Dec 302016
 

Xen-Arts presents…

XenFont2

A Stereo SF2 SoundFont VSTi Featuring AM, XFM, RM & Subtractive Synthesis Functionality With MTS Full Keyboard Microtuning

Xen-Arts is pleased to present to computer musicians, composers and alternative intonation enthusiasts (microtonal, xenharmonic, just intonation, temperaments), XenFont2, a significant evolution and refinement of the original XenFont SF2 SoundFont synthesizer design. New features in this version include:

Stereo SF2 Oscillators
Features two stereo SF2 oscillators and a stereo signal path through the instrument.

MOD-GEN
A MOD-GEN is essentially a generalized hybrid Modulation Source Generator, which includes an envelope generator that can be switched between an ADSR or a Graphic Envelope Generator, and an LFO that can be switched to run at audio-rate: the ARO. The XenFont2 VSTi features six total MOD-GEN of this type, which are used for modulating the Amplitude for each of the two stereo SF2 oscillators, Crossfade Modulation (XFM), Filters, VCA and Pitch.

A powerful synthesis feature of the XenFont2 VSTi, is that when the MOD-GEN LFOs are switched to the ARO mode, they are capable of generating additional sideband spectra in the signal, resulting in complex, expressive and evolving timbres. Additionally, the frequency ratios of each ARO may be configured by loading a Partials File (TXT), which enables basic tuning and timbre correlations of the generated sideband spectra, especially where sine-waves are being used as the modulating waveform.

Oscillator A & B Pitch Modulation Polarity
All pitch-modulation sources may be configured so that the pitch of each oscillator can be modulated in a common direction and polarity, or the signals inverted for modulation in opposite directions, as well as switched to a static setting without modulation when, for example, using the MIDI Pitch Wheel Controller. When the modulation control signals are inverted, the phase of the modulation sources routed to each oscillator’s pitch is effectively at 180°.

Each of the below pitch modulation sources may be configured to modulate the pitch of the two oscillators in either a common direction and polarity (0° phase), or otherwise, in opposite (phase inverted 180°) directions:

Pitch Bend Controller
Mod-Wheel Vibrato
Pitch Mod-Gen
Harmonic Mod-Gen

Crossfade Modulation (XFM)
Crossfade Modulation itself is a common feature of contemporary synthesizers, however, this instrument enables a unique variant of the technique: partials-file controlled audio-rate modulation between two oscillator sources using a dedicated MOD-GEN, which is capable of generating intonation-related sideband spectra, thereby creating interesting sonic relationships between the microtuning and timbre of the instrument, and especially in the most simple XFM case scenario of using sinewaves with different pitch transposition offsets.

This newest iteration is in response to user requests to design an instrument that would integrate the synthesizer features of the original XenFont, the stereo signal path of our simple One-SF2 with the MOD-GEN modulation architecture of our IVOR2 VSTi. XenFont2 is the end result of this synthesis of features from these three popular Xen-Arts virtual instruments.

With the new stereo SF2 oscillators and deep modulation features, the XenFont2 VSTi opens myriad new and exciting realms of microtonal and xenharmonic sound-design possibility using SF2 SoundFonts.

Jacky Ligon
Xen-Arts
2017

XenFont2

The Stereo SF2 SoundFont Synthesizer VSTi Featuring MTS Full Keyboard Microtuning

by Xen-Arts

XenFont2 (Windows 32-bit VSTi) is a stereo, 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.

XenFont2 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 stereo 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.

XenFont2 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).

XenFont2 embodies a design philosophy of simplicity for microtonal music sound-design:

  • A knob-less design primarily featuring slider controls, 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
  • MIDI-CC modulation of harmonics enables dynamically playing harmonics of the fundamental pitch

Features

Oscillator Section

  • Two Stereo SF2 SoundFont Oscillators that enable users to load their own SF2 files.
  • Microtonal, Cents-Based Oscillator Transposition
  • Per-Oscillator Analog Pitch Drift Emulator
  • Flexible channel routing options for each oscillator

Mod-Gen Section

  • Six dedicated Modulation Generators (MOD-GEN), featuring an ADSR and Graphic Envelope Generator, and an LFO that can be switched to run at Audio-Rate, which are for modulating Amplitude (AM) of each oscillator, Crossfade Modulation (XFM), Filters, Pitch and VCA
  • MIDI-CC-to-Harmonics Modulation enables oscillators to dynamically sound harmonics of the fundamental pitch

Oscillator Mixer Section

  • Oscillator Mixer for setting relative oscillator volumes, Cross-Fade Modulation (XFM) and Ring Modulator (RM)
  • Cross-Fade Modulation (XFM) Mode with six directional options for cross-fading between the two oscillators, including Sum (XFM bypass)

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
  • Parallel and serial order routing
  • Unipolar and Bipolar Filter Modulation Modes

Performance Control

  • Full controller 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
  • Patch (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 PC
  • Partials file loader for patch-level partial retuning of MOD-GEN Audio-Rate Oscillators
  • Modulation Effects include Chorus and two Phaser types
  • MIDI: 12 Note Polyphonic, Monophonic Legato Mode, Monophonic Portamento, Microtonal Pitch Bend, Vibrato
  • Ensemble: Tone Filters, Stereo Ensemble
  • Delay: Stereo Delay effect
  • Amp output section with three models

Content

  • 89 Factory Patches by Xen-Arts and Sevish
  • 148 MTS Microtunings
  • 91 Partials TXT Files for Audio-Rate Oscillator Modulation
  • Instruction Manual

DOWNLOAD:

XenFont2

While most contemporary computer synthesis methods employ the increasingly cold sounds of 64-bit, Xen-Arts synths are programmed with authentic high-bandwidth 32-bit modeled ArchaiCode™ that is able to accurately produce those TrueVintage™ and WarmTone™ timbres that today’s musicians and composers often associate with the now-extinct PaleoSynthesis™ techniques from days of yore.

Xen-Arts…

Music with microtones, before the next mass extinction event.

 Posted by at 7:26 pm

  3 Responses to “XenFont2 | Stereo Microtonal SF2 SoundFont VSTi”

  1. thanks for work. off to play 😉

  2. Jacky,

    Have you considered adding presets and programmable presets into the interface?

    I am very new to the synth world and am still attempting to wrap my mind around the terminology and what precisely is going on when adjusting the various parameters involved in sound creation with these instruments. It sure would be nice to be able to click a button and all the effects are turned off except for the initial sine wave or sound font, for example. Then it would be possible to play around with the various settings and hear exactly what is going on with each section. I think I tried at one point to set all the various fields to 0 and the sound went away all together, so obviously some things need to be active or turned on at least to some degree. Perhaps even a series of presets could demonstrate some of the main features of signal manipulation involved. And then, also, if I were to find a sound that I particularly liked I could save it for future use.

    Can you offer any advice on the quickest way to begin to understand everything that is going on with these instruments?

    Thank you for the considerable work involved to bring these instruments out for our use and experimentation!

    • Hi Bruce,

      “Have you considered adding presets and programmable presets into the interface?”

      In the included manual, consult page 6.

      “I am very new to the synth world and am still attempting to wrap my mind around the terminology and what precisely is going on when adjusting the various parameters involved in sound creation with these instruments. It sure would be nice to be able to click a button and all the effects are turned off except for the initial sine wave or sound font, for example. Then it would be possible to play around with the various settings and hear exactly what is going on with each section. I think I tried at one point to set all the various fields to 0 and the sound went away all together, so obviously some things need to be active or turned on at least to some degree. Perhaps even a series of presets could demonstrate some of the main features of signal manipulation involved. And then, also, if I were to find a sound that I particularly liked I could save it for future use.”

      On page 28 of the included manual:

      ABOUT THE PATCH BANK
      Patches 1-8 • Singles: Single layer patches with only one SF2 oscillator active and no effects. These patches mirror the functionality of our popular One-SF2 VSTi.

      “Can you offer any advice on the quickest way to begin to understand everything that is going on with these instruments?”

      A popular colloquial phrase that is commonly used around the virtual instrument scene, goes like this: “RTFM”, an acronym that loosely translates into Read The Friendly Manual.

      My humble suggestion is to print out the manual, or otherwise tile it on a second monitor if you have a dual-monitor setup, then read through it while trying out the settings.

      FWIW – I make every effort to break down the functionality of these instruments into the simplest possible terms for newcomers to the field of virtual instrument synthesis and alternative intonation. As you read through this manual and explore the settings of the instrument, please feel free to make aware to what degree I have succeeded, or otherwise, to explain things well. The method I use is to try to be as concise as possible in the language of the manuals, without overloading the reader with too much information.

      “Thank you for the considerable work involved to bring these instruments out for our use and experimentation!”

      Many kind thanks to you for the positive feedback, and you are most certainly welcome.

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