Free up FX slots by moving Velocity and Gate into the Note parameter

What is the problem?

If you want to add some expressiveness to a sequence using Velocity and different note lengths (Gate), you’ve already used up both FX parameters and can no longer spice things up with more glitchy effects like rolls, filters, etc.

Part of the problem is that basic midi information such as Velocity and Gate are seen as an “FX” when in other synths and grooveboxes it would normally be considered “standard midi data”.

So, what if that standard midi data was a part of the Note parameter entry rather than eating up the two precious FX slots? In other words, Note wouldn’t just be literally the midi note/key, but also midi velocity and gate/length.

What should this feature achieve?

This feature would open up ability to go beyond two FX slots in many common use cases by taking some of the more traditional midi expressiveness parameters out of the FX slot paradigm and into the Note paradigm instead.

Essentially, the Note parameter would become a composite parameter consisting of note, velocity and possibly gate/note length.

As a UX/UI concept to consider, the velocity information could be visualized with a vertical and horizontal line around the note letter. The height of the line signifies the velocity (0-127), and the width of it signifies the gate length.

To make the implementation of this more practical, the actual input of velocity could still work the same as today, meaning there’s still an FX parameter that you modify or add using Fill (or record in live with a midi controller). So, technically they are still FX parameters. The only practical difference is that these parameters would not occupy any of the two FX slots, but rather visually move into the Note parameter and thus allowing you to add two more FX parameters per step in addition to Velocity and Gate length.

Simple mockup to illustrate how this might appear in the UI (WIP):

The horizontal line width signifies the gate length and the vertical line width signifies the velocity. No lines mean that no specific info is set, i.e. the default velocity and gate is used. This mockup is obviously very basic and one could imagine using color intensity or opacity or other methods to make it even easier to scan quickly.

In terms of how you would input and edit the Velocity and Gate data manually, perhaps pushing the Note button while in Rec mode would cycle between Note, Velocity and Gate. Or maybe via single/double/triple clicks.

So, while in Rec mode:

  • A single press of the Note button works just as today and lets you edit the note.
  • A double-click of the Note button will show the Volume values (0-100) and the vertical bar is more prominently highlighted.
  • A triple-click of the Note button will show the Gate values (0-100) and the horizontal bar is more prominently highlighted.

For all of these parameters, use the +/- or jog wheel as you’d normally use to alter the values.

Are there any workarounds?

There are two workarounds:

  1. Resampling the sequence into a sample and thereby freeing up the two FX slots for more creative use.

  2. Sacrificing the Velocity parameter for another FX parameter and setting a default velocity/volume on the instrument to mask the omission of velocity note data for those steps. And/or to modulate volume with a random LFO to create variety without needing to dedicate an FX slot.

Any links to related discussions?

There is another feature request to allow More than 2 step fx (Tracker Mini and Plus). That’s a different solution to the same underlying problem of “too few FX slots”.

This particular feature request here tries to solve it differently by expanding the Note paradigm to include parameters that in the midi world would be considered part of the midi note entry anyway. So you can consider this as an alternative solution to the shared underlying problem. The rationale for this solution is that the FX1 and FX2 concepts are so deeply integrated into the UX and even hardware, and so this solution could possibly be more straightforward to implement without disrupting the entire four-colored button paradigm and workflow.

Any references to other products?

One reference is the Elektron products (Digitakt, Syntakt, etc) since they are less limited in terms of available FX paramaters that can be locked per step. This feature would bring the Tracker a bit closer to the Elektron workflow since two of the most commonly used FX parameters would no longer occupy the two FX slots.

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Another well written wish :heart:

The one big question mark that is staring me right in the face is:

How would you edit gate-length and/or velocity , if both fx slots are already occupied?

I know you mentioned Live-Recording and Fill. But for users that are used to the current paradigm of entry, this would be a much slower workflow if you do entries programmatically directly on the device.

Unless there is a way to expand these two data points somehow i suppose? :thinking:

Just some more food for thought of course :blush:

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Yes, that is indeed the one question I couldn’t figure out myself and dismissed as “I’m sure the Product team will figure out a way”. :smiley:

But let’s think this through… perhaps pushing the Note button while in Rec mode would cycle between Note, Velocity and Gate? Or maybe via single/double/triple clicks?

So, while in Rec mode:

  • A single press of the Note button works just as today and lets you edit the note.
  • A double-click of the Note button will show the Volume values (0-100) and the vertical bar is more prominently highlighted.
  • A triple-click of the Note button will show the Gate values (0-100) and the horizontal bar is more prominently highlighted.

For all of these parameters, use the +/- or jog wheel as you’d normally use to alter the values.

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This is my first and most important wish , at least for velocity it should not take one FX slot .
As for another reference to other products you have the Dirtywave M8 that has a column for note velocity besides the FX lanes .

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This is a great idea, and would mostly obviate the need for additional FX lanes. For editing, perhaps the note of the step you’re currently on could “fold out” so you’d be able to get to all the parameters… maybe use shift-note to switch between note, velocity, and gate?

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Yes, that is indeed the one question I couldn’t figure out myself and dismissed as “I’m sure the Product team will figure out a way”.
But let’s think this through… perhaps pushing the Note button while in Rec mode would cycle between Note, Velocity and Gate? Or maybe via single/double/triple clicks?
So, while in Rec mode:
A single press of the Note button works just as today and lets you edit the note.
A double-click of the Note button will show the Volume values (0-100) and the vertical bar is more prominently highlighted.
A triple-click of the Note button will show the Gate values (0-100) and the horizontal bar is more prominently highlighted.
For all of these parameters, use the +/- or jog wheel as you’d normally use to alter the values.

I believe one way would be to add a second page to the note selection view when the note button is held. Currently when held down a selection of notes is available; however, if there was a “more” option similar to the pattern view available on that screen it could bring you to a menu where you can simply dial in “velocity” and “gate” for that individual note/step.

This would seem to solve the problem.

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For the edit issue, one idea could be to add another page to the pattern edition menu controlled by the buttons under the screen and add the velocity and gate parameters of the selected step.

There could be a key combo to access that page on the fly from the pattern view.

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@here Thanks for your wish. It’s now ready for voting :slight_smile:

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A big YES for this one :crossed_fingers:

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I agree that pressing shift+note would be a helpful way to cycle between Note, Velocity, and Gate Length: it’s also a convenient way to develop separate fill options. Depending on the column you’re seeing, I think pressing “Fill” could work the same way for those two new parameters as it does for the note already.

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I’d be happier with a line of 0-127 velocity values in white between instrument and FX lines.
There are spaces in between the lines that could be used to accomodate the space for velocity values. Also, a slightly narrower font would help here. This would free a whole entire FX line…
I beg you, Polyend… :pray: (Polyend Pray)

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I cannot wrap my head around the fact this assumes that the “v”-FX is a velocity, when it is not. IMO, the suggestion does not fit well the model of a track that Polyend seems to have for the Tracker+. As a new user of the unit, I had to go myself a few days ago thru the process of really understanding what a “track is”.

The “track” is 3 things at the same time:

  1. a 1-voice sampling engine, with an audio output (and presence in the mixer),
  2. an “instrument trigger” (AKA note column), for triggering an instrument voice [either any of the synths or the track single-voice sampler] on a note
  3. and 2 “generic lanes of automation”.

The instrument col is also dual:

  1. in the case of a synth, it selects the target engine to trigger (with its own output audio track) and
  2. in the case of a “sample”, it “reconfigures” at real-time the track sampler to use the “sample” config (triggering a note of a different sample-instrument in a track will CUT the previously played sample; even if it has a long release ADSR in the vol automation => the sampling engine is in the track).

The “MIDI track” is different, as it only contains (2) and (3).

Hence, the “v”-FX is neither a velocity nor associated to the note event. It is an automation with a variable target (depends on the context of where it is placed) and not associated with a note:

  • In the case of the “note event” triggering a synth or midi, it is the velocity.
  • In the case of note targeting a sample, it is just an automation of the sampling engine volume (NOT the track-volume in the mixer, as this can be still controlled in the mixer section).
  • In the case of an FX applied without a note:
    • If it is a V-FX targetting a synth instrument, this has NO effect at all (as expected. The velocity of the triggering note cannot be altered after the triggering, and this is not any more a volume automation).
    • If it is in a track where a sample is playing, without explicit INS, it will modulate the track sampling engine volume.

The effect of this “volume” automation in the sampler is even more interesting when we consider that the sampling engine has also a vol LFO|ADSR :). Through experimentation, it looks like the v-FX applies on top (multiplication and after) of the sampler-vol-LFO.

IMO Polyend should stop using the v-FX in this variable way, and do the following:

  1. Allow the sampler to have a clear note-velocity, that scales (in the right way) the triggered amp LFO/env of the sampling.
  2. Create an explicit “velocity” param associated with the note, outside the FX list (it is no longer an automation)
  3. Focus the existing v-FX as a real volume automation, applying to (1) the sampling engine volume and (2) synth engine output volume [something that cannot be done today].

A few things would be achieved IMO: more flexibility, more clarity and even more simplicity. Keeping backwards compatibility with the old model is interesting, so not sure how realistic is this idea.

To solve the problem of “how to edit note gate & vel”, I was toying myself with the idea of, for example, enabling a Instrument+FX1 combo to change the FX1 column into a “note velocity parameter” and Instrument+FX2 to change the FX2 column intto a gate param. But many variations are possible.

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