Hi there! I have posted a similar question in a thread related to a specific plugin (FLuid Synth), but I’m thinking it may be appicable to other synth plugins responding to the incoming midi messages, hence this post.
I’m triggering the plugin with my midi guitar pickup + Axon midi converter, and the plugin responds to pitch bend messages within a very narrow range, if respons at all. Midi guitar synths (like my good old GR-33) are usually capable of treating pitch bend values -8192 to 8191 as 0, 1, 2, 4, 5, 7, 12 and 24 semitone ranges.
So I wonder if it should be an individual plugin setting per se, or the global, device-wide setting, but it would be great if MOD devices supported 24-semitone pitch range otherwise one of the main advantages of having a midi guitar as a controller is kinda lost.
I’ve run into this a bazillion times over the years and it’s such a pain getting that MIDI range to match up! And the path of least resistance has always been to just change that global setting in my Axon AX-100 to whatever the receiving synth wants (which in most cases has been +/-2).
One software synth that I like and that I’ve been using for decades, Pentagon I, that came bundled with Cakewalk, is capable of process +/-12 semitones, which is a boon. I’ve been using this synth as a part of my setup on the live gigs.
There are two things at play here. The first, as you and @bleo point out, is the pitch bend range. Most keyboards operate on two semitones up or down, because when the pitch bend wheel was created, a wider range made keyboardists go “off tone” easily. So it works like a guitar tremolo bridge that always returns to the “correct” position. Not all plugins will allow you to change that, so you need to set the Axon global PB range to 2. Sadly, this is not good enough for guitar, and bending the strings will produce weird sounds.
The second, however, is that even back in the good days not all synths – hardware or software – responded to 6 channels sending different Pitch Bend data at the same time. The major leap of the Axon was that it used an early transient to start determining pitch, as opposed to Roland which used 2 full cycles of the string. With that, latency is much smaller and precision improved enormously. The side effect of that is that without pitch bend data, the early transient recognition fails 90% of the time, and you get more latency like a GR33.
To make matters worse, there’s a nomenclature conundrum in between. The ability to listen to more than one midi channel was called multi-timbrality, but this concept is usually mixed with “omni” and “poly” modes, and recently a company that I will not name did us the favour of inverting the mono and poly terminology.
(A reasonable explanation of the midi modes can be found here.)
Therefore, setting the PB range in your Axon is one thing, whether or not the synth will respond correctly to all PB data being output from the Axon is another. A common workaround with some software was to use 6 instances of the same synth, one for each channel, as Logic Pro users playing midi guitar know all too well. (Even some hardware synths had such multi-timbral limitations.)
I have no idea if the DIE Fluid Synth is multi-timbral or not, @falkTX would be the person to answer that question.
A fascinating history lesson, @QuestionMarc, thanks, although I must admit I knew almost all what you said except for the nuances of Axon’s early pitch recognition.
Actually, all I need is my Dwarf (that is, afaik, was set to be the flagship product of MOD, oriented at guitar players) to recognise and respond to +/-12 or, better, +/-24 semitone pitch bend, to be, as I said, midi-guitar friendly. Consider this a feature request.
Assuming the implementation of midi was done correctly – which I believe to be the case, maybe MOD can already respond to all channels in their full range, in which case it’s up to the plugin to respond to that. Assuming a plugin has its midi implementation done correctly, it should be inherently able to do that. However, not being a programmer, I’m not sure what does it take to provide a selector for PB range.
Now, regarding multi-timbrality, that’s a whole different story… It’s also part of the midi standard, but much harder to find in software. When absent, you have to set your Axon to send all data on channel 1 (and hold data on 10).
PS: I mentioned Logic Pro as a bad example because Apple stripped their own instruments (EXS24, ES2, etc) of multi-timbrality. Multi-timbral plugins operating as VST or AU inside of Logic worked just fine, meaning that Logic would listen to all the information. Logic’s instruments (or plugins, if you will) used to be multi-timbral back in the Emagic days.
As far as I’m aware, the MIDI implementation on the MOD OS side is pretty standard and free - after all, you even have MIDI plugins that can for example change the type of received message.
On the side of the plugin, that’s an all different story and depends 100% on choices made by the developer of each particular plugin.