Synapse Audio Updates The Legend With MPE

Synapse Audio Software has announced that they have updated The Legend – a Minimoog-style software synthesizer – to version 1.2.

The update adds support for Native Instruments’ NKS, introduces a new Performance matrix on the back panel to increase the expressiveness of the instrument, and supports Multidimensional Polyphonic Expression (MPE) when in Poly mode.


  • Accurate circuit simulation
  • Two Revisions modeled, Early and Late
  • 8x Oversampled engine
  • Vectorized core with Unison, Mono and four-voice Polyphony modes
  • 480 patches included
  • Available as VST, Audio Unit and Rack Extension

The update is free for registered users. See the Synapse site for more info.

7 thoughts on “Synapse Audio Updates The Legend With MPE

  1. I use Synapse’s Dune 2, which is a very powerful and versatile synth with a good mod matrix. However, the developers omitted release-velocity and Polyphonic-AT from their mod source list. For such a powerhouse synth, that was a little disappointing.

    Their justification is that Poly-AT is more rare in keyboards; and (I suppose) they think that users don’t care about release-velocity.

    The original MIDI spec provides three per-note controls: Attack (velocity), Sustain (Poly-AT CC), and Release (velocity). Most synths only let you use the first one (some not even that one).

    It’s too bad that polyphonic AT never took off as a standard way to control the individual notes on a channel. I think part of the problem was the assumption that it had to be literally based on an “after-touch” control, as opposed to some other means of control.

    MPE is a clever workaround, but it isn’t as elegant.

    Ultimately, having a new MIDI spec with two or even three Poly-AT streams per note, would be cool. But we’ll need developers to embrace that degree of control.

    There certainly are developers who think big in that way.

    1. > It’s too bad that polyphonic AT never took off as a standard way to control the individual notes on a channel.

      There were implementations. Unfortunately a student at FSU patented the use of poly aftertouch to modulate pitch, which is absurd since people were doing that already. The patent office though doesn’t look at any preexisting work except what the applicant provides. There’s been some reform since then and now the general public can comment on an application and bring “overlooked” examples of preexisting work to the attention of the examiner, but the public wasn’t allowed to this back then.

      Once a patent is granted it’s an expensive legal process to get it overturned. The patent system assumes that the patent holder will have done due diligence in bringing examples to their attention and if not, relies on people affected by a bad patent to simply engage in a multi-million dollar patent challenge case.

      Student patents over IP developed as a student at FSU are owned by the university and FSU has a big IP licensing legal team and deep pockets you’ll have to overcome to challenge their patent.

      Poly aftertouch is very unsuitable though for MPE because MPE requires pitch changes across a wide pitch range to implement glides. Aftertouch is 7 bit total. PB messages are 14 bit. If you went with aftertouch for this it wouldn’t work at all as a guitar style controller allowing you to do glides unless you reduced the pitch resolution to where you’d have noticeable stepping during the glide.

      > having a new MIDI spec with two or even three Poly-AT streams per note, would be cool

      We do, it’s MPE.

      And with the USB MIDI spec we have not only the high speed MIDI we always wanted, but one cable for both directions, plus multiple independent 16 channel streams per cable, plus can even ride audio on the same cable simultaneously. And the whole thing is completely backwards compatible with MIDI 1.0 because it keeps the same message structures.

      If you want a new MIDI standard with a totally different message structure, post your proposal, along with whether it will be 100% backwards compatible with all existing equipment. If it won’t be backwards compatible, please do a business viability study looking into how many units you will sell for your new better thing that you are calling MIDI but is not compatible with it. I look forward to your whitepaper. I’ve read many MIDI 2.0 proposals over the last 35 years, another one would be no problem.

      1. >> having a new MIDI spec with two or even three Poly-AT streams per note, would be cool

        >We do, it’s MPE.

        MPE just seems like a clunky way to accomplish it. But I must confess I am attached to the multi-timbral model, and also, I don’t have direct experience using MPE.

        I completely agree that those Poly-AT control data streams should be 14-bit–

        Thanks for the info about that patent troll from FSU. Eeesh. That’s annoying. I was using Poly-AT for pitch back when I got my first Ensoniq EPS in maybe 1989 or 90.

        I used to use it to drop thirds of major chords down, and just wild pitch madness on held chords.

      2. Interesting post Rabid Bat and interesting times we are in. I had associated the gradual shift to USB midi with low cost devices like the Korg nano series and hadn’t thought about the larger bandwidth available via USB. Given the lack of USB sockets on my older midi gear I have largely avoided USB only devices as firstly I don’t want to have to switch on a computer to make them talk with older devices and secondly to avoid potential complications with using multiple midi and audio devices with one pc. In the early nineties I faffed around with DIN sync, midi to CV and triggfer pulses to make devices talk to each either and am glad to have simplified life by taking the decision to stick with midi only devices.
        It feels to me that we are seeing the emerence of a protocol that will be here for some time and whilst I won’t need to dust down my midi to CV converter I’m going to have to consider the move to the modern equivalent in the form of a USB to 5 pin converter.

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