Motion Controls

Motion Controls


The Motion Controls allow you to augment various parameters in your digital instruments using the motion of your iPhone/iPod Touch. They are the equivalent of the assignable knobs on your MIDI keyboard. AC Sabre includes 6 motion types each of which, when enabled, sends a live stream of MIDI CC data when the Instrument View is active. Creatively mapping them to your synth/sampler effects such as filter frequency, resonance, delay mix, etc, is the secret to discovering amazing new dimensions of your electronic instruments.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Unlike knobs and faders which generally only change when you touch them, in the Sabre, when the Instrument View is active, the Motion Controls send several, more-or-less continuous streams of MIDI CC values simultaneously to your computer / target device. This can be a bit chaotic at times such as when you enable MIDI Learn on your target DAW/synth/sampler. When you are not playing the Sabre, get into the habit of pausing the live streams by segueing to the Settings section via the button on QuickPanel 1.

How to Map a Motion Control to Your Soft Synth

The procedure to connect a Motion Control to your synth/plugin/DAW/etc is similar to mapping a knob or a fader on any other midi device, usually through the target’s “MIDI Learn” functionality.  First go to the Settings section via the button in QuickPanel 1.

If the particular Motion Control you want has a dimmed icon, you first need to enable it…

  • Tap the desired Motion Control to drill down to the Details Screen and then tap circle button in the upper left to enable the control.
  • Or alternatively, simply long press (tap and hold) the Motion Control icon

To map the Motion Control…

  • Tap the desired Motion Control to drill down to the Details Screen and then tap the “Learn” button.
  • Or alternatively, double tap the Motion Control icon

An alert should pop up telling you that Sabre is sending MIDI output to the correct target value.


While the popup is open, Sabre sends a corresponding MIDI value periodically. Leave the popup open and now enable MIDI Learn in your DAW or synth / sampler.  The value should map within 1 second. Now you can exit MIDI Learn in your DAW/synth and click “Done” in Sabre to close the alert and end Learn Mode.

To test the mapping exit out of the Settings screen and begin moving the device along the axis of motion you just mapped. You should see the control in your DAW update.

Motion Control Types

There are 6 Motion Controls which divide into three types.

Angle Controls

Angle controls send values based on which way the device is pointing in 3-dimensional space.  There are 3 axes…


Pitch — i.e. Pitch angle – not to be confused with the frequency of a note – is the up/down tilt of the device. By default the median value sent when the device is flat. Higher values correspond to angling the device upwards and lower values downwards.  By default this is enabled and assigned to output its value on MIDI CC#74


Roll — Like a barrel roll performed by an airplane. By default the minimum value of 0 is sent when the device is flat and positive values are sent when you turn your wrist inwards (anti-clockwise for right-handed setup and clockwise for left-handed). This corresponds to how the Mod Wheel works on MIDI keyboards and the default output for this motion is on MIDI CC#1 which is assignment used by the mod wheel on a keyboard.


Yaw — This is the compass direction which the device is pointing. It’s the axis used to sweep through the Beams, and it may also be mapped to a MIDI CC output. With Yaw, the median value corresponds to the calibrated centre position (see Beams & Notes) with higher values to the rights and lower values to the left.

Linear Acceleration Controls

Unlike the angle controls, these are not positional but instead send values based on the current force in that direction. Sabre makes 2 available


Shake — This is a linear up/down motion (i.e. the angle of the device does not change, just the vertical height). It’s the motion employed by vibrato and may also be mapped to other values.  When in Bi-polar mode (see Motion Control Details) the median value is sent when the device is at rest. Higher values correspond to an upward force and lower values to a downward force.  When in uni-polar mode, zero is sent at rest with positive values sent when there is a force in either directon.


Shuffle — A linear motion forward and backwards.

Derived Motion Controls


Play Intensity — In this Motion Control, Sabre uses an algorithm to determine how intensely you are playing. Map it to increase reverb or distortion or to a compressor amount to increase an sounds intensity when you play more intensely.