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AG only emits hammer velocity with VST? #2944534 02/09/20 03:43 AM
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Harpuia Offline OP
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I noticed some different behaviors when playing the N3X with the onboard sound and VSTs.

For example, try pressing the key as light as I can to the let off point. There is no sound for onboarding voice, but a very low velocity for VST.

The other difference is after I reach the let off point and use a very strong force, the onboard voice will have a sound while VST does not.

I heard that Yamaha has both key and hammer sensor on AGs. While I guess if playing AG with VST only hammer velocity is considered. Not sure if it is the case.

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Re: AG only emits hammer velocity with VST? [Re: Harpuia] #2944544 02/09/20 04:36 AM
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The key position in the AvantGrand pianos is sent separately as ActiveSense messages (speaking off the top of my head, might not be remembering well the actual message name). It’s the software that needs to recognize these messages.


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Re: AG only emits hammer velocity with VST? [Re: CyberGene] #2944558 02/09/20 06:06 AM
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Originally Posted by CyberGene
The key position in the AvantGrand pianos is sent separately as ActiveSense messages (speaking off the top of my head, might not be remembering well the actual message name). It’s the software that needs to recognize these messages.

I'm also not sure, but I think I remember that you wrote (back then, when you analyzed this), that After Touch messages are used.

Re: AG only emits hammer velocity with VST? [Re: JoBert] #2944586 02/09/20 08:23 AM
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Originally Posted by JoBert
Originally Posted by CyberGene
The key position in the AvantGrand pianos is sent separately as ActiveSense messages (speaking off the top of my head, might not be remembering well the actual message name). It’s the software that needs to recognize these messages.

I'm also not sure, but I think I remember that you wrote (back then, when you analyzed this), that After Touch messages are used.

Hmm, well, maybe it was after touch indeed. I’ll recheck again.


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Re: AG only emits hammer velocity with VST? [Re: Harpuia] #2944592 02/09/20 08:58 AM
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OK, I did some tests and there are some interesting analysis.

First, I have correctly remembered ActiveSense but that’s just a non-stop chatter that’s being sent by the AG for no apparent reason. Maybe something like a heartbeat. It doesn’t contain a value, it’s just a message that’s been sent exactly 5 times a second, each 200ms.

Indeed the key position is sent as polyphonic aftertouch but only on release. I can start pressing the key very slowly and it won’t send anything, only a note on with value 1 (if silent). Only when you start releasing the key it will start sending polyphonic aftertouch with all the values between 31 and 21 after which it will send a note off with a fixed value of 64. The aftertouch values are not sent through the entire key travel but in a small region probably within 1-2mm around the middle, i.e. around damper off. So, it can send 11 distinct positions and then a key off. But unfortunately it doesn’t send them when pressing the key, so what Gombessa suggested for triggering resonances in external software might not be possible.

On the other hand the note on (1) is sent exactly at escapement when it’s a slow key press. Once note on (1) is sent, it’s not possible to throw the key to generate a sound. So, this is in answer to another thread of playing above escapement: once you touch the escapement bump and then a tiny bit further, a note on 1 is sent and no velocity can be detected from there on. On a real piano it would still be possible to generate a faint sound.

Last edited by CyberGene; 02/09/20 09:05 AM.

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Re: AG only emits hammer velocity with VST? [Re: Harpuia] #2944608 02/09/20 09:49 AM
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I take it that the key-sensors in the AvantGrand are basically there for triggering ‘release samples’? If this is the case, how are release samples triggered on a Clavinova that uses three rubber sensors per key? Is the third sensor triggering the release samples on a Clavinova?
Is the AvantGrand system more accurate/better at this?

Re: AG only emits hammer velocity with VST? [Re: Harpuia] #2944617 02/09/20 10:28 AM
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According to the Yamaha patent, the key sensors (gradient grey shutters) are used together with the hammer sensors in a very complicated logic with final value determined from one or the other (or maybe averaged?) depending on different conditions. And of course the key sensor values are used for key off modeling with something like half-dampening on a per key basis (unlike half-pedal).

On a Clavinova, or any other 2 or 3-sensor action, a simple key off velocity is calculated from the duration the hammer takes to deactivate/unclick the switches on its way back.

Last edited by CyberGene; 02/09/20 10:30 AM.

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Re: AG only emits hammer velocity with VST? [Re: Harpuia] #2944618 02/09/20 10:30 AM
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Which VST software responds to after touch MIDI messages?

Re: AG only emits hammer velocity with VST? [Re: MacMacMac] #2944619 02/09/20 10:32 AM
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Originally Posted by MacMacMac
Which VST software responds to after touch MIDI messages?

None currently. Those are used by AG to replay its own MIDI files. But an advanced software such as Pianoteq will benefit from taking advantage of these messages.

Last edited by CyberGene; 02/09/20 10:33 AM.

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Re: AG only emits hammer velocity with VST? [Re: Harpuia] #2944621 02/09/20 10:45 AM
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Originally Posted by Harpuia
I noticed some different behaviors when playing the N3X with the onboard sound and VSTs.

For example, try pressing the key as light as I can to the let off point. There is no sound for onboarding voice, but a very low velocity for VST.

The other difference is after I reach the let off point and use a very strong force, the onboard voice will have a sound while VST does not.

I heard that Yamaha has both key and hammer sensor on AGs. While I guess if playing AG with VST only hammer velocity is considered. Not sure if it is the case.



On the N2, I see After Touch messages in Pianoteq. No sound is heard from the piano and Pianoteq doesn't produce a sound. More often than not I only see NoteOn and NoteOff events. Every now and then I'll see the AfterTouch messages, mainly when trying to play slowly or softly.


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Re: AG only emits hammer velocity with VST? [Re: Harpuia] #2944622 02/09/20 10:46 AM
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This appears to be a solution in search of a problem. wink

Re: AG only emits hammer velocity with VST? [Re: CyberGene] #2944665 02/09/20 12:40 PM
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Originally Posted by CyberGene

None currently. Those are used by AG to replay its own MIDI files. But an advanced software such as Pianoteq will benefit from taking advantage of these messages.


The use of “aftertouch” messages of the N1 is not standard. An after touch message is usually sent when the key is at the bottom depending of the weight of the hand on it, not to describe the travel of the key. Then a software should have been adapted especially for the N1 to interpret them as we want.

Last edited by Frédéric L; 02/09/20 12:41 PM.

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Re: AG only emits hammer velocity with VST? [Re: Frédéric L] #2945016 02/10/20 05:20 AM
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Originally Posted by CyberGene
OK, I did some tests and there are some interesting analysis.

First, I have correctly remembered ActiveSense but that’s just a non-stop chatter that’s being sent by the AG for no apparent reason. Maybe something like a heartbeat. It doesn’t contain a value, it’s just a message that’s been sent exactly 5 times a second, each 200ms.

Indeed the key position is sent as polyphonic aftertouch but only on release. I can start pressing the key very slowly and it won’t send anything, only a note on with value 1 (if silent). Only when you start releasing the key it will start sending polyphonic aftertouch with all the values between 31 and 21 after which it will send a note off with a fixed value of 64. The aftertouch values are not sent through the entire key travel but in a small region probably within 1-2mm around the middle, i.e. around damper off. So, it can send 11 distinct positions and then a key off. But unfortunately it doesn’t send them when pressing the key, so what Gombessa suggested for triggering resonances in external software might not be possible.

On the other hand the note on (1) is sent exactly at escapement when it’s a slow key press. Once note on (1) is sent, it’s not possible to throw the key to generate a sound. So, this is in answer to another thread of playing above escapement: once you touch the escapement bump and then a tiny bit further, a note on 1 is sent and no velocity can be detected from there on. On a real piano it would still be possible to generate a faint sound.

It seems like the new generation of avantgrands have an updated MIDI implementation. The N1 send aftertouch data for three different key positions (24, 22, 20) and if one repress the key without fully releasing it, it sends aftertouch 32 which seems to mean that the note shall sustain fully from the remaining velocity. The N1 also sends aftertouch 127 for silent keypress instead of velocity 1 that seems to be standard.

Originally Posted by Frédéric L
Originally Posted by CyberGene

None currently. Those are used by AG to replay its own MIDI files. But an advanced software such as Pianoteq will benefit from taking advantage of these messages.

The use of “aftertouch” messages of the N1 is not standard. An after touch message is usually sent when the key is at the bottom depending of the weight of the hand on it, not to describe the travel of the key. Then a software should have been adapted especially for the N1 to interpret them as we want.

You can re-map these messages with the built in midi mapping function in Pianoteq. As far as I'm aware there are no standard midi messages for key positioning since avantgrands seems to be the only keyboards on the market that have that function (I don't know about silent/trans acoustic pianos or lachnit who also uses optical sensors). I think it's clever to use aftertouch data for this since there is no obvious use for traditional aftertouch functions with piano sounds.


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Re: AG only emits hammer velocity with VST? [Re: CyberGene] #2945184 02/10/20 03:11 PM
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Originally Posted by CyberGene
So, it can send 11 distinct positions and then a key off. But unfortunately it doesn’t send them when pressing the key, so what Gombessa suggested for triggering resonances in external software might not be possible.


Aw, bummer. I could swear that's how NU1 worked (aftertouch being sent on the downward stroke, activating damper-off resonance for the key), now I'll have to test it again smile

I honestly don't know why manufacturers don't do it this way, it would work fine on any DP, 2-sensor, 3-sensor or hybrid. On a regular DP action, the top-most sensor already serves as the damper-release on the way up, why not on the way down as well (which would be like a real acoustic piano)? The only thing I can think of is that it doesn't easily map to the MIDI note-on/note-off paradigm, since you would likely need to trigger an extra, silent note-on in order to enable that key's resonance. But internal sound engines don't need to adhere to MIDI paradigms....which is one of the reasons why I think there's a tighter MIDI/internal sound engine connection than we're led to believe....


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Re: AG only emits hammer velocity with VST? [Re: CyberGene] #2945232 02/10/20 05:22 PM
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Originally Posted by CyberGene
OK, I did some tests and there are some interesting analysis.

First, I have correctly remembered ActiveSense but that’s just a non-stop chatter that’s being sent by the AG for no apparent reason. Maybe something like a heartbeat. It doesn’t contain a value, it’s just a message that’s been sent exactly 5 times a second, each 200ms.

Indeed the key position is sent as polyphonic aftertouch but only on release. I can start pressing the key very slowly and it won’t send anything, only a note on with value 1 (if silent). Only when you start releasing the key it will start sending polyphonic aftertouch with all the values between 31 and 21 after which it will send a note off with a fixed value of 64. The aftertouch values are not sent through the entire key travel but in a small region probably within 1-2mm around the middle, i.e. around damper off. So, it can send 11 distinct positions and then a key off. But unfortunately it doesn’t send them when pressing the key, so what Gombessa suggested for triggering resonances in external software might not be possible.

On the other hand the note on (1) is sent exactly at escapement when it’s a slow key press. Once note on (1) is sent, it’s not possible to throw the key to generate a sound. So, this is in answer to another thread of playing above escapement: once you touch the escapement bump and then a tiny bit further, a note on 1 is sent and no velocity can be detected from there on. On a real piano it would still be possible to generate a faint sound.


This makes sense and explain why I heard a very quiet voice when I reach the escapement point. Somehow Yamaha generates a midi on value 1 and the VST interprets it as a very quiet note. And this midi value 1 may be generated based on some complex logic from the key sensor and the hammer sensor. I'm curious about how did you guys listen to the MIDI messages sent by the piano? What software do you use? Is it Pianoteq or some DAWs?

Re: AG only emits hammer velocity with VST? [Re: Harpuia] #2945242 02/10/20 05:38 PM
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I think the MIDI value of 1 has much more trivial meaning: play a silent note, e.g. press the keys without sound but lift dampers so that resonances for that note are triggered. This has become a standard and many VST-s work that way. Garritan CFX and Pianoteq for sure. What’s your VST? Seems like it generates sound even for MIDI value of 1.


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Re: AG only emits hammer velocity with VST? [Re: CyberGene] #2945260 02/10/20 06:13 PM
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Originally Posted by CyberGene
I think the MIDI value of 1 has much more trivial meaning: play a silent note, e.g. press the keys without sound but lift dampers so that resonances for that note are triggered. This has become a standard and many VST-s work that way. Garritan CFX and Pianoteq for sure. What’s your VST? Seems like it generates sound even for MIDI value of 1.


I’m using VSL D-274. However, I’m not able to see the actual midi value from the Synchron Piano plugin.


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