For Ableton Live users who are using external MIDI hardware to play sounds in Ableton Live editing velocity can be crucial. Especially for drummers who are depend on getting a good translation of their playing velocity. For drummers volume and velocity is a big part of their expression, of their style of how to hit and how to make sound things. In the electronic and digital work different manufactures are handling velocity different and some are translating playing and representing velocity in their drum modules very detailled for quite a while.
As the main and most used standard for communicating between musical hardware and software still is MIDI velocity, it is always being limited to 128 steps. MIDI hardware is sending a 0 for off and 127 for the loudest, everything in between being scaled.
This sometimes can lead to very unsatisfying results, especially if you play acoustic drum samples and want to get a ‘natural’ drumming feeling. This is where editing velocity curves is coming in.
Some e drum manufactures are giving you a quite extend control over single pads and triggers inside a drum module already. Threshold, gain, compression, limiting are some of those parameters already being control-able in most of those, but sometimes it takes a a little while to understand what parameters controls what and nearly every system works a bit different, sometimes even using different terms for the same thing or meaning different things with the same term. Deep control is great but sometimes results in some sort of hour long try and error when you might just want to quickly want to change a little thing.
Velocity editing in Ableton Live
Abletons “Velocity” Midi Effect is one of the great ways to control an edit incoming velocity. You have all the basic and some important functions in there. One advantage here is, that this is a native Ableton Live Plug in which is available in all versions and uses very little CPU.
You can select different operations. Limit, compress, set a threshold etc. – but same as editing those parameters in a drum modul it takes a little while if you are new to this. Even if you are an experienced user some of the techniques and access to parameters require to fully understand the designed concept
MAKING VELOCITY EDITING EASY
I felt like there should be an easier and more accessable way to do velocity editing and found a way to make this happen in Max for Live. With the Velocity Curve Editor you are able to just draw the curve you want. Actually just really use your mouse, add points, set those were you need, add bends between multiple points and store and recall those as presets. Quick and easy.
You get a few presets you can select from to get you started as well and will show you some things which aren’t able to do with Ableton Velocity device on its own. I have to say there are still a few minor things which could be improved in the Velocity Curve Editor device, e.g. there is some +1 value error in the scaling, which I thought is not a problem when you have 127 steps – but still I want to point this out.
I made this device for the community and want people to use it to make music – so I released this like many other devices for free BUT I m asking you for a donation or thinking about supporting me and my work on this field via becoming a patron on my Patreon Page.
But for now have a look how this device works in this tutorial and get device here to check it out yourself.