Can Polyphonic Aftertouch Be Added To Your Keyboard Using A Plugin?

Can Polyphonic Aftertouch be added to your existing keyboard using a plugin?

That’s the question raised by developer & synthesist Tim Shoebridge‘s latest development, Polyphonic Pressure Generator (PPG).

Shoebridge developed Polyphonic Pressure Generator to address a challenge that many of us face – the fact that there are lots of synthesizers that respond to expressive Polyphonic Aftertouch message, but aren’t a lot of keyboards that actually let you play with Polyphonic Aftertouch.

The benefit of Polyphonic Aftertouch is that it lets you go beyond piano style expression, where your key strike can control the volume and timbre of individual voices on a synth; and beyond organ style expression, where a volume pedal can be used to control the volume and timbre of all voices at the same time. It gives you continuous control over the volume and timbre of each individual voice on your synth.

Polyphonic Pressure Generator doesn’t directly replace the functionality of a poly aftertouch keyboard, but it does let you add polyaftertouch messages to your performance and to perform in new ways. Shoebridge expects PPG to be available within the next week.

Check out the video and share your thoughts in the comments!

14 thoughts on “Can Polyphonic Aftertouch Be Added To Your Keyboard Using A Plugin?

  1. No (as per Betteridge’s law of headlines.)

    This is an interesting idea, though it seems to be more of a simulation by triggering an additional envelope on a note.

    I expect some synths can do something like the velocity trigger out of the box, and of course you can do this with something like Max. An extension might be to allow you to use an expression pedal or channel aftertouch instead of an envelope.

    But… ASM HydraSynth is the real deal. 🙂

    1. Ah right, I think you can emulate the velocity trigger approach by routing velocity to a step function that modulates the amplitude of the desired modulation envelope. So the mod envelope is always triggered but depending on velocity it will either be turned off or turned on.

      You could also send each note to a new midi channel and use channel aftertouch. You can probably set it up so that the synth’s front panel (e.g. a voice indicator or current midi note/channel) would tell you which midi channel to modulate.

    1. Only those deluded into thinking they must have it at all costs.
      Btw, if you’re the real Klaus Shulze, you’re my hero from way back and one of the principle reasons I got into synthesis!

    2. I’ve been using the CME Xkey and KMI QuNexus and K-Board, so the main draw for me for the Hydrasynth is poly pressure (thought the ribbon controller is a nice addition as well.)

      I also like polyphonic expression in Animoog – and wish that Way Out Ware’s SynthX hadn’t died (along with so many iPad synths that were lost to the 32-bit apocalypse and Apple’s yearly app-breaking OS updates.) SynthX was really expressive and had an interesting UI that showed the waveforms underneath your fingers as you played.

      Come to think of it, I should really these controllers with the Synclavier iPad app, as the Synclavier used the Prophet T8 keybed which supported poly pressure.

  2. PPG is not a good choice of name for anything synth related, it is taken already. and a 34 minute video introducing a new product is way too long. there should be a 90 seconds version first.

      1. I couldn’t agree more. There are too many overhyped synth-youtubers who hardly know what they are doing. It is utterly painful to listen to their music but the world seems to be happy about taking synth and music production advice from people who can’t even make decent music themselves.

  3. The answer being…well…not really. Can’t quite tell but seems that it really only affects the most recent note played. So takes the channel aftertouch message and just applies it to the recent note? Don’t think it’d be able to do more fun stuff like holding down a chord and slowly putting pressure on different fingers, great for evolving textures. I’ll stick with my Kurzweil Midiboard. And hopefully an Expressive E Osmose sooooomedaaaaaaaay….

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