MIDI velocity & volume...


New member
When I record MIDI in Cakewalk using "track view," there is 1) a volume control,
and 2) a velocity level control. These controls are slaved to my soundcard's (SBAWE64) onscreen mixer. This mixer has 1) a master volume,and 2) a MIDI volume control.

I understand the function of each of the above. What I don't get is how these "controls" interrelate to maintain a consistent volume/record level, and where each should be set to achieve such consistency.

Should I record all MIDI instruments at 127 (maximum velocity) then adjust (reduce) each instrument's velocity in the mix once all tracks are down?

What about my two volume contols? Adjust them to whatever my ears prefer?

Recording MIDI seems so arbitrary. Aren't there any hard and fast rules like in audio recording?

Is my AWE64's mixer giving me one too many volume controls?

thanks jackdaw
Hi there,

It took me a while to figure out about all that two. As for your sound card, in most instance, I found that keeping the volume at full is the best, but you can experiment if you want.

An important thing to remember about the velocity, which took me a while to realize (I used to do everything at 127 too) is that velocity is more than just "volume", it is how hard the instrument is being played. What this means is that, especially with more "proffessional" synths, this can create a dramatic different in sound. A velocity of 32, for instance is barely touching the key on a piano, and the velocity of 127 is banging the heck out of it. I'm sure you know from common sence that the sound is dramatically different. There are some instruments that a velocity of 127 will sound almost out of tune because it is not normally ment to be played that way. I find that leaving the velocity at 0 is generally the best way, unless you recorded a part that you wish had had a little more "attack" to it. Like if you feel your piano wasa little to softly PLAYED (not just in volume), and wished you had struch the keys harder, then bump the velocity to 10 or 20, but if you play everying at 127, you strike every note at full strike, and you loose dynamics expression of the instrument.

From the CW manual:
"The Vel+ parameter is an amount added to the velocity of all note events in the track. This parameter is an on-the-fly transposition that does not change the velocity that is actually stored for each note event."

The velocity is a performance variable. Leave it alone to get the best live feel from a MIDI instrument. Only the velocity values in the event list are stored with the MIDI file.
So if you flub a note, you can go back and boost the velocity for <that> note to a value that matches some surrounding notes that are supposed to have the same velocity.
thanks for the great replies...

I realize velocity affects the rate of attack. My problem is before playing a specific MIDI voice I'm not sure if I should set the velocity to 127, 10, 47, or 0. (My old Voyetra sequencer used to default all velocity settings to 90.)

When I playback recorded MIDI tracks I feel like I'm doing a rough mix by always tweeking the volume and the velocity knowing that somewhere down the line it's all going to get readjusted in a final mix.

I know this must seem pretty rudimentary but I want to get it right when I record so when I mix later on I don't find I've screwed up because I didn't make basic adjustments in the first place.

drstawl...interesting info about the way velocity is read and stored. Makes me think I should just forget about velocity till I goof up then go back (which I do) and make the necessary changes.