SWAM
Need Help Choosing The Right Controller. Leap Motion Vs Roli Lightpad Block or other.

Hi everyone,

I've been having a tough time trying to figure out which controller to get.

I already have a seaboard block which I enjoy a lot and works well for the most part, but I do find that it is difficult to extract the tonal control like bow pressure and position while performing the part into the DAW.

I though I'd get the community vote on what the best choices are and what the added benefits might be for one controller over another for SWAM in particular and maybe in any similar situations.

Which one would be more intuitive, quicker, stable, versatile, level of simultaneous control, accuracy etc.

So far for me it's between the Leap Motion and Roli Lightpad Block as an additional controller to my Seaboard Block. other controller suggestions or ways are also welcome.

I have both the Winds and Strings bundle and would like to use them for both.

Thanks everyone.

Shane

Hi everyone, I've been having a tough time trying to figure out which controller to get. I already have a seaboard block which I enjoy a lot and works well for the most part, but I do find that it is difficult to extract the tonal control like bow pressure and position while performing the part into the DAW. I though I'd get the community vote on what the best choices are and what the added benefits might be for one controller over another for SWAM in particular and maybe in any similar situations. Which one would be more intuitive, quicker, stable, versatile, level of simultaneous control, accuracy etc. So far for me it's between the Leap Motion and Roli Lightpad Block as an additional controller to my Seaboard Block. other controller suggestions or ways are also welcome. I have both the Winds and Strings bundle and would like to use them for both. Thanks everyone. Shane

I am very happy with the TEC BBC v2 for the wind instruments (e.g. the Audion Modeling Flutes and the Sample Modeling Trumpet, Horn and Tuba. But the BBC does is not feel "natural" for string instruments like the Sample Modeling Cello. Here I do prefer the Roli (I have a Seaboard 49). I doubt that it makes much sense to find a "one fits all" controller, as the mechanics that is modeled in the these solo instruments is too different. E.g. playing the Cello with a Breath controller makes it feel and sound "blown".
The Leap Motion of course is done for Strings in "bowing" mode, which of course will give great results but supposedly needs a lot of dedicated practicing.
-Michael

I am **very** happy with the TEC BBC v2 for the wind instruments (e.g. the Audion Modeling Flutes and the Sample Modeling Trumpet, Horn and Tuba. But the BBC does is not feel "natural" for string instruments like the Sample Modeling Cello. Here I do prefer the Roli (I have a Seaboard 49). I doubt that it makes much sense to find a "one fits all" controller, as the mechanics that is modeled in the these solo instruments is too different. E.g. playing the Cello with a Breath controller makes it feel and sound "blown". The Leap Motion of course is done for Strings in "bowing" mode, which of course will give great results but supposedly needs a lot of dedicated practicing. -Michael

Hi Michael,

Thanks for your honest feedback! The Leap does seem like the more natural choice for bowing.. I wonder if it is well supported through DAWS and if the setup is easy? It does appear to be a able to control more dimensions of cc simultaiously than a Roli and have greater independence between gestures.

I guess a breath controller is on my list for the future.

I'll wait a little longer for some more feedback from the community on their experiences as well.

Thanks again.

Shane.

Hi Michael, Thanks for your honest feedback! The Leap does seem like the more natural choice for bowing.. I wonder if it is well supported through DAWS and if the setup is easy? It does appear to be a able to control more dimensions of cc simultaiously than a Roli and have greater independence between gestures. I guess a breath controller is on my list for the future. I'll wait a little longer for some more feedback from the community on their experiences as well. Thanks again. Shane.

I don't suppose setting up the Leap Motion should be difficult. Supposedly it just sends Midi CCs for any movement "dimension" it detects. The DAW just forwards these messages to the VST. The only peculiar thing is that you would use the String instrument in "bowing backwords and forward" mode, and hence a sound only is produced while moving your hand in the appropriate direction.
Here a problem I see is that you somehow need to start the movement ad some point to allow for the CC values to increase / decrease without hitting the limit (0 and 127). But this is completely up to the controller itself.

-Michael

I don't suppose setting up the Leap Motion should be difficult. Supposedly it just sends Midi CCs for any movement "dimension" it detects. The DAW just forwards these messages to the VST. The only peculiar thing is that you would use the String instrument in "bowing backwords and forward" mode, and hence a sound only is produced while moving your hand in the appropriate direction. Here a problem I see is that you somehow need to start the movement ad some point to allow for the CC values to increase / decrease without hitting the limit (0 and 127). But this is completely up to the controller itself. -Michael

Will have to test it out if I go for it. Have you ever assigned the XY axis to the Bow Pressure and Position on the Seaboard 49 and used that while recording to daw? how does that respond? and have you tried using the expression on the Touch faders?

Will have to test it out if I go for it. Have you ever assigned the XY axis to the Bow Pressure and Position on the Seaboard 49 and used that while recording to daw? how does that respond? and have you tried using the expression on the Touch faders?

Using the Seaboard's Pad's "x" direction for direct Bowing (like Leap Motion) instead of "Bow position" or pressure might be an interesting idea !!! ("y" might be bow pressure)
I'll do a test ASAP and let you know....

An even more interesting idea might be to use Midi pre-processor-software (that I can do in Reaper) to split the Seaboard's (Rise 49) key field, and use the "Ribbon" of the lower octave for direct bowing, while using these low "keys" for the keyswitches. Pressure while using the "ribbon" might become bow pressure, and maybe even a small up-down position change might control the bow position model parameter.

Up till now I used the Breath Controller for (indirect) Bowing Expression (as explained above). And with the SeaBoard I used key pressure for (indirect) Bowing Expression which in fact works better than blowing, but the major advantage of the seaboard is using Finger wiggle for fully controlled vibrato. (But this needs a lot of practicing and I am just starting my Seaboard voyage .)

-Michael

Using the Seaboard's Pad's "x" direction for direct Bowing (like Leap Motion) instead of "Bow position" or pressure might be an interesting idea !!! ("y" might be bow pressure) I'll do a test ASAP and let you know.... An even more interesting idea might be to use Midi pre-processor-software (that I can do in Reaper) to split the Seaboard's (Rise 49) key field, and use the "Ribbon" of the lower octave for direct bowing, while using these low "keys" for the keyswitches. Pressure while using the "ribbon" might become bow pressure, and maybe even a small up-down position change might control the bow position model parameter. Up till now I used the Breath Controller for (indirect) Bowing Expression (as explained above). And with the SeaBoard I used key pressure for (indirect) Bowing Expression which in fact works better than blowing, but the major advantage of the seaboard is using Finger wiggle for fully controlled vibrato. (But this needs a lot of practicing and I am just starting my Seaboard voyage .) -Michael
edited May 20 '19 at 7:55 pm

Hi Michale,

I’m curious to know the results of your test? What did you discover works?

Hi Michale, I’m curious to know the results of your test? What did you discover works?

I did a quick test with trying to do direct bowing on the x-direction of the pad.
I feel that the pad is by far too short for this.

I'll try to do software to allow for using the ribbon below the keys for that purpose during the next days. Should be doable, as I already did software to decode the MPE Midi stream from the Rise to optimize the way the SWAM Cello is controlled by the finger movements. Handling the lower octave in a special way is just a small modification.

-Michael

I did a quick test with trying to do direct bowing on the x-direction of the pad. I feel that the pad is by far too short for this. I'll try to do software to allow for using the ribbon below the keys for that purpose during the next days. Should be doable, as I already did software to decode the MPE Midi stream from the Rise to optimize the way the SWAM Cello is controlled by the finger movements. Handling the lower octave in a special way is just a small modification. -Michael
edited May 20 '19 at 8:39 pm

Hi Michael,

Thank you so much for trying that.. just curious how does it work in expression mode? Im eager to hear about your ribbon split control experiment.

I've decided to go with the Leap Motion controller instead of the Lightpad Block for the tonal control and bow position and use the Seaboard for its Glide and Keyboard actions.

I hope everything works out well with that setup. I feel that the Leap motion seems to have a lot of individual gesture control for each physical action and might just ad that extra dimension to the already amazing Seaboard Block.

Best of both worlds is what im hoping for.

Lets hope SWAM developes and continues a good support environment for both these devices.

 smile

Hi Michael, Thank you so much for trying that.. just curious how does it work in expression mode? Im eager to hear about your ribbon split control experiment. I've decided to go with the Leap Motion controller instead of the Lightpad Block for the tonal control and bow position and use the Seaboard for its Glide and Keyboard actions. I hope everything works out well with that setup. I feel that the Leap motion seems to have a lot of individual gesture control for each physical action and might just ad that extra dimension to the already amazing Seaboard Block. Best of both worlds is what im hoping for. Lets hope SWAM developes and continues a good support environment for both these devices. :)

I tried expression mode as well with pressure of the Seaboard as with blow pressure of the TEC BBC. IMHO both feature pros and cons.
Blowing provides a very exact control. In fact, I believe - regarding my experience with the Flute and the (Sample Modeling) Trumpet - it would be advantageous if the BBC and the plugin would provide "high resolution CC" Midi protocol for even more fine-grained transfer of the breathing power data. But the natural breathing "motion" is not very appropriate to control the sound feeling of a bowed string instrument.
OTOH the Seaboard key pressure feels a lot better regarding the sound to be produced, But the finger pressure is not easily controlled in an appropriately exact manner. Here the key hit power - as a hammer mechanic keyboard perfectly converts - can be controlled in a much more fine-tuned way.

That is why "direct bowing" - sensing speed instead of pressure - might be worth trying.

-Michael

I tried expression mode as well with pressure of the Seaboard as with blow pressure of the TEC BBC. IMHO both feature pros and cons. Blowing provides a very exact control. In fact, I believe - regarding my experience with the Flute and the (Sample Modeling) Trumpet - it would be advantageous if the BBC and the plugin would provide "high resolution CC" Midi protocol for even more fine-grained transfer of the breathing power data. But the natural breathing "motion" is not very appropriate to control the sound feeling of a bowed string instrument. OTOH the Seaboard key pressure feels a lot better regarding the sound to be produced, But the finger pressure is not easily controlled in an appropriately exact manner. Here the key hit power - as a hammer mechanic keyboard perfectly converts - can be controlled in a much more fine-tuned way. That is why "direct bowing" - sensing speed instead of pressure - might be worth trying. -Michael
edited May 21 '19 at 9:16 pm

Please see the new tread on this theme -> "Use part of a Seaboard Rise as a Ribbon Controller for Swam Strings in "Bowing" mode" -> https://community.audiomodeling.com/index.php?u=/category/solo-strings .

-Michael

Please see the new tread on this theme -> "Use part of a Seaboard Rise as a Ribbon Controller for Swam Strings in "Bowing" mode" -> https://community.audiomodeling.com/index.php?u=/category/solo-strings . -Michael
edited May 25 '19 at 12:09 pm

Have you looked at the LinnStrument? As a guitarist, I'm finding the LinnStrument to be a pretty amazing controller, especially paired with the SWAM instruments. Or to put it another way, I'm having a lot more success with it than using a keyboard controller.

Have you looked at the LinnStrument? As a guitarist, I'm finding the LinnStrument to be a pretty amazing controller, especially paired with the SWAM instruments. Or to put it another way, I'm having a lot more success with it than using a keyboard controller.

I admittedly don't own SWAM strings, but I have 2 seaboard blocks and have been playing around with SWAM brass. I think my setup would work great with strings as well once I get them.

The problem with the seaboard is that it is difficulty to play good vibrato, while still controlling expression and bow pressure accurately. It's either play good vibrato with loud expression, or quiet legato notes with poor vibrato. I have found it helpful to map vibrato depth to slide (cc74). This works well with the seaboard in absolute slide mode, so you can control vibrato with finger position, and focus your finger movements on expression and bow pressure. With absolute slide you won't have to slide your finger to trigger the effect, simply press in a higher/lower position for the change.

I would personally map bow pressure to aftertouch, along with expression. After all, violinists are taught to adjust their bow toward the bridge for louder expression and toward the finger board for quieter. It just makes sense for these two to be paired since professional instrumentalists tend to play this way. Bow pressure could be mapped to one of the ribbon sliders, if you don't want that tied to aftertouch as well. With absolute slide, you can play your flat notes toward the bottom of the board, and super heavy vibrato at the top (with many depth options in between). Your bow position would follow expression as it should, and pressure can be controlled by your left hand.

This setup hopefully allows for quiet (and consistent) legato with beautifully deep vibrato, something that otherwise difficult to achieve on the seaboard. I haven't tried this on anything but brass, which it works beautifully on. But I did think of this setup specifically with stringed instruments in mind.

I admittedly don't own SWAM strings, but I have 2 seaboard blocks and have been playing around with SWAM brass. I think my setup would work great with strings as well once I get them. The problem with the seaboard is that it is difficulty to play good vibrato, while still controlling expression and bow pressure accurately. It's either play good vibrato with loud expression, or quiet legato notes with poor vibrato. I have found it helpful to map vibrato depth to slide (cc74). This works well with the seaboard in absolute slide mode, so you can control vibrato with finger position, and focus your finger movements on expression and bow pressure. With absolute slide you won't have to slide your finger to trigger the effect, simply press in a higher/lower position for the change. I would personally map bow pressure to aftertouch, along with expression. After all, violinists are taught to adjust their bow toward the bridge for louder expression and toward the finger board for quieter. It just makes sense for these two to be paired since professional instrumentalists tend to play this way. Bow pressure could be mapped to one of the ribbon sliders, if you don't want that tied to aftertouch as well. With absolute slide, you can play your flat notes toward the bottom of the board, and super heavy vibrato at the top (with many depth options in between). Your bow position would follow expression as it should, and pressure can be controlled by your left hand. This setup hopefully allows for quiet (and consistent) legato with beautifully deep vibrato, something that otherwise difficult to achieve on the seaboard. I haven't tried this on anything but brass, which it works beautifully on. But I did think of this setup specifically with stringed instruments in mind.

I just started to play strings live with the seaboard rise 49 (I tried as well those by AM as the Cello by SM and both do work nicely). With my band we already do play a piece I use the SM Violin in a solo.

Right now I only use velocity (strike), aftertouch (press) and pitchbend (glide) , but I soon will try to find a decent use for slide up and down, and maybe also for lift.
For "natural" playing I don't use the vibrato feature of the instrument, but I mapped the pitchbend in a way that it matches the "keys" of the seaboard. with that it's great to do a finger wiggling vibrato. (Glide vibrato shown here -> https://youtu.be/Q6bvRj4GTQ4 )
Obviously velocity is used in the normal way in the instrument and aftertouch is mapped to expression.
I am going to use slide for bow pressure and/or bow position, but I did not try yet. (let me knopw what you find).
I am going to use the x/y pad for more sound parameters, but I did not try yet. (let me knopw what you find).

-Michael

I just started to play strings live with the seaboard rise 49 (I tried as well those by AM as the Cello by SM and both do work nicely). With my band we already do play a piece I use the SM Violin in a solo. Right now I only use velocity (strike), aftertouch (press) and pitchbend (glide) , but I soon will try to find a decent use for slide up and down, and maybe also for lift. For "natural" playing I don't use the vibrato feature of the instrument, but I mapped the pitchbend in a way that it matches the "keys" of the seaboard. with that it's great to do a finger wiggling vibrato. (Glide vibrato shown here -> https://youtu.be/Q6bvRj4GTQ4 ) Obviously velocity is used in the normal way in the instrument and aftertouch is mapped to expression. I am going to use slide for bow pressure and/or bow position, but I did not try yet. (let me knopw what you find). I am going to use the x/y pad for more sound parameters, but I did not try yet. (let me knopw what you find). -Michael
edited Mar 5 at 6:37 am
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