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Topic: Breath Controller to control GPO's Woodwinds/Brass?

  1. #1

    Breath Controller to control GPO's Woodwinds/Brass?

    Hello all...
    I'm about to purchase GPO and I would like to know if the woodwinds and brass samples could somehow be controlled in realtime by using a breath controller?

  2. #2

    Re: Breath Controller to control GPO's Woodwinds/Brass?

    Yes, you can use a breath controller to control all sustained instruments in GPO as long as you can map the breath controller to the modulation controller CC#1. This has been done successfully by other users. I'm looking into picking one up myself.

  3. #3

    Re: Breath Controller to control GPO's Woodwinds/Brass?

    Thanks for the very quick reply sir!

    I'm glad to hear that. But to what extent can you control the samples with it though? Can you also control the attack of the instrument (more attack when you blow hard or a softer attack when you blow soft)?

  4. #4

    Re: Breath Controller to control GPO's Woodwinds/Brass?

    Due to my limited knowledge of the breath controller, I'm not sure if you can control velocity with a breath controller or not. Usually a breath controller is used for timbre/volume envelope shaping through the course of a passage. I've mostly heard it used in this manner, but maybe someone that actually owns one can give you definite advice. I would say that if you can send velocity data from a breath controller, there's no reason why you couldn't control the note 'attack' as well as timbre/volume changes.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Bruce A. Richardson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 1999
    Dallas, Texas

    Re: Breath Controller to control GPO's Woodwinds/Brass?

    Mr. Garritan's libraries are actually some of the most responsive to breath control. I'm assuming that GPO is programmed a lot like GOS in that regard, with the mod-wheel accomplishing the crossfades.

    You'll need to alter the mapping in two ways.

    First, you need to flatten or disable the response from Velocity input to the amplitude of output, since you'll want the breath controller to take over that task.

    Second, you'll need to change the crossfade mapping from CC1 to CC2.

    That should put you in business.

    Can you control the attacks, etc? Yes, very much so. If you're a wind player (or even not, since the voice is the natural wind instrument), you'll soon find yourself "locking into" the articulations and knowing where and how to push them for most musical result. It is intuitive.

    Ironically, as a trumpet player myself, I realized just how powerful wind control was when first programming strings with my wind controller. Until I got the hang of it, I was actually making trumpet-like sounds with the strings, simply because I was putting that kind of articulation on the samples, and it created this Frankenstein effect.

    I found that loosening the embochure considerably, so that I had a lot of mouthpiece "leakage" got me much more characteristic string sounds.

    But as I said, this is all intuitive, and you pick up on it immediately and self-correct with very little thought.

    Hope that helps explain a few broad conceptual issues.

    If you do a forum search for Wind Controller, WX5, WX-5, etc., you will probably find quite a bit of material. I have written extensively about it over the years when people had questions.

    Best regards,

  6. #6

    Re: Breath Controller to control GPO's Woodwinds/Brass?

    Thanks Bruce, you da man.

  7. #7

    Re: Breath Controller to control GPO's Woodwinds/Brass?

    It's almost as if GPO was designed for a wind controller. There is no need to worry about the velocity, in fact the WX-5's velocity output is useful for controlling the attacks with GPO - but you will need to remap cc2 to cc1 with the current version of the Kontakt Player. I use the library with a WX-5, and couldn't be more delighted that the instruments are designed with a continuous controller for volume. As you learn to play the different instruments idiomatically on a breath controller, you will achieve very expressive and realistic results. At the very least, you will automatically have appropriate breath pauses in your writing :-)

    The soon to be released update to GPO includes a special bonus for us wind controller guys - you will find a switch on the Kontakt Player interface itself that will let you control whether volume responds to cc1, cc2, or even some other options that will make good sense for some people. In other words, the Kontakt Player itself will handle the 'translation', and there will no longer be a need to find some other way of translating the breath controller's cc2 output into cc1 for GPO.

    A wind controller like the WX-5 also has other controller output capabilities, and I think there's a pretty good chance that they can be put to good use with some of the other control features we'll see soon.


  8. #8

    Cool Re: Breath Controller to control GPO's Woodwinds/Brass?

    Bruce is quite right. Even if you have little or no experience playing wind instruments, you'll pick it up quickly. It's very natural. For me, it's even more instinctive than using a mod wheel or aftertouch in most cases, and I'm primarily a keyboard player.

    I also enjoy the astonished stares I get while using one live- it kinda looks like I'm on oxygen or blue velvet gas or something ...

    Most keyboards don't have breath/wind control inputs these days. If you need a standalone unit, I highly recommend the Midi Solutions one:


    You can configure it to output most any MIDI data you want, even Sysex. It'll merge MIDI in if you need to. You can also load custom controller response curves into NVRAM if you like. (My old Yamaha BC2 worked fine with the defaults after tweaking its trimpots).

    The box gets power off a MIDI port, so make sure your rig has a MIDI port with power or you'll need an external power source. My M-Audio USB and Firewire MIDI interfaces did _not_ supply sufficient power, nor did my Kurzweil MIDIboard. Luckily my Roland A-50 did.

    For around $250 USD (the MS box plus a Yamaha BC3 headset), it's the best money you'll ever spend for increased MIDI expression control.

    - Steve

  9. #9

    Re: Breath Controller to control GPO's Woodwinds/Brass?

    In GPO, using keyboard, as we know, dynamics are produced by modwheel and not by velocity which is used for attack. When using WX wind controllers how are dynamics handled? That is, by the breath or by something like a modwheel?



    (My apologizes to Bruce and others who discussed these topics at length back in the spring...I am just too lazy right now to go find whether this question was answered then!)

  10. #10

    Re: Breath Controller to control GPO's Woodwinds/Brass?

    By breath - the harder you blow, the higher the cc2 value output by the breath/wind controller.

    A WX-5 also outputs note on velocity, so you can control attacks in GPO as well.


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