Frequently Asked Question

I want to use a midi synth with microtonal scales. What are my options.
Last Updated 3 years ago

There are generally 3 ways to tune a midi synthesizer:
1) real time sysex tuning
2) Sysex scale transmission
3) a) Monophonic pitch bend tuning
3) b) Polyphonic pitch bend tuning (MPE)

1) The best method is realtime sysex tuning. It is fully polyphonic but not all synthesizers understand it. If one does, it is mentioned in the user manual.

2) Some synthesizers instead have the option to receive a scale via sysex. Our Juno-66, Modypoly and Sh-1oh1 for example can receive tuning data this way. µTune can send the current scale via sysex with the "send as sysex" option in the scale menu.

a) Most synthesizers at least understand pitch bend midi data. This can be used to tune the currently playing note(s). Unfortunately all notes of a midi channel will be bent simultaneously. This means if your synthesizer can only receive midi data on one channel at a time, you are limited to monophonic playing.

b) Some sythesizers can receive note and pitch bend data on multiple midi channels simultaneously. This is how midi MPE handles multi-voice tuning, aftertouch, etc.
Up to 16 voices can be used this way.

With µTune you can re-tune an incoming MPE midi stream. Each midi channel is re-tuned individually and sent to the output.

Converting incoming midi notes on one channel to a polyphonic MPE midi stream with voice allocation and tuning is on the "todo" list, but currently not implemented.

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