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Can Breath Controller input be routed to MIDI output?

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 Zach
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Hi,

I have an S90ES with PLG150-VL and a Yamaha breath controller (not sure if it's BC3 or BC3A, it was purchased a long time ago). I also own a Korg Z1, which does physical modeling a la Yamaha's VL technology (though quite different as well). I know how to route breath controller input to control parameters in the ES/PLG board or plug-in voice (via Edit -> Native last page -> BrthMode) but was curious if I can additionally route this to a MIDI CC output in order to control the Z1. This does not need to be on a different MIDI channel than the transmit channel in Voice Mode, since I can always filter out any CC messages I don't want going to the Z1 in my DAW/sequencer (Cubase), so I have not tried Master Mode. Do I need to use Master Mode for this? Or do I need to buy a device that converts breath controller input to MIDI CC output and send the output to both the ES/PLG and the Z1? I'd rather not do the latter since I'd need to tweak my PLG voices to respond to MIDI CC instead of breath input. Does anyone know of any solutions?

Thanks!

 
Posted : 02/12/2015 3:00 pm
Bad Mister
Posts: 12303
 

You will be happy to know that Breath Control has been apart of the MIDI specification since the very beginning. (Breath Control actually predates MIDI by a few years!)

While cc001 is well known as Modulation Wheel, many are surprised to learn that cc002 is Breath Control.
When you blow into the Breath Controller on your S90 ES, the cc002 messages are automatically generated on the currently selected MIDI channel. You simply need to route them wherever you require them

It has been quite some time since I played on a keyboard with Breath Control (I do miss it, badly).

So if I'm remembering properly, if you can route MIDI to your Z1 and trigger it with the keys of your S90 ES, the breath controller should work as well. It has no choice, BC is the same type of Channel message as Note-Ons, Mod Wheel, PB, AT, Sustain pedal or any other MIDI Channel message.

I do recall that the MIDI spec insists that things default to POLY mode when initially recalled, so you may find yourself introducing yourself to cc126 (MONO mode) - you may need to insert this at the top of sequences to make your Breath Controlled sound play in MONO mode (behavior can be quite different).

 
Posted : 02/12/2015 3:52 pm
 Zach
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Thanks again Bad Mister for the quick reply. I actually did know that the MIDI spec standardizes CC#2 to be breath control, but did not know that Yamaha synths with breath controller input automatically convert the signal to MIDI CC#2 and spit it out the MIDI out port on the transmit channel. I could've sworn I gave that a try before I started fiddling around, but perhaps it was settings on the Z1 (like mono mode) that were preventing the desired response. I will fiddle some more this weekend. Thanks again!

 
Posted : 02/12/2015 4:21 pm
Bad Mister
Posts: 12303
 

Well, Mono Mode would not prevent the receiving device from sounding, only in how notes connect (behave).

Breath Control predates MIDI by a few years (it was first available on the old analog CS01) and of course, on the game changing DX7 a few years later. The DX7 was the first digital synth, and the first polyphonic synth with BC. MIDI was a "hidden" feature on the DX7 - it was that new at the time. You had to "know" it was a a function found under button "8".

What can happen when placing a computer in the mix is you may have strangled it in your routing.

 
Posted : 03/12/2015 11:52 am
 Zach
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Okay, I finally got around to this. First of all, I was mistaken. I now remember that my BC3A was damaged in a move and I purchased a replacement breath controller not manufactured by Yamaha. It is a clone or so I thought (please don't judge, Yamaha folks - they have not been produced in so long!) as it also has the gain and offset knobs as well as a drain cap, and it has the 1/8" TRS connector.

I realize it was never calibrated (I have not used my PLG-VL as a solo wind instrument synth in a while), since it doesn't work well when routed as a control set for a S90ES voice (I followed Blake Angelos's doc on the BC3A), let alone a PLG-VL voice (I'm tabling the Z1 issue for now). More specifically, I can barely hear a change when blowing or adjusting offset when not blowing. I went back to the emails with the designer and he stated "It should work if the S90ES is providing the -9v from the BC input. However, it should be calibrated to make it go from -9v to -5v by using a small jewelry screwdriver."

I understand the issue is with the breath controller calibration and not the Yamaha product here, but as a former electrical engineer I thought it my due diligence to measure the voltage on the 1/8" connector when plugged into the S90ES breath controller port WITHOUT the breath controller connected to the other side. I'm reading a -15 volts at tip relative to sleeve (and ring for that matter) - is that to be expected? It seems like if -9v and -5v are standard, maybe -15v is not. If the answer is a simple yes this is expected from the ES, then I will try to calibrate this breath controller to be in that range (and if I have trouble, I know I need to contact this other party). I guess I mistakenly assumed that breath controller input ports were some standard, but it seems like it surely depends on the synth. Is there any info on this? Does it depend on any gain settings in the firmware? Any specs that give details on the Yamaha BC input jack? I've done a little research and I found that at least for the BC1, -9v is expected. It's worth noting I've never had any hardware issues with my ES, so the assumption is that -15v is normal and **fingers crossed** I can calibrate this breath controller to work with that voltage. Any advice would be appreciated.

Thanks again!

 
Posted : 07/12/2015 10:33 pm
 Zach
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Topic starter
 

Okay so I contacted the manufacturer of the breath controller. He owns a VL70m with also provides a -15v on the BC input jack. Verifying that this isn't an issue with the S90ES, I was able to calibrate the BC so that it's pretty expressive with PLG150-VL voices and I see MIDI CC data coming into Cubase no problem! I have not fully tested this with the Z1 (my original question), but I am confident that now that I see the MIDI coming in, I can fiddle around with my Z1 to respond well to CC002. In other words, my questions from now on are no longer Yamaha-related. Thanks again Bad Mister for the enlightening info about the S90ES's great design - glad that everything is automatically set up to do what I intended (with properly calibrated peripherals)!

 
Posted : 10/12/2015 5:57 am
Bad Mister
Posts: 12303
 

Excellent! I'm glad you got that working - that is good news. If you have further questions about the BC and how it works you can contact Yamaha Customer Support - they can always help you with such things (In/For the US: 714-522-9000 business hours Pacific Standard Time)

 
Posted : 10/12/2015 12:35 pm
Posts: 0
New Member Guest
 

I have a Original DX7 and a BC1 in the box, I plugged it in, but does not seem to work.
Anyone know how to test it, or what settings I need to adjust?
Will it only work on certain voices?

Thanks for the help..

 
Posted : 02/08/2018 2:55 pm
Bad Mister
Posts: 12303
 

Correct, it will only work on Voices setup to respond to BC. If you still have the DX7 Voices setup for Breath Control have the letters “BC” in the name, for example “Trumpet BC”

Normally on velocity affect Amplitude in a dynamic fashion... a Voice setup for BC would be biased so that volume (Amplitude) waits for input from the BC.

You can edit any sound to respond to BC...

 
Posted : 02/08/2018 4:09 pm
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