Wednesday, February 19, 2014

More on Microtuning in Synthmaster: easy transposing

Ladies and gentlemen, I am a dolt. I was complaining about Synthmaster not having an easy transposition control, so when I loaded Scala alternate tunings that had very few divisions to the octave - like equal tempered 4 or 5 note tunings - the center range of the MIDI keyboard would be ridiculously high. After playing around with some software that generates .SCL files, this obvious solution smacked me in the face:

Just about every DAW worth its salt has some kind of MIDI transpose insert like this - I happen to be using Reaper. This is the easiest, fastest way to control where the lowest note falls. I'm just embarrassed I didn't think of it sooner.

And Bulent (Synthmaster developer) - I'm sorry I hassled you with an unnecessary feature request. The .SCL support in Synthmaster is already perfect, don't mess with it! It's so nice to be able to directly use the human-readable .SCL files rather than having to export as .TUN or .GLY files as other VSTi plugins require.

Oh, and another thing to love about Synthmaster: it holds its tuning as you change patches. That lets you easily audition different patches with the same microtuning.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Synthmaster and Alternate Tuning (Scala) support

It's fantastic to see alternate tuning support already in Synthmaster, but a couple of small enhancements would make it far more usable.

Number one, there needs to be a master tuning control that pitches the entire instrument up and down by semitones (or whatever units the currently loaded Scala file uses), and also a fine tune control. There's already a fine tune control, so a scale unit control would be easy to add, I would think. Here's how it's handled in Zebra:

Also, for some equal temperament Scala files like 5-TET, it seems like Synthmaster pitches the entire tuning way too high. A way to set the "scala center" would be extremely useful, like we see in the Sforzando plugin:

And while we're on the subject of tuning, I find Synthmaster's individual oscillator tuning controls very difficult to work with - is there really no way to make the units snap to semitones? It's fiddly to get the oscillators tuned just right.

(These are quibbles - I still love the hell out of this plugin!)