Thursday, 7 March 2013

Symphonix Evolution 2.0 is coming

It's been a long time coming, but we're finally approaching the next release of Symphonix Evolution!  Development of version 2.0 took a lot longer than usual because we have made a number of architectural changes that lay the foundation for future updates.  I'll try to describe these as I go through some of the more notable new features.


We're proud to officially announce that support for Audiobus is coming!

Symphonix Evolution 2.0 will work as an Audiobus input and can route its virtual MIDI synth output to any Audiobus compatible receiver.  This is extremely powerful, especially when combined with the existing Virtual MIDI capabilities of the app.  For example, it's possible to set up an external app to send MIDI commands to Symphonix Evolution that can be used to control playback and then have the digital sound routed back to the first app.  (Note that for best results you'll need to increase the Audiobus frame buffer to 512 samples, which you can do inside the Audiobus app settings).

Full Undo/Redo Support

The lack of a true Undo/Redo capability has been one of the most common issues raised in user feedback so we've spent considerable time in this release on building a new document engine that can provide this feature.

Symphonix Evolution 2.0 allows you to undo the last 50 actions, and it's even possible to Undo a real-time recording made to a track.

We've also moved the Undo button back to the main screen so it's easier to find, and you will also find both Undo and Redo in the slide out Action panel.

Lyric Arranger

The Lyric Arranger makes it easy to add Lyrics to a song.  It also updates while the song is playing so you can use it as a prompter.

The Lyric Arranger in Action (Click to Enlarge)
With the Lyric Arranger you can import a text file, export lyrics in a song back out to a file, enter new lyrics, and then link the lyrics to notes in the song.  There's a whole set of functions dedicated to lyric entry, and it's also possible to view the Lyric Arranger in Full Screen mode.

Use two-finger zoom to make the Lyrics larger or smaller.

You'll also notice that Symphonix Evolution now supports Unicode lyrics so it's possible to enter words in languages other than english.


With Version 2.0, Symphonix Evolution now has two new views dedicated to guitar:  Introducing Tablature View and Fret View!

Tablature View can display Guitar Tablature Notation for the currently selected track, with the tab lined up under the music notation symbols in the top part of the screen.  When the song is played, the tablature scrolls along with the music making it possible to see the notes in real time.

Guitar Tablature view (click to enlarge)

One of the challenges for any MIDI-to-guitar tool is that the same notes can be voiced in many different places on the fret.  Symphonix Evolution tries to find the "best fit" based on the notes being used.

This initial release is currently limited to displaying the fret numbers only, and for standard tuning (EADBGE) but we're planning many more enhancements to this in future releases.

Fret View (click to enlarge)
The second new screen is Fret View.  Fret View displays a graphical view of the guitar fret and is great for learning how to play songs, since the fret updates as the music is playing.  You can also use the fret as a note entry tool by pressing the notes at the desired fret position, which works in step-time and real-time record. 

As the song is playing, Fret View also tries to detect chords and will display them above the guitar.  We also have many planned future enhancements for this screen.  Although it's a basic display now, in the future we're planning support for alternate tunings, 4-string bass, capo position, bends and slides, and many more to come.


Markers are a new feature that allows you to label different places in the song, then instantly jump to them in both edit mode and during playback!

For example, the song might be structured as Verse 1, Chorus, Verse 2, Chorus, Verse 3.  With Markers you can label each of these points in the song.  The new Marker View allows you to see a list of the markers, and pressing on any Marker will jump directly to that position.

Make Your Own Controller Panels

Last year we added the Synth Panel for easy access to RPN/NRPN parameters.  Version 2.0 extends this by allowing you to make your own panels and connecting faders, knobs and buttons to MIDI continuous controllers.

When you create a panel you can place controls wherever you like.  Symphonix Evolution also monitors incoming MIDI events and updates the controllers in real time as data is received.

Digital Audio Tracks

In addition to the 16 MIDI tracks, Symphonix Evolution 2.0 adds a further 8 Digital Audio tracks.  These allow vocals or other non-MIDI instruments to be recorded and played back in time with the MIDI tracks.  We see a lot of future potential for this feature.  For example in this release the tracks are really just accompanying the MIDI but in the future you can expect to see new options for "bouncing down" MIDI tracks into audio, freeing up MIDI and significantly extending the complexity of the tracks you can make in the app.

Other Changes

In addition to the above major features you'll also find a number of enhancements to existing functions, including:
  • Better track summary display
  • Ability to create custom time signatures
  • Ability to record from a position anywhere in the song
  • Improved Selection user interface
  • New options when creating a new song for auto setup of common arrangements
  • The ability to setup multiple profiles for external MIDI controllers
  • Various bugfixes thanks to feedback we get from our support mailbox
Symphonix Evolution 2.0 will be released in mid-March 2013.

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