Exploring Velocity Curves in the CFX Concert Grand

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The Garritan Abbey Road CFX Concert Grand has been getting some wonderful reviews and now has a list price of $199.95. As a result, we’re hearing from more and more people who are using the virtual piano to great effect, and as a result we plan to offer some tips on using the CFX in upcoming blog posts.

Today’s topic is the Velocity Curve feature from the Advanced menu in the CFX plug-in interface.

Adjusting the CFX’s velocity curve allows you to:

  1. Compliment your playing style (perhaps you’d like to play with a lighter touch),
  2. Match your hardware (compensating, for example, for a un-weighted controller), and
  3. Enjoy creative control over the tonal color of any project.

To view the Velocity Curve feature, open your CFX Plug-in interface and click Advanced. Under Velocity Curve, you can control how the MIDI information from your MIDI Keyboard is interpreted by the CFX plugin.

The CFX’s default curve is linear and will provide you with the opportunity to play the full MIDI note velocity values of 0 to 127. If you prefer to use your MIDI Keyboard’s built-in velocity curve, you can leave the Velocity Curve menu at its default setting.

Otherwise, various CFX presets offer different curves, and you can select from a range of preset curves from the Velocity Curve menu – from Super Lite options to Heavy – as seen above.

For full control, you can also manually drag the four points of the curve graphic yourself:

  • The x-axis (horizontal) represents the MIDI note velocity sent by your MIDI controller to the CFX.
  • The y-axis (vertical) represents the MIDI note velocity generated by the velocity curve editor. This velocity is used to determine the dynamic of the piano.

In the example seen above, even softly played notes from your MIDI controller will result in a louder sound. This kind of curve might be used to make it easier for you to generate louder dynamics with your controller, or to give you more control over the louder notes.

The Dynamic Range knob (obscured my the menu above) determines the difference in volume between the loudest possible note and the softest possible note.  Use this in combination with the Velocity Curve to find the best way to express your performances with the CFX.

Here’s one last tip: Should you find yourself previewing CFX sounds away from a controller, you can still hear the results of different velocity keystrokes when clicking with your mouse on the virtual keyboard seen above. The secret lies in where on the key you click. To produce higher velocity sounds click toward the front of the key (the end closest to the performer), and for a lighter velocity move towards the back of the key (closer to the soundboard).

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Have any questions about velocity curves, the CFX, or anything else Garritan? Please let us know by clicking the Comments link below.

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