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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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I'm not talking about having the sounds come through the orba, just using it as a modulation device. The actual sounds come through my monitor speakers through the pc. If I use garage band, I am able to do just that while adjusting the modulation through garage band and then further adjusting it with the obra (orbas modulation does still work through although the parameters are a bit fussy). I shoulda have been more clear. I'm not trying to play these sounds through the Orba itself. 

So to be clear, you're not actually using the Orba to produce sound, either from the internal synth or as a MIDI note generator – just using CC messages to modulate sounds produced from another controller? (Apologies for struggling to get my head round this, and for the drift of this whole conversation away from the topic of the thread!) I'm quite impressed that you can even do this running GarageBand under virtualisation (assuming that's what you're doing to run it on PC)! – this is a very unusual and interesting Orba setup.

That does sum it up pretty much. I have found that there are quite a few different sound apps you can do this from as long as it either has Bluetooth capability or can connect to the pc. I've found a blue tooth dongle that doesn't have lag and allows me to connect the Orba although the orba PC app itself does not work that way since it doesn't have a blue tooth option, anything that does have a bluetooth option works pretty well. Also, on some of the apps, the Orbas modulation does still work through the monitor speakers on apps like the ODDball app while using the ODDballs sounds. 


So basically, I'm using the Orba as a controller while setting up the modulation pc side unless its magically supported already. Garage band is used through a borrowed ipad and then send through to the monitor speakers that way and while modulation does work on those sounds as well in a lot of cases, you're able to futhur modulate the sound through garage band specifically. 

Very interesting! I see why I was so confused: I wrongly thought you were running GarageBand on the PC (which is possible, but looks like a world of pain). Would it help your setup to do the modulation on the iPad rather than the PC? There's nothing on desktop, either Mac or PC, to compare with AUM as a routing app for audio and MIDI, and iOS also has some incredible MIDI manipulation tools like MidiFire and MidiFlow. But I suppose if it's a borrowed iPad that's not really an option. 

The problem is money for me. The ipad I use is borrowed. I probably will break down and get a mac at some point. I just hate paying a premium price for an inferior hardware. And I'm sure what I'm trying to do is most likely impossible after a certain point. I will try to give a quick albeit most likely inaccurate description of the full setup.  


 I have an ARQ ZOOM, a midi controller/DJ station, Boss looper and Alesis strike pad as well as a few others but those are my main go tos. What I am ultimately trying to do is make it so that I can create live content that has the last 10 seconds of whatever I'm doing automatically recorded and ready to be sent and used instantly by the DJ controller, ARQ and Alesis as well as the Orba.  The problem lies in having a central hub where all of those things are able to be done. Since I can do those things individually on each unit, having them all in a central area on the PC would be the real time saver. 


I'm looking at spending a few hundred bucks to get the software, but I am a very cheap person lol. If I can find a way to do it for free, I would of course rather do that. 

Yes, free is always good… Presumably you're already using Surge? If I was a new Orba user on a non-zero budget ROLI Studio would be top of my list next time it's on sale; the quality and quantity of sounds is just nuts, plus you get a discounted upgrade to Equator 2 (the crème de la crème of MPE synths).

Ah I almost forgot. I want all of these in a central area so that I can pull from them at any given time to instantly have them ready on whichever machine I need. Example, make a sample on my boss looper, store it on pc then have it ready for my DJ controller in order to scratch said sample OR to be able to send it to my ARQ which has a modulator OR send it to my Orbas to modulate it a little quicker there. I can do some small modulations from the boss looper but I'd love to do more than that by having it available for my orba to quickly modulate it a little better than the looper or scratch on the dj controller. 

Yes, free is always good… Presumably you're already using Surge? If I was a new Orba user on a non-zero budget ROLI Studio would be top of my list next time it's on sale; the quality and quantity of sounds is just nuts, plus you get a discounted upgrade to Equator 2 (the crème de la crème of MPE synths).


I have not checked out ROLI. I'll do that now, thank you. 


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I do get the impression that all or most of your requirements could be fulfilled by a DAW. If you already have some kind of Windows PC it ought to be able to talk MIDI to any device you care to attach, and the choice of DAWs is truly breathtaking. As for connection, although I appreciate the impetus for Bluetooth I think a more reliable path lies through a powered USB hub attached to your Windows PC. There are a few standalone apps that will handle MIDI mapping on Windows (MIDI Ox is ancient but reliable and there is an official Windows10 version) but I don't see what's wrong with me simply recommending that you examine the market and choose a DAW that matches your needs within budget. I apologise in advance if my understanding of your specific needs is completely wrong. I think such problems may be inevitable, given the very broad reach of electronic music.

Yeah The only problem with that is that I don't just have one daw I'd have to be using and the money starts adding up on that pretty quickly as well. Although I will probably in the end have to go that route. What's the best MIDI mapping for windows that you know of if I may ask?


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Does anyone else have issues with the Synth bricking their pc? It just shut me down and would not restart until I unplugged everything from the outlet and then restarted. 

I'm honestly not the person to ask for advice of that kind. I'm only posting because I think your expectations seem reasonable but (to the best of my knowledge) are not fulfilled in an obvious and easily accessible way. I'm not a musician or a sound engineer, I just know a tiny bit about electronics and computers and I own a few musical instruments including the Orba. To the best of my recollection, you have said you want to use the Orba primarily as a controller (modulator) for sampled sounds. I could certainly recommend some starts for investigation, but as a software engineer I would tend to assume you know much more about software than you do; conversely, you may assume that I know much, much more about audio than I do. I fear that we are on convergent trajectories, but not yet close enough to be mutually intelligible.

Astute observation to be sure. My expertise is fielded in training animals to do specific things in specific areas of work so as you can imagine, my knowledge on devices such as these is most assuredly limited to what I have on hand and mostly from my constant tinkering.  It is looking as though I will be veering away from the Orba as my other midi devices are a bit more open source. Although I will be using this as it does feel a niche of my offline creativity, my endeavors look like they will need to be constrained to the devices I already put to use. Thank you for your help. Hopefully the circumstances will be more fortuitous at a later date when software has been developed further.    For now, it will remain a fantasy and a side piece of creative energy. 


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