since switching from mostly “programming” melodies and rarely using any MIDI controllers to doing everything with MPE (after getting a small LinnStrument), my focus for synths has switched from looking for the most complex monster synth and the maddest wavetable mangling options to synths and VIs that just sound great for playing with MPE. Until a year ago or so I would routinely go for sound design when I just want to relax with music, but nowadays I often just play a bit, and often not even with complex synths but instead with VI strings or guitar. One reason for this is that most synths and even DAWs still are not that good for MPE playing (polyphonic pitchslides and y-values being the most common problem).
So, this thread is for collecting and comparing the best VSTis for MPE fun!
Depending on how much activity this thread gets, i will update the following list, starting with my fav VSTis in this context:
- Bitwig synths, they may look like done in synthedit on the day before use, but they work flawlessly with MPE. Also, in Bitwig you can select the expression module and just modulate any parameter in any effect - not really polyphonic, but a great way of adding expression to everything
- PPG Infinite - a strange and a bit hard to program (and even understand) at first if you are coming from subtractive or wavetable synthesis, but crazy complex and deep with an original approach, MPE integration and also great resynthesis
- Falcon, great complex synth, but a bit clunky to program. I should love it, but somehow I don’t
- Cypher 2 & Equator - synths with great MPE integration, both on my list but not used much so far
- all SWAM instruments (I have the strings and saxophones so far, but they have some other wind instrument packs, expensive but pretty awesome stuff for expressive and even realistic playing), these are restricted to natural playing, so no polyphony for the saxophones and so on… but it’s really expressive stuff
(- also, I use some Ample Sound guitars and bass instruments - these are not MPE so far, but at least for some playing styles, it doesn’'t matter as much for guitar imho as it does for a cello or saxophone)
So, what are you favourite instruments for playing with MPE? Or maybe you have something great for playing expressively without polyphony, just for the expressiveness? No matter what, if you like to play it with an expressive controller, please post it here!