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Viewing topic "Testing for half-damper pedal?"

     
Posted on: December 15, 2016 @ 09:51 AM
AlwaysSunny
Total Posts:  21
Joined  12-14-2016
status: Regular

Time for a silly question:

I purchased my piano-style sustain pedal many years ago.  My old keyboard had no half-damper capabilities, but it received open / closed signals from this pedal just fine.

There is no model number or anything visible on the pedal which would allow me to discover this by investigating the pedal online. 

The company (M-Audio) makes a “half-damper” pedal that looks exactly like mine, but also makes one that’s just open / closed.

Because this instrument and its nuances are brand new to me, I honestly cannot tell whether this pedal is performing three distinct actions: closed / half / open

Is there a convenient way to discover this experimentally that will provide a clear and definite answer to my newbie ears? 

Is there perhaps a setting on the moxf which might cause it to not respect the “half” state?

I’m guessing I’d be able to tell without asking, which makes me think I’ve got a simple open / closed style. 

Then again, it seemed worth asking before investing in a second pedal.

Best,

  [ Ignore ]  

Posted on: December 15, 2016 @ 10:11 AM
cmayhle
Total Posts:  2944
Joined  10-05-2011
status: Guru

“Half Damper” is a misnomer, as the Yamaha FC3 actually sends continuous midi data 0 through 127.

The best way to familiarize yourself with this function is to play on a “real” piano, and observe what is happening when the sustain pedal is only partially depressed.

Yes, you will definitely hear the nuance when you are playing using a functioning half-damper pedal on your MOXF.  If you can’t hear graduated sustain values, then your pedal is not functioning in a half-damper mode.

You will probably get a lot of good information from This Article.

  [ Ignore ]  

Posted on: December 15, 2016 @ 10:31 AM
5pinDIN
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Joined  09-16-2010
status: Guru
AlwaysSunny - 15 December 2016 09:51 AM

[...] Is there perhaps a setting on the moxf which might cause it to not respect the “half” state? [...]

Yes, there are such settings.

See the MOXF Reference Manual, Half Damper Switch on page 44, and the Utility mode Sustain Pedal setting information on page 146. The FC3 setting is appropriate for the Yamaha pedal, but a non-Yamaha pedal might not work correctly even with the proper settings.

If you verify that the MOXF settings are correct, or you change them if they’re not, and still don’t get half-damper operation, then your pedal either doesn’t have the function or is otherwise incompatible.

  [ Ignore ]  

Posted on: December 15, 2016 @ 10:51 AM
AlwaysSunny
Total Posts:  21
Joined  12-14-2016
status: Regular

Thank you both for the quick & helpful replies!

I’m really glad to learn that the full 128 range is expressed by these pedals. 

This tells me I’m definitely getting only on/off from this pedal, and that I want a yamaha brand to avoid potential conflicts. 

Much obliged,

  [ Ignore ]  

Posted on: December 19, 2016 @ 12:24 PM
AlwaysSunny
Total Posts:  21
Joined  12-14-2016
status: Regular

I’m sorry to bump this thread, but I have a follow-up question better-suited here than elsewhere:

I’ve been testing my new FC3A pedal today.  I was disappointed to confirm that it’s impossible / non-trivial to use it like a wah or other param, but that at least was as-advertised.

I’m more distraught that the “throw” of the mechanism is so narrow!

I’m guessing it’s done this way for realism’s sake(?), but it feels like 2/3rds of the pedal’s travel does nothing at all.

I’d really, really love to change that.  I’ll take it apart and solder if I have to.  Is there any way to reduce the pedal’s deadzone? 

Obliged as Always,
Sunny

  [ Ignore ]  

Posted on: December 19, 2016 @ 02:27 PM
5pinDIN
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Perhaps you should verify that your pedal is outputting the full MIDI value range. You could record a Song sequence, but without playing notes. Just slowly depress the pedal through its range, then slowly release the pedal, and repeat that a few times.

You can then check the Event List and determine what data values have been recorded for Sustain (CC064) events. See [F1] CHANGE on page 84 of the MOXF Reference Manual and Correcting wrong notes on page 45 of the MOXF Owner’s Manual.

  [ Ignore ]  

Posted on: December 19, 2016 @ 03:41 PM
AlwaysSunny
Total Posts:  21
Joined  12-14-2016
status: Regular

Again with the page numbers? 
You’re like a Yamaha superhero! 

Checked as instructed; indeed the full value range is registering. 

So my “problem” is not a bug, but a feature.

I suppose there’s a curve or threshold somewhere governing when graduated sustain actually engages and contributes to the performance. 

Whether I can tinker with this curve / limit becomes the question. 

I’ve since discovered posts and reviews of the FC3A complaining about this very issue, with no solutions to speak of.

  [ Ignore ]  

Posted on: December 19, 2016 @ 09:13 PM
stoneb3
Total Posts:  794
Joined  06-05-2011
status: Guru
AlwaysSunny - 19 December 2016 03:41 PM

I suppose there’s a curve or threshold somewhere governing when graduated sustain actually engages and contributes to the performance.

Whether I can tinker with this curve / limit becomes the question. 

Please study the support article cmayhle provided a link to in his above post. It explains in detail how this feature is utilized. Without that basic knowledge, you will not be able to take advantage of what this pedal/instrument has to offer. It must be noted that not all Voices in your instrument are programmed to use this feature, in those cases half-pedaling provides no difference in the sound of the Voice. Bypassing the System Effects may help in hearing the effect of half-dampering.

Also as you’ve noticed, the sustain pedal does not function as an expression pedal, for this you would need an FC7 which could provide your “wah” and other appropriate functions.

I too have read the comments and reviews on pedals in general on the internet. I’d guess nearly half of them are related to not knowing how to use them, with the balance being those trying to use them with an instrument they were not suited for.

Regarding the page numbers, it’s much simpler to provide a reference in the manuals than provide a synopsis of what is already explained there. I find it’s much more courteous than RTFM. And of course, if you have questions please ask.

Stone

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Posted on: December 19, 2016 @ 10:10 PM
AlwaysSunny
Total Posts:  21
Joined  12-14-2016
status: Regular

Thanks very much for the reply!

Remarking on sharing page numbers wasn’t intended as a complaint; quite the opposite!  :)

I confess to skimming said article the first time around.

For testing I’m using PRE1:001 Full Concert Grand with no effects.

What I’m taking away from this now (inviting any corrections), is that there is no global threshold / curve at which graduated sustain “begins working”, despite what my ears are telling me. 

What I’m trying to call the sustain pedal’s “curve” or threshold of articulation is actually the result of a function determined by each voice’s AEG. 

The FC3A “deadzone” I’m complaining about, it seems, is just a manifestation of this voice’s AEG:  Although the AEG is using the FC3A’s signal 100% of the time, the effect is only distinctive quite near the “toe down” extreme. 

Assuming I comprehend all this correctly, I’m still lost with regard to my authority over this phenomenon. 

It still seems to me that the first half of the pedal’s throw manifests no discernible changes for any voice, and I’m still not sure whether I have the ability to change that. 

I’m used to an on/off sustain pedal and a Radio Shack children’s keyboard, so this is all new to me. 

In your opinion, would it be in my best interest to just get used to the stock settings - and this phenomenon where half the pedal’s throw appears to accomplish nothing?

Best,

  [ Ignore ]  

Posted on: December 19, 2016 @ 11:11 PM
cmayhle
Total Posts:  2944
Joined  10-05-2011
status: Guru

I don’t have access to my XF right now, but I just tested the FC3 I have attached to my CP4 piano, and it has what I would consider a “full throw” result which starts almost immediately after beginning to depress it.

The first part of the pedal’s sustain range produces a very subtle reverb-sort of effect...as opposed to a defined “short-sustain"… which is exactly what I would expect it to be, very similar to an actual acoustic piano sustain pedal result.

You said “with no effects”...are you certain there are no Insert, Master, or System effects present?  There are multiple stages where effects can be introduced on the machine. Any type of reverb present will mask the subtlety of the pedal’s initial affect.

Bottom line:  I would strongly suggest that you familiarize yourself with what an acoustic piano sustain pedal produces at various levels of engagement, to critically compare with your tests.

You may be expecting something different than the “real thing”.

  [ Ignore ]  

Posted on: December 20, 2016 @ 10:58 AM
AlwaysSunny
Total Posts:  21
Joined  12-14-2016
status: Regular

My sincere thanks to everyone for sharing their expertise!

Try as I might, with all effects confirmed “off” and the appropriate pedal settings engaged, my ears detect no change in the sound properties until the pedal is halfway down.

(I’m aware I could devise a test by programming some rolls and inverting one sample overlayed with another, but if I have to do that to detect a change, it’s too subtle to bother.)

This halfway point is easy to find as it’s also the point at which any accumulated sustain is abruptly killed - precisely the phenomenon I hoped to ameliorate by purchasing a pot pedal. 

I expected / wanted the whole throw to act like the “bottom half” of the throw is acting, but I’ve only logged four or five hours with a real piano in my life, thus I had no real basis for these expectations.

Given the consensus here, I no longer suspect there is any problem per se:  Just an unexpected truth of emulating an acoustic piano’s pedal. 

Despite my complaints I’m already building some skill with it, though I’m tending to “rest” my foot around the pedal’s halfway point to achieve the control I want.

Much obliged for the community support,

  [ Ignore ]  

Posted on: December 20, 2016 @ 11:36 AM
5pinDIN
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I’m not exactly sure what you’re experiencing, but your description has me wondering if everything is correctly set. You should notice a definite difference when the Utility mode Sustain Pedal setting is “FC3{Half on)” versus when it’s set to “FC3(Half off)”.

This support article, although it describes Motif XS operations, has much that applies to the MOXF:
http://www.motifator.com/index.php/support/view/half_damper_function1

EDIT: I somehow missed that cmayhle already linked to the article.

  [ Ignore ]  

Posted on: December 20, 2016 @ 11:52 AM
AlwaysSunny
Total Posts:  21
Joined  12-14-2016
status: Regular

...pressing the pedal fully down makes the sound last longer, while letting up on the pedal part of the way slightly mutes the sustained sound.

This is definitely happening.  My expectation was that the entire throw would produce this behavior.  My observation is that only the “bottom half” of the throw is producing this behavior, which engages and disengages around halfway through the potentiometer.

According to @cmayhle, this is a normal behavior. 

However, they state that the “first half” of the throw produces a “very subtle reverb-sort of effect”.  I do not detect this at all.  (And to reiterate, it’s very clear that all or most accrued sustain terminates when lifting past this point in the throw.  I now assume this is the expected behavior.)

We’ve already proven the full value range is being sent by the FC3A, just to be certain. 

I was ready to chalk it up as a subtlety, inferior headphones, or an experienced artist’s ear.  If there’s a chance something else is going on, I’ll follow any advice.

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Posted on: December 20, 2016 @ 12:26 PM
5pinDIN
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If you’re detecting the difference between “Half on” and “Half off” (presuming a Voice’s AEG “Half Damper Switch” setting is “on"), then things are probably working normally.

  [ Ignore ]