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Xen-Arts has released XenFont, a two oscillator, hybrid SF2 SoundFont & Subtractive Synthesis VSTi for Windows. It features full-controller MIDI pitch microtuning using the MTS (MIDI Tuning Standard) format, where any MIDI Note Number can be freely microtuned to any desired pitch across the MIDI range, enabling computer musicians and composers to explore the possibilities of composing music with alternative intonation systems.

XenFont is a microtonal sound-designer's SF2 sample-based synthesizer, with a carefully designed ergonomic workflow for creating powerful sounding and musical useful timbres. The instrument enables users to load their own SF2 SoundFont files and thereby any special timbres required of the music at hand, from classical acoustic instruments, to synthesized ones. Routing the SF2 SoundFont Oscillators through the internal synthesis functions of the VSTi, provides a way to radically transform the original sounds and create new synthesized timbres.

In addition XenFont is designed to be an educational tool for learning about computer music sound-design, sampling and subtractive sound synthesis, as well as musical instrument intonation (aka microtuning and xenharmonics).

XenFont embodies a design philosophy of simplicity for microtonal music sound-design:

  • Enables computer musicians and composers to freely load their own SF2 SoundFonts into a fully microtonal, hybrid sampling & subtractive synthesis based VSTi.
  • A 'knob-less' design featuring slider controls only, which enables intuitive direct control with a computer mouse.
  • A dedicated control signal system mapped to the most important synthesis functions.
  • Settings are made by typing values into fields, dropdown lists, left-and-right arrows, switches and sliders.
  • Enables musicians to specify precise microtonal pitch-bend settings.
  • Features arbitrary microtonal oscillator transposition settings.
  • Velocity modulation of harmonics enables dynamically playing harmonics of the fundamental pitch.
  • Envelope generators with per-stage ADSR keyboard tracking.

Oscillator Section

  • Two Soundfont Oscillators that enable users to load their own SF2 files.
  • Microtonal, Harmonic Series and Subharmonic Series Oscillator Transposition.
  • Pitch Envelope Generator with Per-Stage ADSR Keyboard Tracking and Polarity Switching.
  • Host Synchronized LFO (with Rate Sequencer) for Cross-Fade Modulation between Oscillators.
  • Analog Pitch Drift Emulator with both Unipolar and Bipolar Modulation.
  • Velocity-to-Harmonics Modulation enables oscillators to dynamically sound harmonics of the fundamental pitch.
  • Ring Modulation.
  • Oscillator and Ring Modulator Mixer with Six Cross-Fade Modes.

Filter Section

  • Pre-Filter Saturation Stage with 20 Saturation Types.
  • Two Independent Filters with Six Filter Types: LP4, LP2, HPF, BPF, BRF, APF.
  • One and Two Stage Filter Cascade.
  • Host Synchronized LFO (with Rate Sequencer) and Envelope Generator for Filter Cutoff Frequency Modulation.
  • Filter Envelope Generator with Per-Stage ADSR Keyboard Tracking and Polarity Switching.
  • LFO and Envelope Generator enables both Unipolar and Bipolar Filter Modulation.

VCA Section

  • Dedicated Envelope Generator.
  • VCA Envelope Generator with Per-Stage ADSR Keyboard Tracking.
  • Switchable Velocity Sensitivity and Fixed Volume Control.

Performance Control

  • MIDI Pitch Microtuning with MTS (MIDI Tuning Standard).
  • MTS Support for both Single Note and Bulk Dump.
  • Loads MTS Microtuning Format Files Internally and Receives MTS Externally.
  • Local (Per-Patch) and Global Microtuning (Static Microtuning for All Patches).
  • Microtunings can be loaded from any directory on hard drives or storage devices connected to the computer.
  • Ten Note Polyphonic.
  • Monophonic Legato Mode.
  • Polyphonic Portamento with Three Glide Modes.
  • Microtonal Pitch Bend.
  • Vibrato.
  • Effects include Chorus, Flanger, Phasers, Warm Filter and Stereo Ensemble.

Price: XenFont is a freeware 32-bit VSTi for Windows XP or higher and includes a detailed instruction manual, 75 factory patches and 54 microtonal tunings.

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