One of the most talked-about new releases at the 2005 Winter NAMM Show was Synful Orchestra.
Synful Orchestra is a VST/DXi Virtual Software Plugin Synthesizer based on Synful’s innovative Reconstructive Phrase Modeling (RPM) technology. Synful Orchestra is not a sampler or a sample library.
Automatically Creates Natural Phrasing and Articulation
Synful Orchestra responds to the performer. When you play a phrase with legato and detached notes, with accents, and pedal nuances, Synful Orchestra responds with realistic sounding slurs, tonguing, and bowing. No laborious editing of performances to select from a limited set of articulations in a sample library.
Realism Expressivity and Ease of Use
Real instruments have many ways of moving from note to note: slurs with varying amounts of portamento, lightly tongued or bowed note transitions, fast runs, detached hard attacks, etc. These note transitions are the connective tissue of musical expression. Whether you play live or from a MIDI sequence Synful Orchestra models these transitions. 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 RPM Technology
ynful Orchestra is not a sampler or a sampler library or. Synful Orchestra is not a physical modeling synthesizer. It is an entirely new concept in music synthesis. According to Synful CEO, Eric Lindemann, Synful Orchestra and RPM are the result of eight years of intensive research. “We have long felt the need for a new technology to model expressive instruments such as strings and winds,” said Lindemann. “Sampling is just too stiff. You can’t play an expressive violin phrase on a sampler, no matter how good the sample library is”.
RPM Phrase Database
In Synful Orchestra the RPM Phrase Database is stored in memory and contains musical phrases for each instrument. These are not recordings of isolated notes but complete musical passages that represent all kinds of articulation and phrasing.
Searching and Splicing
When Synful Orchestra receives MIDI input it looks at the pitch, velocity, amount of separation or overlap between notes, note duration, volume, pitch wheel, and mod wheel to determine what kind of phrase is being played. Synful Orchestra searches the RPM Phrase Database 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 stretches and shifts these fragments in time and pitch so that they combine to form the final output.
RPM Additive SynthesisTechnology
Synful Orchestra uses a patented form of additive synthesis in which sounds are generated from combinations of pure sine waves and noise elements. T A single note in Synful Orchestra may be built from three or more rapidly spliced phrase fragments. Splicing ordinary PCM sampled sounds in this way would create unacceptable warbles and clicks. RPM additive synthesishis gives Synful Orchestra the ability to rapidly stretch, shift, and splice phrase fragments while preserving perfect phrase continuity. While additive synthesis can be computationally intensive, RPM innovations allow Synful Orchestra to generate 100 to160 voices in real-time on a 1.5 GHz Pentium IV.
The Synful Orchestra sound examples on Synful’s website feature Synful Orchestra strings playing an excerpt from Beethoven String Quartet Opus 132, Synful Orchestra winds playing the first few minutes of Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring, Synful Orchestra brass playing Copland’s Fanfare for the Common Man, and the entire Synful Orchestra playing a movement from a new composition by Anna Lindemann Hari-Hara. The Synful Orchestra sound examples demonstrate expressive and demanding instrumental playing. With Synful Orchestra the results are very realistic. It is difficult to believe that these results come from a synthesizer.
Are Samplers Obsolete?
To realize the Synful Orchestra sound examples using even the most advanced sampler with the best sample libraries would require many hours manually selecting samples to achieve different note articulations. Even then the results would be disappointing, stiff, and unnatural. This is because it is impossible to achieve realistic musical phrasing for expressive instruments using samplers. A sample library is a collection of recordings of isolated notes. It is not surprising that when these recordings are strung together they sound like a sequence of unrelated isolated notes. With Synful Orchestra things are different:
- Synful Orchestra models transitions between notes automatically.
- Synful Orchestra models vibrato and extends the duration of notes using sophisticated statistical techniques. Sample loops with all their limitations are a thing of the past.
- Synful Orchestra responds to volume, pitch, and velocity changes with continuous changes in timbre, just like a real instrument.
For more information, visit the Synful site.