Synth Controller

Synth Controller

Synth Controller Overview

The Synth Controller is a highly specialized midicontroller allowing realtime edits on your favourite music synthesizer with 16 knobs. At the moment you dial a knob the Synth Controller sends the appropriate command to your synth which immediately changes it’s sound. Completely independent from software and computers.

The midicontroller will be plugged in between the midi sending device and your synth. It merges incoming midi data with it’s own parameter change commands and forwards both to your synthesizer. Means: you can perfectly fire your synth with midinotes while tweaking it’s sound with the synth controller – realtime.

The 16 dials of the Synth Controller are split in 3 color layers, each knob has printed up to 3 parameters under the knob. By pressing one of the 3 immluminated push buttons you select one of the layers. In consequence you got up tp 48 parameters in direct access.

The Synth Controller also got a built in translator converting incoming ordinary CC (‘Controller Change’) data into the complex Sysex commands. You can remote or automate your parameter changes using Midi-CC data. (Translator only present in editions using SysEx-data for parameter changes).

Synth Controller Features

  • Synthesizer eardware realtime editor
  • High quality and durable parts
  • Cute and tough steelcase Made in Germany
  • Potentiometers for direct access, (no endless encoders)
  • Diode to prevent damage by wrong polarity of PSU
  • Faceplate design suitable to the design of the target synth
  • Highly optimized, native firmware
  • firmware update through Midi-Sysex-Dump
  • Built in ‘CC / Sysex’-translator. Automate your synth with ordinary CC-data. (Only in editions using sysEx-data)
  • Dials with few value changes (e.g. LFO waveform) just send data if changes really happen. No sending of redundant data.
  • Handy ‘turn the pot but dont send data’-feature to prevent parameter jumps
  • ‘Bypass Mode’ letting pass all incoming data unprocessed and locking all pots against unintended changes
  • Learnt midi channel keeps stored on power down
  • Real, printed, 16 paged paper manual included
  • Available as DIY-kit or out-of-the-box

    Synth Controller Editions

    We offer numerous different editions for a series of vintage synthesizers. Each one is carefully designed and highly optimized for it’s target synth. Click the weblinks to open the faceplate graphics in a new browser window:

    ‚1016r‘ for Oberheim Matrix 1000 / 6 / 6r

    ’81Z‘ for Yamaha TX-81Z

    ‚ProVessorS‘ for SCI Prophet VS

    ‚ESQ8‘ for Ensoniq ESQ/SQ80

    ‚8000‘ for Korg DW-8000 / EX-8000

    ‚AlphaJ‘ for Roland Alpha Juno 1/2, MKS-50

    ‚8P‘ for Roland JX-8P

    ‚M-80‘ for Roland MKS-80

    ‚JX-70‘ for Roland MKS-70/JX-10 (please read the Addendum)

    ‚JX-70 VK 4.X‘ for Roland MKS-70/JX-10 with Vecoven OS 4.x (please read the Addendum)

    ‚Super Quart7‘ for Roland MKS-7 Super Quartet

    ‚Microwave‘ for Waldorf Microwave 1 (Software V 2.0)

    ‚Microwave 2‘ for Waldorf Microwave II

    ‚Qfeld‘ for Waldorf Blofeld / microQ / Q

    ‚Puls‘ for Waldorf Pulse 1

    ‚K1‘ for Kawai K1 / K1m / K1r

    ‚K3‘ for Kawai K3 / K3m

    ‚K4‘ for Kawai K4 / K4r

    ‚Mirco‘ for Alesis Micron / Akai Miniak

    ‚Revolver‘ for DSI Evolver

    ‚Spectral‘ for Peavey Spectrum Synth

    ‚Tubbutec Juno66‘

    ‚Tubbutec SH1oh1‘

    ‚Six Tweak‘ for SCI Six Trak

    ‚G8-P‘ for Roland GP-8

    ‚Thet4‘ for DSI Tetr4

    ‚MonstaController for Audiothingies MicroMonsta

    ‚SX-240‘ for Kawai SX-240 with Tauntek EPROM

    ‚DS-8′ for Korg DS-8

    Edition for Böhm Dynamic 4×9

    Edition for EMU Ultra Proteus/Morpheus

    Edition for Korg MicroKorg

    Edition for JX-3P (with Organix-River expansion)

    Edition for Uni-CC edition

    Edition ’Bit‘ for Crumar Bit One/01/99 running the Tauntek Firmware

    Edition ’Mirage‘ for Ensoniq Mirage running MASOS

    Edition for Lexicon LXP-1

    Edition for Lexicon LXP-5

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Does the Synth Controller allow to hold more than on edition at a time? Can i switch between multiple editions somehow? Can the Controller used universally with multiple synths?
    No, the hardware of the Synth Controllers offers room for exactly one edition at a time. It is not an universal controller for multiple synths at the same time.

    Can i dump the 1016r-edition firmware into my Synth Controller in Microwave edition?
    Sure. The hardware of the Synth Controller is compatible with all firmwares. It also does not matter whether it’s the DIY-kit or the assembled version. Btw, if you jump over to ‘Manuals’ you can download PDFs for printout of all faceplates.

    Can i make editions or templates on my own?
    Not for target devices using SysEx. But since 2020/02 we offer an edition called “UniCC” in combination with an online editor. You can configure up to 48 Control Change-numbers for your knobs. Please visit the “UniCC EDITOR” tab for more details. This allows e.g. controlling most VST instruments with your Synth Controller.

    How can i dump another edition into the Synth Controller?
    The steps for the firmware update are described in the manual.

    My Matrix-6/6R does not react to knob fiddling – only Volume and Portamento are working?
    The Matrix 6/6R ignores external parameter change commands unless it’s in QUICK EDIT Mode.

    My Alpha Juno / Yamaha TX81Z does not react to knob fiddling – only Volume and Portamento are working?
    There is a parameter in s the Juno’s Prefs: MIDI – EXCLUSIVE … set this to ON, otherwize the Juno will ignore incoming parameter change commands. For the TX81Z you find the parameter in the menu UTILITY/MIDI.

    What about an edition for Korg DW-6000, Yamaha FB01, Cheetah MS-6?
    On these synths it is unfortunately not possible to change individual parameters over Midi. Existing software editors solve this by sending the complete program back and forth which is not possible with the hardware of the Synth Controller.

    Does the Matrix-Edition allow tweaking all parameters of the Matrix 1000/6 including the modulations matrix?
    No, the Synth Controller just offers the 40 most important parameters, including ‘Unison Detune’ introduced in the Matrix1000 OS Version 1.16. For modulation matrix edits to make sense, the controller would (among others) need a display. Take a look on our Synth Programmer offering convenient access to all parameters , including the mod matrix.

    Does the 81Z edition also work with the Yamaha DX-11 / DX-100 / TQ-5?
    Yes, the 81Z edition works well with the DX11 and also DX100. There might be parameters on the DX-100 which the 81Z does not offer. These wont be supported then. The same for the TQ-5 which we tested ourselved. It does NOT work with the FB01 which is cimpletely different sysex-wise.

    No edition for the Yamaha DX-7?
    No, for a reason. FM-Synthesis is so complex – a simple controllerbox with 16 pots would not do the job. A focused editing would not be possible, it would be more kind of gambling.

    Is there an edition for the Ensoniq Mirage sampler?
    Yes, although it goes a quite unusual way. We checked all three operating systems: OS3.2, MASOS and SOUNDPROCESS. None allows the direct changing of parameter values with midi commands.

    • The OS3.2 does not offer any interface for midi remoted parameter changes at all :-(
    • MASOS does offer the SENDING of individual parameter changes from the Mirage but not RECEIVING them from an external controller/Computer (we tried nevertheless in the hope the documentation is incomplete, but nothing). There is only a command for receiving a complete set of PROGRAM parameters. For proper operation it would be necessary to connect Controller & Mirage in a Midi loop for transfering the complete Program from Mirage into the Controller, changing the desired para values and sending the complete Program back to the Mirage. This could work – but the MIDI IN of the Controller would be occupied by the Mirage – blocking the possibility to connect it to the Sequencer/DAW for receiving notes and let it play some music :-(
    • SOUNDPROCESS – the alternative OS making the Mirage a 4 oscillator Synth without sampling capabilities. This OS offers the widest SysEx interface, theoretically it should have worked. According to the documentation the Mirage should display “CC” and respond to individual SysEx parameter changes after sending the “Computer Control” command (0xF0, 0x0F, 0xF7, 0x02, 0xF7) to the Mirage. But it simply does not respond. If it’s only the Mirage i have here or the docuentation is wrong or the OS was not finished 32 years ago … no idea, it simply does not do what it should :-(
    • Last chance: remoting of frontpanel knobs. MASOS offers a possibility for virtually pressing frontpanel knobs with midi commands, that’s the way the Synth Controller edition goes. The Mirage will jump directly into parameter numbers by touching a knob. By the amount of turning you set the speed to increase or decrease the value. Still not perfect but much quicker than doing it by hand. For further details please check the addendum for the Mirage edition.

    Is it right the keyboard of the Crumar Bit One stops working when being used with a Synth Controller?
    Yes, but the reason is a quite unusual behaviour of the Bit ONE itself and has nothing to do with the Synth Controller in special. The keyboard will be detached from the internal sound engine as soon as a cable is plugged to the Bit ONE’s MIDI IN, it still sends to MIDI OUT though. A solution would be to plug the Bit’s MIDI OUT to a Midi Merger which merges this keyboard data with incoming notes/data from the DAW’s MIDI OUT. The merger’s OUT goes back into the Bit – optionally with the Synth Controller in between. The Controller forwards all Midi Note and mixes them with it’s own parameter change data.

    How long will it take to assemble the Synth-Controller DIY kit?
    About 60 Minuten – depending on your skils and how much time you take.

    Where to get

    You can get the Synth Controller directly in the Stereoping-Shop or from one of the following distributors:

    USA: Retro Gear Shop, Nashville/Tennessee
    Kanada / USA: TechnoSynth, Montreal City/Qc.
    Italy: Scolopendra, Bologna
    Belgium: Turnlab
    Austria: Musik Paul