This question seems obvious, but I have not yet found any solution: if I have for example 3 trumpets (which are actually from a same midi instrument), and I want to submit the same passage to the three, but I want each one to have small oscillations time and tuning, as well as any real human execution, which plugin I could use?

I know there is the Frank's midi plugin, but I plan on doing this detuning directly on the audio output.

Currently I make the corrections in the midi manually. The problem is that "randomly" may create a variation each time Sonar plays the song, and that's a problem, because I could not have a consistent recording at each review, that is, every time I was to generate a final audio file, the trumpets would have a different interpretation, and that's not good.

The correct thing is that the plugin generates a random pattern variation and this pattern should be registered from then on.

In short, it is a way to facilitate the humanization of a midi pass without having to do this manually at all times.

  • You know one other way to humanize a MIDI part is to actually play it in and then use a quantization algorithm that allows you to select a strength percentage. Commented May 2, 2018 at 19:39
  • if you have something that works and you want to have it be constant could you record the audio with the randomness onto an audio track. downside is that to make a change you would need to make the change in the midi and then rerecord the audio.
    – b3ko
    Commented May 2, 2018 at 20:07

3 Answers 3


There are DAWs that will help you humanize/randomize MIDI timing and velocity. Pro Tools and Logic both offer this feature. In each one, you can select a range of notes, choose a MIDI event edit menu function and there will be a randomize/humanize option that lets you pick from min and max and randomness parameters.

For pitch, it's less straighforward. You don't want to try randomizing pitch in MIDI note data because note numbers are discrete. You can make something slightly out of tune with a note number, you can only shift it to a different in-tune note.

So the way to randomize pitch for humanization is to put a random LFO wave shape on the MIDI pitch wheel CC. You'll want this to be very subtle or it's going to sound like a high school band. You might try with the timing and velocity first, and then if that still sounds too mechanical look at slight pitch wheel randomization for one of the parts.

Note: I think the pitch wheel CC affects the entire MIDI channel (or at least an entire virtual instrument), so you may have to split the parts into different tracks to make sure you don't randomize all the pitches together.

I've done this extensively with several MIDI parts over the years and never used a plugin, but if you are using a DAW that doesn't have these features, you may have to use a plug-in or some other way to randomize the data.

  • Thank you. I use Sonar and I will search how to associate a random LFO wave shape on the MIDI pitch wheel CC. Commented May 2, 2018 at 19:54
  • @RogérioDec Some DAWs have a CC channel drawing tool that lets you draw straight lines or whatever, and there might be a random draw tool. Unfortunately I've never used Sonar. Commented May 2, 2018 at 19:59

I found this:

There is a CAL script you can run in Sonar called HUMANIZE that will add variation to the timing and velocities of you MIDI notes. When you run it, it will ask you for a number between 1 and 100. The lower the number the more variation you'll get.

If you want to add variations to just the velocities, you can run the Process\MIDI Fx\Cakewalk FX Velocity tool and use the Randomize function. Select the Limit function (leave the min and max values at 1 and 127) then click on the Randomize option and then adjust the Amount slider to the amount of randomization you'd like. Here the higher numbers give more variation.

source: http://www.soundsonline-forums.com/showthread.php?t=29325

  • Thank you. I use Sonar and I use humanize.cal constantly. However, it does not change the pitch. Commented May 2, 2018 at 19:53
  • 1
    @RogérioDec ok, sorry i didn't realize that, i will leave this answer here for others that may find it helpful. good luck.
    – b3ko
    Commented May 2, 2018 at 20:05

You might try the plugin demo version of Crusher X. I use it with Sonar and I think with a little patient exploration you could tame it into randomly detuning midi notes.

  • Thanks, I've installed Crusher X demo. I'm trying but can't find how to create just a random micro tune adjustment... Do you know how? Commented May 3, 2018 at 4:08

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