Using a midi keyboard with Sforzando?

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alexharal
Posts: 11
Joined: Mon Dec 28, 2015 1:04 am

Using a midi keyboard with Sforzando?

Postby alexharal » Mon Dec 28, 2015 12:22 pm

Hi, I recently downloaded and installed Sforzando on my MacBook Air
(1,4 GHz Intel Core i5, 4 GB 1600 MHz DDR3, OSX El Capitan v.10.11.1).

I also downloaded and installed Ivy Audio's Piano Samples (sfz format) and dragged them in Sforzando.
Ivy Audio's Piano samples are functional through Sforzando's on-screen keys.

However, when I connect my midi keyboard (Fatar Studiologic SL-161), Sforzando does not respond to the keyboard.
On the other hand, my keyboard is fully functional in Garageband.

Can I play my SL-161 keyboard through Sforzando?

Thanks in advance,
Alexandros

pljones
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Re: Using a midi keyboard with Sforzando?

Postby pljones » Mon Dec 28, 2015 5:11 pm

What do you see under "Tools->Preferences" in the "Input MIDI Devices" box?

alexharal
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Joined: Mon Dec 28, 2015 1:04 am

Re: Using a midi keyboard with Sforzando?

Postby alexharal » Tue Dec 29, 2015 2:57 am

I see no "Tools" Bοχ in Sforzando.
In Sforzando->Preferences->Midi Devices, I see "sforzando(in)".

Thanks for your reply.
How should I proceed?

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Re: Using a midi keyboard with Sforzando?

Postby seb@plogue » Tue Dec 29, 2015 9:59 am

And the Fatar MIDI input never shows up in the MIDI Devices list in sforzando preferences?

alexharal
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Joined: Mon Dec 28, 2015 1:04 am

Re: Using a midi keyboard with Sforzando?

Postby alexharal » Fri Jan 01, 2016 12:13 pm

After connecting the MIDI keyboard I can see it in Preferences.
So I ticked the keyboard and "Sforzando (in)" and now the keyboard works. Should I also let "Sforzando(in)" ticked?

HOWEVER, WHEN I PLAY THROUGH THE MIDI KEYBOARD THE SOUND IS NOT OK:
When I play soft the sound is mellow; when I play harder the bright component of the sound comes with a slight delay.
On the contrary, when I click the on-screen keyboard the sound is normal.
The overall volume is low and I have to turn volume to max.

Is there a problem with my keyboard or my keyboard connection? I use a MIDI to USB cable and it works fine with garageband.

Thanks again, best wishes!
Alexandros

eric_telemaque
Posts: 215
Joined: Tue Jan 31, 2012 1:10 pm

Re: Using a midi keyboard with Sforzando?

Postby eric_telemaque » Mon Jan 04, 2016 2:43 pm

alexharal wrote:HOWEVER, WHEN I PLAY THROUGH THE MIDI KEYBOARD THE SOUND IS NOT OK:
When I play soft the sound is mellow; when I play harder the bright component of the sound comes with a slight delay.
On the contrary, when I click the on-screen keyboard the sound is normal.
The overall volume is low and I have to turn volume to max.

Is there a problem with my keyboard or my keyboard connection? I use a MIDI to USB cable and it works fine with garageband.

Thanks again, best wishes!
Alexandros


Hi Alexandros,

Piano in 162 is a gorgeous free piano library. IME It isn't very loud by design. I have just tried it on an aging MacPro and it responds flawlessly using a small M-audio USB controller.
You can try a few things in order to rule out the controller as the source of the issue:

In sforzando's preferences, try changing the Buffer size (especially if it's set very high, like at 1024 or up). Values around 128 or 256 should give you glitch-free, low latency playing.
You could also try sforzando as a plugin in GarageBand! The Audio Unit is installed by default. Since you know your Fatar is working fine with GarageBand, it may help us see where the problem lies.

BTW, do you use an external soundcard or just the headphones out?
Last edited by eric_telemaque on Thu Jan 07, 2016 1:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Éric Patenaude,
Plogue Art et Technologie Inc. Montreal.
http://www.plogue.com

alexharal
Posts: 11
Joined: Mon Dec 28, 2015 1:04 am

Re: Using a midi keyboard with Sforzando?

Postby alexharal » Tue Jan 05, 2016 4:37 pm

Hi Eric, thanks for the advice.

Unfortunately, the problem persists however.
Either when I set buffer size to 156/256 in Sforzando preferences or when I use Sforzando as a plug-in in Garageband, the sound is unacceptable:
tinkling and with a slight delay.

Although I have a good external soundcard, I currently use only headphones-out for sound output (with good headphones however).
I connect my midi keyboard directly to the computer with a MIDI to USB cable.

Regards,
Alexandros

eric_telemaque
Posts: 215
Joined: Tue Jan 31, 2012 1:10 pm

Re: Using a midi keyboard with Sforzando?

Postby eric_telemaque » Thu Jan 07, 2016 1:36 pm

Does it happen with both the close and ambient versions?

I have the feeling that something is double-triggering on your system... Any chance you could upload an audio example?
Éric Patenaude,
Plogue Art et Technologie Inc. Montreal.
http://www.plogue.com

alexharal
Posts: 11
Joined: Mon Dec 28, 2015 1:04 am

Re: Using a midi keyboard with Sforzando?

Postby alexharal » Thu Jan 07, 2016 6:14 pm

Thanks again for the reply Eric.

Things are becoming tiring (for you too I suppose!): yesterday I downloaded Pianoteq's trial version to check how it would behave with my Fatar midi keyboard; it functioned fine, while Sforzando still didn't.

However, today I used my Korg keyboard (I left the Fatar at the summer house), connected via its two MIDI plugs (in/out) and the M-audio MIDI-to-usb cable to my MacBook Air. All software instruments (Sforzando, Pianoteq trial, Garageband) sounded as coming from a deep well when played through the keyboard (very low volume and remote, bad quality sound). On the contrary, they worked fine played with the mouse via the on-screen keys.

So finally I guess the problem lies in the midi connection. Could the MIDI-to-USB cable (M-audio) be τhe culprit? Should I better use a keyboard with direct USB connection to the computer (instead of MIDI to USB)? Are there any adjustments I need to make?

eric_telemaque
Posts: 215
Joined: Tue Jan 31, 2012 1:10 pm

Re: Using a midi keyboard with Sforzando?

Postby eric_telemaque » Fri Jan 08, 2016 9:49 am

alexharal wrote:However, today I used my Korg keyboard (I left the Fatar at the summer house), connected via its two MIDI plugs (in/out) and the M-audio MIDI-to-usb cable to my MacBook Air. All software instruments (Sforzando, Pianoteq trial, Garageband) sounded as coming from a deep well when played through the keyboard (very low volume and remote, bad quality sound). On the contrary, they worked fine played with the mouse via the on-screen keys.


I don't see any logical explanation to this. all these different plugins having the same audio defect because of the incoming MIDI... OTOH, it proves it's not a sforzando-only issue.
If anybody else could chime in with a similar experience, that would be of great help here.

alexharal wrote:So finally I guess the problem lies in the midi connection. Could the MIDI-to-USB cable (M-audio) be τhe culprit? Should I better use a keyboard with direct USB connection to the computer (instead of MIDI to USB)? Are there any adjustments I need to make?


From our experience, some older M-Audio Midisport Uno devices (and their clones) didn't give consistent performance, dropping notes, off timing, etc.
I have 3 different USB controllers that all work perfectly with sforzando or any other plugin for that matter, no adjustment required :)

You also said you have a good external soundcard. If it has a MIDI input, you can try that as well. Also checking for faulty MIDI cables, you never know...

Last thing, if by any chance you connected both MIDI cables (out and in) to your Korg, could you try using only the one outputting MIDI to the computer? In any case the was some kind of data feedback going on.
Éric Patenaude,
Plogue Art et Technologie Inc. Montreal.
http://www.plogue.com

alexharal
Posts: 11
Joined: Mon Dec 28, 2015 1:04 am

Re: Using a midi keyboard with Sforzando?

Postby alexharal » Tue Jan 12, 2016 6:47 am

I went on experimenting with a Yamaha P-115 digital piano, via a USB-to-host port.
Pianoteq trial worked perfectly. Sforzando had extremely low volume (barely audible even with both Sforzando and computer volume at max) and with latency, which improved (but did not completely disappear) when I set buffer size to 156.
Could all this be due to a glitch with Sforzando and OS X EL CAPITAN??

eric_telemaque
Posts: 215
Joined: Tue Jan 31, 2012 1:10 pm

Re: Using a midi keyboard with Sforzando?

Postby eric_telemaque » Tue Jan 12, 2016 10:38 am

I don't know what to say to you. Plenty of volume and tone here on both El Capitan and Yosemite, M-audio Axiom25.
Maybe try some other sounds? Our Free bank for sforzando contains a Lightweight Steinway you can compare it to.

I'd really like to hear what you hear. Nothing like this has been ever reported by anyone.
Éric Patenaude,
Plogue Art et Technologie Inc. Montreal.
http://www.plogue.com

pljones
Posts: 100
Joined: Wed Oct 15, 2014 2:05 pm

Re: Using a midi keyboard with Sforzando?

Postby pljones » Tue Jan 12, 2016 12:52 pm

OK, here's an idea or two to test. It's a bit of work and it may end up showing nothing, of course.

You say Pianoteq works. In a sequencer, record the MIDI as you're playing your keyboard through Pianoteq. Now render that to audio and compare with what you heard whilst playing. Keep the MIDI recording.

Next, replace Pianoteq with Sforzando and a piano bank. In the same sequencer, again record the MIDI as you're playing your keyboard through Sforzando. Again, render to audio and compare, keeping the MIDI recording.

Next swap the MIDI recordings over (so the one recorded with Pianoteq triggers Sforzando and vice versa) and render to audio. Again compare.

I don't know if it's possible on a Mac but if you can do virtual MIDI cabling, I'd be interested to know if playing back the recorded MIDI through a virtual loopback cable has the same effect as playing from the keyboard.

Finally, try a different sequencer (you could try MuLab Free - it would do for these tests, I think) and see if that makes any difference.

alexharal
Posts: 11
Joined: Mon Dec 28, 2015 1:04 am

Re: Using a midi keyboard with Sforzando?

Postby alexharal » Fri Jan 15, 2016 6:55 pm

Thanks again for all your suggestions.

I downloaded the Free Bank for Sforzando and played it through the Yamaha keyboard (USB to Host connection);
I was excited, no latency, nice sounds....till I got to the piano sound ("Steinway Jazz Piano lite").
Although without latency, the "Steinway Jazz piano lite" sound was bad (unnaturally metallic) and with a click after each note :(
It didn't improve when I changed buffer size. I'll record what I hear and post it soon.

Again, when I played via Sforzando's on-screen keyboard the sound was great.


I've never recorded MIDI in a sequencer, so I'm not ready to run the tests. I may try to do so in the following days.

Regards,
Alexandros

alexharal
Posts: 11
Joined: Mon Dec 28, 2015 1:04 am

Re: Using a midi keyboard with Sforzando?

Postby alexharal » Mon Feb 01, 2016 5:52 pm

Here's how (bad) Aria's "Steinway jazz piano lite" sounds when recorded in Garageband with Sforzando as plug-in:

https://soundcloud.com/alexharal/aria-s ... piano-lite


For comparison, the same set of notes with Aria's "MKII Flute":

https://soundcloud.com/alexharal/aria-mkii-flute


Any idea why the piano is so bad??


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