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Topic: Random Velocity In Sonar

  1. #1

    Random Velocity In Sonar

    Can any of our experienced Garritan/Sonar users help me with applying random velocity to a selection?

    I have tried using Sonar's 'VaryVel' CAL Routine to apply random velocity to a selection of a drum track. This seemed to be what I was looking for; ie. enter the lower value (say 80) then enter the higher value (say 90) then the script varies the velocity for the selection randomly between these values. I get all sorts of weird results and nothing approaching the lower and upper values I typed in! It seems I must have missed something somewhere.

    I also tried Sonar's FX Velocity tool (Process - MIDI Fx - Cakewalk Fx - Velocity) to apply random velocity to the selction without success. I have tried using the preset but I don't understand the 'Amount' and 'Tendency' settings and the manual doesn't really help much.

    I understand entirely that velocity settings alone do not make a good drum track. However, apart from going to each event individually and dragging the velocity tails throughout the entire groove, I do need such a tool.

    As always, I'd be grateful for any help with this.

    Patience is a virtue, sensitivity is a gift

  2. #2

    Re: Random Velocity In Sonar

    Hi, Michael

    I've found the old CAL scripts to be more hit and miss as Sonar keeps getting upgraded. Some of the scripts are totally dead, others are iffy. Some work.

    But for velocity, the MIDI FX tool you've tried is the one to use. I use it often, but not so much for what you're trying to do. I use it for things like percussion crescendos.

    I've just now returned from Sonar where I tested what you outlined - Here's the trick. For whatever reason, getting the randomizer to work with just a selection in the time line doesn't work. But I got exactly what I wanted once I selected an entire MIDI clip, simply by clicking it so it turns black. If that's too large an area, then just use the scissors to make a smaller clip.

    The controls I used were:

    --Limit - full 127.
    --Randomized checked to be On.
    --Amount - I tried various values. 20 got me usable velocity varieties, but it's a setting to experiment with.
    --Tendency is for telling the plugin to either tend to set higher levels, or lower levels. Since I had the limit at 127, I set that at -5, and it seemed good.

    Try it out.


  3. #3

    Re: Random Velocity In Sonar

    Hello Randy,

    Thanks for your help with this. I've given up on the CAL scripts. As you say, sometimes they work but more often they seem problematic.

    I've been experimenting again with FX Velocity tool but still haven't managed a decent result. I think it would have been quicker to have gone through each individual event and just dragged those tails.

    I'll stick at it though until I stumble on that right setting.
    Patience is a virtue, sensitivity is a gift

  4. #4

    Re: Random Velocity In Sonar

    You know me, Michael, if I feel I have something potentially helpful to pass on, I try to put up a post, as time permits on my schedule.

    You inspire me to pass on some more tips:

    --You said you're trying to get velocity variety in a drum track. - That actually is trickier and more critical than doing the same velocity work for pitched instruments. It's actually rather likely that you'll never get what you like from trying any randomizing tool, because the beats being stressed will have become too random.

    Which means that hand editing may indeed be your best bet. I do a great deal of hand editing of velocity.

    BUT - I highly recommend that when you do that velocity work in the PRV, that with the very up hand left corner menu, you turn OFF "Show control handles." I don't find those useful at all, except in rare cases. When it's off, and with the Grid definitely turned off - holding down the Ctrl key gives you the complete range of movement and possible levels. With those settings you can sweep through up and down easily and fairly quickly.

    Here's a trick you may not have tried: After selecting a MIDI track or clip, under Process, call up Groove Quantize. In the window of the pop-up, under "Cakewalk DNA Grooves," you'll find things like "Pushing Feel A" "Pushing Feel B" - etc. Those are very worth trying - The Note On events will be changed ever so slightly, but the main effect is changing the Velocity values so you get some very musical results as per the descriptions. Experimenting with the various choices will familiarize you with what the actual results are.

    CAL scripts - One of them which still works, and can be useful is "RANDOM TIME"---there are two, but the one in all caps is the one I've used numerous times. If I have a passage, for instance, of 32nd notes which I needed to insert by hand, that script breaks up the robotic perfection very nicely. One caveat about using this though - you can end up with gaps between notes which can mess you up if you were applying the script to a legato passage. An easy fix for that is to select the whole section, grab one of the short notes in PRV, drag it to the right until it's long enough to overlap the next note, and all of your notes will have also changed length.

    But back to your velocity question - Because you're working with percussion, you do need to be careful about not wrecking the feel of the clip. If it's a drum rhythm track for a pop song, for instance, you wouldn't want to muffle that groove of the emphasis on Two and Four.

    And so forth.

    Randy B.

  5. #5

    Re: Random Velocity In Sonar

    Hello again Randy,

    Well .. thank you so much for going to all that trouble to research this.

    As it happens, I've ended ip going through the track manually, carefully offsetting velocities a smidge. I have to say, monotonous .. yes .. tedious .. absolutely .. time-consuming .. tell me about it .. but the results are a world away. Not to mention that I have diligently controlled and retained the 'beat' emphasis and integrity. As you say Randy, no tool could really do this and the results speak for themselves .. or should I say 'groove' for themselves.

    Thanks again.
    Patience is a virtue, sensitivity is a gift

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