Morph Firmware 0.19.295 Update: Pitch and Velocity

We’re happy to announce the release of Version 0.19.295 of the Morph Firmware.

In addition to fixing some long-annoying bugs in the Morph, we’ve introduced some really interesting improvements for velocity scaling and MPE pitch-bending. Check out this video for detailed instructions on how to set up and understand these two key features.

We know this doesn’t cover many bugs and feature requests that have been reported and suggested over the past two years, but nothing has been forgotten. We aim to release additional updates this year that will hopefully remove creative roadblocks and inspire new ways of playing electronic instruments.

To update your Morph’s firmware, just open up the SenselApp and click the red button near the top left corner. Detailed instructions can be found here. If you’re using a USB hub and lose connection during the update, please unplug and try again (just let us know if the issue persists).

As always, please let us know if you have any questions or feedback. For now, let’s jump into the changes.

Overview

  • Improved “Jump” pitch-rounding mode for MPE so that it quickly settles to the note of the area under your finger. This vastly improves the tuning of pitch-shifted chords, and introduces some incredible pitch shift effects when using a custom-created (Innovator’s) grid overlay.
  • Added mode to allow velocity range to allow for lower limits. Accessed via “Threshold 10”. When you choose “Threshold 10”, the low end velocities (less than 30) are now transmitted, and the activation force threshold is set to 3.
    • PLEASE NOTE: we recognize this is a non-intuitive design. It’s a temporary solution which gives us an opportunity to get feedback on the new velocity scaling. We’ll use that feedback to refine and create a long-term solution that’s more intuitive - where you can choose your velocity scaling and activation thresholds independently. Your feedback and thoughts would be much appreciated!
  • When using the Drum Pad Overlay Y controls, the 0-127 values are scaled to fit each pad’s size.
  • Fixed pitch-bend bugs for single channel MIDI (previously, pitch bend could be on a channel different from the note)
  • Notes that are set to “off” are no longer transposed when the octave or scene up/down Morph modifiers are used.
  • Note off is no longer sent when you shift octaves/scenes.
  • Refined hit size of the Buchla Thunder Overlay’s areas and fixed missed notes on the Buchla Overlay, particularly on pads 1-9.
  • Fixed wrap-around bug with pitch-bend (most noticed on drum overlay with bend set to Absolute). Previously, when a pad was set to Absolute pitch bend, the value could jump very high or low at the edges.
  • The Morph now has better handling of note-off, deprecating the need for All Notes Off messages when overlays are removed. As a result, no All Notes Off message is sent when an overlay is removed.
  • Fixed horizontal scroll command (Video Editing Overlay)
  • Mouse click now resets to “up” when “no overlay” is in Trackpad mode and an overlay is placed on the Morph. Previously, this could often result in a stuck mouse, causing hair to be removed from one’s head.

More Detail: Velocity Scaling and MPE Pitch Bending

Velocity scaling: We’ve adjusted and improved the scaling and reporting of MIDI note velocity coming from the Morph to allow for easier access to lower velocity values. Because many people are used to the current feel of the Morph, we didn’t want to introduce something based on highly subjective criteria that would upset a player’s flow. We also think the new scaling will require some more feedback from a broader audience to see how they like it.

As a result, in order to experience the new velocity scaling, overlays will need to be edited so their pads have a Threshold value of 10. Thresholds 1-9 will continue to use the old velocity scaling. When set to “10”, the effective threshold is “3”, but the new velocity scaling is used.

Pitch-bend: Because of the many-faceted nature of the Morph, our pitch-rounding methods tended to require a bit of finessing on the part of the player. We’ve modified the “Jump” Pitch Round method to create a truly unique MPE pitch-bend experience. The primary goal was to help keep pitch-bend in tune with the Piano overlay, making it so any glides from one key to another would reliably end on the key underneath the finger.

But this new method works for any overlay. Perhaps the best demonstration is using a grid-type overlay with the Innovator’s Overlay. Not only can you slide from notes to the left and right, but you can also slide vertically, introducing glissandos that are truly unique and always in tune. Select the “Jump” pitch rounding in the Morph-XXXX settings panel of the SenselApp. You may also need to adjust the bend sensitivity on your software, too. For example, I needed to set the bend range in ROLI Equator to “24” for this to work as expected.

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This is a cross-post at the 3V floor complaint thread, but I thought the discussion is better ended there (no more 3V floor) and continued here:

The new firmware, using threshold = 10, offers quite an improvement. It’s easy to get a full spectrum of velocities below 40, but it looks like that’s at the expense of finer resolutions of the higher velocities. For example, I get no velocities from 79-87, 92-97, 99-103, then just 115, 120, and 127. As a trade-off on my particular instrument of choice (percussion controller for BFD and TD-50) it’s a definite improvement. I’m thinking smooth, full-spectrum response might not be possible due to processor limitations, but at least now it’s something I can use. I’m still testing.

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Hi,
Thank you for bringing back support for this amazing device ! Will definitely test this.

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How long should the update take? I just got a new one for my students, hit update and it’s been verifying for @ 15 minutes already.
Love this thing!!
Amy

Does this update affect only MIDI or will it change anything if using the developer’s overlay and the serial output?

Ahhh, Had to download the newer Sensel App as well. BTW, I could not get the download to work for that from the downloads site. Went to the Quick Start Guide and clicked on the link in there and it worked!!
Off and running!

Amy

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Ah, thank you for the heads up Amy! We’ll work to fix that link. Glad you’re up and running!!!

Excited to hear what you think!

Thank you @blipson. We’re glad it’s an improvement, and this is very helpful feedback.

“Note off is no longer sent when you shift octaves/scenes.”
Yeeees! Finally! Thank you!

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No changes to the serial output/API.

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Follow-up: as I reported, the new threshold 10 has a usable velocity curve with my percussion program BFD, which is truly a welcome improvement. I’ve now tried it with my hardware drum module, Roland TD-50, and it’s not usable. You have to strike too hard to reach the threshold, then you’re stuck with high velocities only. I could describe further, but to be brief, the playing feel is all wrong. The threshold 10, then, isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution, apparently depending on your luck per module or VST. Happily, I’m lucky with BFD.

I guess it’s obvious that what’s ultimately needed is the ability for the user to specify the velocity curve, assigning each MIDI note individually to x units of pressure, or however you do it. I guess it’s possible to work with us to produce a few more “low end” velocity curves to try to cover more territory, or at least work with me to cover the Roland TD-50, which I expect very, very few Morph users own. No, the ability for the user to design an entire velocity curve is the real solution here.

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I’m playing around with the new velocity, and it’s a promising step! I think if that response curve was available for all of the threshold levels it could really change the morph’s potential –though it’s hard to be certain. Custom curves would let me do my own troubleshooting: figure out what’s the device and what’s me. So I’m still hoping that’ll be available in future.

For me, the big issue with both the old and new algorithms is that it’s really easy to hit 100-127 by mistake, even when I’m playing gently. That may be to do with the fact that I’m using a prototype overlay with very little give in it, but if I’m playing a quick passage and I ‘flick’ my fingers over the buttons with (what feels like) only a tiny bit more force, I get deafened. I don’t get the same effect with my MIDI keyboards, even though they have light actions.

The perfect settings for me would probably be a wider input range: something like the new “threshold 10” algorithm for velocity and AT values 0-60, but values 80-127 would be closer to threshold 6. I think that’d be closer to the behaviour of a well-set-up acoustic instrument: pretty responsive to gentle playing for soft passages, but it doesn’t go fully fortissimo unless you put a bit of heft into it.

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Really appreciate this feedback @Dtsenn. It’s been noted an we hope to improve the experience more as time goes on!

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This is an improvement. I feel like there also needs to be some way for the morph to get calibrated. I and others have noted that at the top of the morph and towards the bottom, there are spots that where the responsiveness is off as if some spots are somewhat less responsive. This is noticeable on the top row of pads on the Buchla Thunder even after applying the new mode…although it does work better with the new firmware than before.

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I’m really excited about these velocity updates (though perhaps more excited about what’s to come there).

My quick initial tests with Threshold 10 and the Thunder overlay are that with the amount of force I want to apply to the Morph, the velocity is really inconsistent. About half of the time, it looks like it registers with a velocity of 1 or 2, and the other half, it’s either in the 20-30 range, or 55-75 range, and when I hit hard expecting 127, I usually only get to about 90 or 100.

With aftertouch, I’m also usually only reaching about 50 or 60 before I feel like I’m having to push way too hard to get a response, and the still note-off happens much sooner than I expect.

Maybe my desire is to use the Morph with a lighter touch than it’s designed for?

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Glad it’s been a better experience. Appreciate the feedback too. Agreed that this should continue to improve!

Thanks for the feedback here! It’s really helpful. The much lighter touches are definitely a challenge. We will definitely work to continue to improve the sensitivity as much as possible.

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Have your sensitivity adjustments concluded and the new settings incorporated into the latest .senselmap downloads on the Sensel site? If so, I’d like to see this information written into the Guide docs somehow, and perhaps demos be added for all the overlays as for the Piano overlay? It’s a lot of changes to be assimilated into a set of overlays.

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