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Deep Dive
Synth Anthology 4 - Experiencing Sound Design with MPE
Synth Anthology 4

Synth Anthology 4 introduces new levels of expressivity with native MPE support, which allows MPE MIDI controller users to play expressively each of its 4,000 layers. Join us as we delve into the revolutionary MPE technology, and unveil how it transforms the way you interact with sound.

The Genesis of MIDI Polyphonic Expression

MIDI Polyphonic Expression (MPE) is an extension of the MIDI standard that allows association of individual parameter controls with each note, rather than globally per MIDI channel. This way of using MIDI enables MPE-compatible devices to control multiple parameters of each note in real time, for more expressive instrumental control.

Since its creation in 1983, the MIDI standard has evolved considerably. One of its main evolutions was the creation of the MPE (MIDI Polyphonic Expression) standard, officially adopted in recent years by the MIDI Association, but pioneered for decades by such great names in electronic instrument design as Roger Linn, Keith McMillen, Lippold Haken and John Lambert.

This new technology has taken computer composition and the world of synthesizers to a new level of realism, experimentation and expressiveness.

With Synth Anthology 4, our developers worked hard to give you access to this new form of expressivity with this incredible collection; representing years of sampling, restoring and processing thousands of layers from hundreds of synths, old to modern, obscure to mainstream.

Creating MPE presets in Synth Anthology 4

There are 3 primary modulations featured in Synth Anthology 4: Pitchbend (per key) which maps automatically when you turn on the MPE, Aftertouch, and CC74, which you can map as you like to the gain and cutoff of each of the two layers.

In most MPE controllers CC74 and Aftertouch are modulated with pressure and slide, allowing you to completely control your sound with your fingertips. Here are examples on three controllers:

MPE Schematic
One of the most interesting aspects of this instrument for using MPE is the fact that it is built around a dual-layer engine, making it very efficient for quickly creating MPE presets. The cutoff of layer A, for example, can be modulated by Aftertouch, allowing it to be opened at the touch of a key or pad, and cutoff of layer B by CC74, allowing this
new sound to be layered with slide modulation. You can also combine the two modulations on either layer to create complex behaviors, and combined with the 4000+ sources at your disposal, you can design a huge number of presets.

Small tips: we advise you to use "continuous" sources to modulate with the MPE. If you use "one-shot" sources (that don't loop), you'll have a control time that's too dependent on the sample's envelope, and therefore much less scope for interaction.

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Synth Anthology 4
The authentic sound of 200 hardware synths

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