I find it quite helpful when practicing to have a visual indicator of the breath pressure that I am sending from my wind controller into Reason. I can learn if I am blowing too hard or too soft and adjust either my playing or adjust the sensitivity on the instrument itself.
There are two simple ways to do this that I would like to share.
If you are playing an NN-XT patch, you have the breath indicator built-in. I'm sure you've seen the 'X' wheel moving when you play a sound set up like the picture, with the X controller set to breath. This is pretty handy, but I find that there are other knobs that are easier to read - like the giant rotary knobs on the Thor synthesizer...
I like the giant dials on the front panel of Thor, because they are big and easy to see. I prefer this method because I like to see a big, honkin’ dial move. This works for any Thor patch that does not use the front Rotary controls, or for any Combinator patch. This takes advantage of the fact that any control mapped in a combinator is animated when it is controlled - so it will move when it is activated. Here's how to do it:
- Load up a Combinator patch that you like to play
- Add Thor to it while holding the Shift key. Don’t route the outputs anywhere – we don’t care about the sound it makes, only making the dial move.
- Go into the Combinator and route Breath to 'Rotary1' on the Thor. You'll find Breath as a Source in the 'Performance' sub menu, in the combinator Modulation Routing pane.
- Watch the Thor dial move as you blow into your wind controller.
What I Learned
When I first did this, I realized I was ‘maxing out’ the breath pressure when I was only blowing at a moderate level. I turned down the sensitivity on the EWI to compensate and I can now blow normally and get a wide range of breath sensitivity.
That's it until next time. Have fun playing your wind controller!