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Uber Synth - Layered Multi-Timbral Synthesizer

Uber Synth is an Audiobus MIDI-controllable layered polyphonic multi-timbral FM synthesizer that runs on any iOS device. By layered we mean that it blends multiple sounds or timbres (2 at present). The underlying sound engine is based on an enhanced polyphonic triple-oscillator cross-modulated FM synthesizer first introduced in our xMod app.

Uber Synth runs on both iPhone and iPad.

Uber Synth provides five layered/multi-timbal options:

  1. Mix the sounds of any two sound patches (e.g., flute and cello)
  2. Using the sound map, "smudge" multiple sound patches (icons in sound space) to create a composite sound
  3. Specify a region in sound space centered on a sound and move a point by a variable randomized amount within the region each time you play a note to create an evolving mix of the center sound and the sound nearest the point
  4. Do the same as above but move the point automatically at a specified rate
  5. Generate specified as well as randomized sound palettes across the keyboard as in the original version.

The videos below were generated from the previous version of Uber Synth, which had a different screen layout.

Blend Mode 1 - Mix Synth Sounds

The "<" and ">" buttons cycle through 32 preset and 32 custom (user programmable) sounds. The current patch (sound) is displayed below these buttons. "SYN1" and "SYN2" switches between the two synth sounds. The "<" and ">" buttons change the selected synth patch. The upper left knob "BLEND" mixes the two synths in this blend mode. The video below shows a short example.

Blend Mode 2- Smudge Synth Sounds

Tap "SOUND MAP" to toggle between the synth control panel and the sound map controls. The sound map displays all of the sound patches in a 2-D "space" of icons. Sounds that are similar in timbre are near each other. Tap an icon to move to that sound. Moving your finger around the sound map blends by "smudging" sound. The amount is controlled by the "INERTIA" knob as seen the example below. Tap an icon to obtain the original sound, i.e., without smudging.

Each preset and custom sound is represented by a 16-dimensional parameter vector that is projected into the 2-D sound map. The projection algorithm (called non-linear mapping) is not unique and gives somewhat different visualizations each time it is computed at app startup.

Blend Mode 3 - Key-Triggered Time Evolution/Blend

Tap "TIME" and unselect "AUTO" for this mode, which moves a point within a region you select in the sound map each time a key is pressed. "RANGE" is the size of the region. "CHANGE" is a randomized amount the point moves each time you tap a key. "INERTIA" controls the blending of sound in time. The "BLEND" knob controls the mix between the sound of the central icon and the sound of the icon closest to the moving point.

Blend Mode 4 - Auto-Triggered Time Evolution/Blend

This is like the previous mode except the point is moved automatically at a rate controlled by the "RATE" knob. Tap "AUTO" for this mode.

Blend Mode 5 - Spatial (Keyboard) Blend

Tap "SPACE" to select this mode. "CLEAR" resets the multi-timbral keyboard. Now press a key and move your finger in the sound space to the sound you want. Press another key and move your finger to a different location in the sound space. Now play the keys between the two notes and notice how Uber Synth blends the two timbres. You can combine as many timbres (i.e., sounds in the sound map) in this way as you like. When playing you can watch the sound map change as different sounds are selected and combined depending on the position of the note on the keyboard. Tap "RAND" to assign random timbres to notes on the keyboard. The range is controlled by the "RANGE" knob. Turn "BLEND" all the way to the right to obtain a smooth transition between sound as you move up and down the keyboard.

Go to the xMod documentation for information on the other controls.

N.B. Turn off multitasking gestures in the settings app when playing the keyboard for best results.

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