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Univer Inter beta update: MPE and 14-bit CCs

Last Thursday, we released a beta firmware update to the Univer Inter. There were a number of workflow tweaks and bug fixes, but the biggest changes were the addition of MPE outputs and 14-bit CCs. In this post, we’ll explore what that means for your workflow and how you can use them. 

What is MPE?

MPE, short for MIDI Polyphonic Expression, is a standard that expands upon MIDI’s normal capabilities to allow MPE-compatible controllers to modulate individual notes. For example, some controllers allow for pitch bend per note – not possible with traditional MIDI. 

And while traditional MIDI control has velocity and aftertouch as per-note modulators, MPE also adds Slide and Pressure. 

There are a number of differences between how traditional MIDI messages and MPE messages are transmitted, so we designed a whole new configuration for connecting to MPE controllers and MPE-capable DAWs. 

Using MPE outputs 

If you pick the MPE category on an output, you’ll have the choice of a number of different output types. Pitch, Gate, Trigger, and all the Velocity options are similar to traditional MIDI, but Pitch follows the new “MPE Bend Amt” parameter (default set to 48 semitones, matching most MPE controllers, but configurable). Of course, pitch bend is polyphonic, too. 

Slide and Pressure respond to expressive gestures on your controller, or the respective automation lanes in your DAW. 

Configuring for MPE 

If you want to use Univer Inter with your MPE devices, head on over to the Customer Portal

Setting up a UI configuration for MPE is straightforward: pick the output types you need, then create copies for each voice you want to control. UI will automatically adjust all of its internal settings to accommodate as many voices as you create in the app. Since you can chain two UI together, you can control quite a few voices in your Eurorack system.

an MPE output configuration for Univer Inter

Once you’ve created a configuration you like, save it to your UI and make a note of the “Last MPE Channel” field. This is the highest MIDI channel that the UI will respond to, and will need to be configured on your controller or in your DAW. I’m using Ableton Live to control my UI, so in its External Instrument MPE settings field I’m setting the “Last Note Channel” to 3 to match the configuration I made above. 

Ableton Live's MPE channel settings, with "Last Note Channel" set to 3
Now I can create intricate modulation in the Ableton MPE piano roll and use all of those outputs to modulate my voices!
an MPE sequence in Ableton Live's piano roll

Now I can create intricate modulation in the Ableton MPE piano roll and use all of those outputs to modulate my voices!

14-bit CCs

The other new feature we added in this update are 14-bit CCs. Normal MIDI CC messages have 128 values, which can sometimes cause a stepped effect when modulating a parameter. 

Some MIDI controllers have a way around this: use a predefined pair of CCs to create a much higher resolution modulation signal! If your MIDI controller or DAW supports 14-bit CCs, you can now pick the 14-bit CC output behavior from the Control dropdown and enjoy smoother CV signals in your system.

A 14-bit CC output configured to respond to CCs 12 and 44.

What’s next?

We love hearing your feedback: if you have an idea, find a bug in our beta, or have suggestions for how we could make this UI update better, we’d love to hear from you!

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