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The SWAM engine S

swam engine The SWAM engine (Synchronous Wavelength Acoustic Modeling) was developed by the SWAM Team (Stefano Lucato & Emanuele Parravicini) as a proprietary platform on which the woodwinds were developed as Virtual Instruments. The woodwinds released so far include Saxophones, Clarinets, Double Reeds and Flutes. While sample-based, these instruments exploited advanced technical solutions derived from physical modeling. Thus, a new line of products, based on the SWAM engine, was added to the "classic" Samplemodeling Kontakt-based Instruments (Trumpet, Trombone French Horn & Tuba).

swam engine In the last two years, the SWAM engine has been further developed by the SWAM Team, in order to behave as closely as possible to the physics of the real instruments. This development was deemed necessary for emulating solo strings.
The result is the new SWAM engine S.

The new SWAM S line

Created by Stefano Lucato and Emanuele Parravicini

in collaboration with Peter Siedlaczek & Giorgio Tommasini

the graphical interface

After the Viola (November 2015), and the Cello (June 2016), the next instrument running on this new SWAM engine S is the new Violin. The development and fine tuning of these solo strings required several years of research & development. The Violin includes several enhancements and new features to improve realism and timbral quality. Virtually all the elements contributing to the sound of the real instrument have been introduced in this virtual Violin. Bowspeed, pressure, direction and distance from the bridge are under player's control. One can also control the resonance of the played string, that of the open strings, the amount of rosin and bownoise, the sharpness of the attack, the bow lift (on the string vs. off the string) on both attack and release, the position on the fingerboard, and many other parameters (see below). Each parameter can be assigned to any MIDI CC, allowing real time control.

Three main Play Modes are available, namely Bowed, Pizzicato & Col Legno. Likewise, the instrument provides three bow gesture modes: 1) Expression, where a balanced combination of bow speed, pressure and position is controlled by CC11 as in all previous instruments, 2) Bipolar, similar to Expression, but reversing bow direction when CC 11 crosses the value 64, 3) Bowing, where the speed of the bow becomes proportional to the speed of the controller. This latter mode is supplied mainly to cope with particular controllers, mimicking the movements of a real bow.

The Violin provides a Mono String Crossing mode (where the behavior of the start string can be further defined by a specific option), as well as various degrees of polyphony, like: Mono (maintaining the vibration of the start string during legato on different strings), Double (allowing arpeggios) and Auto (playing bichords when two notes are played simultaneously). Con sordino, natural and artificial harmonics, manual or automatic (tempo or time synchronous) tremolo, pizzicato and col legno modes are also available. A number of keyswitches allow quick selection of the preferred mode.

the graphical interface

Additional parameters available to advanced users include nonlinear mapping of expression, attack envelope, activation of various bow change modes, legato vs. portamento mode, vibrato rate, tremolo mode and speed, string crossing release behavior, tuning of the individual strings, microtuning etc. (see the above GUI).

the graphical interface

Real time control of most parameters can be accomplished via MIDI. The Violin exploits 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, CC64 (sustain pedal) for the bow change. Legato/Portamento time can be assigned either to the velocity of the overlapped note or to CC5. All parameters can be assigned to any MIDI CC, either directly, or using the Learn function. Channel aftertouch (AT) can be used to control any parameter, such as bow pressure or vibrato rate. A rescaling function including Min/Max values (see the above GUI) is provided for each incoming CC, allowing fine control of the associated parameter and maximum flexibility.

Each Violin includes several "instruments" with a different timbre, which can be loaded via the main GUI.

AU / VSTSupported formats. All instruments developed on the new platform will be available only as plugins for PC (Windows 7, 8, 10, Vista or XP, 32 or 64 bit), supported formats VST2 and AAX 32 or 64 bit, Mac (Intel only, OSX 10.6.8 - 10.12), supported formats AU, VST2 and AAX 32 or 64 bit. VST3 is not supported yet.

Supported OSSystem requirements. The realism and expressiveness provided by the SWAM S engine is demanding in terms of CPU load. An up-to-date computer with at least 1,6 GHz Core2Duo CPU is therefore recommended. Less powerful systems may also prove satisfactory, but may require larger buffer sizes, involving higher latency.

Audio Interface (Sound Card). A suitable low latency driver (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.

MIDIMIDI devices. All instruments developed on the SWAM engine, like our classic Kontakt-based instruments, create all the effects and articulations in real time, using a set of midi controllers. Although they can be used without any additional hardware (except the audio interface) by drawing the controller curves and inserting the notes directly in the host sequencer, best results, especially for real time playing, will be obtained using external MIDI devices. Minimum requirements are:
keyboarda) A MIDI keyboard with at least 5 octaves, Modwheel & Pitchbend, connected to the computer via USB or an external MIDI interface, equipped with a set of physical continuous MIDI controllers (usually knobs or sliders) to control effects like bow direction, pressure, distance from the bridge, etc.

expression pedalan expression pedal, or a breath controller (Yamaha BC3, or TEControl USB), mapped to CC11 or CC2, respectively, to control the dynamics, allowing continuous transition from pp to ff. Please note that the instruments will not work if neither CC is received. Although other physical midi controllers, assigned to either CC11 or CC2 might do, this is not recommended, mainly due to the shortage of suitable limbs. :-)

wxb) As an alternative to the MIDI keyboard, a Wind Controller like Yamaha WX5 or EWI (USB or 4000S) will provide excellent results.

Standalone use. Standalone mode on a PC requires a suitable VST host. We tested the free SaviHost by Hermann Seib and Cantabile Lite, with excellent results. Other VST Hosts, albeit not necessarily free, can be found at http://www.kvraudio.com/get.php. Mac users may directly load any SWAM plugin in the freely-available DAW GarageBand.

Copy Protection and Activation. A simple, but effective, copy protection mechanism has been implemented in the SWAM platform. Both a straightforward online activation, and an interactive email-based offline activation are provided. An automated online deactivation procedure, allowing a quick transfer of the instruments from an old to a new computer is also available.

copy protectionLicense 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.
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.