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Yamaha BC3A breath controller

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Re: Yamaha BC3A breath controller

Postby stubbsonic » Fri Feb 01, 2013 8:08 am

Are you using the Mac OS driver?

This may be a dumb pre-coffee question, but if you are using an external keyboard controller, how do you merge the control stream from the TEControl into the input? Is it just an OMNI situation?

I have a Korg MicroKey rig with USB ports, so it could be handy to just daisy chain them. Just wondering how difficult it is to get it into the Mac and working.
RMBP (2.6 i7), FF800, DP8, Kontakt, Reaktor, K2661S, K2500RS, iPad4, also have a sawtooth G4 for running a few legacy apps and a UAD-1.
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Re: Yamaha BC3A breath controller

Postby minimidi » Fri Feb 01, 2013 8:25 am

I don't use Korg so I am not sure what you meant.

And I use the breath controller under Windws 7, not Mac. It's a USB-MIDI class compliant device so I just stick it into the USB port on my PC and it appears in the device manager automatically as a MIDI device. It sends Control Change messages. It can be programmed (using the configuration utility) to send any CC on any MIDI channel. So any software able to open a MIDI device and receive messages from it should be able to recognize it.
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Re: Yamaha BC3A breath controller

Postby HCMarkus » Fri Feb 01, 2013 9:51 am

I have two keyboards connected to my Mac via USB. DP accepts input from both simultaneously, and the data is merged to the currently record-enabled track/output. The USB BC should work the same way.
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Re: Yamaha BC3A breath controller

Postby minimidi » Fri Feb 01, 2013 4:05 pm

There is an explanation with pictures showing the connection, what works and what doesn't in section 4.1 of the breath controller manual

http://www.tecontrol.se/index_files/MIDI%20BC%20Users%20manual.pdf

There is also a FAQ page

http://www.tecontrol.se/index_files/MIDIBreathControllerFAQ.htm
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Re: Yamaha BC3A breath controller

Postby daniel.sneed » Sun Feb 03, 2013 2:16 pm

Do you confirm wind instruments in Kontakt Player do not respond to breath controller?
Or do I need some sort of script?
Or is it a full Kontakt release feature only?
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Re: Yamaha BC3A breath controller

Postby popup » Tue Feb 05, 2013 11:44 am

Hi,

I have been desperate to get myself a breath controller after picking up a VL 70M and noticed the MRT Audio kit on Ebay. It apparently includes a 'breath controller headset' of which this is a picture:-

Image


Anyone have any idea of what actual product the headset is or if it is just a mic? The advert states that their box accepts a BC3 input so there may be some chance of it working?

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/MRT-AUDIO-BRE ... 1e76060222
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Re: Yamaha BC3A breath controller

Postby stubbsonic » Tue Feb 05, 2013 1:18 pm

It seems pretty cool, and judging from the demos, it looks like it is doing what it needs to do.

What is odd is that it accepts a BC3 input, but it also says that their MRT headset "only works" with their box. That's too bad, as my kurzeil has a BC input and I'd like to just get the headset.

There isn't much info, and eBay is the only way to get it. The feedback on eBay is all positive.
RMBP (2.6 i7), FF800, DP8, Kontakt, Reaktor, K2661S, K2500RS, iPad4, also have a sawtooth G4 for running a few legacy apps and a UAD-1.
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Re: Yamaha BC3A breath controller

Postby minimidi » Mon Mar 11, 2013 5:12 pm

Interesting review of the TEControl breath controller on youtube

http://youtu.be/Wm-U44kNtmI
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Re: Yamaha BC3A breath controller

Postby stubbsonic » Tue Mar 12, 2013 9:43 am

At least it covers all the basics of the hardware. And it looks like it works the way it should. I like that you can open a configure window to calibrate range and adjust curves, then write that to the unit. TEControl is temporarily out of stock (currently).
RMBP (2.6 i7), FF800, DP8, Kontakt, Reaktor, K2661S, K2500RS, iPad4, also have a sawtooth G4 for running a few legacy apps and a UAD-1.
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Re: Yamaha BC3A breath controller

Postby minimidi » Thu Mar 14, 2013 2:47 pm

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Re: Yamaha BC3A breath controller

Postby stubbsonic » Thu Mar 14, 2013 3:42 pm

In the image, it is hard to see what the juncture of the hose to the USB stick is like. I hope the sensor is at least water-resistent since much moisture will flow into that little hole.
RMBP (2.6 i7), FF800, DP8, Kontakt, Reaktor, K2661S, K2500RS, iPad4, also have a sawtooth G4 for running a few legacy apps and a UAD-1.
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Re: Yamaha BC3A breath controller

Postby minimidi » Tue Apr 02, 2013 12:01 am

stubbsonic wrote:In the image, it is hard to see what the juncture of the hose to the USB stick is like. I hope the sensor is at least water-resistent since much moisture will flow into that little hole.


It's never given me any trouble and I have asked the manufacturer, the sensor is piezoelectric and water resistant.

There is also a new review:

http://www.filmmusicmag.com/?p=11085
Simple, and it all works a treat. I found playing musically with it almost effortless after I adjusted the settings to my taste and guess what? It doesn’t hurt my teeth!

I played sample library instruments in Logic Pro 9 that use EastWest’s Play engine, Kontakt, Spectrasonics Omnisphere, and Best Service’s Engine and they all responded well, with a little bit of individual tweaking. I then did the same with the instruments hosted in Vienna Ensemble Pro 5, both on my Mac and my PC slave connected to Logic Pro 9, and no problems there as well. Smooth as silk.

There are some enhancements to the software I would like to see. As different libraries make dramatically different uses of MIDI CCs and respond dramatically differently to them, it would be great to be able to make and save presets for all your various libraries that you could simply toggle between.

So how much will this easy to use and very useful puppy set you back? 110 Euro, which is at this point in time is app. $156 US.

A bargain, say I. Kudos to TEControl for this great little musical tool.
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Re: Yamaha BC3A breath controller

Postby Shooshie » Tue Apr 16, 2013 2:26 pm

The TEControl BC device looks like a great solution to the demise of the BC3. One wishes they could provide a headset of some sort, but maybe the tube is fine. I don't know. I have two BC3 controllers, or have had 2. I think I may have only one now. Seems like i threw one out when it just became so patched up and tattered that it didn't work accurately anymore. Now I wish I'd kept it and fixed it carefully.

Let me say something about the art of Breath Control. Most people do not realize how important it is to set the resistance curve so that you have to PUSH HARD to get up to BC127. An average push should get you up to about 64 to 80. In time you learn to adjust your sound patches so that they respond like your controller. Most are weighted in such a way that they max out quickly, leaving you with a very flat performance.

A performance should have meaningful sound from the lowest response to the highest pressure, but the "meat" of the sound, the average sound that you hear, resides around 64 to 84. When you push, you should get what you'd expect to hear in a real wind instrument (or voice) when pushed to the maximum: a little wild, lots of high overtones, maybe overblowing here or there. It's hard to control the loudest sounds, and they should sound a little unruly. But you should have to push really hard to get them.

The most common thing I see and hear is a curve that starts at 0, jumps to 127 in a few ticks, and pretty much stays there. So, the continuous sound is punctuated by tonguing or breath interruption, but it goes back to 0. That's the worst possible way to play wind patches. What's the point? You might as well use a keyboard set to rapid attack, rapid decay, and 100% sustain.

Breath has to come and go. It's got to move. Pinning the controller to 127 is not movement, but static. So, you see, there is a lot of adjustment involved before you will find your natural breath which midlines at 64, but can be pushed on up to 127. If you prefer to midline at 85 or 90, well, that's your preference, but only you can figure out just how YOUR instruments should work, and how YOU will play them. If you look at your BC lines and see pretty flat maxing out for the duration of your breath, then you've got some adjusting to do. Take the time to do it. Once you find it, write down your parameters. Take notes, because you will be setting up breath controllers again and again and again. No need to have to reinvent the wheel.

I've been using breath controllers for over 25 years, and while it's one of the most natural things to do, it's also one of the hardest things to set up so that it SOUNDS natural. It takes a lot of commitment to get it right. Then you'll find that every sound is programmed differently. Again, you have to find the midline of the sound, and its high and low points, and you have to reproportion the attack and sustain parameters so that the sound responds the same as your Breath Controller and you. One of the first things I learned was that MIDI is a terribly inconsistent medium. I craved for there to be some sort of universal standard, but there isn't and never will be. To make all your instruments and patches work pretty much the same way for your breath, you must take the step of reprogramming them. It usually doesn't take more than a few minutes. Just go in and find the attack and sustain parameters, and adjust them for a full range of control.

Breath Control is a technology that has been needing to make it big. No keyboard based control comes close to the natural expression of BC (except for percussive instruments, including pianos). I use the Yamaha WX5, the Lexus of breath control. Wonderful stuff, but it takes a lot of practice. The TEControl USB device is much better suited for keyboardists, so that you can play the notes on your keyboard, but provide their sound with the breath.

All I can say about the TEControl is "Get one!"

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Re: Yamaha BC3A breath controller

Postby stubbsonic » Tue Apr 16, 2013 6:12 pm

My odyssey started with a melodica. Once I had that experience, I really wanted to bring it to my hardware synth, and my software synths.

Shooshie is 100% correct about getting the response dialed in. As with any controller you would want to know the practical range that you will use-- the softest and hardest you would likely play in a musical situation. Then between there, being able to have breakpoints or curves would be ideal.

Next is finding destinations for this control. The obvious ones are volume and filter-cutoff freq. Distortion or some other way of adding harmonics (or even noise) also would work. With a physical modeling synth it would be essential to have the BC adapting the model in interesting ways.

Though I've been obsessed with BC's for the last year or so, I still don't have one. I was torn between the TEC USB approach which ties me to my laptop, or some DIY BC-3 adaptation that I can plug directly into my Kurzweil (which has a BC input)... OR an analog solution-- i.e., one that directly controls an analog audio input and sends the modified signal to the output.

In my research, I've found various versions of this, the most intriguing was something that was called "The 33" by Johan Haake. In a demo vid I saw, it showed this device controlling the output of a guitar-- even fluttered puffs of air shaped the sound in cool ways. That's the appeal of the analog processor approach immediacy (no latency).

I saw a promising arduino adaptation as well that appeared to be sending a MIDI CC (not sure though).

My benchmark is the melodica. But even the melodica has its idiosyncrasies- release can be a bit sluggish, you have to blow harder when you have more notes pressed down, etc. But still, if I can get that feeling of intimacy, I'll be pleased.

I've gathered some electronic parts (sensors, etc.) and will probably start breadboarding some stuff this summer. I'm looking forward to furthering my electronics knowledge as I go. If I come up with something cool, I'll ping back here.
RMBP (2.6 i7), FF800, DP8, Kontakt, Reaktor, K2661S, K2500RS, iPad4, also have a sawtooth G4 for running a few legacy apps and a UAD-1.
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Re: Yamaha BC3A breath controller

Postby minimidi » Wed Apr 17, 2013 1:26 am

Shooshie wrote:Let me say something about the art of Breath Control. Most people do not realize how important it is to set the resistance curve so that you have to PUSH HARD to get up to BC127. An average push should get you up to about 64 to 80. In time you learn to adjust your sound patches so that they respond like your controller. Most are weighted in such a way that they max out quickly, leaving you with a very flat performance.

A performance should have meaningful sound from the lowest response to the highest pressure, but the "meat" of the sound, the average sound that you hear, resides around 64 to 84. When you push, you should get what you'd expect to hear in a real wind instrument (or voice) when pushed to the maximum: a little wild, lots of high overtones, maybe overblowing here or there. It's hard to control the loudest sounds, and they should sound a little unruly. But you should have to push really hard to get them.


Interesting and it matches my own experience. I found that adjusting the sensitivity like this

Image

makes it sound very natural for me. Thanks to your explanation I now understand why!

Shooshie wrote:All I can say about the TEControl is "Get one!"


I can definitely second this. It gave life to my music!
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