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88-key MIDI keyboard + modular CVs
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Tubbutec  
Author 88-key MIDI keyboard + modular CVs
SlyFrank
Hi - I love my new uTune, especially since I use microtonal scales a lot, and this has support for Scala files. Brilliant.

My question has nothing to do with scales but a very much more basic question that I have been struggling to figure out since I got this module, and I think I have it figured out, and have a workaround, but want to just see if there's a better way to do what I'm trying to do.

OK, I have an 88-key MIDI piano (that I'm using as a controller for my modular synth in this case) and want to integrate it into playing along with my modular synth on one of the uTune channels in real time. The best way to set up my MIDI keyboard with uTune is to set Middle Note to 60/C5 and Middle voltage to 3V (any higher than 3V makes Middle C too high). 3V makes middle C sound the correct note (261.62 Hz) with my VCO(s) tuned down to their lowest octave, and gives the lowest C on my MIDI keyboard the best bass note, but this (of course, now that I've studied it) screws up my modular sequencer that outputs a range of 0-5V. If I set Middle Note to 3V, then the lowest 2 octaves of my sequencer (0-5V) don't respond, and I only get a 3-octave range. I understand why, now, after studying this and playing around with it.

My workaround, which works fine, is to set Middle Note to 60/C5 and Middle voltage to 5V. This makes my modular sequencer respond perfectly, but my MIDI keyboard is 2 octaves high - and this is with my VCO turned all the way down to its lowest octave. So I send a -2V offset into a precision adder mixed with my CV out from the uTune channel that is sending out the output from my MIDI keyboard's output, and all works perfectly fine.

So, this is all good, but I'm just asking if I'm overlooking a simpler, more straightforward, way of solving this issue. Is there a setting that I can use that would allow me to have my 88-key MIDI keyboard and my 0-5V modular sequencer play nice together without have to mix in a -2V offset into my MIDI keyboard's CV output?
tubbutec
SlyFrank wrote:
If I set Middle Note to 3V, then the lowest 2 octaves of my sequencer (0-5V) don't respond, and I only get a 3-octave range. I understand why, now, after studying this and playing around with it.


Setting the middle note to C5 / 60 and middle voltage to 3V will result in the µTune's output reaching 0V when playing C2 (assuming 12notes/octave). Anything lower will be capped to 0V.

Took me a while to understand your setup completely and figure out the problem. I believe the core of the problem is this:

via CV you get inputs from 0-5V, which maps to note numbers 0..60
via midi you get inputs in a different range, but essentially you want to press the lowest keyboard key and get note number 0 and press the middle C and get note number 60. Correct?
Which are the note numbers you are receiving in µTune when pressing these keys?
SlyFrank
tubbutec wrote:
SlyFrank wrote:
If I set Middle Note to 3V, then the lowest 2 octaves of my sequencer (0-5V) don't respond, and I only get a 3-octave range. I understand why, now, after studying this and playing around with it.


Setting the middle note to C5 / 60 and middle voltage to 3V will result in the µTune's output reaching 0V when playing C2 (assuming 12notes/octave). Anything lower will be capped to 0V.

Took me a while to understand your setup completely and figure out the problem. I believe the core of the problem is this:

via CV you get inputs from 0-5V, which maps to note numbers 0..60
via midi you get inputs in a different range, but essentially you want to press the lowest keyboard key and get note number 0 and press the middle C and get note number 60. Correct?
Which are the note numbers you are receiving in µTune when pressing these keys?


After writing the below, I figured out part of the problem. It is with my Cwejman VCO-6s, which I use mostly. They are limited by the range switch such that to get to the lowest bass notes that are typical for any VCO, one has to send note CVs in the range of 0V...2V. That is normal behavior, but as you read below you will see why I am having a bit of an issue (this is nothing major, just trying to figure out the best way to work). I have a few other VCOs, and they can be tuned quite a bit lower than the Cwejmans (no range switch limitations) such that they overcome the 2V minimum issue from the MIDI keyboard. My DPO can almost be tuned low enough - it ends up about one semitone too sharp, though. Braids has no problem and can be tuned so low that even outputting 2 - 3 V from the uTune gives great bass notes. My solution to this problem might mean that I only play my MIDI keyboard through my synth using Braids, or use the offset solution. Anyway:

Hi - yes, essentially you understand my setup, except that what I am trying to achieve with my lowest MIDI keyboard C is an output of 0V, not necessarily a note number of 0 (whatever the note is called I don't really care, just want it to be at 0V which then makes Middle C = 3V. 60 C5 is the Middle note set in Keyboard Mapping in uTune, which is my Middle C. So actually my lowest C is outputting C2 & and Middle C is C5 & Note 60). I agree that by putting MIDI note 60 at 3V means that the CVs from 0V...2V will all be read as C0 or output 0V until it gets to above 2V (2V output actually = 0V since middle note 60 is set to 3V). Once I change MIDI note 60 back to 5V then my CV sequencer works perfectly. All CVs from 0V...5V output the proper quantized notes. This makes perfect sense.

The issue is that on my MIDI keyboard, it is as you say, if I would like MIDI note 60 to sound as Middle C, and to have the lowest C on the keyboard output 0V, then I can only do that by making MIDI note 60 = 3V, which of course then screws up my CV sequencer. If I set middle note 60 = 5V then my sequencer works fine but the lowest C on my MIDI keyboard = 2V, which is 2 octaves too high (for a Cwejman VCO-6, since it can't be tuned low enough to compensate for 2V+ input - it needs to 'see' 0 - 2 V).

My workaround is to either send a -2V offset to the VCO6(s) connected to the keyboard's output (coming through uTune, with middle note set to 5V) or to send a +2V offset to my CV sequencer's output, before it enters the uTune, which is set to middle note = 3V. So I can send an offset, which works...but that's kind of a pain and is clunky. And working with many VCOs can be sometimes hard to work with sending multiple (not just one) voltage offsets.

So I was just wondering if there is a setting that would solve this, or do I just keep working with it this way? I don't really see any other way, but thought I would ask. No major problem, I can work around it, just wondering if I'm missing an easier solution.

OK, thanks for any input!
tubbutec
I will have a closer look at this. It might be a good idea to have different mapping options for CV input and midi.

Some midi keyboards have a transpose function (several octaves up or down). This could help in your case, too..
SlyFrank
tubbutec wrote:
I will have a closer look at this. It might be a good idea to have different mapping options for CV input and midi.

Some midi keyboards have a transpose function (several octaves up or down). This could help in your case, too..


I was thinking to have separate mapping options for MIDI and CV too, but wasn't sure if that was possible in the code. If possible, I think that would be a great addition.

As for a MIDI transpose function, that would work too, although my MIDI keyboard has limited MIDI functions - it is a Kawai CS-11, which is a digital piano that is built into the same wooden housing as their acoustic upright piano - it looks just like an acoustic piano. It does have MIDI in/out and some limited MIDI functions since it is digital, after all, but MIDI is simply an extra on this keyboard. I could go in and transpose up or down by only _one_ octave (which doesn't really solve the problem), but this requires menu-diving, and I would have to go in and change that setting every time I wanted to go back to normal piano playing. There are no transpose buttons on the panel.

Thanks for taking a closer look at this w00t
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