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Help with Solaris FAQ?

Posted: Fri Jan 22, 2010 4:34 am
by valis
Hey guys, I'm wondering if you would mind helping jot down what questions have been frequently covered in the forums so far (or otherwise)?

Basically I think it would be a good idea to collect some of these already vetted questions into the FAQ on the site so that things that are oft repeated can just be pointed there in the future. I think this will be useful once the Solaris is out so that we can focus on sharing advanced usages, techniques and helping J.B. with bugfixes & refinements more effecitvely. Ie, post here with suggestions/responses and I'll work on getting J.B. to review things for inclusion in the FAQ on the main site.

Posted: Sun Jan 31, 2010 6:01 am
by seamonkey
How are WAV and Akai samples loaded into the Solaris?
What CF card is compatible?
What is the maximum sample size available?

Posted: Tue Feb 02, 2010 6:30 am
by valis
Thanks seamonkey, a good start!

What is the estimated polyphony for a typical patch? Expect 10 voices with the system going full - all 4 filters, oscs, etc. For the first release there won't be DSP offloading. (JB's words)

Is the Solaris multitimbral or capable of keysplits? While you can't create a hard split from the keyboard to do this (as I think you are requesting), you can route Key Note as a Modulation Source to the VCAs. Setting one side to +100% and the other to -100% will provide you with a way to create the 'separation' desired, but with each sound tapering off as they approach the key center (which is currently defaults to note 64). (JB's words)

Is the Solaris's step sequencer polyphonic? The Solaris sequencer is a step sequencer that outputs 4 rows of control values. The Overall rhythmic timing is established by Sequence A; the other 3 rows can have different lengths, but they will still use the rhythmic pattern set by Seq A. Even though you can set up 4 independent 'channels' per preset in Solaris for articulation, the overall Amplitude envelope controls all final output (i.e., you can set each signal path's VCA to be controlled by separate envelopes, but those ADSR time values have to 'fit' within an overall Amp EG setting). So, my gut feeling is that it is not polyphonic in the sense you may be wondering, but the real point of the sequencer is that it can produce some fairly complex sounds. (paraphrasing JB)


Unison Detune Stacking?

(the last 2 need work eh)

Posted: Tue Mar 30, 2010 8:02 am
by scope4live
I want to pretend I know how to play keyboards, so will there be sequences in the demo where I can stand behind the keyboard throwing my hair to and fro'?
Where's the drum machine located, lower octave?

Posted: Thu Apr 01, 2010 4:30 am
by francois
Q. No new keyboard is complete without a Jordan Rudess endorsement. Will Jordan get his finger in the Solaris pie ?

A. Sorry, we found Jordan to be too busy with his Korg, Kurzweil, Muse Research, Open Labs, Roland... engagements, and we believe the Solaris needs no sycophancy.


Posted: Fri Apr 02, 2010 4:39 pm
by John Bowen
seamonkey wrote:How are WAV and Akai samples loaded into the Solaris?
What CF card is compatible?
What is the maximum sample size available?
Here is the final decision for the v1.0 OS release:

1) Sample files must be in .raw format.
2) The samples need to be described in a text file. The name, number, sample start and end, loop start and end, root key, fine tune values, low and high keys need to be listed in this text file (see below for example). This text file is what makes up a 'sample pool', and you can have several on the CF card.
3) The samples and text files are loaded via computer onto your CF card.
4) The Sample Pool is selected from the Global page and loaded into the Solaris for use in any of the four oscillators.

The CF card does not need to be a certain brand nor high speed. It uses the FAT file format, which is how most CF cards are formatted. The maximum sample pool size is 32MB, but you can have as many different pools on the CF card as can fit. The user then selects which pool to load from the Global Sample Load page.

Here's the format:

Samplepool for Solaris

The samples are stored as mono 16bit signed headerless ('raw') audio files on the compact flash card. The current OS version looks for a folder named 'Samples' to find the samples. The definition of a Samplepool is done with a simple text file in the same folder (using a naming like 'SamplePool-001.txt', 'SamplePool-002.txt', etc.).


name = Flutes

sampleindex = 1
filename = FluteC3.raw
samplerate = 44100
samplelength = 77562
loopstart = 16553
loopend = 77562
rootkey = 60
finetune = 0
lowkey = 0
highkey = 127

sampleindex = 2
filename = FluteC5.raw
samplerate = 44100
samplelength = 17756
loopstart = 4165
loopend = 17756
rootkey = 72
finetune = 0
lowkey = 0
highkey = 127

So a Samplepool consists of the audio sample files and a text file with the necessary data defining how to load and how to play them.

''Translator' from Rubber Chicken Software has been updated to allow for batch processing and conversion of sample files to fit this Sample Pool description.

-john b.

Posted: Mon Apr 05, 2010 6:02 am
by valis
Updated. I linked to the description of the text file in this post until there's a better home for that information (another FAQ entry at least, or hopefully some info on manual page or etc.)

There's a lot of questions on the forums, any more that stick out as being common things newcomers to John's synth might ask about?

I still need to tackle these two (and an index of links @ top is coming soon):

Posted: Tue Apr 06, 2010 8:51 pm
by John Bowen
Knobs - all are rotary encoders except the Master Volume. We are thinking to make the alpha knob the only encoder with detent.
Unison Detune Stacking - because this feature is based on a voice assignment level, the detune is set upon the key-on event. This means that if you change the Detune value while holding down a key, you will not hear any change until you select a new note. (I would prefer real-time update of this value, and in fact have it on the list of things to do, but the priority is low compared to some of the other items on the list).
-John B.

Posted: Wed Apr 07, 2010 6:37 am
by valis
Cheers JB. There are now officially enough FAQ entries for that page to need more functionality. :D