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The Baritone, Tenor, Alto & Soprano

Saxophones v2.1 NEW!

Created by Stefano Lucato and Emanuele Parravicini

in collaboration with Peter Siedlaczek & Giorgio Tommasini

Realistic, expressive, real time playable Virtual Saxophones?

swam engineYes, like all previous Samplemodeling Instruments, but exploiting a different technology on a proprietary platform, the SWAM Engine. The acronym stands for Synchronous Wavelength Acoustic Modeling, developed by Stefano Lucato.

The Saxophones use samples as a base material, chromatically performed by a professional player over a very wide dynamic range, and recorded with state-of-the-art technology. The resulting timbre is therefore that of the real instrument. But the analogy with a sample based library ends here. The underlying, proprietary technology allows continuous interpolation among different vectors like time, dynamics, pitch and formants. Advanced real time processing techniques yield realistic legato/portamento, vibrato, overblow, ornamentations & trills with phase continuity, constant-formant pitchbends, subharmonics, growl and flutter tongue to be performed in real time.

Virtual Instruments? No additional software needed?

the graphical interface

Differently from other Samplemodeling instruments running on NI Kontakt, The Saxophones v2.1 are supplied as plugins using our own SWAM engine. They run on PC (Windows XP, 7, 8 or Vista), supported formats VST2 and AAX, and Mac (OSX (Intel only) 10.6 to 10.9), supported formats Audio Units, VST2 and AAX. NEW: AAX for ProTools 10 (32 bit) and ProTools 11 (64 bit), is now supported. VST3 is not yet supported.

Standalone mode on a PC requires a suitable VST host like the excellent free SaviHost and Cantabile Lite. Other VST Hosts, albeit not necessarily free, can be found for example on http://www.kvraudio.com/get.php

Mac users do not need a VST Host, since they may directly load any Swam plugin in the built-in 32 bit DAW GarageBand.

Background philosophy

Stefano's idea is to create realistic musical instruments. The timbral properties should be indistinguishable from real saxophones. They must be played as real instruments, using a keyboard or a wind controller, plus three or four midi controllers, including an expression pedal or breath controller. All articulations are easily shaped by the player, even in real time, using just velocity, pitchwheel, modwheel, an expression pedal or breath controller, a sustain pedal, plus some optional CCs to control, growl and flutter tongue, squeak/overblow, subharmonic and formants. Virtually any wind controller can be used to play these instruments. NEW: A breath controller mode is also available.

The controllers (CCs)

Real time control of most parameters can be accomplished via midi. The Saxophones vers. 2.1 exploit several MIDI controllers for optimal performance. The basic controllers are the Pitchwheel, CC11 (or CC7, or CC2) for the dynamics, CC1 (modwheel) for vibrato intensity, CC19 for vibrato rate. Legato time can be assigned either to the velocity of the overlapped note or to any CC. Special effects are Key noise (CC9), Breath Noise (CC25), Harmonic Structure (CC24), Subharmonic intensity (CC20), Growl (CC21), Flutter Tongue (CC23), Overblow (CC64), and NEW: Formant shift (CC26). Channel aftertouch (CC129) can be used to control several parameters, such as vibrato intensity or rate, subharmonic, growl or flutter intensity.

The graphical interface (GUI)

Here you can modify the default settings for several parameters. You may vary timbre, harmonic structure and formants, choose type of attack, set the intensity or set the intensity of subharmonic, growl, flutter tongue, key noise, and breath noise. You may control random pitch and dynamics fluctuations, pitch response to dynamic changes, overall resonance of the pipe, subharmonic intensity on transitions, release and portamento time. You may also set transposition, master tune, pitchbend response, volume, pan, dynamic compression, intensity and decay of the built-in reverb. A downward fall can be triggered by pressing a button, as well as from a keyswitch or a MIDI controller.

Options page

Here you will find more advanced settings, allowing control of the transition between attack & sustain, shape of portamento, vibrato rate and random fluctuations, type of overblow, linear or log response to the expression controller, etc. A MIDI remapper page is also available, allowing remapping of many control parameters to any MIDI CC.

Microtuning

This is an entirely new feature, coping with the requirements of musicians using non-tempered scales, so essential in, for example, Middle Eastern and Asian music. Our approach to microtuning yields maximal flexibility, allowing user-defined scales, where the extent of detuning (range +60/-60 cents can be precisely set for each note by means of a series of sliders.

In addition, selective detuning can be applied to individual notes in real time, using keyswitches activated by the sustain pedal or other controller. The currently detuned notes are now displayed in the GUI, as in the example on the right.

clarinets_microtuning clarinets_microtuning2

System requirements

The Saxophones vers. 2.1 provide unprecedented realism and expressiveness. However, they represent a demanding software in terms of CPU load. An up-to-date computer with at least 1,6 GHz Core2Duo CPU is therefore recommended. Supported OS are Windows XP, 7, 8 or Vista for the PC, or OSX (Intel only) 10.6 to 10.9 for the Mac. NEW: AAX for Pro Tools 10 (32bit) and Pro Tools 11 (64bit) is now also available.

Less powerful systems may also prove satisfactory, but may require larger buffer sizes, involving higher latency, and the number of active instruments may be limited to one.

A master keyboard (5 octaves or more) with some configurable MIDI controllers, pitchwheel, modwheel, and an expression pedal (or breath controller) is required for real time playing. Virtually any type of windcontroller can also be used to play this instrument. If real time playing is not contemplated (you will miss a great fun though) using a sequencer may obviate the need for several physical midi controllers, while maintaining full control of the instrument's expressiveness.

The Saxophones have been thoroughly tested on most common sequencers, like Cubase, Logic, GarageBand and Digital Performer.

A good quality audio interface (USB, FireWire, PCI) with suitable low latency drivers (like ASIO for the PC) is required. Accepted buffer size are 128 -2048 samples (256-512 recommended). Excellent results will be obtained with any sample rate between 44.1 and 96 kHz. The 88.2 KHz sample rate recommended for optimal results with The Sax Brothers is no longer required. :-)

What about Copy Protection and Activation?

A simple, but very effective copy protection mechanism has been implemented in the SWAM platform. NEW: a simplified activation procedure has been developed, using the License Key provided with the download link to simultaneously activate all the instruments of the family. Both a straightforward online activation, and an interactive email-based offline activation are supported.

What about License Policy?

We provide two license keys. How to use them is a customer's choice. One can elect to install the instrument on two different systems, if both belong to him, and are not used simultaneously. Or, one can spare one license for a future installation. Please note that operating system, or hard drive changes, do not affect instrument activation. However, major hardware upgrades, or installation of the instrument on a new computer require a new activation. In this case, deactivation of a previous license is required in order to free the license for a new installation. This is easily accomplished by sending us a deactivation request per email. Sharing unused license keys is strictly forbidden. Please note that all license keys are personalized, and that your email address will be displayed on the instrument GUI.

How much will I pay? Any Discount? Any Bundle?

The Saxophones v2.1 bundle (including Baritone, Tenor, Alto & Soprano Saxophones) is available at the price of EUR 259 (+VAT, if applicable). Please note that the new saxophones will not be available as individual items, but only as a bundle. This means, four instruments for the price of two!

Is any audio demo of The Saxophones available?

Is this product available for download now?

Yes. Please click on the “buy” link on top of the page.

How can I get a free update from a previous version?

Please follow the link: https://swamengine.com/downloads.

The Saxophones v2.1 can be selected in the Product field. Please insert your Email address and follow the instructions. After download simply extract the right zip file and run the installer; it will deinstall/remove the previous version (if any) and install the new one.