Play keyboard and quantize to scale in real-time

I’m learning about scaler and had a question.

Is it possible to setup a series of notes in scaler and then play a MIDI keyboard in real-time and have it ‘quantize’ the keys I play to notes in the scales I setup?

I guess I’m wondering if you can use Scaler to do things like chord prism supports (eg real-time note quantizing.) And, if yes how you set it up to work that way. Thanks for letting me know if that’s possible.

Welcome @BitFlip and funny you should ask. Not being much of a keyboard player, yours is a question I dink around with almost every day.

I can’t speak for Chord Prism but the simple answer to your question is yes, probably, kind of. I suspect it is not the way most probably use Scaler, but it is the only way I use Scaler and my keyboard.

Scaler is a great timing training tool and with a bit of practice, it can be used to play free handed giving you a performance that is almost perfectly on beat if you are close to on beat.

This is a big topic, but the main thing to understand is that the Play Quantize function does not actually quantize things in the way your DAW might, it requires you to play on beat, triggering a note when you have a key pressed on beat and nothing when you don’t. It can be set to “listen and trigger” from once every 16 beats to once every 1/2 beat. The 1/2 beat setting is where the magic is.

A simple setup you can experiment with:

  • A clean instance of Scaler
  • Using the record feature (rhe red button on left (A), record the individual notes or chords you want to play (B) then bind those keys using the A button (C)
  • Now that you have your notes, you need to tell Scaler to enable Play Quantize with a couple specific settings:
  • In Settings (little gear in upper right corner) under the Playback Tab set the following:
  • CHORD DURATION - 1 or 1/2 beat
  • PLAY QUANTIZE TO - Chord Duration
  • LEGATO - Play Quantize (I’d do EXPRESSIONS and ARPEGGIO while you are at it)

Now you are ready to play.

Some notes:

  • Scaler is monitoring your key presses and will respond if a key is down during the quantized beat. If you set Chord Duration to 1, it will respond every time your key is pressed at 1 beat intervals (not to be confused with being on the 1 beat). If it is set to 1/2, it watches and triggers @ 1/2 beat intervals

  • It will take a little initial practice to get a feel for things. For example, when you hit your 1st note, there could be a delay until scaler triggers it’s 1st note. This is because you keyed a note between the note interval Scaler is monitoring. If you hold you key down you will find that initial beat and can then play on beat. This drives some people crazy but it quickly became a non-issue for me.
    If you play with the CHORD DURATION setting, you can get a feel for the longer intervals and it will help your brain wrap itself around what is happening.

  • The reason the 1/2 beat setting is key, is because it is a small enough setting to allow for almost every keystroke to be “seen” and then Scaler drops the note in time.

[PRO TIP - You can adjust many settings in Scaler while it is playing and hear the changes in real time when a new key is pressed. (or looped) You can also leave the Settings Pane open while you make changes making it easier to explore the different settings and their relationships to each other]

That should be enough to get you started and let you decide if this helps you do what you want to do. I’d really encourage you to also explore using the Expressions and Arpeggieos in this way. A simple example of that output is available below.

Good luck and have fun…Scaler is a blast.
(Oh yeah, be sure your keyboard to DAW latency is low enough that you do not detect any delay.)

If you want to go a little deeper,keep reading.

For example, this little unprocessed clip was a single take bounced directly from Scaler hosted in a standalone player, no DAW was involved Please forgive the simple muscularity, but listen to the near perfect timing created by Scaler. It makes splicing together pieces of performance modes easy and more importantly a blast.

IMHO, Play Quantize is a great feature that few really understand and utilize. If you are not familiar with what it is and how it works, you might take a look at this thread. Play Quantize - A love hate relationship or a romance waiting to happen?

For some, it is not a useful tool, for people like me who do not have perfect timing, it is a great one. Since @davide likes the feature, I’m hoping it has a long and enhanced life in the product. :slight_smile: