The hb1 MIDI Breath Station from Hornberg Research lets you add natural expression to any electronic instrument or peripheral device with MIDI or USB. Breath controllers have long been used to add critical nuance and detail to standard keyboard performances, but after spending a few minutes with the hb1, you’ll understand why this goes far beyond any typical breath controller. The special wooden mouth piece, a precision sensor and the combination of a MIDI-merger, an integrated MIDI-interface and many innovative parameters set the stage for a high precision and richly expressive performance of your ideas, whether in studio or live.
Ten of the twelve parameters allow you to sculpt various details and impulses during your performance. For instance, the adjustable “Release” allows breathing in without interrupting the arc of the sound. The “Dynamic Attack” parameter allows for sensitive impulse control, even in the finest pianissimo. In dual mode you can control two independent MIDI CCs, even simultaneously. Realtime data reduction, Inversion and Limitation of the signal and, of course, Drive and Offset are all included as performance options. Each parameter set can be saved in one of 25 available presets. For visual feedback, the breath-data is displayed continuously on the Breath-Value Display. The hb1 approach is innovative and progresses far beyond the possibilities of a common breath controller. Through the integration of standard MIDI and USB-ports, the hb1 functions with or without a computer. The hb1 is hand-crafted in Germany with great attention to detail and with a focus on sustainable manufacturing.
The hb1 is composed of a controller unit and an extremely accurate pressure sensor unit, which is connected to the mouthpiece by a flexible silicon tube and to the controller unit by a sensor cable. Two mouthpieces are supplied in different sizes so that the most comfortable can be chosen for use.
The mouthpiece, made of fine wood from a carefully selected tree, is mounted onto a stainless steel tube in which the sliding adjustable air intake valve can be adjusted as needed. The pressure sensor unit may be worn hung by a leather cord around the neck with the mouthpiece held between the lips. The hb1 includes a Neck Set which enables the mouthpiece to be set in a fixed position in front of the mouth. This is particularly helpful for live performances. The hb1 Neck Set is made from a flexible but robust metal tube that can be easily shaped and adapted for the musician's comfort and musical needs.
Any keyboard (or a MIDI guitar, etc.) can be connected from its MIDI OUT to the hb1 MIDI IN. This means that the merged MIDI data of the keyboard and the hb1 data are accessible on the hb1 MIDI OUT and USB OUT. The MIDI OUT of the hb1 can also be directly connected to the MIDI IN of a synthesizer or to the USB port of a computer. The hb1 provides an additional second MIDI OUT through its integrated USB MIDI-interface.
Range: 1 - 25
There are 25 presets that can be individually set according to your requirements.
Range: -10 - +10
Drive controls the sensitivity of the pressure sensor, i.e. you can adjust the hb1 to your breathing pressure. The larger the value, the more sensitively the hb1 will react to your breathing. If Drive 0 the pressure sensor unit will be switched off.
For a negative drive value, the output signal and the values of all parameters are inverted (except Pr, rd, CC and Ch). In principle, exhaling will turn into inhaling; in other words, exhaling decreases the output value while inhaling increases the output.
Range: 0 - 126
The base value starting point is set here prior to breathing into the mouthpiece. However, it is possible to fall below this value by breathing in.
Range: 0 - 40
Attack determines the speed at which output data follows the pressure curve when pressure is increased. With breath controllers, it is often very difficult (particularly with brass instruments) to achieve a sensitive, controlled “crescendo”. The crescendo rises too quickly.
To achieve smooth transitions, hb1 has been equipped with „dynamic“ attack parameter which is dependent on the drive parameter.
The combination of Drive, Attack and Release form the basis for a sensitive musical performance.
Range: 0 - 5
The Boost Attack is achieved by blowing especially strongly which cancels the effect of the Attack-Parameter. Consequently, the end value can be reached immediately - even with a high Attack value.
Range: 0 - 40
Release regulates the decay time. Slowly decreasing pressure (decrescendo) along with breathing in seamlessly are particularly challenging technical functions for breath controllers. The Release parameter was developed to address this issue. Thanks to this parameter, it is no longer necessary to blow along with the decaying sound (release sample). Furthermore, you can use release as an effect parameter, e.g. as “auto-fade-out”.
Range: 0 - 5
The Boost Release is achieved by very strongly inhaling the air so as to cancel the effect of the Release-Parameter. Consequently, the null value can be reached immediately - even with a high Release Value.
Range: 1 - 127
Using the Limit function, you are able to set a maximum value (as the name suggests) that will not be exceeded.
Range: 0 - 20
The hb1 works generally at a maximum resolution (1ms). However, it is sometimes useful to reduce data (e.g. overloaded MIDI bus).
Using the intelligent „reduction algorithm“ of the hb1 you can reach the upper limit without risk of losing important information and occurrence of artefacts.
Range: 0 - 127
All MIDI Continuous Controllers are supported.
Range: 1 - 16
Use to set the MIDI channel for sending controller data.
Range: 1 - 25
With the parameter CP you can activate the dual mode. Enter the number of preset that determines the parameters of the second channel. Then work simultaneously with two presets, as if you were using two parallel hb1.
Electrical supply: U=4,75V - 5,25 V, I < 100mA