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Controls Responding to Pressure on iPhone/iPad - MIDI Designer Q&A

Controls Responding to Pressure on iPhone/iPad

+1 vote
asked Feb 16, 2017 in Suggestions by mblofeld (160 points)
recategorized Feb 20, 2017 by MIDI Designer Team
Hey there, it's been a while since we've checked into providing pressure sensitivity. We'll circle back and provide an answer soon. Thanks for your question and your patience.
Is that confirmation that you don't have it now?
Sorry, yes i could have been more clear: there is no pressure sensitivity feature in MIDI Designer Pro 2. Hope you find the App to be of utility.


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Update 2017-03-13
Tried this out with Roli Blocks app on the iPhone 7. It's amazing! So for now it's a suggestion, which will probably be pushed along by Apple including this on the iPad Pro.

Hi there and thanks for your question!

There is no support for pressure sensitivity in MIDI Designer. Historically speaking, there were several ways to do this:

  1. Using accelerometer data to guess on pressure: this approach is difficult to implement well. Garage Band used (still uses?) this feature and users find this pretty impressive. Downside is it's difficult to implement and might not work depending on where your device is situated.
  2. Using size-of-press... there was a lot of news about this back in 2013. Fascinating read about Orphion
  3. Using Force Touch
    • We asked the Lead Developer of Mito Synth about experiences with Force Touch, and he said: "Force Touch is pretty good. Because it’s only on phones right now, it’s hard to make a comparison with a proper hardware keyboard. It’s definitely not like the accelerometer-based hacks popular around the time of the first iOS GarageBand, or the contact-patch-size ones either. It’s nice, smooth, accurate pressure data. One thing to be aware of is that it’s still not 'velocity': it’s typically still zero (or nearly zero) at the moment of note-down, as the finger makes contact but hasn’t yet really applied pressure."

      So that's quite good, but it's not pressure, per se.
    • Another issue is that there's no 3D Touch for the iPad Pro (yet)

So... for now we don't have any support for Pressure Sensitivity, but we'll keep monitoring the situation and consider the suggestion.

answered Feb 17, 2017 by MIDI Designer Team
edited Mar 13, 2017 by MIDI Designer Team
Take a look at Midi Controller Pro ( which seems to work very well. They reference the use of the accelerometer. This is generally a less comprehensive (and subsequently less expensive) app than yours which is why I was so surprised to find that you didn't have the support for this.
Thanks for that. We've checked out Midi Controller Pro before (originally called "Midi Designer and Controller Pro" until Apple forced him to change it), but didn't figure out how to get it to work much at that time. It's changed since then (was last updated nearly two years ago), no doubt. You say it "seems to work very well." Is that from trying it out yourself? On what device? Any interest in creating a tiny, rough video showing how it works? Thanks so much for the interest.
I did quite simple test adapting one of the free presets called buTTonZ.
By default, each white button which is of the control type that MCP calls key is linked to a different note and sends out the max velocity 127 with its note on message. I simply looked at the properties of one of the button Keys, selected On Message and saw there was a pressure detection option which I simply switched on. You get a warning that the preset setup must have accelerometer set on. This preset already had that setting. In run-mode that key sent out varying velocities depending on how hard the button is pressed.  I did notice that you needed to hit it quite hard to get up to the max velocity which means that it helps to have some control over how the velocity is interpreted by the target. In this case I was targeting Arturia's Piano V running in Cakewalk sonar in which you do have control over the velocity curve and also get visual feedback of the velocity received.
Sorry I forgot to mention that I am running on an iPad Air 2
Thanks so much for that description, it really helps. We'll queue the suggestion for now to look into pressure sensitivity in the future, and I'll update this post when there are updates. For the time being, drumpads in MD are the only thing similar. Video from 2012

Thanks for your interest and for your patience as we grow to accommodate all user needs.


Dan Rosenstark, Author & CEO
MIDI Designer :: dream | create | play