Start a new topic

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): 

Here's the first tutorial video for Orbasynth (more to come!):

Here's the user manual for Orbasynth:

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

16 people like this idea

Good work! Keep on and remember the next in line: quantization and scales.

5 people like this

Took me a while to figure out how to get some sound so I could hear the changes I was making. Watched the tutorial, looked through the manual. Not much help but eventually figured it out. Here is what I am doing-

1. Connect your Orba and start your Orba app and your new OrbaSynth app

2. In your Orba app click on the Artiphon A in the right corner.

3. The second item is Orba Sounds. Turn that off so you aren't hearing the orba sounds when you press the buttons (Don't forget to turn it back on when you want to hear the loaded presets again)

4. In the OrbaSynth click the gear symbol in the upper left

5. Set your output to the orba and your input from the orba.

Now when you press the orba buttons it will play whatever the synth is set to. The default settings sound alot like acoustic guitar in Bass and Lead mode

4 people like this

+1, after the sound editor, a scale editor would be amazing. 

4 people like this

I think quantization will be the most important feature to add. Loops need to feel clean

4 people like this

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?

2 people like this
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+.

2 people like this

Hello, I have a slight problem with the orbasynth app: I can't see the download link. I tried several times but the link doesn't appear. I have a laptop with Windows 10 and a smartphone with IOS. I tried on both systems and nothing, no download link. Could you help me, please give me the procedure to follow?

I thank you and wish you a good day.

Laurent CLAUDE

2 people like this
@Laurent CLAUDE probably caused by an addblocker of some kind. I've had to disable pi-hole on my network to see the download link.

2 people like this

No, OrbaSynth is a classic subtractive synth rather than a "hybrid" synth/sampler; there's no sample engine, and sounds are generated entirely from sculpting the output from oscillators through envelopes, filters, and modulators, with a brilliant Gesture Mapping pane to route the Orba's control actions to destination parameters. For an MPE controller with the Orba's range and expressivity of control dimensions, this is exactly what you want; MPE sound design is extremely challenging even without sample layers, and hybrid synthesis for MPE is an order of magnitude more so. (Only ROLI implement it well.)

The revolutionary thing about the Orba 2 is the attempt to bring MPE sample manipulation into the dabbler and semi-pro market. The Artiphon team and their sound-design collaborators are geniuses and if anyone can do it they can, but for now the OrbaSynth is its own little masterclass in classic synthesis for MPE.

2 people like this

Appreciate that Sam. At this time, Orbasynth is only available for Mac and Windows. That's a great idea though! 

2 people like this

I figured that was probably true, but it never hurts to ask. Loving the OrbaSynth, the oriental stringed instrument I made is now my favorite instrument :)

2 people like this

"The first tutorial video for Orbasynth" is more like a demo. We could really do with a starter walk through, with no assumptions made. How do you play a note or a rift as in the demo and then get to hear the parameter changes you make?

1 person likes this

Thanks for the feedback, Alan! We'll keep that in mind when working on upcoming Orbasynth content. Is there anything else specific you'd like to see covered? 

For now, you should be able to find everything you need in the User Manual. For example, if you're asking about audio output, that's on page 4. 

1 person likes this

Wow - great work, thanks!

1 person likes this

Unfortunately not. As has been covered elsewhere in this forum, samples require much more memory than synth patch and MIDI data, so there's no prospect of being able to host samples with the current Orba hardware. The internal synth is a little miracle, though, so I don't myself miss the ability to work with onboard samples; that's precisely the kind of area where the Orba comes into its own as a controller for third-party soundware.

[Apologies to anyone in this thread who gets this e-mailed to them twice; maybe one day Freshdesk will implement an edit button, or I'll learn to type properly… Hold no breaths.]

1 person likes this
Login or Signup to post a comment