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How To Quantize Velocity In REAPER (A MIDI Velocity Control Guide)

To quantize the velocity of MIDI notes in REAPER, open up the ‘MIDI Editor’ by double-clicking the MIDI track that you want to work on, select the MIDI notes that you want to quantize, right-click one of the notes, choose the ‘Note velocity’ dropdown menu, and select your desired velocity.

Controlling MIDI Velocity In REAPER

If you don’t know the right tricks, controlling MIDI velocity in REAPER can take loads of your time and effort. 

Fortunately for REAPER users, REAPER’s ‘MIDI Editor’ is incredible. It is full of tools you can use to control MIDI data in your tracks, including MIDI velocity.

Before I fully learned how to use the REAPER MIDI editor, I would waste hours staring at my screen and manually adjusting MIDI velocity.

In this tutorial article, I want to show you some of the best ways to quantize and control MIDI Velocity in REAPER.

What You Will Need To Follow This Tutorial

Here is a list of everything that you will need to follow along with this tutorial:

  • REAPER DAW (Digital Audio Workstation)
  • A MIDI track to edit and work with

Step One – Open Up The MIDI Editor

The first step for quantizing the velocity of MIDI notes (bringing all MIDI notes to a common value) in REAPER is to open up the MIDI Editor by double-clicking the MIDI track that you want to work with. 

Open The MIDI Editor

Once you have the MIDI Editor opened up, you are ready to move on to the next step. 

Step Two – Select Your MIDI Data

The next step is to select all of the MIDI notes that you want to quantize the velocity of by right-clicking and dragging to highlight them. 

Check it out. You can either select them in the main MIDI Editor window or the velocity section at the bottom of the MIDI Editor. 

Selecting MIDI Data

With your MIDI data that you want to quantize selected, move along to the final step.

Step Three – Change MIDI Note Velocity

The final step for quantizing MIDI note velocity in REAPER is to right-click any of your selected MIDI notes, select ‘Note velocity,’ and choose what velocity you want your MIDI notes quantized to. 

Change MIDI Note Velocity

Just like that, you have brought your selected MIDI data to a common velocity!

Method Two – Ctrl Drag

The following method that I want to go over is great if you want to reduce the velocity range of a MIDI track without completely dehumanizing and flattening it out.

Open Up The MIDI Editor and Select Your MIDI Notes

Start by double-clicking your MIDI track and selecting the range of MIDI notes you want to work with. 

Select The MIDI Notes

Once your notes are selected, you are ready to keep moving.

Hold ‘Ctrl’ and Drag To The Top and Bottom

Now that you have selected your desired range of MIDI notes, you can start to close its velocity range by holding down the ‘Ctrl’ key on your keyboard and dragging the MIDI notes to the top of the velocity screen until you have reduced your desired amount. 

Once you have reduced the peaks in velocity that you wanted to, release the ‘Ctrl’ key to apply the changes, press the ‘Ctrl’ key again, and do the same thing, except dragging to the bottom this time to bring your quieter MIDI notes closer to your louder ones. 

Now that the range of your MIDI track is much more evened out, drag all of the notes back to the median velocity point where you want them to be.

Check out this video to see how you can do this. 

Drag MIDI Notes Velocities

As you can see, the ‘Ctrl Drag‘ method is perfect for evening out the dynamic range of a MIDI track without completely flattening it out.

Method Three – Input Velocity Adjust

The last trick I want to show you for controlling MIDI velocity in REAPER is using the ‘JS: MIDI Velocity Control’ plugin to set velocity parameters upon input of a MIDI recording.

Set Up a Track and Set Its Input

The first step of this method is to insert a new track by double-clicking on the track list to the left of the REAPER display screen. 

Next, arm the track to record and set the MIDI input on your track from the dropdown input menu.

With your desired MIDI input set, you’re ready to move on to the next step! 

Set Up A Track and Set Its Input

Insert ‘JS: MIDI Velocity Control’ On Your Track’s Input FX Chain

Now that your track is set up open up its ‘Input FX‘ chain and insert the JS: MIDI Velocity Control plugin. 

Insert ‘JS: MIDI Velocity Control’ On Your Track’s Input FX Chain

Once you place the velocity control plugin on your Input FX chain, any parameters you set in the plugin will control the recorded MIDI data upon input. 

Set Your Desired Parameters

The final step for controlling your MIDI velocity upon input is to change the parameters within JS: MIDI Velocity Control.

You can use the ‘Min Velocity’ and ‘Max Velocity’ settings to set a velocity range for your MIDI keyboard (this is my preferred use). 

You can also use the ‘Velocity Add’ and ‘Velocity Multiply’ settings to add to or multiply your recorded MIDI velocity value. 

Adjust Velocity Parameters

Consider using JS: MIDI Velocity Control the next time you need to control the velocity of a MIDI track.   

How Do You Quantize MIDI Notes In REAPER?

To quantize MIDI notes in REAPER, open up the MIDI Editor by double-clicking the MIDI track that you want to quantize and press the ‘Quantize’ button (it looks like a ‘Q’).

Once the MIDI quantize settings are opened up, you can choose the ‘Use grid’ or ‘Manual’ option.

I recommend the manual option because it gives you much more control over how you can quantize your MIDI track. 

Enter your ‘Grid’ settings between ½ notes¼ notes notes, etc., based on the timing of your track. 

For example, if you played a drum part in 1/16 notes, you should designate 1/16 notes for the Grid settings. 

This will give you the most accurate quantization. 

The other settings that you want to pay attention to are the ‘From’ and ‘To’ range settings (for full quantization, use ‘From: 0%‘ and ‘To: 100%‘). 

Feel free to play around with these settings to find the right quantization amount for you. 

Quantizing MIDI Notes In REAPER

How Do You Manually Adjust The Velocity Of A MIDI Note In REAPER?

To manually adjust the velocity of a MIDI note in REAPER, click and drag a MIDI note up or down in the MIDI Editor velocity window. 

You can also highlight/manipulate multiple MIDI notes simultaneously with this technique. 

Manually Adjust The Velocity MIDI Notes In REAPER

As you can see, adjusting the velocity of a MIDI note in REAPER is relatively easy; however, there are much faster ways of doing this if you are working with a bunch of MIDI data and not just one selected note. 

Related Questions

Does REAPER Have a Piano Roll?

Yes, but REAPER calls this feature the ‘MIDI Editor‘ and not the piano roll. You can open up the MIDI Editor by double-clicking a MIDI track.

Once you have opened up the REAPER MIDI Editor, you can use the functions within to manually or automatically adjust things like MIDI note timing, velocity, note length, etc. 

How Do You Draw MIDI In REAPER?

To draw MIDI data in REAPER, press Insert>New MIDI item to insert a blank MIDI file. 

From here, double-click the blank MIDI file to open up the REAPER MIDI Editor. 

Once you have the MIDI Editor open, you can draw MIDI data in by double-clicking where you want a note on the musical scale and adjusting its velocitylength, etc.

How Do You Humanize a MIDI Track In REAPER?

To humanize a MIDI track in REAPER, simply select the MIDI notes that you want to alter in the MIDI Editor window and then choose Edit>Humanize

From here, you can adjust how much you humanize your track based on its ‘Timing,’ ‘Velocity,’ and ‘Timing bias.’ 

Still hungry for more? Check out this guide on transposing MIDI in REAPER.

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