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Introducing Orbasynth: A Powerful Preset Creator for Orba's Internal MPE Synth

Thanks so much for your patience and feedback provided on Orba. Today, we have some exciting news regarding something a lot of you have been asking for. If it seems like we’ve been quiet here recently, it’s because we’ve been working behind the scenes on a couple of bigger things. One of these things is Orbasynth, our new gesture-mappable synth that allows for extensive customization of Orba sounds. 


Here are a couple of key features

  • Morphing oscillators that mix saw, triangle, and novel harmonic-rich waveforms, with variable-width pulse waveforms that change dynamically with dedicated envelopes.

  • Three ADSR dynamic envelopes allow the synth tones to be sculpted by the player’s continuous playing on Orba’s capacitive-sensitive playing surface and respond to note-on and note-off velocities. Two different envelopes can control the two oscillators, noise, and the ring modulator while the third one controls a resonant filter.

  • A waveguide allows for physical modeling, creating unique instruments that have an acoustic-like familiarity. Orbasynth has two modes that emulate string and pipe harmonic structures.

  • Reverb and Delay effects provide sounds that range from subtle ambient air to dense sonic textures.

  • Map Orba’s different playing gestures to synth destinations like filter cutoff and resonance, oscillator level, vibrato, harmonic, saw/triangle mix, harmonic mix. noise level, and LFO rate.


Here's the link where you can download it (available on both Mac and Windows): https://artiphon.com/pages/downloads 


Here's the first tutorial video for Orbasynth (more to come!): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7lvXA3oz1to


Here's the user manual for Orbasynth: https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0229/7157/files/Orbasynth-manual-v1.1.pdf?v=1649731694


Give it a try and let us know what you think!


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Well, once again, samples take up vastly more space than synth presets. You can verify this yourself by saving an Orbasynth preset to desktop (it's just a small XML text file) and comparing the file size to that of whatever sound samples you have around that you'd want to work with on the Orba. And even if the Orba had massively more onboard memory, samples don't play themselves; Artiphon would have to go back and build a sample player into the Orba, and create a user front end to it. If any of this were easy, rest assured they'd have already done it.


As you say, the way to use the Orba with samples is through desktop software, though I may be misunderstanding what you're proposing. What's the difference between storing samples on PC and using the Orba to control a sampler on PC?



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The orba is a synth and midi controller. It's not a sample based device and unless Artiphon has a serious trick up it's sleeve (don't hold your breath) it is simply impossible to make it a sample based device. Same with the orba app: it's there to change the settings of the orba synth, it doesn't have any play capabilities. To control samples you can use any midi based piece of software or hardware that is capable of playing samples. In my case I use the orba in conjunction with native instruments Maschine+. This is a really simple way to use orba as a midi controller to control the samples played by the Maschine+.

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Yes, using third party software, it is able to play samples as you described and as I have already described. Simply making the software capable of doing the same thing would make their device even more diverse making it so you wouldn't need an ipad or have to pay for additional software. Saying it doesnt have any play capabilities itself while accurate is misleading since its ability to play simple sounds is very doable. Take Oddballs software for instance. It's able to connect to Orba and you can then play its samples through it. Although it not a sample based device, it is not only its hardware. It's software is very possible at making this happen and like stated previously, is already able to be done with third party software. 

''Well, once again, samples take up vastly more space than synth presets. You can verify this yourself by saving an Orbasynth preset to desktop (it's just a small XML text file) and comparing the file size to that of whatever sound samples you have around that you'd want to work with on the Orba. And even if the Orba had massively more onboard memory, samples don't play themselves; Artiphon would have to go back and build a sample player into the Orba, and create a user front end to it. If any of this were easy, rest assured they'd have already done it.


As you say, the way to use the Orba with samples is through desktop software, though I may be misunderstanding what you're proposing. What's the difference between storing samples on PC and using the Orba to control a sampler on PC?''


What i am proposing is nothing different than you can already do with third party software. You are most assuredly able to play samples through the device from software. I am doing it right at this moment. In fact, in garage band, you're able to play samples and still use the software to modulate which then correlates to the ability to do the same from the device itself. The only thing I'm asking is to be able to do this through the devices own software instead of third party software which requires you to have an Ipad or pay additional money. 


Once again, everything I've said, you're already able to do by paying extra money for someone else's software. I'd just like the ability to not have to spend additional capital on something that it should be able to do with its own software. 

Thanks! I think I'm still not quite seeing why it would be useful to have sample-playing software on the Orba if the samples themselves are on desktop, so you'd have to connect it to desktop anyway and so might as well use one of the many free third-party sampler players already out there. The point about having the synth engine on the device is that you can use the Orba in standalone, which you wouldn't be able to with samples. But I realise I may be misunderstanding what you're wanting to do.


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The main reason is because I do live music streaming and connecting to my ipad to get everything set up is quite a chore. It's made much easier by using other software but that software comes with a very hefty price tag. And using an ipad is much less than ideal and buying a mac just for that reason is out of my price range. Having the same ability on software side would allow me to continue to play it from my monitors through my pc while also letting me continue to live stream from the device since being prepared with the desired sounds is always preferable to having to switch them out live. Which is what I'm currently doing. 

Sorry, our posts crossed! But you don't need to pay anything for third-party software if you don't want to (though on iOS in particular you can get some absolutely incredible sampler software for almost nothing; even Samplr, which is pretty much the top of the range, is half price this weekend) here are many free plugins out there if you're absolutely determined not to support any of those wonderful developers with the price of a coffee.

*There are. (Sorry, this is why I hate Freshdesk…)

Thanks for explaining your use case. I still don't entirely understand what you're doing, but it's certainly a long way from anything I've ever attempted, and if I were trying it I wouldn't be trying to do it on a PC.

(It does sound extremely cool, though!)

The only way to do it is through PC for me. All of my MIDI controllers connect through my pc other than a couple of my drump machines. That's how they're all able to talk to each other to relay what I'm sending. 


If we're just wishing here, my ultimate goal would be to be able to use the Orba to modulate any current live sound I store on my boss looper which would negate the need to save it to any software at all. Alas, I have not found the workaround for that yet. 

Could Bome help? On macOS and iOS there's a wider choice of MIDI-munging tools (I particularly like MidiFire), but Bome is pretty good, and their support is excellent.

@thisguy I'm trying to understand what you are trying to do here. As far as I can tell by what you are writing you are using the orba as a speaker in your example case, that's why it "plays" samples (or anything you throw at it). But that doesn't mean it is playing through the actual synth. Windows just "thinks" the orba's main amp is an attached speaker (like a headphone) or more complete: windows sees the orba as a sound card. But that's all it can do, just play the sounds you address to the "orba soundcard" through it's speaker. That's why you hear samples coming out of the orba with 3th party software. And since the orba sends midi out to your midi capable devices it manipulates the samples on your PC while moving the orba.

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If I've understood, which I'm aware I may not have, the use case is to route the audio output from Windows to the Orba speaker and have it picked up on the same external mike as is being used for the livestreamed commentary, rather than mixing the music and audio streams on the PC (as would seem more natural and flexible, but may be harder to do on Windows than it is on Mac or iOS?). And presumably the fewer apps you're trying to juggle on Windows the easier the livestreaming experience. This does seem to me a very niche use, and one for which a little ingenuity with MIDI routing could solve, but I don't have the Windows knowledge to be able to advise specifically and so could be talking straight out my fundament.
Just to flesh that out a bit, if what you want to do is to switch user desktop samples from the Orba by the same actions used to switch presets in the Orba internal synth, you'd map the MIDI patch change message from the Orba to your desktop soundware's patch changes.

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