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hb1 MIDI Breath Station in details

The Breath Controller for sensitive LIVE and STUDIO performance

The hb1 MIDI Breath Station enables you to regulate any electronic instrument or peripheral device with MIDI or USB-port. The special wooden mouth piece, a precision sensor and the combination of a MIDI-merger, an integrated MIDI-interface and the innovative parameters create the premise for a high precision and highly sensitive performance of your ideas, in studio or live. Ten of the twelve parameters allow an adaption of various details and impulses in your music. For instance, the adjustable “Release” allows breathing in without a gap in the sound.The “Dynamic Attack” parameter allows for sensitive sound control, even in the finest pianissimo. In multi mode you can use up to four hb1 presets simultaneously and with this feature it is possible to control up to four MIDI CCs streams independently. Realtime data reduction, Inversion and Limitation of the signal and, of course, Drive and Offset are all a part of the setting options. Each parameter can be saved in 25 presets. Additionally, the breath-data is displayed constantly 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 as well as with a focus on the aspect of sustainability.

hb1 Details

The hb1 is composed of a controller unit and an extremely accurate pressure sensor unit which is connected to the mouthpiece by a silicon hose 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 precious wood from the wild service 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 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 which can be easily shaped and adapted for the musician's comfort and musical needs.


Two mouthpieces

hb1 neck set3

hb1 Neck Set

hb1 neck set1

hb1 Neck Set - front view

hb1 neck set2

hb1 Neck Set - side view

Any keyboard (or a MIDI guitar, etc) can be connected by its MIDI OUT to hb1 over its MIDI IN. This means that the merged Midi data of the keyboard and the hb1 data are accessible on the MIDI OUT and USB OUT. The MIDI OUT of the hb1 can also be directly connected over the MIDI IN to a synthesizer or over the USB port of a computer. The hb1 provides an additional MIDI OUT 2 through its integrated USB MIDI-interface.

hb1 use

hb1 Parameters

presets Presets

Range: 1 - 25

There are 25 presets that can be individually set according to your requirements.

drive Drive

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.

offset Offset

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.

attack Attack

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.

boost attack Boost Attack

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.

release Release

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”.

boost release Boost Release

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.

limit Limit

Range: 1 - 127

Using the Limit function, you are able to set a maximum value (as the name suggests) that will not be exceeded.

data reduction Data Reduction

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.

continuous controller Continuous Controller

Range: 0 - 127

All MIDI Continuous Controllers are supported.

midi channel MIDI Channel

Range: 1 - 16

Use to set the MIDI channel for sending controller data.

combined preset Combined Preset

Range: 1 - 25

With the parameter CP you can activate the "multi mode". You can use up to four hb1 presets simultaneously and with this feature it is possible to control up to four MIDI CCs streams independently, as if you were using four parallel hb1.

Items included

Controller unit
Pressure sensor unit
Two mouthpieces, made of precious wood of the wild service tree
One stainless steel tube with an adjustable air intake valve
hb1 Neck Set
Silicone hose
2 m sensor cable (4-pole)
1.8 m USB cable
Cleaning swab for the mouthpiece
Wool felt carrying case

Minimum System Requirements for use with computer

1 x USB 2.0 Port
Works with any standard operating system
Recommendation: use current operating systems
No driver installation necessary (Plug and Play)

Technical Data

Manufacturer: Hornberg Research GbR
Model: hb1
Description: MIDI Breath Station

Electrical supply

U=4,75V - 5,25V DC, I < 100mA
Via USB interface or Standard USB power adapter
Connection via USB Model B socket
Internal resolution: 1ms


1 x DIN-MIDI IN 31250 bit/s, 5mA
2 x DIN-MIDI OUT 31250 bit/s
USB 2.0
Connection for the pressure sensor unit