Crowned as the ‘Swiss army knife’ of MIDI processing, the Metaconformer modular MIDI processor is what can be considered a logical culmination of SOMA’s philosophy of making instrument connection flexible, cooperative and more technologically sophisticated. It harnesses the enduring, ubiquitous MIDI protocol. However, it employs it in unorthodox ways that provide greater control over multitudes of unconventional instrument setups.
The Metaconformer has been designed, keeping the needs of the modern-day musician in mind. It offers three primary modes of operation with each representing a distinct way to manage and generate sound.
1. Splitter Mode: This mode enables the division of a keyboard into up to 8 zones. Corresponding to individual instruments or MIDI channels, each zone can be played separately. Not only does it make simultaneous operation of several synths a possibility but also allows groove boxes to receive multiple MIDI channels. The real icing on the cake is the fact that each zone can intersect with others and comes with a transposition option.
2. Combiner Mode: This mode facilitates the amalgamation of up to 8 different instruments into one multitimbral polysynth. It receives input from the Metaconformer MIDI channel, then distributes the notes to the MIDI channels of respective ‘voices’ in a way akin to classical polyphonic music, albeit with different sounds on each voice.
3. Translator Mode: This mode takes Metaconformer to another level by allowing users to play with parameters of the sound core (CC messages) using notes. Broadly speaking, it is the configurable key track of your system. To illustrate, if a user plays note N, expected within the range of 0-127 midi notes, the same can then be converted into a parameter value, with a similar range on the MIDI CC values.
Check out more about Metaconformer at the SOMA Laboratories website for an in-depth dive into its function features and potential.
1. Transformative and innovative MIDI processing
2. Allows full control over complex instrument setup
3. Provides three modes of operation: Splitter, Combiner, and Translator
4. Each mode offers unique capabilities and flexibility
5. Can split a keyboard into up to 8 zones in Splitter Mode
6. Can combine up to 8 different instruments in Combiner Mode
7. Allows playing on parameters of sound core (CC messages) with notes in Translator Mode
1. Unconventional use of MIDI protocol, offers greater control and flexibility
2. Simplifies management of multitimbral sound sources
3. Enables simultaneous operation of multiple synths
4. Enhances performing capabilities with the split and combine features
5. Translator mode can be deemed as an added benefit for simplifying CC messages.
1. Without adequate knowledge, navigating through the features might prove to be challenging
2. It requires a bit of learning curve to make the most out of the device.
3. The interface may seem a bit complex for new users.
In essence, the Metaconformer seems to be designed to break down the barriers that limit musical creativity. Its ability to redefine the structure of sound and the elements of music is indeed groundbreaking. Although it may entail a certain degree of complexity, the value it offers in empowering artists to experiment is well worth the learning curve.