I am going through and modifying presets in Equator to be more playable for my touch and technique. But I am finding myself doing the same things over and over again, things which I think would be better off as global options from within the dashboard.
So my request is multi-point response curves in dashboard, like those found in equator. I have found much better velocity and pressure curves from within Equator, but the dashboard controls for all the curves are so very limited. And the Equator corves of course don't help when working with other synths, not least of all NOISE!
I think the issue Eric is trying to express is best exemplified by looking at the Press (and Lift) response curves setup in Equator's factory patches. Virtually every patch that effectively uses Press has a curve setup to ignore a very large portion of the lower control values coming from the controller. In many cases, more than half the pressure values have to get "curved out" with a long flat line across the bottom to tame the MIDI output from the controller. Synth programmers are forced waste most of the control value range and restrict their use of the touch parameter to only the top of the value range that remains controllable and useful. This strongly suggests there's a fundamental scaling/response problem that needs to be addressed in the driver and not something every patch on every synth should have to be correcting for. If Roli is concerned advanced features like calibration, scaling, and response curves would confuse novice users, please give us an advanced mode or a separate advanced dashboard.
Here is what I'm using in my host now to map vel input from the roli. I'm not even interested in getting the bottom 1/3 of the velocity range, as most sounds don't really even use it (look at any of the vel layers in the Kontakt library. Usually the bottom 2 samples cover vels 0-64, whereas there are 7 different samples for the range above 115!
Also, the response is just not consistent down there, as there is a minimum strike level required to get any sound at all. With this curve, though, my roli responds about as well to velocity as my old maudio axiom, which is good enough for most synth sounds.
So it would be nice to be able to create a curve like this in dashboard.
Eric is highlighting another important issue here. Synth library programmers use different setups — usually with different controllers often using radically different response curves. (How many synth programmers actually carefully calibrate their controllers to use neutral curves before fine-tuning their patches?)
The other issue is that players are different. With decades of experience playing classical piano, I can play with a very light touch, or easily apply 8 or 9 pounds of pressure on a single note. I think most controllers consider maximum pressure to be 2 or 3 pounds.
So, there's really two parts to this. First, players need a way to calibrate their controllers to the range of input they deliver when playing. And second, they need a way to mold the output values to adapt to the response of the synths and patches they play most often.
The situation is similar to what would happen if mastering engineers didn't have a master EQ and/or never calibrated their monitors: some would mix with a huge subwoofer and the bass cranked way up and some would use tinny speakers and the results would be ridiculous all around. What Eric just revealed highlights the fact that, compared to mastering engineers, synth library developers aren't nearly a careful about calibrating their equipment. (More than 70% of the samples only accessible with the top 12 velocity values?! Egad!) This situation is similar to when inexperienced photographers crank up the brightness on their screen, meticulously their photos, and then learn later that the images that look "perfect" to them look like mud to everyone else.
The solution is giving professional users proper control over calibration and response curves for their devices. We're just waiting for ROLI to offer players a way to calibrate these devices to the range of velocities and pressures that are normal for them, and then offer curves (similar to what we see in Equator) at the driver level so players can adapt their controller to work with different synths and sound libraries — so they don't have to reprogram all of them.
Just think of how loud mastering engineers would scream if, as a matter of course, they had to apply radical EQ adjustments on every channel strip of their mixer just because they were never given a way to EQ their master output or calibrate their monitors.
It hasn't yet been mentioned but this issue is directly related to this other issue:
Combined, there are actually 7 people that like this idea.
Trying to be more specific and constructive... It's important to remember it takes a certain amount of pressure to sustain a note and prevent it from cutting off. With the current implementation, players have no way to sustain notes without also sending (often unwanted) Press values. (I think that's the main reason we see so many flat lines on the left side of the Equator Press value curves.) Ideally, pressure values would only start to be sent after a certain (player adjusted) threshold is reached, and the full range of Press values would begin at that point offering a much higher degree of control.
That's a good suggestion. The approach that we've taken has been to allow ROLI Dashboard (or Touch Block / RISE Touch Faders) to communicate with the firmware in order to set the general response to the five dimensions of touch. Then the synthesizer (like Equator or Strobe2) can have more specifically customizable 5D touch curves which can be modified specifically per patch in order to maximize the expressive possibilities of the Seaboard and BLOCKS.
That being said, I can definitely see the benefits of having more customizable 5D curves within ROLI Dashboard itself, especially if you're finding that you'd like to modify the general behavior or if you're using other synths without 5D curves. We'll be happy to take this under consideration.