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Re: Anyone actually using MIDI 2 yet?
CyberGene #3036603 10/17/20 11:42 AM
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Originally Posted by CyberGene
For the Cybrid I use a MIDI library that stacks multiple notes in a single USB message. Basically it comes ready with the library, so I don’t have to do anything, it just stacks them for no more than 1ms and sends them. Tried both ways and couldn’t hear any difference though.
Interesting!

Re: Anyone actually using MIDI 2 yet?
johanibraaten #3036604 10/17/20 11:45 AM
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My point is not to say that current MIDI1.0 DP can send a chord in the same 1ms, but that DP makers don’t have to wait for MIDI2.0 before proposing such a feature.

It is quite easy to have a buffer where the keyboard control unit write the played note, and the USB stack send packet at each ms with all the notes in the buffer. If multiple notes are present, it is not quite hard to send them all.

Last edited by Frédéric L; 10/17/20 11:51 AM.

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Re: Anyone actually using MIDI 2 yet?
Frédéric L #3036661 10/17/20 01:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Frédéric L
My point is not to say that current MIDI1.0 DP can send a chord in the same 1ms, but that DP makers don’t have to wait for MIDI2.0 before proposing such a feature.

It is quite easy to have a buffer where the keyboard control unit write the played note, and the USB stack send packet at each ms with all the notes in the buffer. If multiple notes are present, it is not quite hard to send them all.

The sending of the data in the keyboard output buffer cannot be sent on a timed basis.

The USB interface is controlled by 'the host' end which asks the 'slave end' whether it has data to be sent.
This means that the keyboard (slave) always has to await the request for data from the computer (host).
It's not like the MIDI out port where the data is just transmitted as soon as a message is ready.
The relevant document is at https://www.usb.org/sites/default/files/midi10.pdf

Apparently USB 3 allows some sort of non-polled transmission, but I haven't researched the details.


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Re: Anyone actually using MIDI 2 yet?
ZeroZero #3036665 10/17/20 01:45 PM
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Polite question. How to I unsubcribe from this post, (only) its gone way off topic. Can't find the button

Re: Anyone actually using MIDI 2 yet?
MacMacMac #3036667 10/17/20 01:48 PM
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Originally Posted by MacMacMac
There is little difference.

With DIN plugs you need an adapter to connect to the PC. With USB you don't.

With DIN-plus-adapter you need this driver. With USB you need that driver.

That's about all that differs.

The magazine Sound on Sound did some research several years ago on MIDI transmission speeds via various interfaces.
As far as I recall they found that using the MIDI to MIDI connections via a mother board connected sound card was marginally faster than the Keyboard using its own USB interface cable.
MIDI to USB convertor cables came further down the list, with several cheap varieties performing particularly badly.
USB speeds could be affected by having numerous devices sharing one USB controller, e.g. mouse, computer keyboard and printer sharing with the music keyboard.


Casio PX560, Garritan CFX & GPO5, Akai EW4000s, Yamaha VL70m & AN1x.
Re: Anyone actually using MIDI 2 yet?
ZeroZero #3036682 10/17/20 02:13 PM
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Originally Posted by ZeroZero
Polite question. How to I unsubcribe from this post, (only) its gone way off topic. Can't find the button

Bookmark icon at the top:
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Re: Anyone actually using MIDI 2 yet?
JLG #3036704 10/17/20 03:22 PM
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Originally Posted by JLG
Originally Posted by Frédéric L
It is quite easy to ha ve a buffer where the keyboard control unit write the played note, and the USB stack send packet at each ms with all the notes in the buffer. If multiple notes are present, it is not quite hard to send them all.

The sending of the data in the keyboard output buffer cannot be sent on a timed basis.

The USB interface is controlled by 'the host' end which asks the 'slave end' whether it has data to be sent.
This means that the keyboard (slave) always has to await the request for data from the computer (host).
It's not like the MIDI out port where the data is just transmitted as soon as a message is ready.
The relevant document is at https://www.usb.org/sites/default/files/midi10.pdf

Apparently USB 3 allows some sort of non-polled transmission, but I haven't researched the details.

It was my understanding : when we play a chord, the DP put the MIDI events in a buffer, and the next ms, when the host ask for something, the events are sent at once.

USB2 can have a 250us polling period... I suppose a 250ms latency to be low enough.

Last edited by Frédéric L; 10/17/20 03:23 PM.

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Re: Anyone actually using MIDI 2 yet?
Gombessa #3036731 10/17/20 04:41 PM
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The main thread list has an icon next to any threads you're subscribed to. I think you can click it to unsubscribe.
Originally Posted by Gombessa
Originally Posted by ZeroZero
Polite question. How to I unsubcribe from this post, (only) its gone way off topic. Can't find the button
But I never noticed anything happening when I'm subscribed to a thread vs. not subscribed. It seems to be like a switch ... with no wires connected to it. smile

Re: Anyone actually using MIDI 2 yet?
MacMacMac #3036737 10/17/20 04:48 PM
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Originally Posted by MacMacMac
But I never noticed anything happening when I'm subscribed to a thread vs. not subscribed. It seems to be like a switch ... with no wires connected to it. smile

I get an email for every reply on subscribed threads. So it can get pretty tedious if you're not interested in the topic.

Maybe you have a really good spam filter on your email client wink


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Re: Anyone actually using MIDI 2 yet?
ZeroZero #3036866 10/18/20 04:36 AM
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I have been considering these issues again.

This is my understanding of sample based pianos. For every key there are "velocity regions" not usually published by the manufacturer. For example on a given piano, there might be five regions - 1-20 (PP) 20-40(P) 40-60 (MF) 60-100(F) and 100-128 (FF). The same sample is used to cover a whole region however. the amplitutude of that sample is decreased or increased to give the appearence of different volumes. This the same sample is used for velocity 25 and velocity 30 only the volume is different. Where the two samples meet in rage (e.g. at 60 in my example) there may be a merging of samples so that for say 55 to 65 velocity both samples are heard but merged. This is done to mollify the aural difference between sample changes.

My example is just an example, its perfectly feasible to have one sample per velocity for each velocity value, which for MIDI 1.1 is maximum of 128 values. This is occasionally done. Its also possible to have "round robin" samples so that a different sample is played for each time a key is pressed with exactly the same velocity value, avoiding the "machine gun effect" where the ear can hear exactly the same recording each press. The strain this puts on a PC is considerable, one can get latency (a lag) or one can get notes dropping out (lack of polophony). If there were 128 x 3 crossfades per note, the sum would be 128 x 2 x 10 fingers = 2560 samples per hand position (maximally). Of course there would be piano runs too, delivered at fast speed, so usually (as I understand it) makers have a cache system where ALL the samples have their "header" (the first part of the sample) loaded into RAM cache. The result of a given sample is loaded when the header is called. In this way a large RAM cache is avoided and each sample becomes available without lag. We have not yet even talked about pedal samples, this would greatly increase the number of samples again.

However, the BIG question is does it sound right? To my ears, no. If you were to analyse the sounds of a key press on a real piano, using an oscilloscope, you would find that every time a key was struck, even with the utmost manual precision, the oscilloscope would give a different pattern. If you fed a sample through the same oscilloscope it would give an identical pattern (or a limited suite of round robins). This is part of the beaty of a real acoustic instrument every note is a universe of its own, never to be seen again.
Why is this? There are many factors involved and most of them are not under the control of the pianist. Listing a few - the condition of the felt, the temperature of the string, the position of the lid, the response of the wood and lastly the reverb of the room and its furnitures.

On the point of reverb, one should note that when a sample is recorded it has a reverb signature hard backed into the sample. Engineers go out of their way to neutralise this (usually), but some reverb is unavoidable. When a user plays back the sample, a second reverb is added naturally by the room the sample is played back into. A third reverb can also be added by artificial means using reverb plugin ins or dials. By the time this is complete, teh sound of the original piano, andthe end result are akin to a picture of your face, bounced through three undulating mirrors. You might like the sound, but its resemblence to the original recorded tone is often very tenuous.

Last there is string resonance and pedal noises. It is a well known fact that a piano sound will change in relation ot "sympathetic resonance" of other non damped strings. This gives a lot of character to the overall sound and is definitely discernable. Engineers have ways of emulating this, and personally I do not know how. They also layer over the sound of pedal movements in order to try to achieve authenticity.

For my this is all a bit of a Frankestein process. Chopping bits of this and that and then cobbling it all back together. I think of individual samples as two dimensional surfaces (like a cardboard facsimile) One can get a lot of card board cut outs and place them in rows and one can get a passing resemblance to a three dimensional object but there will be compromises.

Will MIDI 2 make a difference? Well, with MiIDI 2 one can have far more than 128 velocity values, but this will not make a jot of difference if teh manufacturer provides samples by ranges. One also would need to be able to hear the differences and that's a thorny subjective question. Perhaps more can be done with same merging between different samples, but again this is a frankenstein process. MIDI 2 WILL make a difference in set up and parameter availability. Loading a VST for example, on your DAW will be able to change all the knob values on your keyboard without further adjustments. This is because MIDI 2 is a two way process.

I do not know anything about modelling (as oppossed to sample based) pianos. My ears remain unconvinced by most sample based pianos and frankly it makes littel difference if teh samples are from a Steinway or a Yamaha. Its the processes that the sample goes through after recording that is the issue for me.

I use a Roland 700NX. The classical grand of this board is a modelling piano (I believe). For me this gives a much better more profoundly nuanced sound. It feels real-er than the cardboard cut out aproach. I have played many other top line pianos Nords, ROland 2000 (which does have the 700NX COncert Grand hidden in the menus) and none of the other sample based sounds satisfy me.

I can see how modern faster computers with more, faster ram can handle more finely sampled pianos and deliver more polyphony. Its a bit questionable whether the ear can hear more 128+ samples per note (at one sample per velocity). Perhaps. However, there are architectual issues with the design of smple based pianos as soplicited above.

For me modelled painos (and ROland's SuperNatural pianos) are remarkably good. Sometimes I even imagine I can hear the metal of the frame and the wood of the sound baord. It seems to me that there are more opportunities to sculpt such a sound in a three dimensional way. The issue of hard backed reverb (mentioned above) is irradicated, and an algorithm for string resonance might be more accurately developed. There is no need for samples or fading between them.


Z

Last edited by ZeroZero; 10/18/20 04:38 AM.
Re: Anyone actually using MIDI 2 yet?
ZeroZero #3036867 10/18/20 04:44 AM
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Yes, there are samples, and reverbs, and layers, and loops, and round robins, and velocity regions, and sample buffers, and sympathetic resonance, and pedal noises ... and more.

I tend to ignore that. I play. I listen. And I've found several sounds that I like.

When I found them I began to realize that I need know nothing about that long list of tech. They tell me next to nothing.
My ears tell me everything.

Re: Anyone actually using MIDI 2 yet?
ZeroZero #3036869 10/18/20 04:53 AM
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A long post about how the DP produce sound (samples, round-robin...), but a small section about MIDI2 where only the parameters exchange is pointed. We can add « getting the sound list » from the DP to the DAW.


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Re: Anyone actually using MIDI 2 yet?
Frédéric L #3036888 10/18/20 06:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Frédéric L
It was my understanding : when we play a chord, the DP put the MIDI events in a buffer, and the next ms, when the host ask for something, the events are sent at once.

USB2 can have a 250us polling period... I suppose a 250ms latency to be low enough.

Not incorrect Frédéric, but we have to take a step back from the point where the MIDI note(s) is/are put into the buffer.
How is the human action (each played note) detected and then the MIDI note generated by the keyboard's microcontroller running the local OS.
This is not instantaneous.

Essentially, in most (all?) implementations AFAIK, the keyboard is 'scanned' by a microcontroller which detects the 'action' taking place, this then generates an 'interrupt' for the main microprocessor which is processed and turned into a MIDI message which is inserted into the output buffer. This is a serial process, so one keystroke at a time is processed by the microcontroller and hence the processor. So right from the outset our played chord is processed as three separate notes, processed serially and placed in the buffer one at a time, not necessarily all with one millisecond. The question then is "just how fast is this process, detection to generation, actually achieved?"

There is a very good summary article published here.
http://www.openmusiclabs.com/learning/digital/input-matrix-scanning/keyboard/index.html
The last three paragraphs are very relevant.
But, please note, this is for MIDI 1.

I'm not sure how old this article is, so this may be somewhat outdated and faster microcontrollers may be available.
But the physical aspects of allowing things to settle before sending won't have altered much, if at all.

So, regardless of the speed of the USB link and the rate at which the USB endpoint is polled, there is going to be a limitation in just how quickly a MIDI keyboard can generate the messages.
Even if we improve the speed of microcontroller and processor, there will be a point where the Analogue to Digital conversion becomes limited.

Does that make sense?

JohnG.


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Re: Anyone actually using MIDI 2 yet?
ZeroZero #3036894 10/18/20 07:31 AM
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Extremely good post ZZ, but if a I make a few points.

I believe your analysis of how sampling works and sounds is correct.

You don't have crossfades on piano.
You only need them where the the volume is being changed by the user, or DAW s/w, during the sounding of the note. (breath control or expression pedal)
For piano we just need samples of every note at a lot of different velocites with a good long, unlooped sustain period.

The Garritan CFX goes a long way, further than any other at this moment, by offering single note sampling at twenty different velocity levels with sustain to silence tails.
Also with samples with various pedals pressed.
This results in a library of samples occupying 1.22 GigaBytes. (132,052,080,384 bytes) Which I think you'll have to admit by anybody's standards. is huge.
The sustain sample for just the lowest A occupies a mere 4.7 MegaBytes.
I hate to think just how large the library would be if each note were sampled at just 128 levels.
I suppose 7.32 GB! (It took long enough to download the current CFX.)

It's to the issue of whether we can hear the difference between individual samples at the current 127 MIDI 1.0 levels that I intend to address a reply shortly.
But in the interim let me offer this.

In music we currently mark our scores with just eight dynamic levels.
Yes, just 8, namely:

ppp
pp
p
mp
mf
f
ff
fff

The fisrt and the last (ppp and fff) are very rarely used.
So essentially in normal use we use just six levels, pp to ff.
MIDI 1.0 allows these eight levels to be subdivided into 16 levels each. (8 x 16 = 128).

Here's a screenshot from my sequencer showing the level transitions between fff and ppp. See the rightmost column.

[Linked Image]

Do we really need more velocities?
IMV, No.

JohnG.

Last edited by JLG; 10/18/20 07:33 AM.

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Re: Anyone actually using MIDI 2 yet?
ZeroZero #3036896 10/18/20 07:40 AM
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A scanning period of 1.26ms seems me huge. Scanning the keyboard frequently is needed if we want a good velocity resolution.

Even if we scan the keyboard each 1.26ms, we can compose at each 1.26ms a USB packet with all new note-on and note-off events. The microcontroller limitations don’t prevent the DP to do this.

(And MIDI 2 will not help).

Last edited by Frédéric L; 10/18/20 07:42 AM.

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Re: Anyone actually using MIDI 2 yet?
JLG #3036899 10/18/20 07:48 AM
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Originally Posted by JLG
Do we really need more velocities?

If we have too few velocities, when we play near the threshold of two velocity range, we will hear half the notes louder than half the others in an unpleasant way. (Some badly sampled piano like EWQL Bechstein have this issue).

I think 128 levels is good enough, perhaps 64 will do the job (I haven’t tried). Some people seems to require more (When Adele H asked pianists how many is needed for the Phoenix Piano, it seems 1300 was needed)

Last edited by Frédéric L; 10/18/20 07:50 AM.

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Re: Anyone actually using MIDI 2 yet?
JLG #3036900 10/18/20 07:49 AM
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Regarding the Garritan CFX, I think your calculations are wrong or your expectations are off.
Originally Posted by JLG
... This results in a library of samples occupying 1.22 GigaBytes. Which I think you'll have to admit by anybody's standards is huge.
That's not huge. That's smaller than the smallest VST I own.

My Vintage D is around 4x bigger.
My Ivory 1 pianos (vintage late 2000s) are 14x bigger.
Some modern libraries run well over 100 GB.
So 1.22 GB is not large.

Re: Anyone actually using MIDI 2 yet?
ZeroZero #3036903 10/18/20 07:51 AM
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Garritan CFX is huge : 123GB (not 1.22GB). But there are 7 perspectives. 17GB per perspective.

Last edited by Frédéric L; 10/18/20 07:52 AM.

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Re: Anyone actually using MIDI 2 yet?
ZeroZero #3036907 10/18/20 08:10 AM
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That's more like it. And, as I like at my CFX I see that it is indeed much bigger than 1.22 GB.
Mine is the light version ... around 25 GB.

Re: Anyone actually using MIDI 2 yet?
JLG #3036908 10/18/20 08:17 AM
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Originally Posted by JLG
Extremely good post ZZ, but if a I make a few points.



Do we really need more velocities?
IMV, No.

JohnG.

A few more points. As stated above, every note struck on a piano or any other acoustic instrument is a unique universe of its own, never to be repeated until the end of the universe. Just because we notate only from ppp to fff does not mean that there are not further categories, a score is simply a rough guid to a performance and its a very rough guide indeed. Eample, note ends in a performance, particularly with stringed instruments like guitar, bear no relation to the notation. It's more about which strings are open strings and where the fingers go next.

Staccatto is another good case in point. In notation thgere is only one symbol, two if you include staccatissimo, but if you try using the same length of stacatto in different passages (forte, ppp, andante, presto) you will find that you need a compatible staccato sample. String sections for example "select" unconsciously, which type of staccato they need for an Allegro Section of Vivaldi and another for an andante section of a Dvorak piece, they are not at all the same thing. Surpisingly the musicians may not even be aware they are doing this, but it's still true one type of staccato is not enough. Of course real musicians and real music does not divide things up into digital discreate unites - ther are not 5 kinds of staccato or even 13, they blend into eachother, they are playe instinctively. It's the same with other bowings, its done by accumulated unconscious processes, aquired by practice and musical taste.
Legato is even more tricky its a completely different thing for different instruments. On a trombone it is a slide between positions with a continuous air flow, on trumpet it is the changing of valves with continuous air flow, on piano its the slight merging of notes. Notation, only gives us a few limited instructions, not the whole picture.
Concerning staccato on (real) piano, it varies not only from player to player, but also instrument to instrument, according to reverb in a hall, according to piece (compare Bach to Chopin). A staccato sample is very different to a legato sample. It's attack and decay in particular. One can do a little by using three samples per note - an attack sample, a sustain sample and a tail or reverb sample, but again one is introducing more artifices into the sound and its difficult to control.
Whe one listens to any virtual piano for the first time, perhaps by downloading a demo piece, its easy to get impressed. Many get impressed bythe performance rather than the sound of the keys, but leaving this aside, one piano might deliver a good performance of a given piece but after owning the VST or instrument for a while, the keen eared player will find that the piano is not adaptable and/or bores the ears by being too "samey".

On acoustic instruments we get access to a variety of sounds that are never noted. Each instrument is unique like this. A Nylon string guitar for example sounds very different if one plucks near the bridge, another way of achieving a bright staccato. French Horn players contour their notes with their fists. Drums have hudreds of sounds depending on how hard the skin is hit, with what instrument it is hit, where on the skin it is hit and other parameters. Lots of types of bashing and tweaking increases the palette of acoustic possibilities in ways that the digital reacreations fail to match. Personally I cant see a sample based system ever achieving this accuracy, but a modelled system, might one day be able to achieve something. Even when the sounds are thre in the virtual instrument, the MIDI device then needs to be able ot access them appropriately and eh player needs to know how this is achieved (usually) . Keyswitches have a limited role to play here.

Last edited by ZeroZero; 10/18/20 08:24 AM.
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