VL70-Wizard: a new programming interface (part 2 of 2)


Here is a Q&A between Mr. Verpaele and WindWorks Design on his project, VL70-Wizard: 

How did it start?
My hobby is sound design. I have a specific interest for Acoustic Modelling and Modular Synthesis. Years ago I became owner of a VL70m and WX5. It was frustrating not to be able to get better sounds out of this module. As a result this module lost my attention for a long period and I was at a point to sell it.  Luckily I did not….
A few years ago I discovered the MAX/MSP development platform from Cycling 74.  Finally I’ve got a development platform allowing me to get into go deep MIDI – Sysex programming.  So, I decided to give the VL70m a new chance and did start the VL-Wizard development project.
I did get in touch with Manny Fernandez and Bruno Degazio to get more info. I also established indirect contact with the brain behind the VL technology (Mr. Toshifumi Kunimoto, head of R&D Yamaha). He confirmed that I was allowed to reverse engineer the VL-Expert Editor and VL-Visual Editor. So, I did digged deep into the MAC-VL-Expert editor and analysed the sysex it produced…I also studied the VL1m voice structure and mapped this to the VL70m and step by step I discovered how the VL70m synth hangs together. 
What equipment do you own?
My current setup is a Clavia G2, Technics sx-WSA, Yamaha S90 (with 3 PLGVL cards), VL70m with a third party PROM, and within a week or so I will be a happy owner of a VL1m and a EWI4000S. This means that if the VL-Wiz is a success that I will work on a VL1 editor…  
What is the status?
sorry…I’m a perfectionist..…as a result I restarted several times the design and development cycle in order to get the right solution. Today I reached the point where I believe the VL-Wiz is doing what I had in mind. I did listen to many testers and tried to incorporate their requests, additionally I invested considerable effort designing the right graphical look and feel…the commercial version will go a step further but I leave this as a surprise… I can say that the editor is for 95% ready and steady. What is missing is documentation, but soon after release I will spend time creating video tutorials and extra guidelines..
How will this change the quality of the VL70m voices?
The VL70m is a very expressive and underestimated sound module. It’s front panel parameters are far too little to get better sounding voices. The VL-Wiz offers in-depth editing of the hidden advanced parameters (the VL-element) and therefore unlocks the full potential of the VL70m or PLGVL cards. With a bit of effort and understanding of VL design (see the VL design guidelines of Manny) you can build a voice that responds the way you want it respond.  The VL-Wiz allows you to tweak parameters while listening.
Thanks to the visual key-scale / breakpoint editor you can also fine-tune the behavior of the voice within its low, medium and high range.
The ability to edit multiple VL-units (VL70m and/or PLGVL’s) at the same time allows to introduce layered voices like the VL1m does. The fact that the VL-Wiz can support up to 8 VL-units opens doors for polyphone VL. Believe me, using my Yamaha S90 with 3 PLGVL cards to play a string instrument is really addictive.  
The VL-Wiz includes a feature called, midi snippets. This feature will allow VL-voice designers to establish and share a library of frequently used snippets that can be loaded and directly put a set of parameters into a specific setting. Example EQ snippets for Bass guitar, Classic guitar, Cello etc…

Also the VL-Wiz includes a template selector allowing to quickly load a standard voice template based on the selected Driver and Body. This gives a quick start towards designing voices.
The tuning module does include the features of the original VL-Expert editor and allows for auto tuning or single key tuning. My best experience is using the single key tuning feature.
Do you have some examples of what can be done using multiple VL units.
Here are some examples. More realistic examples will be made available in the future.

When will it be ready?
If my real job allows then I will launch the commercial version end 2015.

On what platform will it run?
It works on a MAC and on Windows (32bit mode). Due to compatibility I could not include support for Windows XP.

What will it cost?
– the free demo version, this will include limitations in terms of storing voices into the library/disk, tuning etc.
– fully working + minor upgrades be around 100Euro. With reduction for those kind VL-users who already donated money for the project (allowing me to invest in VL technology)
– the existing library contains unedited voices that I collected, extracted and converted.  I do play with the idea to design voice expansion packs.
What where the biggest challenges?
– finding enough time to combine this project with my real job.
– keeping myself motivated to complete this big project and convince my wife that this effort will make many VL-users happy.  
– designing a good graphical user interface
– building the voice-tuning process, keyscaling editor and multipart sysex engine
How to stay informed?
By sending a mail to VL70m(@)imoxplus.net
Can we support this project?
Yes, donations are motivating and can still be done via paypal, these kind people will receive a reduction on the commercial version and priority in terms of support.


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