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Synful Orchestra Technology

What is Synful Orchestra

Synful Orchestra is a program that simulates symphonic wind and string instruments. It was first released in 2005. It is a plug-in program that requires a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) program such as Apple Logic, Cubase, Protools, Digital Performer, Ableton, Sonar, or Reaper. It supports three plugin formats: VST3, Audio Units, and AAX. It runs on Mac and Windows.


Synful Orchestra is different from traditional sample libraries because it emphasizes realistic transitions between notes, and independent control of vibrato, bow and breath noise, and other aspects of musical expression. Synful Orchestra also builds instrumental string and wind sections in a natural way by combining individual instruments positioned on a virtual stage. To accomplish all of this Synful Orchestra stores audio in a additive synthesis plus noise format. This allows for flexible morphing of the sound and even supports "imaginary instruments" by transforming natural sounds. 


Realism, Expression and Smart Articulation

Realistic instrument simulations depend on the transitions between notes, as
much as on the individual timbres. Slurs with varying amounts of portamento, lightly tongued or bowed note transitions, fast runs, detached hard attacks – these note transitions are the connective tissue of musical expression. Whether you play live from keyboard or edit directly in a sequencer Synful Orchestra responds automatically with realistic sounding note transitions. There are no special buttons or phrasing tools. If you play staccato Synful Orchestra creates staccato attacks. If you play legato Synful Orchestra creates realistic legato transitions. Synful Orchestra models the way notes are sustained, the graceful onset of vibrato, breath sounds, the sound of the bow on the string, the change of tone color as a note becomes louder or softer. Using the innovate Synful Pitch Wheel mode , you can easily create natural string portamento. Synful Orchestra lets you make music like a musician not like a programmer.

Synful Reconstructive Phrase Modeling Technology

Synful Orchestra is not a sampler or a sample library. Synful Orchestra is not a physical modeling synthesizer. It is an entirely new concept in music synthesis. At the heart of Synful Orchestra is Synful’s  Reconstructive Phrase Modeling (RPM) technology. This is the result of many years of research, several patents, and a lifetime of experimentation, design, and frustration with older synthesis technologies.

See Localization and Section Controls in Users Guide for more details. 

RPM Phrase Database: Morphing and Splicing

RPM technology uses a database of recorded phrases of orchestral instruments. These are not recordings of isolated notes but complete musical passages that represent all kinds of articulation and phrasing. When Synful Orchestra receives MIDI input it looks at the pitch, velocity, amount of separation or overlap between notes, note duration, volume, pitch, and modulation controls to determine what kind of phrase is being played. Synful Orchestra uses a set of advanced algorithms to search the RPM Phrase Database in real-time for fragments that can be spliced together to form this phrase. These fragments represent transitions between notes, slurs with portamento, lightly tongued transitions, aggressive fast bowing, rapid runs, long sustain regions with graceful vibrato, and noise elements like flute chiffs and bow scratches. Synful Orchestra morphs these fragments by stretching and shifting in time and pitch so that they combine to form the final output.


Get the technical paper Music Synthesis with Reconstructive Phrase Modeling published in IEEE Signal Processing Magazine, March 2007

Synful RPM Additive Synthesis

A single note in Synful Orchestra may be built from three or more rapidly spliced RPM phrase fragments. Splicing ordinary PCM sampled sounds in this way would create unacceptable warbles and clicks. Synful Orchestra uses a patented form of additive synthesis in which sounds are generated from combinations of pure sine waves and noise elements. This gives Synful Orchestra the ability to rapidly stretch, shift, and splice phrase fragments while preserving perfect phrase continuity.

See RPM Reconstructive Phrase Modeling in Users Guide for more details.  

MIDI Look Ahead

Realistic note transitions begin before a new note starts. When a wind player plays a slur, the timbre and intensity of the current note begins to change well before the pitch changes to the new note. This anticipation of the upcoming note is a key aspect of expressive playing. Performers can do this because they know ahead of time when they are going to play a new note and they prepare for it with changes in embouchure and breath pressure.

To model this kind of expression a synthesizer needs to have the same knowledge of the future. Synful Orchestra handles this with two modes of operation. When playing live from a keyboard Synful Orchestra has no knowledge of when a new note is coming, and so it does its best to react as expressively as possible with low latency when a new note occurs. However, when playing from a sequence Synful Orchestra can optionally add a delay to the Midi input. This delay allows Synful Orchestra to look ahead in the Midi sequence, recognize when a new note is coming, and anticipate it with appropriate changes to the timbre and intensity of the current note. The result is more realistic and natural phrasing.

See Delay for Expression in Users Guide for more details. 

Realistic String, Brass, and Woodwind Sections

Any Synful Orchestra solo instrument can be turned into a natural sounding section. Synful Orchestra uses its RPM database to guarantee realistic variation between players. You can select the number of players in the section, how the players are positioned on stage, the rhythmic variation between the players, detuning among the players, and more.

See Localization and Section Controls in Users Guide for more details. 

Natural Divisi

Synful Orchestra sections simulate realistic and natural divisi. If you play a monophonic line with ten violin players then they all play that line. If you play a ten note chord then each player will play one note in the chord and the ten players will be spread out in space. If you play three note chords then the ten players distribute themselves automatically 4-3-3 across the notes.

See Natural Sounding Divisi  in Users Guide for more details. 

Flexible Player Positioning

Synful Orchestra instruments are positioned on a virtual stage. The player and listener positions and room size can be adjusted. Each instrument in the orchestra sounds like its coming from a specific location. The Synful sound positioning technology uses inter-aural level differences and inter-aural time differences, direct signals and as well as wall and ceiling reflections to synthesize player position. The result is much more realistic sounding than simple panning.

See Localization and Section Controls in Users Guide for more details. 

Authentic Vibrato Controlled from the Mod Wheel

Traditional samplers have two ways of introducing vibrato – both are inadequate. In the first, the vibrato is recorded with the sample. The vibrato can sound authentic but it is frozen so that you cannot control it as part of an expressive performance. The second way records samples without vibrato and then applies artificial frequency and amplitude modulation (LFO) during synthesis. This allows expressive control but sounds artificial because the vibrato is too simple. Synful Orchestra uses its RPM additive synthesis technology to provide the best of both techniques. With Synful Orchestra the vibrato you hear is the original rich and complex vibrato of the recorded phrases in the RPM database. However, you can also control the vibrato using the Mod wheel so that it sounds expressive within the context of the phrase.

Synful Pitch Wheel Mode

Getting authentic sounding string slides and portamento has always been challenging for synthesizers and samplers. Synful introduces the new Synful Pitch Wheel Mode which makes it easy to generate expressive and natural sounding pitch slides and portamento.

See Synful Pitch Wheel  in Users Guide for more details. 

Synful Orchestra is Small and Efficient – Great for Desktops and Notebooks

The recorded phrases in the RPM phrase database are stored in additive synthesis format not as PCM sampled wave files. This method of storing instrumental sounds is much more compact then traditional PCM. The entire Synful Orchestra fits in just 32M of memory and loads in seconds. Because of its compact size Synful Orchestra has no need for disk streaming and does not require a computer with a state of the art high-speed disk system. Synful Orchestra runs great on ordinary desktop and notebook computers.

Synful Orchestra Instruments

Flute, Oboe, English Horn, Clarinet, Bass Clarinet*, Bassoon, Contra-Bassoon, French Horn, Trumpet, Trombone, Violin, Viola, Cello, Contrabass.

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