Pitched velocity midi filter for Hammonds - solved


I’d like to create a rule that allows me to emphasize or de-emphasize the volume of a VSTI source (here I’m using the VB3 organ) as a function of its frequency. That sounds like the job of an audio filter, but I don’t want that - I want all the harmonics equally attenuated so the timbre is unchanged. I think what I want is to insert a “Pitched Velocity Ramp” into the signal chain. But I’m doing something wrong, because it seems to have no effect on the sound.

For this example, I made a very, very extreme map so there would be no question about it working. I set the filter up like this:

I routed it like this:

And…it does nothing. But: I used the midimonitor to look at the events being routed to the VSTi, and shows what I would expect, with high and low velocities, as seen here:

I bet there’s something very obvious I’m missing here, but I’ve fooled around with it for a while and I’m stumped. The midi monitor seems to be telling me Cantabile is doing what it should and that I’m missing something obvious. Ideas?


Hi Jim,

I may be totally off but it looks like you are using a Hammond organ plugin that does not react to velocity. Try the same thing but with a piano vst that reacts to velocity. That’s my best first guess on this one.



Of course! Thanks Dave. That makes sense.

The problem that I need to address, though, remains, and it seems like a toughie. What’s the best way to control organ volume as a function of keyrange, but while still allowing input from the expression pedal to have an effect?

For instance, is it possible to map note-on velocity to be a multiplier of the expression pedal setting (which itself is like a multiplier of the volume)? Classic case of “what I want to do should be easy, but I can’t wrap my head around how to do it”.


Hey Jim,

I get what you are trying to do - but the probability of success by doing this through MIDI velocity is limited.

  • First - as you have experienced - some instruments don’t react to velocity at all (Hammond organ)
  • Also, in many instruments, velocity controls not only the volume, but also other parameters of the sound (e.g. brightness, envelope duration)

IMO, you’d get more mileage out of working directly within the respective sound generator. In synthesizers, something like this is typically achieved by key scaling output volume (or modulating the amplitude curve with key scale).

For organs, take a look at Blue 3 - it allows you to fine-tune the volume of individual tonewheels and drawbars, which could help make that adaptation within Blue 3. But this will still be imperfect - turning individual drawbars or tonewheels up or down will change the spectral balance of the sound - it will not simply turn the sound of an individual note higher or lower in its totality.

But that’s also how things are on a real Hammond: you can’t just turn the volume lower on an individual key. Every key triggers multiple tonewheels, multiplied by drawbars; the only way to change volumes on a real Hammond would be to fiddle with the outputs of individual tonewheels or drawbars.

The only way I can think of to do this cleanly would be to use hammond patch in a VST sampler like Kontakt and edit the individual key zones within the sampler plugin. But of course, setting up a sample-based hammond patch is no mean feat. A static single sound is easy enough, but if you want to dynamically “play” the drawbars, things become a bit complex.

So no easy solution that I see.




How about creating a binding from note number to output of the instrument? Not tested. Just as an idea…


I really like VB3’s character, but I’ve noticed it emphasizes bass frequencies too much, and as Torsten notes, it isn’t easy to correct. It has a “tonewheel scaling option” that makes only a very slight difference. A bass note that makes the Cantabile volume meter hit 4/5 will cause a treble note to hit a 1/5. When playing songs that have a wide spread, that’s been a problem for me. But FantomXR’s suggestion solves the problem! For the first time I have an even volume from top to bottom.

As Torsten pointed out, working with midi won’t solve the problem, since there’s no good way to remap note-on velocity to volume. Instead, do as FantomXR suggests, and bind the midi controller’s note number to the plugin’s volume. With a bit of funking with the value mapping, I now get a perfectly even loudness mapping everywhere, and the volume slider and expression pedal both still function as expected. Yes, it makes the high notes play uncharacteristically (for a Hammond) loudly cf. the low notes, but that sounds so much better for some songs than the default.

This forum rocks. Thanks both of you. (And Brad, for building in such flexibility that something like this can be done!)


For me it sounds like a job for a compressor…(in your case a VST-Compressor :wink: )


No, this is not the same because a compressor has an impact on the sound itself while adjusting the output-level of the plugin does not touch the sound.
I think this is a great thing using the note-number to adjust the volume of the organ. I find myself also in trouble with organ-levels. On the lows it’s to soft and on the top it screams like hell. This could help!


@jcsquire I would like to try this out also and a picture is worth a thousand words. Would you care to share a sample of what you’re doing with a portion of your bindings page please? Thanks.


I get that this works for monophonic playing, but what about chordal work - or two-handed playing?



@Torsten: you are absolutely right. This is a soloing mode only. Works fine for one-handed poly, but definitely fails for two-handed playing. Not as good as I hoped, but still OK for most things. I like VB3, but it seems to emphasize the bass too much. In Whipping Post, for example. there’s a two octave run at the end that I could not get to sit right without funking around with the expression pedal - a lot. Now it sits correctly. But, I cannot play RH over a LH bass or I’d get random volumes depending on if my RH or LH hit first.

I’m still looking for the perfect, volume-leveling solution for organ. That’s probably only going to happen with an organ VSTi that optionally responds to velocity instead of the usual - which is exactly what you said at the start of the discussion.


yes …your right it is not the same but with a combination of an intelligent EQ and a multiband-compression you can have the better results to play with both hands and not to have some surprises when notes combined


Yup, I had a similar issue - It took a lot of tweaking with the tonewheel adjustments in Blue 3 to get it to sound a bit more civilized and not kill our singer’s hearing in the in-ears. I also had some decent results using a multiband compressor (reaXcomp) on the “screaming” range.




A good multi band is a great tool used wisely! It sounded like the right tool for this problem to me after you mentioned it… :wink: I am just figuring out DMG Multiplicity and amazed how well it works but have more to learn.



Just to finally close this thread out, the best solution for me was to upgrade to VB3-II. That allowed me to individually adjust the volume of every tonewheel, so it “just does the right thing” with or without polyphony, and without adding any midi mapping.


I saw earlier in the thread you mentioned “Whipping Post”. I frequently use both VB3 and VB3 II depending on the song but have moved to VB3 II for Gregg Allman parts. I set the generator to B3 1969 just because that’s what he played :grin:. VB3 II finally gets the C-3 chorus - slow Leslie - perc sound that I hear on the Live at the Fillmore. Also the big swells he does at the end of some of the songs sound right. I’m no expert at playing like Gregg Allman but when I play just one or two notes at a time letting off between so the percussion sounds it works with the guitars. VB3 II is better for this type of Hammond playing than VB3 1.4.


Gregg Allman didn’t worry about midi filters or equally attenuated harmonics. He just sat down behind the road beaten beast and played the hell out of it. They were a jam band like most other bands at that wonderful time, and took their cue from the great Jazz, Gospel, and Soul players, thus plenty of swell pedal usage.
Sometimes it is good for us all to just sit down and play the ******* thing, and leave the technical stuff for another day…or leave it to a roadie or technician, which I haven’t had in quite a few years. :sunglasses: