The Sosnowski Synthesizer
The Sosnowski Synthesizer is an analog-style software music synthesizer. The download includes both a standalone player version and a VST version for use within suitable hosts. 128 onboard sounds are included, with additional sounds in external files. The instrument is specifically designed to be equally at home as both a "performance synth" and in studio audio, sequencer, and notation work environments.
With a simple, clear, easy-to-use and well-organized layout and sensible architecture, the Sosnowski Synthesizer is ideal for newcomers to the art; yet, with its rich feature set and thorough controllability, even seasoned professionals will find it an attractive and inexpensive addition to their resources.
The Sosnowski Synthesizer generates sound with four separate oscillators. Each individual oscillator includes selection for sine, triangle, sawtooth and square waveforms; plus a selection for a noise oscillator with its own adjustable frequency trap. The oscillator output is processed through a multi-waveform filter with its own envelope and modified by dual independent multi-waveform, fully adjustable LFO's (low frequency oscillators).
A final envelope shapes the sound before proceeding to the sound treatment section. Onboard sound treatment includes stereo chorus, reverb, echo, pan/x (automated dual-constant cross-panning), and transposition; all of which are fully controllable from the interface.
Additional features include an onboard
velocity-capable keyboard; MIDI channel, program change enable, volume enable, and pan
enable switching; an onboard 'scope and parametric equalizer; and a capable preset manager for
onboard sounds, plus an easy file system for saving and loading custom sounds.
Installation and Uninstalling
|Download the installer from the download page to your PC. Locate the
file and run it. The installer is a standard installer, just follow the simple
instructions on the screen. Installation is quick and easy, and usually takes about a
minute or so to do. An uninstaller is also provided on your Start > Programs menu.
After you purchase, if you have not downloaded yet, go to our Download page. Download and install the application. Open the standalone application, and click on the uppermost dot above the "y" in "Synthesizer" at the top of the application to locate your product serial number (PSN).
Log in at our log-in page (see the menu, upper left of every page on our site) with your User ID and enter the product serial number. Our servers will immediately send your registration key to the email address used when you purchased. Depending on network traffic, you'll usually have the registration key in your email box in 5-10 minutes. Be sure to check your spam folders if you do not see the registration email in a timely manner.
In the standalone application, click on the word "Register"
blinking white/green below the word "Synthesizer" at the top of the
application. (If the application is unregistered the word "Register" will
appear about ten seconds after you open the application.) Enter your registration key in the application -- and you're done.
(Note that registering the standalone likewise registers the VST version to your system.)
The Standalone and the VST
|To open the standalone player, click on the desktop icon, or the menu item
for it on the Start > Programs menu. To close the program, click on the X in the
upper right of the application. The details of the user interface will be covered in
more depth, below.
Setting up with the VST version depends on what software you're using and how you've configured your system.
In some cases, you may just copy the dll to your general system VST folder.
And in more current and cooperative software, you can usually just set the path in your host to the folder that contains the dll.
The User Interface
|The standalone player is a self-contained application. In this section,
we'll explore the general features specific to the standalone's application interface.
The internal controls common to both the standalone and the VST will be outlined in the next
The standalone uses a normal Windows dialog-style container. Clicking on the underscore at top right of the title bar minimizes the application to a taskbar button. Clicking on the X closes the application. Clicking on the icon at the left on the title bar opens the standard Windows menu. Note that the application is in a dialog shell, and therefore cannot be "maximized" or resized. It can, however, be "zoomed" (see below) -- including a full screen mode.
Below the title bar is a standard Windows menu bar with the following selections:
This menu will enumerate the input devices available on your system. System configurations differ widely, of course, but in general, the list would contain all MIDI ports, any USB/MIDI ports, and any virtual MIDI ports that can be used to communicate with the application. There is also an entry to enable the computer keyboard as a note-entry device. Select the MIDI device you wish to use to communicate with the application. More than one can be selected, though usually just one is used.
It is important to remember to set the MIDI In device each time you open the application. Since the list can change (depending on what you have plugged in, turned on, etc.), the application can't "guess" what input device is present.
The audio out menu will enumerate the audio output devices and drivers on your system that can be used for the output of the application's sound. Most commonly, the first one is "Primary Sound Driver", and usually this will work best for you. Other drivers that are available (if any) will also be shown on the list, and may be selected if needed.
The Audio Out will normally default to your primary sound driver. And as with MIDI In, since the list can change, you must set this each time you open the application if you require something other than the primary driver.
The zoom menu enables you to change the size of the application on your screen, from 25% to 200%. You may also select full screen mode. (A full screen mode button is also within the body of the application, see below.)
When in full screen mode, you may also access the Zoom menu by right-clicking over any empty space in the body of the application.
The Help menu dialog provides basic information on the application. See also the
Help Click in the section below.
|The User Interface
Part II - The Internal Controls
|The majority of the controls within the body of the Sosnowski Synthesizer will
already be familiar to most users; but there are a few specifics of which even experienced
users should be aware. For newcomers, the basics will also be covered. The
internal controls work exactly the same in both the standalone and VST version.
To rotate a knob, click on it with the left button of your mouse and hold down the left button -- then drag upward to move the knob clockwise, or downward to move it counter-clockwise.
To reset a knob to its "default" position, hold down the control (CTRL) key on your keyboard, and click the left button of your mouse. This feature is most useful on finetune knobs in the oscillators, where you'd often want to reset the knob to a position where it's exactly in tune; with the PAN knob, to get it exactly to center; with the main tune knob to tune exactly to standard. In the case of most other knobs, the default values are conservative but arbitrary values.
There are two special knobs in the interface, on the decay function for LFO1 and LFO2. Note the green dot in the center of the knob. Clicking on the center dot will shut off the decay feature (so the LFO runs continuously); and a square button with a green dot in the center will take the place of knob. Clicking on that, in turn, would re-enable the LFO decay knob, and show the knob once again.
Each main elements of the synthesizer (the oscillators, filter, LFO's, sound treatment features, the onboard keyboard, and so on) can be turned on and off with a button on its upper left. When the element is engaged and active in the sound, the button will glow bright green. When disengaged and not influencing the sound, the corresponding element's button will be dark gray with a white minus sign. If an element is unavailable, only a gray box will show in its position. Left-clicking on an element's button turns the element on and off.
Drop-Down Menu Buttons:
Many of the settings in the synthesizer use "menu button" selectors (the waveform, octave, and semi-tone selectors in the oscillators, for instance). Click on the button and a standard menu drop-down is displayed. Click on the option you want from the list to select it.
To the left of the onboard keyboard, and between the VOL and PAN knobs, you'll notice two exclamation (!) marks. These are actually momentary push-buttons. Clicking on the (!) to the left of the onboard keyboard turns off any MIDI notes in play and clears the keyboard -- the equivalent of an "all notes off" command. Clicking on the (!) between the VOL and PAN knobs does the same thing, but also completely clears the audio stream as well.
Full Screen Button (Standalone Only):
In the standalone, clicking on the Full Screen button (lower left) will put the application in a mode that occupies the full screen of your monitor. Conversely, if already in full screen mode, clicking on the Full Screen button will return the application to the standard interface.
A musical keyboard is at the bottom of the application. This is primarily for testing and set-up purposes; but can also sometimes be useful in performance. The keyboard can be turned on and off with the button to the left of it. (The keyboard button also disables the 'scope (see below) since these are typically used together.) Left-clicking on a note will cause that note to sound. Right-clicking on a note will cause the note to sound and remain playing ("held down"). If a note has been "held down", left-clicking on it will release it (turn it off). (Remember, the (!) to the left of the keyboard will shut off all notes and clear the keyboard.) Note that the keyboard is velocity-capable: clicking near the "front" (bottom) of a key produces a louder sound than clicking near the "back" (top) of the key. There are three velocity zones on flats, and four on the naturals.
The left graph at the top of the application is a parametric equalizer. It can be turned on and off with the EQ button between the VOL and PAN knobs at lower right. When the equalizer is engaged, the curve line is green. When the equalizer is off, the curve line is blue, and the equalizer does not affect the sound.
There are four "bands" in the equalizer, with each band represented by a circle with a dot within it. Click-and-hold on the circle with the left mouse button to drag the circle. Dragging the circle left or right lowers (to the left) or raises (to the right) the center frequency of that band. Moving the circle upward increases the amplitude of that band's frequencies; moving it downward decreases the amplitude of that band. Notice that each circle has an associated crossbar, with a small box on the right extension of the crossbar. Dragging the box left or right respectively tightens or broadens the "Q" of that band.
The right-hand graph at the top of the application is a basic 'scope (oscilloscope). If the 'scope is engaged, the waveform trace line will be green. Clicking on it will do a sample-and-hold representation of any waveform currently playing, and the waveform trace line will turn blue. Clicking on it again will return it to dynamic representation of playing sounds. The 'scope can be shut off with the same button that shuts off the keyboard (to the left of the keyboard) since both are typically used together. When the 'scope is shut off, no waveform trace line shows in its graph.
For ease of use, some functions are duplicated with clickable labels just above the onboard keyboard (KB On/Off, Scope On/Hold, Transpose/Transposed, EQ On/Off).
Clicking on the name "Sosnowski" just above the onboard keyboard will open your default web browser to the SSynth.com homepage, so you can quickly get to this manual and the Faq when needed.
There are three special indicators in the interface. The indicators are normally
dark (not seen) if inactive. One indicator to the left of the word MIDI (lower left of
interface) will show when MIDI data is being received to aid in diagnosing set-up.
Just above the leftmost edge of the onboard keyboard, an indicator will light when pitch
bend is engaging. And just to the upper right corner of the onboard keyboard, an
indicator will light if a sustain pedal is depressed.
|<- Index :: Row 1 ->|