Pitch Bend for all instruments

Hi -

Please could Pitch Bend be enabled for all Spitfire Instruments. It's a massive limitation at the moment.

I understand that many instruments can't bend their pitch in reality but that doesn't always matter and it would be good to allow experimentation beyond mockup territory.

I also understand that there are possible limitations with tails or decays getting bent differently or not at all and sounding strange. If this is a concern to the 'integrity' of the sound of the VI, then maybe make it an option that can be enabled at user's discretion? It would be good to allow experimentation beyond mockup territory.

Paul Thomson has demonstrated an interesting approach to pitch bending Kontakt-based instruments for clusters here: https://youtu.be/2Xwy0LYXN4k but that is only possible with the unlocked Kontakt-based instruments, not all and that's not possible with the Spitfire Audio proprietary VI.

The 'Tune' knob in the Spitfire VI and similar in Kontakt can be automated with MIDI cc, but that is not a workaround as it only allows 128 steps which is not smooth at all compare to the pitch wheel's more than 16,000 steps.

Enabling pitch bend would be a massive boost to allow the libraries to be used for more experimental purposes.




  • Yes please PitchBend ;-)

  • Hi @Graham @floyd, we currently don't offer pitch bend in most of our libraries as it tends to lower the quality of the samples - especially with organic and orchestral instruments.

    However I will pass your feedback along to the product team as they may decide to add this feature in the future.

    In the meantime, I'd recommend using another third party plugin that can manipulate the pitch such as Waves SoundShifter or something similar!

  • Have you looked at ‘Fluid Pitch’ from PitchInnovations.com?

    I recently purchased it but haven’t yet had a chance to try it.

  • I agree! Please implement this. I like to be able to modulate pitch and prefer to use the pitch wheel instead of a plug-in. I'd say that I'm willing to take changes in sample quality into account!

  • Another request for pitchbend.

    I don't really see why you wouldn't enable it...

    Just yesterday I wanted to warp the BBC orchestra but I had to fiddle about with a plug in to do it. It would have been so much quicker to just use a pitch wheel.

    If someone's bothered that it makes things sound a bit odd or spoils the sample quality, they won't use it (why would they be using pitch bend on an orchestra anyway?). Some of use would welcome that for more experimental work.

  • juscro
    edited December 2021

    Another vote for this. The fact that you can't do pitch bend in HZ Strings kind of stinks! It should be pre-mapped like any other standard MIDI CC. (And the range should be definable).

    What's the upside to forcing this kind of limitation?

  • Hi folks,

    We've given this feedback to our product team, however I want to add to the comment Rosie has made above. Particularly with Legato transitions, pitch bending can affect the programming, making the patch unusable. Where instruments typically have a pitch bending style (portamento), we include a portamento transition in the Legato. This is a much better way of programming a sample library, as the portamento is completely natural, rather than forced and synthetic.

  • Then why not just disable it on the legato patches?

    Of course using pitch bend on a standard long patch isn't going to sound perfect, but it still should be an option. One of the best things about sample libraries is that you can do things that a live orchestra wouldn't be able to do.

  • Please could Pitch Bend control of the 'Tune' knob be enabled in all Spitfire Player instruments. It is already automatable with MIDI CC (so bad glissandi are already possible) but that is no good even for setting a static value as the range is only 128 values for the 'Tune' knob's +/- 36 semitones range, so not even granular enough to set a nice rounded equal tempered pitch. Pitch Bend would allow 16384 values (so more than 227 values per semitone).

    I understand the argument that enabling Pitch Bend could be misused (which is subjective anyway) for non-stylistic or 'bad'-sounding glissandi, but we can already create 'bad'-sounding glissandi with MIDI CC automation of the 'Tune' knob. Trouble is it also precludes automation of microtonal adjustments of notes for 'exotic' tunings only a little bit away from the recorded pitch which in a mockup would not give a noticeable degredation of quality. And from the argument of the scripting being affected, the 'Tune' knob appears to affect tuning for the whole instrument on that MIDI channel so this will include all samples I believe (correct?), including releases, transitions, reverbs... Twiddling the knob manually while playing notes is smooth and dynamic, it's just not automatable with Pitch Bend - yet it is automatable with the worse option of MIDI CC.

    Yes - we could automate a pitch adjustment audio processing plugin on the output, but this sounds worse than dialling the 'Tune' knob from a qualitative pov. And unless working with Ableton Live it's also a pain to put in place something to map MIDI pitch bends to automation of the pitch adjustment plugin with accuracy. It also seems the wrong place to be doing this when you could do it much more lightly at source.

    I think it was also suggested somewhere that Pitch Bend is global rather than at a MIDI channel level. It is MIDI channel level, same as MIDI CC which is already implelemented for automating the 'Tune' knob in Spitfire Player but not useful. 

    Please, pretty please, could Pitch Bend automation of the 'Tune' knob be enabled?

    Thank you. :-)

  • Pitch bend could be great for horror scenes when the low strings or low brass kinda mark something HORRIFIC on screen... or add on performances like that... it's an idea for tuture libraries

  • If pitch bend lowers the quality of the sound I really would prefer it not to be implemented.

  • +1 for pitch bend… I doubt legato/portamento patches are the first that come to mind for those requesting the feature. Furthermore I’ve watched Christian pitch Kontakt instruments up and down for effect when it suits him and for some reason I don’t think everyone here is a purist. I also agree that I don’t see the benefit of imposing a limitation that I mainly only see in SA libraries so far - and arguing it doesn’t sound realistic seems more like a decision that the user should be allowed to make for themselves, not have imposed on them as a restriction (a rather unpopular term in music imho)

  • People on this forum may not all be looking for orchestral realism...at least not at all times. We're moving into a time where composers are wanting to play in the space between orchestral and synthetic. I think Spitfire needs to be aware of this as you address these kind of questions.

  • thepulsiphyer
    edited June 2022

    I agree with this as well. There are always ways to implement pitchbend in plugins like this actually make it sound more human and have even better quality. and it would be really useful for an assignment i'm working on for a class where the legato simply isn't smooth enough for the effect I'm looking for. Please include this asap. That, or tell me how to use Portamento. I'm relatively new to this plugin

  • I need to do glissando (a lot of them) with Eric Whitacre Choir, and have spent hours wondering why the pitch wheel does not work. Very disappointed that there is no option. I agree with some of the posts above, that it's better to have it included, and if people don't like it, they won't use it.

    For my part, I need this feature for a commission I'm working on, and I'm not sure how to tell them that I can't deliver. Other sample sets, not EWC, seem poor by EWC standard. (Devastated).

  • My work makes use of micro-tonal harmonies that I achieve using extended pitch-bend to make the small pitch adjustments required. If I'd known there was no way to tune these libraries I'd wouldn't have purchased them. I'll be holding off on subsequent purchases until this is added.

  • The simplest approach would be to enable us to add a pitch-bend modulator within Kontakt. That way only those who wish to make use of pitch bend would be taking the self-informed risk of audio quality.

  • Please give this to us! I bought sparkling woodwinds hoping to use it for runs, but without pitch bend to slur the notes, it actually DETRACTS from the realism.

  • If you automate the Spitfire plugin's "global tune" parameter using host automation - that's instead of MIDI CC - then you get around the 127 value restriction: you can create automation points with a resolution 0.01 semitones; and you may get a bit more resolution when the DAW is following a curve between two points. Either way, sounded totally smooth to me... if pretty drunk!

    Notes below on how to do this in Logic - I tested with Logic and BBCSO violas legato, FYI. I don't have any Kontakt instruments to check with, but it supports host automation too so I think same principle should apply...?

    That's all you need if you're drawing the pitch bend in your DAW, but a superficial Google suggests most DAWs let you assign the pitch bend wheel to a host automation parameter if you want to play-in the data. I haven't tested this. (Doesn't have to be the pitch wheel... but connecting the controller to the DAW via a MIDI CC limited to 127 values will only recreate the original problem.)

    A few Logic-specific points for anyone who's unsure of the difference between host automation and MIDI CC:

    In automation view (in either track or piano roll editors, choose "Mix", "Show Automation" from the menu), there's a drop-down to let you select the automation parameter or MIDI CC that's being displayed. The drop-down has "AUTOMATION" and "MIDI" sections. If you select the plugin's name (e.g. "BBC Symphony Orchestra") from the "AUTOMATION" section, followed by the parameter name (e.g. "Global Tune"), then you're using host automation. If you select anything under MIDI (e.g. Pitch Bend, or a MIDI control number) then either it won't work at all (e.g. Pitch Bend), or it'll be lumpy (because MIDI CCs can only take 127 values.) Incidentally, when editing/drawing in automation points, hold down the Control key while dragging each point to get fine-grained control of the value.

    Hope that helps someone; sorry probably too late for @Breezereef!

  • Max58
    edited December 2022

    Hi, I just bought the Thematic Horns plug in and enjoyed about it. But I've realised that PitchBend and Vibrato are not set (very important for Brass sound instead) . There is a way in Logic to program Vibrato via the MidiFx>modulator and assign its out to a keyboard control, but the vibrato has to be applied to PitchBend.

    With all due respect for your design philosophy, I think would be important to let the user decide if the sound is worse.

    Best regardes


  • Here to ask for pitch bend to be enabled as well! love your plugins but it really is a major downside and would be amazing if that could be fixed! I don't see it as disrupting the integrity of the sound at all, merely just an effect in itself which can be used for many interesting things - hope for it to be tweaked soon for the 'strings' plugin in particular - thanks a heap!

  • Definitely for pitch bending here.

    It doesn't matter if the quality of the sound gets degraded - sometimes that is quite desired! Just give us the option for all libraries utilizing the SA Player! We'll then figure the rest out ourselves!

    Imagine HZ Strings 24 Basses being pitch-bended in a very gradual, menacing way. I bet it'll sound awesome!

  • Hi @Max58, @cityshwimp, @GNP - in case you missed it, I posted a way of getting pitch bend working earlier in the thread (four posts above this one.) I'm interested to know if it works/doesn't work for you - but appreciate there's a separate point for Spitfire about whether or not it should work "out of the box".

  • Hey Aldous,

    thanks so much for the info. Yes I've tried it, but it's still not smooth enough in resolution for me. Thanks so much though!

  • Hi @GNP, no problem and thanks for letting me know. Which DAW are you using?

    It could be a DAW-specific issue, but just to make sure we're on the same page, here's screenshot from Logic Pro with the BBCSO plugin in front. In the first region you can see I've tuned down and up by 1 cent. In the second, I'm sliding down 10st - which is unrealistic, but chosen to make it visible - and it sounds totally smooth. I've stopped it part-way through to check that both DAW and plugin are sliding one cent at a time: sure enough you can see '-3.72st' in Logic's automation lane, and the same when hovering the mouse over the plugin's "Tune" knob.

    If you replicated this picture in your DAW and it still sounded lumpy, I would wonder if the data's being sent via a MIDI CC# (which will quantize the data and make it sound jumpy); or possibly if your DAW was scaling the data strangely... though I thought they were fairly consistent these days.

  • Hey aldous, i think you're right! I was using MIDI CC to automate, which explains why the data makes it sound jumpy.

    I tried your method and it's VERY smooth. Thanks alot! This is great.

    I still wish however that a proper pitchbend ability could be implemented on SA Player products, because it'll be so much a time-saver to just perform the pitchbend (with a more luxurious resolution), rather than arduously drawing in the automation (like in your screenshot) with a mouse.

  • Hi @GNP - that's great. Should be no problem to perform the pitch bends yourself rather than drawing them: I suggest mapping a MIDI controller to the automation parameter in the DAW, but - crucially - restricting the parameter's range so the controller's 127 possible values aren't spread too far apart. (This is pretty similar to attaching a MIDI CC# to the "Tune" knob in the plugin, except you don't have the scaling there: those 127 controller values are spread over knob's 6 octave [+/-36st] range... that's a minimum change of more than 56 cents, so very lumpy.)

    I expect other DAWs work similarly, but in Logic Pro, I would select the Spitfire track and open "Smart Controls" (from the menu bar "Window", "Open Smart Controls") to reveal the pane highlighted with a blue border below. If the inspector isn't visible, click on the "i"-in-a-circle button (top-left of that pane) to reveal the inspector:

    In the above, under "Parameter Mapping", I've selected "Global Tune", so that's the knob that appears with a blue halo. Then I've set "Range Min" and "Range Max" to -/+2.00st, which is what the pitch-bend wheel would be by default... so just over 3 cents per controller value. Under "External Assignment", click on "Learn" to assign your controller, and you should be good to go!

    Of course, the smaller the range, the smoother it'll be, so if you only need +/-1st (or even -0.63 to +0.64st for maximum smoothness) then go for it. If you need a wider pitch-bend range, that's still fine as long as you can tolerate it being a bit lumpy during recording: your DAW almost certainly has a tool to smooth out the curves afterwards, so it'll be nice and smooth for playback.

    Hopefully that makes sense and works for you...