Punta Alta, Buenos Aires, Arge...
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Marcos Daniel Offline
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Originally Posted by Scriavel Bachmanin

And in this thread, Marcos Daniel also seems to have the same issue, while Gombessa doesn't? I've read about the Yamaha P45 having similar issues, but it just seems odd for that to happen with such a high end keyboard. Do you think it would be possible to get an official response from Kawai on this if I sent them a mail (and does anyone happen to know the proper contact)?


I noticed this defect/artifact many time after playing the keyboard and only when looking at pianoteq's values. At first I thought it was difficult to play pp beacuse, let's face it, it is more difficult on a real piano than in an artificially perfect digital pian, so I believed it was something intended by Kawai. When I discovered the values sent, I can't say I was happy, but anyway the shortened range of midi velocities is largely compensated, in my case, for the much nicer action. Now that I know Gombessa does not see this behaviour I wonder what could be happening, a problem of calibration may be, who knows. Certainly James will see this soon or later and answer the whole question in the forum or by a PM. In any case, if I were in your place, I would email the local dealer, perhaps they know about this things.


Pianoteq / Kawai CL 35 & MP11 / Old 1920's Upright Zimmerman
Re: Concerns about buying the MP11SE due to possible MIDI issues [Re: Scriavel Bachmanin] #2803380
01/18/19 05:14 AM
01/18/19 05:14 AM
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Hamamatsu, Japan
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Hello Scriavel Bachmanin,

I asked a colleague in R&D to check this point, and he was able to achieve velocities below 30 easily, so I don't believe this should be a problem.

Assuming you are based in Germany, my suggestion would be to visit a Kawai dealer and play-test an MP11SE for yourself, in order to check that the keyboard action is suitable for you.

Kind regards,
James
x


Employed by Kawai Japan, however the opinions I express are my own.
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"I agree that the User Manual is very good." - arc7urus, March 2019
Re: Concerns about buying the MP11SE due to possible MIDI issues [Re: Kawai James] #2803400
01/18/19 06:38 AM
01/18/19 06:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Kawai James
Hello Scriavel Bachmanin,

I asked a colleague in R&D to check this point, and he was able to achieve velocities below 30 easily, so I don't believe this should be a problem.

Assuming you are based in Germany, my suggestion would be to visit a Kawai dealer and play-test an MP11SE for yourself, in order to check that the keyboard action is suitable for you.

Kind regards,
James
x


Hi! Can you please share how this was tested? With the GF-II I do not find it "easy" to produce velocities under ~30 regardless of the velocity curve. This is what I get on the GF-II when I press the key to the escapement point and then slowly from there ("Normal" curve). The first column shows the velocity, from 1 to 127.
[Linked Image]

This is what I get when I use the same velocity I use on acoustic grand to get ppp/pp.
[Linked Image]

And this is the velocity I use to get ff on an acoustic.
[Linked Image]

This means that my range pp-ff in the GF-II translates to the MIDI range 40-100 on the GF-II. If I switch to Light then the range increases to 40-110 (I do not use Light+ as I find it hard to control and unrealistic). In any case, I am using just 50-60% of the available 1-127 velocity range. I believe that a limited velocity range happens in various DPs from different manufacturers. But I wonder how Kawai R&D can easily get such low velocities. Can they also produce more than 110 without pounding really hard on the keys?

Re: Concerns about buying the MP11SE due to possible MIDI issues [Re: arc7urus] #2803416
01/18/19 07:31 AM
01/18/19 07:31 AM
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Originally Posted by arc7urus
This is what I get on the GF-II when I press the key to the escapement point and then slowly from there ("Normal" curve).

I believe you are doing the wrong test. Pressing the key slowly to the escapement point means it has passed through the first two sensors. Since measuring velocity requires measuring the time between sensor 2 and 3 and you've already passed sensor 2, and because you're doing that slowly, the controller will be measuring too long a duration, e.g. more than a second. (You can be holding there for a minute). On a real piano, pushing the key from that point on would still trigger a sound, so I guess the controller software is resorting to a fallback function of just playing a piano velocity, e.g. 30, otherwise if relying only on duration it would generate a velocity of 0 which is wrong. That's a limitation of having discrete sensor points.

In other words, you should test by pressing the key from the top to the bottom with a constant velocity, rather than "artificially" trying to generate a ppp velocity.


My YouTube, My Soundcloud
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Re: Concerns about buying the MP11SE due to possible MIDI issues [Re: arc7urus] #2803419
01/18/19 08:04 AM
01/18/19 08:04 AM
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Originally Posted by arc7urus
This means that my range pp-ff in the GF-II translates to the MIDI range 40-100 on the GF-II. If I switch to Light then the range increases to 40-110.

To add another set of anecdotal numbers: The GFII in my CA97 (which I no longer own) had a wider range.
My "normal" pp playing (during actual playing, not during experiments) was somewhere in the range of 25-33 (probably with a Gaussian bell peak around 28-29). When concentrating to play really softly, values down to 20 or so were possible. Values 10-20 I could essentially only achieve under experiment-conditions, not during normal play. And below 10 only very rarely, if ever.
With "Light" touch, the upper end was at around 115 when playing (with fff force) and up to 120 or slightly above when really pounding the keys.
So my effective range was about 25-115, which is quite OK, I would say, and which is very different from what you are getting.

My guess is, that different units of the GFII have different behavior and that there can be quite some variation between them. Probably a function of regulation, lubrication, state of that little teflon cushion, etc.

Re: Concerns about buying the MP11SE due to possible MIDI issues [Re: Kawai James] #2803574
01/18/19 02:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Kawai James
Hello Scriavel Bachmanin,

I asked a colleague in R&D to check this point, and he was able to achieve velocities below 30 easily, so I don't believe this should be a problem.


If that's the case then mine might need repair. In the normal setting it's possible for me to achieve single note velocities below 30, but it's not easy or consistent. That's playing one note as softly as I possibly can all the way from top to bottom of the key movement. Actually playing below 30 in normal mode is virtually impossible for me. I'd really love to see someone else do it. That way I'd know it's my technique and not the piano. However, I'm skeptical it could be done on my MP11SE. If I was a gambler I'd wager money on it.

God Bless
David

Last edited by David B; 01/18/19 02:13 PM.

Yamaha AdvantGrand N1X
Mac mini 2018/Focusrite Scarlett 2i4/KRK Rokit 6 G3 Studio Monitors
Duane Shinn 52 Week Crash Course; Lessons 1-39 Completed
Re: Concerns about buying the MP11SE due to possible MIDI issues [Re: Scriavel Bachmanin] #2803620
01/18/19 03:31 PM
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I can confirm the above. I think the lowest was 26 and highest 110. I don't see any relation to the touch, even with it off it's the same. I can get 1 if I go very slow to the escapement and then press, but then there's no sound either. Is this a bug or a feature? crazy

Re: Concerns about buying the MP11SE due to possible MIDI issues [Re: Mosotti] #2803628
01/18/19 04:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Mosotti
I can confirm the above. I think the lowest was 26 and highest 110. I don't see any relation to the touch, even with it off it's the same. I can get 1 if I go very slow to the escapement and then press, but then there's no sound either. Is this a bug or a feature? crazy


I think that would be a feature. If you depress the key too slowly (either from the top or letoff it anywhere else in the range), you'll get a 0- or 1-velocity note on, which doesn't produce a sounds with the velocity-sensitive tones such as piano (but it will sound for tones such as organ).


Yamaha P-85, P-105, CP50, Kawai MP11 || Kawai NV-10
Re: Concerns about buying the MP11SE due to possible MIDI issues [Re: Scriavel Bachmanin] #2803646
01/18/19 04:43 PM
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Ok, then the minimum 25 must be a bug. Or maybe some obscure preset in the menu? I tried to look in the manual, it says it's 0-127... I don't know if that is the correct thing I'm looking at, page 132

Note on
Status 2nd Byte 3rd Byte
9nH kkH vvH
n=MIDI channel number :0H-fH(ch.1 ~ ch.16)
kk=Note Number :00H - 7fH(0 ~ 127)
vv=Velocity :00H - 7fH(0 ~ 127)

Re: Concerns about buying the MP11SE due to possible MIDI issues [Re: Scriavel Bachmanin] #2803654
01/18/19 05:20 PM
01/18/19 05:20 PM
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From what I've seen, it's very normal for DPs to have a limited range. Every DP supports the 0-127 range, but in reality it's common to see a real range of 5-105, for instance.

On Kawai DPs I've had, the "touch curve" setting impacts the highest end of the range, with Light and Light+ exposing more of the range above 100. A minimum velocity at 30 is a tad low though.

One thing I've found, depressing to the letoff and then all the way down (playing off the jack) isn't the best way to get the lowest playable velocity. Simply playing a light ppp and ignoring the letoff works better for me.


Yamaha P-85, P-105, CP50, Kawai MP11 || Kawai NV-10
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