Jun 292014
 
XenFont
XenFont
A HYBRID SOUNDFONT & SUBTRACTIVE SYNTHESIS VSTI
FOR THE CREATION OF MICROTONAL AND XENHARMONIC MUSIC
By Xen-Arts 
XenFont is a two oscillator, hybrid SF2 SoundFont & Subtractive Synthesis VSTi that features full-controller MIDI Pitch Microtuning using the MTS (MIDI Tuning Standard) format, where any MIDI Note Number can be freely microtuned to any desired pitch across the MIDI range, enabling computer musicians and composers to explore the vast expressive possibilities of composing music with alternative intonation systems.
XenFont is a microtonal sound-designer’s SF2 sample-based synthesizer, with a carefully designed ergonomic workflow for quickly creating powerful sounding and musical useful timbres. The instrument enables users to load their own SF2 SoundFont files and thereby any special timbres required of the music at hand, from classical acoustic instruments, to synthesized ones. Routing the SF2 SoundFont Oscillators through the internal synthesis functions of the VSTi, provides a way to radically transform the original sounds and create new synthesized timbres.

 XenFont is also an educational tool for learning about computer music sound-design, sampling and subtractive sound synthesis, as well as musical instrument intonation (aka microtuning and xenharmonics).
XenFont embodies a design philosophy of simplicity for microtonal music sound-design…
  • Enables computer musicians and composers to freely load their own SF2 SoundFonts into a fully microtonal, hybrid sampling & subtractive synthesis based VSTi.
  • A ‘knob-less’ design featuring slider controls only, which enables intuitive direct control with a computer mouse.
  • A dedicated control signal system mapped to the most important synthesis functions.
  • Settings are made by typing values into fields, dropdown lists, left-and-right arrows, switches and sliders.
  • Enables musicians to specify precise microtonal pitch-bend settings.
  • Features arbitrary microtonal oscillator transposition settings.
  • Velocity modulation of harmonics enables dynamically playing harmonics of the fundamental pitch.
  • Envelope generators with per-stage ADSR keyboard tracking.
 

Detailed Features…
Oscillator Section
  • Two Soundfont Oscillators that enable users to load their own SF2 files.
  • Microtonal, Harmonic Series and Subharmonic Series Oscillator Transposition.
  • Pitch Envelope Generator with Per-Stage ADSR Keyboard Tracking and Polarity Switching.
  • Host Synchronized LFO (with Rate Sequencer) for Cross-Fade Modulation between Oscillators.
  • Analog Pitch Drift Emulator with both Unipolar and Bipolar Modulation
  • Velocity-to-Harmonics Modulation enables oscillators to dynamically sound harmonics of the fundamental pitch
  • Ring Modulation
  • Oscillator and Ring Modulator Mixer with Six Cross-Fade Modes.
Filter Section
  • Pre-Filter Saturation Stage with 20 Saturation Types.
  • Two Independent Filters with Six Filter Types: LP4, LP2, HPF, BPF, BRF, APF.
  • One and Two Stage Filter Cascade.
  • Host Synchronized LFO (with Rate Sequencer) and Envelope Generator for Filter Cutoff Frequency Modulation.
  • Filter Envelope Generator with Per-Stage ADSR Keyboard Tracking and Polarity Switching.
  • LFO and Envelope Generator enables both Unipolar and Bipolar Filter Modulation.
VCA Section
  • Dedicated Envelope Generator.
  • VCA Envelope Generator with Per-Stage ADSR Keyboard Tracking.
  • Switchable Velocity Sensitivity and Fixed Volume Control.
Performance Control
  • MIDI Pitch Microtuning with MTS (MIDI Tuning Standard).
  • MTS Support for both Single Note and Bulk Dump.
  • Loads MTS Microtuning Format Files Internally and Receives MTS Externally.
  • Local (Per-Patch) and Global Microtuning (Static Microtuning for All Patches).
  • Microtunings can be loaded from any directory on hard drives or storage devices connected to the computer.
  • Ten Note Polyphonic.
  • Monophonic Legato Mode.
  • Polyphonic Portamento with Three Glide Modes.
  • Microtonal Pitch Bend.
  • Vibrato.
  • Effects include Chorus, Flanger, Phasers, Warm Filter and Stereo Ensemble.
 
XenFont is a freeware 32-bit VSTi for Windows XP or higher and includes
a detailed instruction manual, 75 factory patches and 54 microtonal tunings. 
 
Download:
[33 MB]
 
Some Background Information

Sometime after the release of the Xen-Arts IVOR VSTi, it was requested to consider producing a microtonal SF2 SoundFont instrument. At first it was my impression that the SF2 format was generally dead; superseded by the newer SFZ format used in many current popular VSTi.

This turned out to be not entirely accurate, and it appears rather that the SF2 format is alive and well, and is used in quite a number of popular music software applications; in particular on the Mac OS, where there is a full featured microtonal SoundFont instrument available. But on the Windows side of the OS universe, there have been far less options for serious microtonal and xenharmonic composition using SF2 SoundFonts.

With the ability to freely load any ‘historical’ SoundFont files one may have in their sample archive, or tapping into the vast numbers of free ones available around the web, this VSTi provides a way to dust off those old SF2 and give them a new sonic life, in a no-compromise, fully microtonal, hybrid sampler-synthesizer instrument.

 

IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT XEN-ARTS SOFTWARE

Please note that Xen-Arts software never has been, and never will be, infected with computer viruses; this we promise. If your virus software ever indicates that our microtonal music software has a virus, this is what is known as a False Positive. Contacting the developer of your virus software to make them aware of the false positive is the best solution.

SF2 SoundFont Resources

While there are vast numbers of freeware SF2, and in many cases, tragically orphaned ones,
available
around the web, below are a few links to get started with:

Personal Copy SoundFonts

A website containing numerous relatively high-quality GM SF2
 Creator of the GM SF2 used in the XenFont default factory patches:
GeneralUser GS SoftSynth v1.44.sf2

Old Soundcard Emulation

 Contains a number of old soundcard SF2.
 
Soundfonts for chipmusic, chiptune and retro games.
If there are other useful SF2 SoundFonts and sites that visitors would like make us aware of, please feel free to post your links in the comments of this announcement.

We hope that you will enjoy this fun new microtonal instrument. Let us know what you think.

VST Planet has been kind enough to create the below video demo of some of the single SF2 patches 1-32.

 

From page 5 of the XenFont manual:

1. Patches 1-32 use only SF2 Oscillator A, and have all of the synthesis functions of the instrument disabled. These simple patches are a great way to explore microtunings using only a single SF2 source without any of the synthesis and signal processing features being activated. They can also be used as basic initialization patches and starting points for creating one’s own custom timbres.
2. Patches 33 and above use both SF2 Oscillators A & B in conjunction with the synthesis functions; many of which showcase the various unique features of the instrument, such as the Per-Stage ASDR Keyboard Tracking, Velocity-to-Harmonics Modulation, Microtonal Oscillator Transposition, LFO Controlled Oscillator Cross-Fading and Rate Sequencing. These patches also provide great starting points for one’s own custom, although more complex, sound-designs.
 Posted by at 10:43 pm

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