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  1. Simeon
  2. Sherlock Holmes
  3. MX
  4. Wednesday, 25 April 2018
I use my MX49 with Cubase. Is there a way to add a small, random pitch-change to individual drum sounds with each note-on event, so as to make them sound more natural? I've looked at John Melas's software and it doesn't seem to have this (random panning is included, though). I remember even the Roland D-110 module back in the 1980s had this. Is there a way to control drum pitch via MIDI, perhaps?
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Bad Mister
Yamaha
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
I use my MX49 with Cubase. Is there a way to add a small, random pitch-change to individual drum sounds with each note-on event, so as to make them sound more natural? I've looked at John Melas's software and it doesn't seem to have this (random panning is included, though). I remember even the Roland D-110 module back in the 1980s had this. Is there a way to control drum pitch via MIDI, perhaps?
You can certainly detune individual drums using Parameter Change messages (which means it is available in the MX49 and the Melas Editor) as to whether this makes drums “sound more natural” is arguable. I can understand a subtle tuning change in a crash cymbal might add to the realism of this particular drum kit sound. After all it is virtually impossible on a real crash cymbal to get the exact same frequencies from it on every hit. But the other drums, if they change tuning at all, it would be a fine amount, to be sure. A good drum kit will hold its tuning all night long. If a drummer finds their drums drifting flat by any large amount in pitch during a gig, they are looking for new hoops and tuning lugs the very next day.

So I disagree that random tuning will make most drum sounds “sound more natural”. What makes a drum groove feel more natural is its response to Velocity... the change in timbre, duration, caused by how hard the drum is hit, is far more detectable by the human ear. What makes a drum groove feel more natural is the “groove” or “swing” factor. This can be broken down to timing (swing quantize), note duration (gate time), note-on strength (velocity). A snare drum struck at 127 every time gets sonically boring, the application of fine tuning to velocity variation seems a better way to approach this... imho.

But that notwithstanding, you can apply pitch variation to Note-on Velocity. This “PITCH Velo Sens” directed to Fine (or Coarse) tuning can make the subtle variance in pitch that perhaps you’re looking for, or you could manually input the Sysex message if you want to be precise. But applying Velocity Sensitivity to Pitch portion of the Element, will work on a per drum basis. (It’s the parameter right next to “Alt Pan” in the Melas MX Drum Editor). The Pitch variation to Velocity Sensitivity can create a more realistic result if used with subtlety.

FYI the D110 was the 1990s, not sure why you refer us to that... did it have a unique way of adjusting pitch? I don’t know what I was to take away from that comparison.
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  2. MX
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