Synth Programmer

Synth Programmer

Firmware update 2020:
With OS version 1.5 all editions (except Pulse) contain a freely configurable CC-Mode to allow controlling VST instruments with the Programmer.

Synth Programmer Overview

The Stereoping ‘Synth Programmer’ is the next logical step after our successful Synth Controller. It allows direct access to all parameters of your favourite music synthesizer – with 45 pots, 4 endless dials, a 2×16 character display and 7 old-school pushbuttons. High quality electronic parts in a tough and cute steelcase Made in Germany.

The Synth Programmer is available in six editions, each highly specialized and optimized in visual design and firmware to get the most out of the supported synthesizer. More about the available editions in the tab ‘EDITIONS’.

The programmer will be connected to your synth in a loop (MIDI IN to MIDI OUT and vice versa) for both to use the same initial patch-parameter values. On turning a knob the display shows – besides the new – also the ‘old’ value for targeted, non-destructive editing. Of course the programmer has a second MIDI IN jack to be connected to your DAW or sequencer. Incoming Midi data will be merged with the parameter changes from the frontpanel and will be sent together into your synthesizer. You can tweak the sound while the sequencer fires notes into the synth at the same time.

The 45 most important parameters are assigned directly to pots. The remainings are clustered in groups and quickly accessible over display and encoders.

One feature we always loved on vintage synthesizers is the Chord Memory. We therefore thought it would be nice to integrate one in the Synth Programmer. A learnt chord (up to 6 notes) can be transposed on the keyboard by pressing just one key. The Chord Memory of the Synth Programmer does not only memorize one chord, it offers five, each with it’s own strum delay! These five ‘Chord-Slots’ can be swapped quickly by midi notes to play or automate the most complex chord progressions. All your learnt chords will be saved automatically and are instantly available after the next powerup.

Each Synth Programmer comes with a decent, detailed, printed operation manual in english. For the DIY kit we will offer a pictured building instructions PDF. The kit is complete: all parts, pre-programmed MPU, knobs and a tough steelcase with faceplate.

Synth Programmer Editions

The Synth Programmer will be offered in 6 Editions, each carefully designed and programmed to get the most of the targeted synthesizer. It is NOT possible to swap the editions directly on the programmer. This would not make any sense – the faceplate would not match anymore. The Matrix does not have any Wave Envelope and the Microwaves Oscillators have no Crossmodulation e.g. But you can dump any edition into the programmer, so you can safely try out all the others. We also will offer faceplates separately. If you decide to permanently swap to another edition – no problem.

The Edition for Matrix is dedicated to the Oberheim Matrix 1000/6 and 6R with all available firmwares from Oberheim, Gligli or Rob Grieb. You can set your target synth (M1000 or 6) and the firmware you are running in the PREFS of the Synth Programmer – the Programmer’s firmware was explicitly optimized for each synth/firmware combination. Of course the modulations matrix can be edited without restrictions and is quickly accessable with the 4 Encoders – one for Slot, Source, Target and Amount. There are some nifty features here: temporarily disable the currently displayed (or all) modulations. Or change the currently displayed modulation value very quick with the dedicated ‘VALUE’ or ‘ZERO’ pots. Besides the powerful Chord Memory the Edition for Matrix also offers a parametrized Randomizer.

The edition for Waldorf Microwave offers full access to all of the 165 Single parameters. To easily manage the fixed modulations we developed a clever system: press the MOD button, turn the pot with the modulation parameter you want to change (printed in blue) and you got all the “Mod Src/Mod Ctrl/Mod Amnt” parameters on screen, directly accessable thru the 4 encoders. There is also a decent MULTI mode: assign any of the Microwave’s Multi-Instrument parameters to one of the 4 pot-rows on the right programmer’s side, e.g. Detune, Transpose, Pan and Volume. The pots now offer direct editing for the first 6 instruments. For the 3 rows to the left you can choose any CC# to be sent on the Midichannel of these first 6 instruments. Selecting Sound Programs making use of these CC# as modulation sources turns the Microwave in combination with the Synth Programmer into a real modulation monster.

The edition for the Roland MKS-80 is the brandnew alternative to overprized and battered MPG-80s from the bay. From what we heard, the original MPG-80 should behave somewhat sluggy in combination with the MKS-80. Not so the Synth Programmer: all parameter-changes happen immediately and smooth as a hot knive running through butter. In addition you can remote the most important parameters by ordinary midi CC messages. All possibilites of the MPG-80 are supported – we did not forget the blue parameters like e.g. BALANCE or OCTAVE SHIFT. They also got blue knob caps :-)

The edition for Waldorf Pulse 1 will offer a dedicated knob for each parameter, except Triggermode ENV 1 & 2 which have to share one. Although the count of knobs and parameters would have fitted exactly we prefered having a DRIVE knob instead of wasting the last one for Env 2 Triggermode. DRIVE allows to raise or lower the level of all 3 Oscillators together without changing their level’s relation. Very helpful for tuning the filter overdrive of the Pulse. The edition also supplies Octave + and – buttons, a paraphonic mode, saving 25 additional patches (with names) and much more to make things easier with the Pulse 1.

The Edition for Rhodes Chroma finally gives the Chroma-Fans direct access to the sound of this impressively beautiful sounding flagship. The programmer easily syncs itself on selecting a program on the Chroma and displays all the values for algorythms or modulation sources on it’s 16×2 OLED character display. A Chroma program has 50 parameters (95 if you count A and B separately), the Programmer just offers 45 knobs. Some parameters therefore have to share a dial, the function can easily be switched with encoder 1 (‘Para Swap’). The buttons ‘Edit A’ and ‘Edit B’ got the same functionality as the buttons on the Chroma itself, they also can be switched on alltogether for setting paras of A & B to the same value in one step. The Programmer’s ‘Relative’ feature goes beyond: time and tuning-relevant parameters are just shifted then, remaining the parameter offset between A and B. The Programmer for Chroma only works if you got the CC+ interface.

Due to popular demand the edition for Sequential Prophet VS was following in january 2019. The endless pressing of knobs to adjust all the point’s levels and rates has come to an end. The workflow is as easy as it is on the Chroma’s edition: just select any PROGRAM on your VS and the Programmer gets the suitable parameter data automatically – the Program’s original values will be displayed when you start to turn the knobs. You will get a much easier access to the Prophet’s powerful arpeggiator as well as the modulation matrix’s switches and depths. The Programmer offers many practical features, e.g. the oscillator’s waveforms are only selected and brought to screeen when touching their knobs to avoid unwanted drastical sound changes. They can be changed then with the encoders.


Since firmware version 1.5 (01/2020) we integrated a „CC Mode“ in all editions of the Synth Programmer (except Pulse). This turns your Programmer into a universal Midicontroller for the so called „Midi Control Change“ commands (CC). Sending standard CC messages is quite handy for remoting VST plugins or hardware responding to CC. This manual describes the features and functions of the Synth Programmer’s CC Mode in detail.
Features of the CC Mode

  • Since OS version 1.5 the CC mode is automatically integrated in all editions (except Pulse) and will be switched on/off in the Programmer’s PREFS. It is not necessary to flash a „CC mode edition“ on it’s own. You need to flash the firmware update of your edition though.
  • the CC mode offers 4 independent and configurable sets for quickly changing between different control targets / VST instruments / tasks
    each set got it’s own editable name and all the definitions for the 45 knobs
  • each knob can be assigned it’s CC number and midi channel (1-16 or the Programmer’s basechannel). In addition you can define a stepwidth (e.g. 0,4,8,12…) or a maximum value (e.g. to send the values 0-8 over the complete knob turn angle).
  • Individual sets can be exported from the Programmer as SysEx-dump and they can be imported back of course.

In february we hopefully can offer magnetic overlays for self-labeling the pot’s functions.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can i switch different editions directly on the Programmer?
No. The Programmer only can hold one edition at a time. But you can update firmware and change editions by SysEx-firmware dumps.

Can it be converted for desktop use?
Sure. The case is inclined on the backside, the front will be facing you quite ergonomically. The 19″ brackets can be detached by losening 4 screws, we even offer nice wooden cheeks as optional accessory. For rackmounting we designed a notch on the back for the midi cables to hide, you can put the next 19″ device right above the Synth Programmer.

Can i change all parameters of the M1000/6/6R with the Matrix-Edition, including the modulation matrix?
Yes.

I got a couple of M1000s. Can i plug them multiple Matrix1000s on the Programmer?
Well, yes and no. The hardware is designed to support exactly ONE Matrix, there are not multiple output jacks for multiple Matrixs. Due to technical issues (see addendum for Matrix edition in downloads) the Matrix 100 does not allow Group-Mode (more polyphony) together wit the Programmer. But we will offer a little expansion box for making it possible nevertheless – even with two Matrix 6! For simple Layering of 2 Matrix a simple Midi Splitter should do the job.

No edition for Yamaha DX-7?
No, for a reason. FM-Synthesis is quite complex, a display supporting graphical envelopes is one thing which would make things much easier. Maybe we’ll develop such an FM programmer in the future.

Is there any software to develop editions on my own?
No.

How long will it take to solder the DIY kit of the Synth Programmer?
About 2 Stunden – depending on how much soldering practice you’ve got.

Where to buy

You can get the Synth Programmer 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