The hidden power of the MIDI In Block

The hidden power of the MIDI In Block

Gig Performer’s MIDI In block is not just your everyday block for receiving MIDI events. It can do much more than just receive MIDI messages from an external MIDI device and feed them to connected soft-synth plugins.

It has important other functionality that often relieves you from having to use multiple separate MIDI processing plugins.

First of all, let’s just look at the plugin editor for a MIDI In block in Gig Performer 4. As you can see, the functions are broken up into different sections.

Plugin editor for a MIDI In Block, in Gig Performer, VST host

Let’s now examine each section, going from top to bottom.


You can transpose incoming MIDI note events up or down by up to 127 semitones (indicated with the red rectangle). The Global transpose, displayed in the main Gig Performer window and highlighted here with a blue rectangle, can also be ignored, important when a MIDI In block is being used to trigger sound effects or drums, neither of which should ever be subjected to transposition.

MIDI Merging

Clicking Enable MIDI merge exposes a MIDI input pin at the top of a MIDI In block, and enables you to merge MIDI events produced by other plugins that produce MIDI, such as our MIDI File Player, a Scriptlet, or a third-party MIDI arpeggiator plugin:

MIDI merge in Gig Performer

NB: make sure to check out this Backstage with Gig Performer Foundations episode to see this feature in action.

Channel routing

Remap incoming events on one channel to another channel or block certain channels.

You can remap incoming events on one channel to another channel or completely block messages on specific channels.

Keyboard splits

Create a keyboard split by selecting the lowest through highest keys, Gig Performer

You can create a keyboard split by selecting the lowest and highest keys between which are allowed to pass through.

Tip: if you want multiple keyboard splits (including the ability to do partial layering), simply create multiple MIDI In blocks and configure each of them to the desired range.

In this example, we have three MIDI In blocks, each connected to a different plugin. The split ranges and transpose values are configured individually in each MIDI In block and the blocks themselves have been renamed to display the actual splits and transpose values. Note that there is a deliberate overlap for the Blue3 (Hammond organ) and Violin where one octave (C4-C5) is applied to both.

Keyboard splits in Gig Performer using multiple MIDI In blocks

For detailed guidelines, check out this blog: How to create keyboard and velocity splits.

See also this forum article for the way to split your keyboard to control sounds that are on different MIDI channels of the same plugin.

Note: Ticking the Invert keyboard checkbox allows you to produce lower notes when playing higher up the keyboard (and vice-versa). This is a nod to Joe Zawinul who famously inverted the ARP 2600 keyboard when he performed Black Market. It makes it easy to do certain counterpoint as you can use the same fingering on both hands.

Velocity layering and scaling

Velocity layering and scaling, MIDI in plugin, Gig Performer

You can restrict the range of note velocities that are allowed through. For example, you might allow only softly played notes to go through while loud notes are blocked. This is extremely useful if you want to have two instruments on the same range but only have one of them sound, depending on whether you play notes softly or loudly. The trick (much like with layering) is to use multiple MIDI In Blocks, each one configured to a different velocity range.

Velocity scaling lets you remap incoming velocities to either expand or (more typically) compress the outgoing velocity values. However, it’s also extremely useful when you are restricting the velocity range. For example, even though you might have configured one sound to only play if you hit notes hard, you probably don’t want the sound to be only played loud. So for example, if you set the Min and Max values to 80 and 127 respectively and then you set the scaling From 1 To 60 respectively, your loudly “played” notes will be heard more softly.

Check this blog article to learn more about the scaling mechanism introduced in Gig Performer 4 and this blog article to learn how to create velocity splits.

Velocity constraining

Velocity Constraining, MIDI in plugin block, Gig Performer

If you switch from Scale to Constrain, then you are defining the minimum and maximum velocity values that are allowed. For example, if you set From and To to 50 and 80 respectively, then any notes with incoming velocities less than 50 will be set to 50 and any notes with incoming velocities greater than 80 will be set to 80.

Event blocking

Block certain events from being passed through, in Gig Performer

You can block certain events from being passed through. For example, if you are laying two sounds using multiple MIDI In blocks that receive MIDI from the same physical device, you may want your ModWheel or PitchWheel (say) only apply to one of the sounds. Or you might want to be able to adjust the volume of your lead sound without impacting the volume of your pad sound. Of course, you can also do this kind of thing by using widgets in a rackspace but sometimes it’s just convenient to send MIDI CC events directly into a plugin and so this blocking mechanism gives you finer control.

Tip: visit this community thread to see a convenient way to manage your sustain pedal independently of other messages.

Monophonic options

Monophonic options in Gig Performer

You can arrange for only the lowest or highest note of a chord to be sent out. Combined with layering, this allows you to play chords but have the top (or bottom) note of your chord play a lead sound. Check out the blog The most flexible MIDI processing to see an example.

MIDI In OSC Patchbay

If you enable the Show MIDI In OSC Patchbay toggle button in the OSC Options, you’ll see a new section, on the bottom right which is not shown by default:

Gig Performer OSC Patchbay

This section is intended for advanced users. Check Gig Performer 4 documentation for more information.

Related plugins.

Gig Performer also has a MIDI Filter plugin that can be used to either block events or to remap them to various other events. Gig Performer 4 adds a MIDI Channel Constrainer plugin (check this blog to learn more).

GPScript and Scriptlets.

If you’re still not satisfied, there’s always our proprietary language, GPScript, which allows you to perform arbitrary processing of incoming MIDI events, not only for more sophisticated splitting, layering and filtering, but you can also “send” MIDI events into the future, allowing you to create such effects as MIDI delay, arpeggiation and to use MIDI events to trigger other behavior inside Gig Performer itself.

The power of GPScript allows you to create your own MIDI processor plugins – Scriptlets. Check this user manual page to learn more.

Host Automation

We would be remiss to point out that pretty much every function described above can be controlled using host automation. By using rackspace variations or switching song parts, you can instantly change your velocity scaling, modify the split range, turn on or off blocking and so forth. The possibilities are endless.

Enjoy and Own the Stage® with Gig Performer®.

Related topics:
Gig Performer built-in plugins
How to separate your sustain pedal from your controller

Scaling Curves

Scaling curves allow you to control the shape of the output of a widget or convert an incoming note velocity to a new velocity. Various predefined curves are available and they can be tweaked as necessary. You can also just draw your own curve as well to achieve the effect you require.


MIDI File Player Plugin

You can load up to 128 MIDI song files in a single plugin instance. Switch from one song to another, mute tracks and/or change their channel numbers. Tempo can be controlled by individual songs or you can use the global tempo and tap tempo to control the BPM interactively.


Favorites and Presets

Create a sound by placing and interconnecting your desired plugins, such as a synth, some effects and perhaps a mixer. Select them all and then save the selection as a named favorite. The favorite will subsequently show up in all plugin insert menus, making it easy for you to recreate that configuration whenever you need it again. This feature is also very powerful for creating your needed sounds on your studio computer and then transferring them to your touring laptop.


Probabilistic Sound Designer

Parameters you select in an open plugin are captured into the Probabilistic Sound Designer dialog window. When you click Randomize, you're only adjusting those selected parameters. Each entry in the PSD dialog has a curve but unlike widgets where the curve controls scaling, in the PSD the curves are used to define the probability of particular values being selected. Make sure the filter cutoff never gets too slow so as to block all sound. Perhaps adjust the max range of the VCA attack parameter so that the sound doesn't have too much delay. Constrain the octave ranges of the oscillators, perhaps ensuring that 1/3rd of the time we select 8' and 2/3rds of the time we select 4'. The possibilities are endless.


More Widgets

Numerous new widgets are included in Gig Performer - a new sustain pedal, plastic knobs, drum pads and more colored sliders. Shapes can be colored with different borders and fill colors and morphed from rectangular to circular. Your creativity is now the limit to creating fabulous front panels in Gig Performer.


MIDI Message Helper

Select MIDI devices by name. Choose the MIDI message type and adjust the appropriate parameters for the specific type



Layout management

Gig Performer supports arbitrary resizing. Layout your widgets the way you want - resize the main window and the widgets will grow or shrink as necessary to maintain the same interrelationships. No matter what size screen you have, your front panels will still be neat and usable.


Undo Support

If you move your widgets around and/or resize them, or even delete them by mistake, the Undo facility will correct your mistake. Minor moves to a widget by mistake will no longer spoil your design


Plugin Channel Count

Some plugins support a large number of outputs and they depend on the traditional channel strip to control how many ports should be available.   When you only need a stereo pair, it is convenient not to have a large horizontal block. In Gig Performer, the number of available ports  is controlled by the channel count override, which can be applied to individual plugins and will be remembered when the gigfile is reloaded or if the plugin is saved as a favorite.


Input muting and output fading

Rather than a single audio length tail, Gig Performer 4 gives you the ability to control input muting and output fading separately. Input muting controls how much time it takes for audio input to be silenced when you leave the rackspace. Output fading controls how much time will be taken for audio to fade out when you leave the rackspace.


Faster Plugin Finder

Instead of searching through menus of perhaps hundreds of plugins (you know who you are!), the Quick Plugin Finder makes it easy to find the plugin you need by simply typing partial strings. For example, as shown here, to find the Modartt Pianoteq 7 plugins, it's enough to type pia mod 7 (in any order, by the way)  to restrict the list of available plugins to those matching your query. The Quick Plugin Finder also knows about manufacturers, presets and favorites.



Touch Friendly Input

Any entry field can be changed by either dragging your mouse (or finger) up or down, or by using the large popup touchpad where you can just tap on the squares to enter a value. The large popup keypad also does validation so you can't enter an invalid value. You can also just tap the BPM field to pop up a larger view where you can quickly change tempo, tranpose, trigger Tap Tempo and enable Ableton Link, the last allowing you to synchronize Gig Performer with any other application that also supports Ableton Link.


New Tuner Display

The tuner view makes it easy for guitarists to quickly check and adjust their tuning. You can toggle into the tuner view from any other view and toggle right back as soon as you're done. All output will be silenced automatically while you're in tuning mode. You can adjust the concert reference pitch from its default of 440 Hz to suit your own needs. The tuner view fills the entire screen so you can easily see it from a distance.