Miffi v1.1 VST
Abstract
Miffi employs a variant of DSF synthesis which uses
complex number arithmetic to generate comb filtered stereo
signals. By morphing between two DSF parameter sets, Miffi
is capable of synthesizing a wide variety of sounds and
effects.
I created Miffi, which is a derivative of Moppeltron,
using Synthedit.
It
doesn't use native Synthedit oscillators but a complex
number processing DSF oscillator which I coded in C++.
Features
 Stereo output of comb filtered signals with onesided
or
twosided spectra.
 A morphing unit allowing static mixes of two
DSF
parameter sets as well as dynamic warping between two sets
using an ADSR envelope or an LFO.
 Freely selectable polyphony with up to 16 voices.
Note
sliding. Adjustable pitch bend range.
 ADSR envelope and a gain for volume control. Embedded
piano
keyboard control.
 MIDI control of all parameters. Easy MIDICC
assignment by
MIDI learn function.
 64 presets.
DSF
Synthesis
The DSF (Discrete Summation Formulae) synthesis technique,
as proposed by Moorer, is
appealing since
it generates band limited signals and allows immediate control of
the synthesized signals' spectra. It makes use of the
identity
N
∑ a^{k}
sin(q + kb) = { sinq
a
sin(q b)  a^{N+1}[sin(q + (N+1)b)  a sin(q +
Nb)] } / { 1 + a^{2}
 2a
cosb },
k = 0 
in that q and b can be substituted by 2p
f_{c} t and 2p
f_{m} t, respectively, which yields

N
∑ a^{k}
sin(2p(f_{c} + k
f_{m}) t)
k = 0 
= 
N
∑ a^{k}
sin(2p f_{c} t + k
2p
f_{m} t)
k = 0 
= 
{ sin(2p
f_{c} t) a
sin(2p f_{c} t  2p
f_{m} t)  ...et cetera.... } / { 1 +
a^{2}  2a cos(2p
f_{m} t) }. 

So if we keep computing samples by the last expression, while the
value of t (the time, measured in seconds) is increased by
1/Samplerate each sample, we obtain a waveform with a harmonic
spectrum. Telling by the equation, the properties of the
generated spectrum are as follows: There are N+1 partials, the
fundamental is f_{c} (which shall be called center
frequency), the distance between two subsequent partials is
f_{m} (which shall be called modulation frequency),
and
the partials' magnitudes fall off by factor a, which shall be
called the
amplitude ratio. On a decibel scale, the partials fall off
linearly.

Spectrum of a
DSFgenerated waveform with N = 8, f_{c} = 200, f_{m} = 50, and a
= 0.7.

Moorer also
provides a formula
for twosided spectra, ie. for partials falling off on both sides
of the center frequency.
Complex DSF Synthesis
Now, we can add some more variety to the generated spectra
by substituting the amplitude ratio with a complex number, say
a ® r
(cosg + i sing). Then we
gather:

N
∑ a^{k}
sin(q + kb)
k = 0 
= 
N
∑ (r
(cosg + i sing))^{k} sin(2p(f_{c}
+ k f_{m}) t)
k = 0 
= 
N
∑ r^{k}
cos(kg) sin(2p(f_{c}
+ k f_{m}) t)
k = 0 
+ 
N
i ∑
r^{k} sin(kg)
sin(2p(f_{c} + k f_{m})
t)
k = 0 
So if we substitude a
like that, and compute the DSF
expression using complex number arithmetic, we will obtain a
sequence of complex numbers, whose real components build a signal
with a harmonic spectrum and whose imaginary components build
another signal with a harmonic spectrum. We shall call the first
signal the "real signal" and the second signal the "imaginary
signal". Telling by the formula, the two signals' spectra are
quite similar to the spectra generated with the classic DSF
synthesis using real numbers as amplitude ratio. Yet, the
partials are now weighted by additional factors: For the real
signal, the kth partial is weighted by cos(kg),
and for the imaginary signal, the kth
partial is weighted by sin(kg).
The
closer to 0 the factors become, the smaller becomes the magnitude
of the corresponding partial. The effect on the respective
spectrum is that a comb pattern is imposed on it, ie. it's comb
filtered, and the two comb filtered spectra are
complementary to another: Where one has a peak, the other has a
notch.

Spectra of the real
signal (left) and imaginary signal (right) for N = 20,
f_{c}
= 200,
f_{m}
=
50, a
= 0.95, and
g
=
0.285 p. 
The idea of using complex numbers as amplitude ratios was already
mentioned by Stilson and Smith.
Yet, their
assumption that this would be equivalent to summing a real DSF
signal with a shifted version of itself, possibly with a sign
flip, is wrong. With complex DSF, the magnitudes of the partials
are independent of the center frequency and modulation frequency.
So the sound preserves its character even if the pitch is
changed. This could not be achieved by superposing a real DSF
signal with a shifted dublicate of itself, since that would
create a comb pattern anchored at 0 Hz and not at the center
frequency.
In addition, complex DSF makes it possible to shift the comb
patterns by simply multiplying the complex signal with another
complex number. If we multiply the complex samples with
(cosj + i sinj), for some j, the
resulting signal is:
N
∑ r^{k}
cos(j + kg) sin(2p(f_{c} + k f_{m})
t)
k = 0 
+ 
N
i ∑
r^{k} sin(j
+
kg) sin(2p(f_{c}
+ k f_{m}) t)
k = 0 
So we got further control on the spectra since j operates
as a comb phase
offset. If j is
gradually
increased, the combs gradually shift to the left, and
decreasing it shifts them to the right (provided that g is positive, otherwise the
directions are switched).

Real and imaginary
spectrum of the signal above after the complex samples
have been multiplied with (cosj+ i
sinj),
where j
= 0.25 p.
By the multiplication, the combs have been
shifted. 
How to use
Miffi
Basically, Miffi generates a complex DSF signal and morphs
between two DSF parameter sets to produce a waveform that
changes over time. The resulting real and imaginary signals are
combined into a stereo signal.
Morphing
The two DSF parameter sets that limit the morphing
range can be defined in the Oscillator
section.
Example:
Take a
look at the example
picture
of Miffi. The range of the DSF parameter Ampl. Ratio goes
from 0.665 to
0.481, the range of Comb
Angle goes from 0.010 to 1.43, and the range of Comb Phase goes
from
0.440 to 0.030. All other DSF parameters have been fixed to
certain values by setting the same value in the upper and lower
row. Now, if Miffi morphs a voice, it does so for all DSF
parameters simultaneuously. If, for instance, morphing starts at
the parameter set defined in the lower row and ends at the
parameter set in the upper row, the oscillator will be fed at the
beginning with an Ampl. Ratio, Comb Angle and Comb Phase of
0.665, 0.010, and 0.440, respectively. Then, while morphing, the
oscillator's Ampl. Ratio, Comb Angle and Comb Phase inputs will
gradually and simultaneously change until they reached the values
0.481, 1.74, and 0.030, respectively.
The starting and end point of the morphing can be altered in
the Range Control
section. The RangeL
slider determines
the start parameter set and the RangeR
slider determines the end
parameter set of the morping. Alternatively, the joystick knob in
the square can be used to alter both start and end parameter sets
at the same time.
Example:
If RangeL
is at the topmost
position and RangeR
is
at the bottommost position, the oscillator will be initially fed
with the DSF parameter values defined in the top row of the
Oscillator section. As an aid, the start parameter set will be
indicated by the left red triangle in the Morph Range field,
which, in this example, will point to the top row. When a note is
played, the DSF input of the oscillator will be gradually changed
into the values defined in the bottom row of the Oscillator
section, as determined by the RangeR
slider. The end point will be
indicated by the right red triangle, which will point to the
bottom row. If, for instance, the sliders' positions are
changed such that RangeL
is in the middle position and RangeR
is at the topmost position,
then morphing will start at a parameter mix within the
ranges defined by the upper and lower row, and morphing will
end at the set of values defined in the upper row.
The range sliders and the joystick knob provide a simple but
effective means to change the sound of the synth while
playing.
Now, Miffi doesn't just linearly morph from one parameter set to
another. The way in which Miffi morphs between the start and
end parameter sets is defined by the Morph
Mode
selector.
Example:
If the
selector is set to ADSR2, and a note starts playing, then
morphing will start at the parameter set determined by RangeL, then it
will
proceeed to the parameter set specified by RangeR, and when
the note is
released, morphing will go back to the set specified by RangeL again. The
speed
at which all that happens is controlled by the ADSR 2
envelope.
Oscillator Settings
The overall ranges of the morphable DSF parameters can be
defined in the Oscillator
section:
 Ampl.Ratio:
This is
the amplitude ratio, ie. the variable r in the complex DSF
formula. It defines how fast the partials fall off.
 M :
C Ratio: These
knobs determine the modulation frequency f_{m}.While
the center frequency f_{c }is specified by
the
currently played note and the Pitch
settings, f_{m} is
computed as f_{m } = f_{c}
* m/c +
offset, where the range of m is defined by the knob pair on
the left below the "M : C Ratio" label and the range of c is
defined by the knob pair on the right below that label. The
range of "offset" is defined by the knob pair below the label
"MOffset".
m can also be negative.Then the partials right of the center
frequency will be flipped to the left. By that, some partials
may be inverted, ie. they have negative frequencies. Those
will be mirrored back into the positve frequency range.
 MOffset:
See the
description of M : C
Ratio above. Choosing nonzero values for MOffset
usually detunes the sound but can lead to interesting
effects.
 Pitch:
Alters the
pitch, measured in octaves. That is,. a value of 1 means that
the note is played one octave higher.
 Comb
Angle: This
reflects the g
variable in
the DSF formula, measured in multiples of p.
This parameter influences the distance
between peaks of the comb patterns. Some examples on how the
combs are altered by the Comb Angle value:
 At 0, there is no comb pattern at all.
 Gradually increasing the value till 0.5 will
create
peaks, growing denser and denser.
 At 0.5, the peaks are as dense as they get. In
the real
spectrum, the peaks are identical with the 1st, 3rd,
5th,... partials, and the 2nd, 4th etc. partials are
missing (btw, the 3rd, 7th etc. partials are inverted)
. In the imaginary spectrum, it's the other way
around.
 Increasing the value till 1 will increase the
distance
between peaks again. At 1, the comb has vanished (yet,
it's technically not the same as 0 since the signs of the
partials are now alternating; every second partial is
inverted).
 Going from 0 to 1 is analog, the partials are
just
inverted.
 Comb
Phase: This
reflects the variable j,
ie. the
comb phase offset, measured in multiples of p.
If the comb angle value is positive,
gradually increasing the comb phase value will shift the comb
pattern towards 0 Hz (ie. usually to the left, unless the
partials are inverted), and decreasing the value will move
the comb in the other direction. Some special comb phase
values:
 At 0, there's no phase shift at all.
 At 1, the peaks overlap again, yet every second
partial
is inverted.
 At 2, it's the same as at 0.
 Going from 0 to negative values will move the
comb in
the other direction.
 If the comb angle value is 0, then there will
be
no comb pattern. If also the comb phase value is 0, only
the real signal is audible. In L+R stereo
mode, you would hear sound only
from the left speaker box. Changing the comb phase value
now to a nonzero value would shift the partials from the
real signal to the imaginary signal, ie. in L+R mode the
sound would wander to the right speaker box.
Phase Shifting:
If
this is turned on, then the comb patterns are shifted
permanently. The Comb Phase values will no longer determine the
absolute comb phase shift, but rather the speed at which the
combs are
shifted.
Sidebands:
This control
reflects the variable N in the DSF formula, ie. the number of
partials on either side of the center frequency. Notice that the
oscillator, independent of this setting, will automatically cut
off partials that are higher than half the samplerate to
avoid aliasing (eg. when sampling at 44 kHz, partials above 22
kHz will not be generated by the oscillator; when sampling at 96
kHz, the limit is 48 kHz etc).
Symmetry:
If this is set
to 1sided, then there will be only partials to the right of the
center frequency. If it is set to 2sided, then there will be
also partials to the left of the center frequency. The partials
to the left may reach into the negative frequency range; then
they will be mirrored back into the positive range, where they
may overlap with other partials and create beating effects.
Range
Control
RangeL,
RangeR:
As already
mentioned in the Morphing
section, RangeL
and RangeR
determine the mix of DSF
parameter values at which the morphing starts and ends,
respectively. Alternatively, the joystick knob can be used to
alter both range limits simultaneously.
Effect:
This control
only matters when you change the range limits with the Range sliders or
the
joystick knob while playing. When Effect
is set to "Continuous",
moving the Range
sliders
or the joystick knob while playing will affect the sound of all
voices simultaneously. But when it's set to "Per Note", then each
voice remembers the current Range
setting at the moment it
starts playing a note, and it keeps that setting until it's
finished.
Morph
Mode
Morph Mode:
With
this control you can select how the morphing proceeds between the
start and end parameter sets.
 RangeL: At this setting, no morphing happens but the
oscillator will be statically fed with the mix of parameter
values determined by the RangeL
slider.
 RangeR: Like RangeL, but for the RangeR slider.
 ADSR1: The morphing will be controlled by the
envelope ADSR
1 (which also controls the volume while a note is playing).
 Morphing first goes from the start parameter set
to the
end parameter set at the speed specified by Attack.
 Then it goes back to a parameter set
corresponding to Sustain.
If the Sustain
slider is
at the topmost position, then this parameter set is the end
parameter set determined by RangeR;
if it's at the
bottommost position, the Sustain parameter set is the end
parameter set determined by RangeL;
and if Sustain
is somewhere in the
middle, then the parameter set is a mix between the start
and end parameter set.
 The speed at which the Sustain level is reached
is
specified by the Decay
slider. Once Sustain
level is reached, morphing stays there until the note is
released.
 When the note is released, morphing will go back
to the RangeL
parameter
set at a speed specifed by Release.
 ADSR2: Similar to ADSR1, but now it's the ADSR 2
envelope
controlling the morphing.
 LFO: Morphing will oscillate between the start
parameter
set and end parameter set. The oscillation is controlled by the
LFO (Low Frequency Oscillator) and ADSR 2:
 ADSR 2 controls the magnitude of the oscillation
while
a note is played.
 Speed:
Determines the frequency of the oscillation.
 Sync:
If this is
activated, the oscillation will be synchronized to the
song tempo.
 Amt:
Specifies
the maximum magnitude of the oscillation.
 Waveform:
The
waveform of the oscillation (Only Sine or Triangle.
Waveforms with discontinuities were omitted since those
caused unpleasant popping sounds).
Stereo
Mode
The way the real and imaginary signals are output as stero
pairs can be influenced by the following controls.
Stereo:
With this
control, you select the stereo coding.
 L+R: The real signal is mapped to the left stereo
channel
and the imaginary signal is mapped to the right stereo channel.
 M+S: The real signal is output as the middle
component and
the imaginary signal is output as the side component (that is,
the left channel output is the sum of the real signal and the
imaginary signal, and the right channel output is the
difference between the real signal and the imaginary
signal).
 S+M: The real signal is output as the side
component
and the imaginary signal is output as the middle component.
 alt: In modes marked with the suffix
"alt", the left
and right output channels alternate, ie. they are swapped every
time a voice starts playing a new note.
Spread:
This
controls the stereo separation. At the leftmost position, stereo
sound is output just as described above. At the rightmost
position, the left and right outputs are switched. At the center
position, the left and right outputs are mixed into a mono
signal.
MIDI
By the help of the MIDI learn function, you can easily
assign parameters to MIDICCs. This is how it works (it may not
work though on hosts that catch MIDI signals to implement their
own learn function):
 Hit the Learn
button. The red LED next to it is lit to indicate that you're
now in MIDI learn mode.
 Move the knob/slider/button you wish to control.
 Move the MIDI control which you want to assign to it.
The
red LED is unlit again to indicate that you left MIDI learn
mode.
That's it. Repeat this procedure to have all parameters
controlled. If you accidentally entered MIDI learn mode and want
to leave it again, just hit the Learn
button once again.
Miffi instances that share the same MapID also share the same
MIDICC mapping. So if you want use more than one MIDICC
mapping, you have to alter the MapIDs by the MapID selector
accordingly.
The mappings are stored as plain text files in the Miffi plugin
folder, in folders named mfmidi00, mfmidi01, and so forth.
Miscellaneous
ADSR 1: Controls the volume of a voice while it's
playing a note. The volume starts at zero and goes to
maximum at the speed specified with Attack. Then it
goes back to Sustain
level, at the
speed defined with Decay.
Finally, when the note is
released, volume goes back to zero at the speed specified
by Release.
Voices:
The maximum
amount of voices that can be active at the same time. It can be
freely set between 1 and 16. This is supposedly an unusual
feature for a Synthedit synth since Synthedit doesn't provide
means to change polyphony on the fly, but Miffi works around
this.
Slide:
This is the
portamento speed, ie. the speed at which notes slide. To make
notes slide, a key must not be released before the next key is
pressed. If the Slide
knob is turned to the leftmost position, sliding is off. ADSR 1
behaves special if sliding is turned on and Voices is set to 1;
in this case,
the attack volume doesn't start at zero but it starts from the
current level..
Volume:
Limits the
overall volume.
HQ:
High Quality.
Turning this on makes the signal quality better at cost of
processing time. However, don't expect to hear any
difference: When HQ is disabled, the noise added is at worst 116
dB lower than the audible signal, which isn't audible in a 16bit
recording. Anyway, I kept this in, so when you're rendering, you
may want to enable it.
Bend Range:
This is the
pitch bend range measured in half tones. If you're using a pitch
bend wheel, you may have to alter this parameter to get the
desired effect.
Finally, a note on the controls: The DSF parameter controls have
text entry fields which you can use to enter exact values. The
sliders can be moved with more precision when you press CTRL
while moving them. And to turn the knobs with more precision,
click on them, then move the mouse pointer away while keeping the
mouse button pressed; the farther away the mouse pointer is, the
more precise will be the turning of the knob.
Installation
Put the file Miffi.dll into your VST Plugins folder.
Literature
James
A. Moorer, "The
Synthesis of Complex Audio Spectra by Means of Discrete Summation
Formulas", http://www.jamminpower.com/main/articles.jsp,
1976.
Tim
Stilson, Julius
Smith, "AliasFree Digital Synthesis of Classic Analog
Waveforms", http://ccrma.stanford.edu/~stilti/papers,
1996.
Version
History
Miffi v1.1:
Fixed crash when the modulation frequency was zero and the center
frequency exceeded 22kHz.
Improved CPU check to avoid crashes on older machines.
New background image.
Miffi v1.0:
Initial release.
Thanks
to
Vera Kinter (designer of the knob, button, and slider skins, http://www.artveramusic.com)
David Haupt (creator of the MIDI ControlMeister module,http://www.dehaupt.com/SynthEdit/index.html)
Jeff McClintock (creator of Synthedit, http://www.synthedit.com)
Contact
You can contact me by EMail at: moppelsynths@verklagekasper.de
(Burkhard Reike).
DISCLAIMER:
This software is provided as is, there is no warranty and
nobody is responsible for any kind of damage. Use it at your own
risk.
VST is a trademark of Steinberg Soft und Hardware GmbH,
Germany.
Download: Miffi_1_1.zip
(Windows)
This synth is free. If you like it, feel free to leave a donation.
