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Can't hear MIDI tracks unless I mute the audio tracks or turn down their volumes


Sanctuary

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Hello forum members,

I have been using Logic for less than a year (I graduated from Garageband last summer). I typically leave the volume of each of my tracks at 0 db when working on a song, and I can hear them just fine (even if the mix isn't perfect). I'm talking audio tracks (guitar and vocals), drum track created from Drum Kit Designer, etc.

However, I cannot hear my MIDI keyboard tracks unless I turn down the all the other tracks to around -20 db. And for good measure, to hear those MIDI tracks even better, I'll turn those up to around 1.5 db.

If I mute all the other tracks, I can leave the volume of the MIDI tracks at 0 db and still hear them. Does anyone know why this is the case?

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When you say MIDI keyboard tracks, are you talking about software instruments, or external instruments? In either case, what are the instruments? I ask because Drum Kit Designer is a software instrument, so if the keyboard tracks are software instruments, I'd wonder why you were seeing the behavior with some software instrument tracks but not others.

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Well, in a sense, the "MIDI keyboard tracks" are both (in that the notes are from a connected Akai MIDI controller and I'm using a software instrument track with a synthesizer patch from Logic's library).

I agree with you on wondering why I can hear the drum track at 0 db but not the keyboard MIDI track (unless I mute or lower the volume of the other tracks).

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Hm, I have many questions! Probably more than would be reasonable to include in a single post. Anyway, here are a couple more:

- What specific Logic instrument and patch?

- Is the volume different when you just play the instrument directly from your keyboard and/or while you're recording than it is when you play the project back?

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Thanks for your help. My responses may be delayed as I have a day job. 😉

The Logic instrument/patch is Electric Sheep Synth.

I think the volume is roughly the same either way. I have a gut suspicion that it may have to do with the default key velocity of the Akai MPK Mini 3. I may look into that when I get off work tonight. If you have other ideas, I'm all ears!

 

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Yes, in that case velocity is one of the first things I'd check. (I checked out Electric Sheep Synth and didn't notice anything unusual about it.)

You may have already thought of this, but just in case, one of the first things to do would be to check the velocities in one of the problem regions (e.g. using the piano roll or event list) to see if they're unusually low. If they're low, it could be related to the velocity curve of your controller (as you alluded to).

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Yes, good point. I checked the velocities using the piano roll and they were, indeed, very low. I found out how to change the default velocities of the keys, but I don't really know what I'm doing (in terms of ideal velocity settings). People on YouTube show you how to do it, but they all seem to randomly change the settings without any rhyme or reason. I suppose I could just turn all four velocity settings to their max values. I still need to experiment because the other tracks are still louder, just not as bad as before.

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I was curious, so I looked up the settings for what I assume is the same controller you're using (or similar). As I think you found as well, lots of people seem to have encountered the same problem and tried to puzzle out the solution. The manual doesn't seem to discuss it (something I saw pointed out elsewhere). I found some threads and YouTube videos discussing it, as you did, but found no explanation of what the v1/v2/v3/v4 settings or their values actually mean. So, I don't know the rhyme or reason either.

In any case, in addition to adjusting the velocity curve of the instrument itself, here are some Logic features that can be useful:

- In the track inspector, you can increase or decrease all velocities in a track.

- The Velocity Processor MIDI plugin can be used to change the velocity curve in a number of different ways.

If even with max or high velocities you're still finding unusual level discrepancies, then I suppose that's probably a separate issue. I'm not sure what it would be at that point other than that perhaps your live audio recordings are a little hot compared to the software instrument output. (You could use metering to check output levels and see how they compare.)

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Hello again scg,

I have the Akai MPK Mini 3, which is a nice little controller but, as you've seen others point out, is severely lacking in good documentation. Some on YouTube just turn up the v1/v2/v3/v4 settings all the way to their max, and others seems to change only v2 and v3, and to specific values I'm not sure how they came up with. I think the velocity settings are supposed to be customizable so that you can tweak the sensitivity to exactly what you want (depending on whether you're a piano player or synthesizer player), but who's got time for that? I just want to get the darn thing as loud as my other instruments. I guess, like anything else worth getting right, I'll need to do some trial-and-error experimentation.

Thanks so much for your suggestions regarding the Logic features that may help. I will try those. I've only been a member of this site for a few weeks, and I'm already so impressed with fellow musicians like you who are willing to help out others even though I'm sure you have your own music to work on. This is the best community I've found for Logic Pro. I feel like I've found my home! 

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On 5/23/2023 at 6:46 AM, scg said:

I was curious, so I looked up the settings for what I assume is the same controller you're using (or similar). As I think you found as well, lots of people seem to have encountered the same problem and tried to puzzle out the solution. The manual doesn't seem to discuss it (something I saw pointed out elsewhere). I found some threads and YouTube videos discussing it, as you did, but found no explanation of what the v1/v2/v3/v4 settings or their values actually mean. So, I don't know the rhyme or reason either.

In any case, in addition to adjusting the velocity curve of the instrument itself, here are some Logic features that can be useful:

- In the track inspector, you can increase or decrease all velocities in a track.

- The Velocity Processor MIDI plugin can be used to change the velocity curve in a number of different ways.

If even with max or high velocities you're still finding unusual level discrepancies, then I suppose that's probably a separate issue. I'm not sure what it would be at that point other than that perhaps your live audio recordings are a little hot compared to the software instrument output. (You could use metering to check output levels and see how they compare.)

Hi scg,

I finally found good, detailed information about the velocity settings on my Akai keyboard controller, so I went with the settings he uses and it does increase the velocity pretty well:

https://incenp.org/notes/2022/akai-mpk-mini3-velocity.html

However, the Electric Sheep synth track is still quieter than the other tracks, so I tried two of your recommendations (changing velocity in the Track Inspector and playing around with the Velocity Processor MIDI plugin), but neither of these solved the problem.

However, by using the process of elimination, I lowered the volumes of each of my tracks individually and was able to narrow down the culprit to my guitar audio track, which seems to be the track which masks the sound of the MIDI keyboard track. So I think you were onto something when you suggested that my audio recordings could be "hot" compared to my software instrument output. So my next course of action will be to attempt your third recommendation (using metering to compare the output levels). However, like with the velocity processor, I won't really know what I'm doing because I'm new at this, but I guess there's no better way to learn than by doing it. Thank God for YouTube videos!

 

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