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Xx Manual

Unique Applications for Artists and Musicians

This reference manual provides detailed documentation for Xx’s functions, features, behaviors and user interface.  It is not intended to be read from start to finish. Each section can be reviewed as-needed to assist in increasing your mastery. However, there are a few things that are worth understanding when reading any of these sections. 

MetaSynth+Xx Overall Organization

MetaSynth+Xx application suite is made up of two main areas, the MetaSynth application and the Xx application. 

Xx allows users to control MetaSynth Instruments with MIDI and then convert that information into the pixel-controlled sound world of MetaSynth for final production and mixing. One possible work flow is:

Xx can also be used to create MIDI or audio files for other software with or without MetaSynth Instruments.


USING XX

Overview

Xx allows users to play and edit MetaSynth instruments via MIDI. Sequencing can be performed by drawing notes or playing a MIDI Controller. It also contains a number of sequencing tools to quickly generate compositions, which can then be exported into MetaSynth for mixing.

GETTING SET UP

Xx is designed to use the Instruments CTX folder within the MetaSynth folder. Make sure to install the retail or demo version before launching the application. Xx will prompt to select the folder when it first launches.

METASYNTH INSTRUMENTS

Xx allows users to play and edit MetaSynth instruments. These include a range of synthesis types: a simple single oscillator wavetable synthesizer, multi-oscillator synths, our unique granular synth, sampler, and multisampler. These instruments were designed to be CPU friendly, versatile and great-sounding. If you are not familiar with MetaSynth instruments, give a listen to the MetaSynth+Xx examples album by Eric Wenger: https://ericwenger.bandcamp.com/album/metasynth-xx-examples

Also, MetaSynth instruments when used in Xx have additional capabilities that they don’t have when used in MetaSynth. In particular, MIDI controllers can be used to control many synth parameters.

ADJUSTING PREFERENCES

A number of application and project properties are controlled by the Xx preferences including Audio, User Interface, and MIDI settings. 

  • Audio Preferences – After launching Xx, choose the Preferences command from the Xx CTX menu or by typing command-comma. Choose your audio output device and sample rate. Press the Set Hardware Sample rate button to ensure that the hardware’s sample rate is set correctly.
  • You can turn on loading Audio Units by checking the Enable Audio Units checkbox and restarting Xx. It is recommended you initially explore Xx with this setting off. If you do not plan on using Audio Unit synths, leaving this off will speed up launch time. For more information, see the troubleshooting section of this manual.
  • UI Preferences – User interface Themes, Velocity Colors, and turning off the Demo sequence are contained in this section. The new Playback AutoScroll Option controls if playback in Xx automatically scrolls to keep the passage that is playing in view. If you click in the note display area, time range selection area or the scroll area during playback, Xx will not autoscroll. Auto-Scroll is off by default.
  • MIDI Preferences – If you plan to use a MIDI input device, open the Preferences by choosing the Preferences command from the Xx menu or by typing command-comma. Choose any MIDI input devices you plan to use from the Set Midi Input Device popup. By default, the first device in the menu is selected. You can enable as many input devices as you would like.

THE USER INTERFACE

Xx has one main window in which you do most of your work, and additional popup windows for editing with sequencing tools and MetaSynth instruments.

Score Display – The central area or (notes canvas area) is a familiar piano-roll sequence display where a note’s track is indicated by its color. At the bottom of the score display is the measure selection area where you can select a time range. The grey horizontal bands indicate pitches that are in the current scale. The black horizontal bands are notes that are not in the current scale. When you enter notes, they are constrained to the current scale. You can change the current scale to Dodecaphonic to remove note constraints.

Upper Tool Area – The upper tool area contains tools for setting up and displaying the tracks.

Left Tool Area – The left tool area provides a variety of interesting tools for entering notes using the mouse. Notes can also be entered by a MIDI keyboard using either step or real-time recording.(link to  reference) 

Lower Tool Area – The lower-toolbar provides tools for manipulating the tracks’ notes and the transport controls. (link to  reference) 

ToolTips Area – at the bottom center of the window displays information about whatever is under the mouse.

Xx Picklist Menus – Xx contains several picklist menus triggered by clicking on an icon. See the Menus section of this manual for more information.

Apple Menu Bar – Additional Xx’s commands can be found here. See the Menus section of this manual for more information.

TRACKS BASICS

Each track has its own color and output device. Clicking on a track selector square makes the track active. The track color can be changed using the color picker found to the right of the track selection squares. 

A track’s output is sent to the device indicated in the Track output field in the upper toolbar. The output device can be a MetaSynth Instrument (Synths and Samplers), a MIDI synth, an Audio Unit synth, or one of Apple’s General MIDI synths. 

Xx’s smart tools (such as the Random Music Generator) analyze pitch data and use that information to influence creating notes. Sometimes, you will have tracks (like drum and percussion tracks) whose notes don’t really communicate pitch data. For these tracks, turn pitch tracking off by clicking on the Track Pitch Filter Off icon. This also protects the track from algorithmic manipulations that change pitch. Tracks may also be locked (which protects them from accidental transposition) and hidden.

The track settings have four options:

  • Track unlocked, pitch filter ON
  • Track unlocked, pitch filter OFF
  • Track locked
  • Track locked and hidden

The Poly/Mono toggle is used to switch tracks between Poly and Mono modes. In Poly Mode, editing commands may affect other tracks and pasting notes to their original track – since selections may include notes from many different tracks. In this Mode, the Caps Lock key turns on multi-track selection which makes it easy to select notes from several tracks at once. In Mono Mode, editing commands are applied only to the active track, and only the active track is heard during playback. Use mono mode when you want all editing restricted to the current track. 

Suppressing MIDI Program Change When you press the play button, Xx sends a program change message to all MIDI instruments and sets the program to the number indicated in the instrument number field. If you do not want Xx to send this program change message, uncheck the Send Program Changes On Playback checkbox which appears to the left of the Instrument number field. 

SELECTING TRACKS

There are two kinds of selections: note selections and measure/time-range selections. Most operations apply to the selected notes in priority but will use the measure selection if no notes are selected. Some operations, such as Multi-Transform or Repeat Pattern (links) , are applied to the selected measures only (time-range selections).

Selected notes are drawn in bright yellow, so avoid using bright yellow for a track color.

Time-Range Selections. To select measures, you click and drag in the time bar found below the score display.

Notes can be selected in a number of ways. The most common ways of selecting are:

  • Clicking on a track selector which selects the intersection of the track’s notes and the selected measures.
  • Using the Sequence Edit palette’s Selection tool to drag out a selection (holding down the shift key will add to an existing selection).
  • Clicking on an existing note to select it (shift-clicking on a note will toggle its selection).
  • Holding down the command key and dragging over notes (this is a temporary shortcut for using the Selection Tool).
  • Selecting measures in the lower canvas area will also select notes located within the measures selection on the current track.

Multi-Track Selection. You can activate multi-track selection with the Caps Lock key (or by choosing MultiTrack Selection from the Edit Sequence popup menu). When Multi-Track Selection is on (and Poly Mode is active), selecting measures selects notes in all unlocked tracks and using the Selection Tool selects notes on all tracks when you drag out selections. In Poly Mode, Select All selects all notes on all tracks regardless of whether Multi-Track Selection is on.

Pasting Notes in Poly Mode. In Poly Mode, notes are pasted to the track that they come from regardless of which track is active (this is necessary since selections can include notes from different tracks). To move a selection to a different track, you can copy, turn on Mono Mode (shortcut: w) and paste. Or, you can make a selection and choose a destination track from the Transfer Selection To popup.

CLICK TRACK

Xx does not have a built-in metronome. When you need a click track, use one of the tracks as a click-track then use the Choose and Repeat Pattern command to choose a rhythm loop, or create a beat loop using the Multi-Generator. 

A quick way to create a click track is to use the Beat Pen with a grid setting of 120 and then use repeat to create as many measures of click as you need. 

Xx CTX comes with a default metronome sequence example.

AUDIO TRACKS

Xx has no audio file support nor does it sync with other sequencers, but you can use a Sampler or MultiSampler instrument to playback audio tracks. To do this:

1) Set the tempo in Xx to the tempo of your audio sequence.

2) Export a mix of your audio tracks from your host audio sequencer.

3) In Xx, create a Sampler instrument which uses the scratch mix you created.

4) Insert a note into the Xx sequence and set it to your audio track’s duration.

5) Turn Pitch Tracking Off for the track so that it does not interfere with Xx’s pitch tracking. 

6) Optional: lock and hide the track if you don’t want it to appear on screen.

Now, when you play the sequence in Xx, you will hear the audio track. You can either use mixes of an entire song or mixes of sections of the song, and even use multiple samplers.

Tips for working with the Sampler Track method: 

1) Mix sections that start and and at measure boundaries.

2) Make sure that the inserted note event uses the reference pitch assigned to the sampler (to ensure it is not transposed).

Using similar techniques you can use a Metasynth multisampler to include voices recording in an xx composition. Assign various samples to c1 up to c8 for examples. Using c1 c2 to c8 in the track set to use that multisampler will then trigger each sample within the sequence.

KEY MAPPING AND TONAL QUANTIZATION

Xx takes the key and current scale into consideration when performing most of its actions. When using the up and down arrow keys, for instance, Xx nudges notes up or down to the next position of the current scale rather than nudging chromatically. Also any notes you draw or record via MIDI will be restricted to the current keys (or tonality). These restrictions can be turned off by setting the scale to dodecaphonic or by changing track mode to “pitch filter OFF”. 

HARMONIC REMAPPING

Xx allows you to remap from one scale to another. How remapping is done depends on whether the two scales have the same number of steps or not. If the scales have the same number of steps, Xx simply projects from one scale to another by preserving the degree of the notes (the harmonic index). For example, when mapping from a five note scale to another five note scale, the first note of scale 1 is mapped to the first note of scale 2, the second note of scale 1 is mapped to the second note of scale 2 and so on. If the scales have different numbers of steps, Xx will choose the closest match. When mapping to a scale with fewer notes, chord mapping may require some manual cleanup.

Patterns and Harmonic Mapping. When patterns are defined, the definition includes the original scale. Xx refers to the original scale when applying patterns and will remap to the current scale as necessary. When applying a pattern in a different scale than it was defined in, Xx will try to preserve the scale degree of the notes if the scales have the same number of notes. When projecting from a 7 or 8 note scale into 12 tone space, the original note values are maintained. Hence, a major chord remains a major chord. When remapping to a scale with more notes than the original (but less than 12), the scale offset and octave position are maintained. When mapping to a scale with fewer steps than the original, a closest match algorithm is used.

TIME GRID

When the grid is turned on, the starting positions of all entered notes are quantized to the grid. This includes notes entered by recording. A setting of 240 is a quarter note. The grid is also used by the pattern tools and some others to determine note durations and speed.

ENTERING NOTES

Xx provides many different ways of entering notes. Which methods you use will depend on your personal preference and what you are trying to do. The Left Toolbar’s Sequencer Tools palette provides a number of brushes and pens for entering notes. These tools include everything from a simple note pen to a pattern brush to the Artificial Intelligence-based music generator and more. You can also use patterns to enter whole themes at once, and the random music generator to automatically compose arrangements.  

Some options for note entry are: 

  • Drawing notes with the Xx drawing tools.
  • Playing a MIDI Controller for real time notes recording.
  • Using a MIDI Controller for non-real time step entry.
  • Using the Multi-Generator.

MIDI DEVICES

By default, Xx uses the first available MIDI input device. In the Preferences dialog, the Set MIDI Input Device popup menu lets you enable any MIDI input devices that you want to use if your preferred MIDI input device is not the default device.

Xx scans for MIDI input devices when it launches. If you connect your keyboard or interface after Xx launches, you will have to quit Xx and re-launch. Xx records note on/off information, program and bank changes and controllers. It does not record or play back MIDI pitch bend or system exclusive information.

MIDI input is automatically remapped to fit the current scale if the track’s Pitch Filter is On (which is the default). When the grid is turned on, MIDI input “note ons” are quantized to the grid. To turn off remapping, set the scale to dodecaphonic (12 tone) or set the Pitch Filter to Off by clicking on the icon. All input is recorded onto the track that is active when recording starts.

In the absence of a MIDI keyboard, you can ‘play’ the on-screen keyboard. There are also shareware applications such as MIDIKeys that let you use the computer keyboard as a MIDI device that can be used for MIDI input.

WORKING WITH PATTERNS

Patterns are musical or rhythmic phrases stored in the Pattern Library for quick access and insertion. They have many applications. When used with the Repeat Pattern command, they can be varied to fit with the other tracks or used to repeat a rhythm pattern and can simulate the behavior of an arpeggiator.

To insert the current pattern in the score, choose the Pattern Tool from the left-side Sequencer Tools palette and click in the score to insert the pattern.

To change the current pattern double-click on the Pattern Tool to pop up the Pattern Dialog.

To repeat a pattern to fill a time-range, make a time-range selection and choose the menu command Pattern -> Choose & Repeat Pattern. If you have already chosen the pattern that you would like to repeat, use Pattern -> Repeat Pattern. The Choose & Repeat Pattern provides several modes that determine whether the pattern is inserted exactly as entered or if it is re-harmonized to accommodate the existing tracks. See the Pattern Menu section of this manual for more details.

When applying patterns, time is scaled according to the current grid settings. When the grid is 240, the pattern’s time is the same as the original. If the grid is 120, for instance, the pattern plays back twice as fast as the original. If the grid is 480, the pattern plays back twice as slow as the original.

You can create new pattern libraries and change the library that is in use using the Pattern menu’s New Patterns, Load Patterns and Save Patterns commands. Pattern libraries can have up to 128 patterns.

To add your own pattern to the pattern library, select notes in the score and choose Pattern -> Add Pattern from Selection. Note that patterns contain only notes from the current track.

MIXING AND RENDERING AUDIO FILE

Sequences can be rendered as an audio file, or as a series of “stems”. The files will be rendered into the format set in the preferences pop-up. Rendering is performed in real time.

  • Render Stereo Audio File – Set the Poly/Mono mode button to Poly and click on the “Mix to Disk as” button. Select a location and give the file a name.
  • Render All Tracks to Files –  Set the Poly/Mono mode button to Poly and click on the Xx File Menu picklist and select Render All Tracks.
  • Render Selected Track to File – Select the desired track icon, set the Poly/Mono mode button to Mono, and click on the “Mix to Disk as” button. Select a location and give the file a name.

USER INTERFACE AND TOOLS

Overview

Xx contains a main interface, a hidden controller area that can be revealed, picklist menus, and several popup windows.

USER INTERFACE TIPS

There are a number of tricks to learn Xx and streamline workflows for rapid composition.

ToolTips

The tool tiparea at the bottom center of the window displays information about whatever is under the mouse.  Some tools like the tool palette or the track lock mode are clustered in tool sets and the tooltip will indicate the name of the currently active tool within the set. Modifier keys like option, control or command can modify the tooltip text if an alternate behavior is available. Note: tooltips are not available in full screen mode.

Shortcut keys

Unless the command-key is indicated, shortcut keys are typed without the command key. Single key shortcuts are echoed in menu features names under parenthesis and often included in the tooltips. See the Menus section for more details.

Entering values

When you type into any of Xx’s fields, you must press the Return key/Enter key to complete the entry. To increase the accuracy of floating point fields use the option key.

MAIN WINDOW AND AREA OVERVIEW

Xx has one main window in which you do most of your work.

Upper Tools Area 

The section contains the UI menus icon pop ups and global sequence settings

Make sure to use the pop up menu and the Xx hot keys rather than the Apple menu  – as they provide a more complete set of features. 

The Pattern menu, in particular, provides several very useful commands for launching sequence generating and manipulation tools.

Tracks and Instruments Area

This toolbar contains options for setting up, naming, selecting, and displaying the tracks. Also, for selecting Instruments including MetaSynth Synths and Samplers. Most of these are track’s attributes and will change when another track is selected.

Notes Tools Area

The left toolbar provides a variety of interesting tools for entering notes using the mouse. Notes can also be entered by a MIDI keyboard using either step or real-time recording.

Note Score Display Area

The central area is a familiar piano-roll sequence display where a note’s track is indicated by its color. At the bottom of the score display is the measure selection area where you can select a time range by click and drag in the measures boxes. The grey horizontal bands indicate pitches that are in the current scale. The black horizontal bands are notes that are not in the current scale. When you enter notes, they are constrained to the current scale when the pitch filter is ON. You can change the current scale to Dodecaphonic to remove any note constraints or set the track mode to pitch filter OFF.

Navigation and Transport Controls

The Note Score can be navigated by clicking on Measure Markers, Timeline Scroller, Zoom In/Out, Drag Hand, or Transport controls. Zoom Out to see the full scroll with a measure marker, select a measure, then Zoom In to modify notes.

Modifier Tools

The lower-toolbar provides tools for manipulating the tracks’ notes.

Controller Area

This area is hidden at first. Clicking on the Show Controllers button will display the controller tools and open a drawing area at the bottom of the Note Score Area.

DETAILS – UPPER TOOL AREA

This area contains picklist menus, Instrument settings, and track settings. It also sets the Mode/Scale, tempo, and opens the controller settings.

Key Picklist

Defines the musical key base. The base key and scale will define the keys (or tonality) of the sequence like for example A Minor or C Major.

After changing the base key you are prompted to remap or not the current score. The remapping when changing the base key will simply be a transposItion of the music to the new key.

Scale Mode Picklist

This popup menu provides quick access to common scales (major, minor etc)  and allows you to define your own scales using custom scales. When using Harmonic Transpose or the up/down arrow keys, notes are moved within the current scale. Unlike MetaSynth, Xx is MIDI-based and scale definitions are limited to subsets of the 12 notes of the equal-tempered scale.

After changing the scale (or mode) you are prompted to remap or not the current score. The remapping will ensure all notes of the music belong to the new scale. 

You may say no and not perform the global remapping and use the tuning menu->remap selection to Tonality command (link) on a notes selection to limit the scope of the new scale to just a part of the piece.

Measure Mark Field

The measures mark setting determines the measure interval marked by bright lines in the score display. It is mostly visual but does set the default length of the beat entry tool.

Tempo (BPM) Field

The sequence tempo in beats per minute.

Beats per measure 

This setting determines the number of beats per measure, usually 4 or 3 or 6. This defines the metrics of the piece. 

In xx a beat is 240 ticks. The tick is the smaller time grain of the xx score. So in 4:4 (four beats per measure) a full measure will be 960 ticks and 720 ticks in 3 beats per measure. This is Helpful when setting grid values. 

Track Settings Tools

These tools determine the settings for the active tracks. Most of these tools apply to the currently active track. To make a track active, click on its colored selector square.

Mute/Unmute Track

Click on this icon to mute or unmute the track. Muted tracks won’t play.

Track Name

If a track has a name, it is displayed here. Old files with empty track names will be given a default name of “Track N”. To edit the track name, click in the track name field and type the text you want. Use return when done. You can type the name directly into the Text box. You can also control-click to bring up a standard text edit menu to copy and paste.

Track Output Picklist

The track output picklist is used to choose where the track’s notes are sent. Tracks can be sent to a MetaSynth instrument (Xx’s built-in native synthesizers), an Audio Unit synthesizer, the built-in Apple general midi (GM) synth or a MIDI output targeting a physical or virtual midi device.

Main Menu Options

  • Built-In Synth (Apple GM synth) – This is Apple’s MacOS built-in General MIDI synth. The QuickTime Synth is fairly low-res and not CPU intensive.
  • MetaSynth Instruments – MetaSynth instruments are provided by the MetaSynth CTX Library (Synths and Samplers). They include a wide variety of synthesis methods and are very efficient in terms of CPU use. These instruments include wavetable, FM, pulse-width modulation and multi-sampler synths. See the MetaSynth Instruments Guide for information and tutorials related to MetaSynth instruments.
  • MIDI Out – This submenu lists all MIDI devices that are part of your Audio MIDI Setup configuration. This is also available in the Preferences popup.
  • Audio Unit – This submenu lists your Audio Unit synthesizers.  Use this Audio Unit mode when you want each track to use its own instance of an audio unit.  When you use this mode, each instance is separate and remembers the patch that was last used. In this mode, MIDI program numbers are not used to set the program when playback starts since the patch is stored with the track.
  • MultiTimbral Audio Unit – This submenu lists your Audio Unit synthesizers that can be used in MultiTimbral mode for synths that are set up to have different programs (timbres) on different channels. When you choose a synth from the MultiTimbral popup only one instance is created. Some Audio Units (such as the Synful Orchestra) can be set up so that different MIDI channels play different sounds but share a global setup. Such synths can play different timbres on different channels. It is often more CPU-efficient to load one instance of such synths and use different tracks for the different timbres than to create a new instance for each track. 

Submenu Options

This list presents loaded instruments, and gives users the option to browse.

  • Open… – choose this command to bring up a file selection dialog to open a MetaSynth instrument file. This command is useful for accessing instruments that are not stored in the Instruments CTX folder.
  • Browse Synths – choose this command to pop up a menu of the instruments found in the Instruments CTX folder. This popup is built dynamically from the contents of the Instruments CTX library. Since it is built dynamically, if you add an instrument while using MetaSynth, it will be available from the Browse Instruments popup in Xx without needing to restart Xx. Aliases are not followed when building the browse popup for performance reasons.
  • Browse Samplers – choose this command to pop up a menu of the instruments found in the Instruments CTX folder. This popup is built dynamically from the contents of the Instruments CTX library. Since it is built dynamically, if you add an instrument while using MetaSynth, it will be available from the Browse Instruments popup in Xx without needing to restart Xx. Aliases are not followed when building the browse popup for performance reasons.

Trimming Unused MetaSynth Instruments (non-menu)

When an Xx document is opened, Xx tries to read in all of the MetaSynth instruments that are referenced in the Xx document. Whenever an instrument is used, Xx stores a copy of it in the document and lists the instrument in the list of loaded instruments. 

Note: It is possible for an Xx document to contain references to instruments that are no longer used. For example, if you use “My Instrument A” for a track but later assign “My Instrument B” to the track, Xx will keep a reference to “My Instrument A”. This is useful as it keeps the reference around in case you want to use that instrument later. There are times, however, where you may have renamed or moved a multisampler; in that case, My Instrument A’s samples won’t be found and Xx will return an error when you open the document. If this happens, you can remove references to unused instruments by doing the following:

1) Open the document

2) Play back  part of the sequence. (This is required because Xx scans the document for unused instruments the first time it is played back)

3) Option-click on the MetaSynth instrument popup.

4) Save the document.

Send Program Changes on Playback Checkbox

Normally, Xx sends a program change event (the value shown in the Instrument numerical field) to MIDI output devices and  AUs when playback starts. Turn this checkbox off, if you do not want Xx to send the program change event.

Instrument [Program] Numerical Field

This field indicates the program number associated with the current track. It is the value send as program change if the checkbox is activated.  Audio Unit synths may or may not respond to this setting depending on their setup or implementation. Note that a program change / Bank id control message present in controllers can override this setting.

Choose Instrument pop up Menu Icon

This picklist menu lets you choose the instrument or program number that will be used to play the track. The contents depend on the instrument type. For any MetaSynth instrument, the menu will display all loaded MetaSynth instruments  in the session, as well as an Open and Browse command where you can choose an instrument not already in use. 

For the Built-In (QuickTime) Synth, the popup shows the available programs. If an Audio Unit synth is in use, the popup might show program names or it might show a list of program numbers depending on whether the synth was designed to return patch names (most AU synths seem not to return the program list).

There are optional Menus available to quickly load instruments. Control+Click for a list of Synths, Control+Option Click for a list of Samplers, Control+Click for a list of Synths, or Option Click to remove unused instruments.

Edit Instrument Icon

Click on this icon to bring up the instrument’s edit window. MetaSynth instrument edit windows are floating windows. So, you can manipulate the Xx user interface while they are open. It is often a good idea to loop play a couple of measures while editing a particular instrument so that you can see immediately how changes sound in the real music context.

Track Mode Status

This feature controls which tracks are visible and modified by tools. 

There are four possible states:

  • Track unlocked, Pitch Filter ON – This is the default mode. There are no restrictions on the track and the track’s pitch information is considered when the smart tools (like the Random Music Generator) analyze musical content.
  • Track unlocked, Pitch Filter OFF – When this mode is active for a track, the pitch information is ignored by Xx’s musical analysis tools. Some operations (like Multi-Transform’s) that alter pitch will not change the pitch. This mode is usually used for drum and percussion tracks that use sampler/multisampler instruments since the notes that trigger the samples are usually musically irrelevant.
  • Track Locked – This mode is similar to Track Pitch Filter OFF. In addition some operations such as transposition are ignored. Locking the track does not protect the track from all changes. For instance, you can paste into a locked track. Track lock also disables making selections and the arrow keys will have no effect while the track is locked.
  • Track Locked & Hidden – This mode locks the track (as described above) and hides the track. It is often useful when composing to hide unpitched tracks like drums or sound effects for harmonic clarity. Don’t forget to unhide them when performing structural multitrack changes to still include them in the changes.

Default Pan

Display the current active track default panning. The stereo panning or balance is sent to the track at the beginning of playback. Note that a midi pan controller will override this setting. Audio Unit synths may or may not respond to this setting depending on their setup or implementation.

Default Volume

Volume slider displays the current active track default volume. The volume is sent to the track instrument at the beginning of playback. Note that a midi volume controller will override this setting. Audio Unit synths may or may not respond to this setting depending on their setup or implementation.

Poly/Mono Toggle (w)

Toggle between Poly Mode and Mono Mode. In Poly Mode, notes on multiple tracks can be selected and pasting preserves the track origin for all notes. In Mono mode, cut/copy/paste are restricted to the current track. If you paste when Mono mode is on, all notes are pasted to the current track. In Mono mode, only the current track is heard during playback.

Track Selectors 

The Track Selectors Matrix is a row of 24 colored squares that represent the 24 available tracks. Click on a square to make a track selected and to define the current active track. Most of the upper tools/displays are track dependent settings.

Track Color Picker 

To change the current track’s color, pop up the color picker by clicking on the color selector found to the right of the track selectors. Avoid bright yellows as its the color of selected notes.

Transfer Selection To 

Choose a destination from this popup to move the selected notes to another track. This command offers a quick and easy way to dispatch various parts of a melody to various tracks/instruments. You can use copy & paste as well but its more time consuming as you need to switch mono/poly mode and set the insert line properly.

Show Octaves On/Off

Turning on the octaves display shows vertical “echoes” of all notes three octaves above and below the entered pitches. This is useful for visualizing the harmonic relationships between tracks written in different pitch ranges. It is very useful when composing to see how all the tracks notes relate to one another even if the notes are in different octaves. Typically it is often turned ON when writing canons or making arrangements to an existing chord sequence.

DETAILS: CONTROLLER TOOLS AREA

On the top right of Xx is the controllers area. Most of it is hidden until selecting the Show Controllers button. Once selected all tool icons will appear as well as the editing area at the bottom of the Score Area.

Show Controllers On/Off

This icon toggles the display of the controllers area below the notes display. When the controllers display is on, the controllers area displays the controllers used by the current track. The selected controller is displayed in orange. To change the selected controller, use the Controller # numerical field or the Controller # popup menu.

Controller Area Tools

  • Scale Target Controller – click and drag up/down to scale the controller values
  • Move Target Controller – click and drag up/down to offset the selected controllers up or down.
  • Controller # popup – click on the icon to pop up a menu of available presets controllers ids. If the instrument is a MetaSynth instrument, the names of the parameters controlled by the controllers will be displayed.
  • Controller # numerical display – this sets the target id of the controller that will be displayed in orange and editable with the mouse.

DETAILS: LEFT TOOL AREA

This area contains a variety of tools for drawing, auto composing, and randomizing notes and sequences. They include pattern makers, canons arrangers, tonal clusters, randomizers, etc. Double click on the Pattern and Random tools to launch configuration settings.

Sequencer Tools

The Sequencer Tools Palette. When you mouse over the palette, the ToolTips area displays the name of the currently selected tool.

Selection (command)

A marquee-style selection tool. Drag out a rectangle to select the notes inside it. Normally, selections are restricted to the current track. When MuliTrack Selection is turned on (either with the Caps Lock key or by choosing MultiTrack Selection from the Edit Sequence popup), notes on all unlocked tracks are selected. You can temporarily invoke the selection tool by holding down the command key and dragging — so that you can select notes without having to change tools. You can add to an existing selection by holding down the shift key when selecting. You can also switch to another track (in Poly mode) and shift-select to add notes from another track. Shift-selecting toggles the selection. So, it can also be used to de-select notes within a selection.

The selection tool also sets the current entry line. Command single click on the canvas will then set the entry line whatever the current tool. 

Eraser 

When this tool is active, clicking on a note will delete it. When another tool is active, you can also delete selected notes using the delete or backspace key.

Pen

When the Pen tool is active, you can click anywhere to place a note. Click and drag when placing the note to extend its duration. If the grid is on, note placement and duration are quantized to the grid. 

Click on an existing note to select it. Hold down the shift-key when selecting a note to add it to the existing selection. Shift-selecting toggles the selection. So, it can also be used to de-select notes within a selection. You cannot insert a note on top of another. 

When clicking on a selected note you may move the note (or the notes) with the mouse. The pitch will be quantised to the current scale as well unless control and command are pressed – this turns OFF pitch remapping.

Chord Pen

This pen works like the pen tool but adds the notes required to complete a triad.

Beat Pen

This pen paints in a pulse rhythm that alternates a note and a space. The note and space duration is determined by the current grid setting. The length in measures of the pulse pattern is set by the measure mark field, usually set at 4.

The pattern created with the Beat Pen when the grid is set to 240 (one quarter note).

Brush Tool

Click and drag with this brush to freely paint notes. A trail of notes is left along the brush trajectory. Note durations are determined by the grid setting and the brush path.

Spray Notes

Click and drag to spray randomized note clusters. The notes are restricted to the current tonality and quantised to the current grid.

Two-Voice Canon

The Two Voice and Three Voice canon tools create strict canons where the voices are separated by a fixed pitch and time interval. The canon tools are often used in conjunction with “Show octaves ON” to better visualize harmonic relationships below or above a 7th. By interactively entering notes while seeing other voices makes the creation of harmonically just canons quite easy.

Click to place a note and the canon tool places the additional note ( in a two-voice canon) or notes (in a three-voice canon). In Poly mode, the additional notes are placed on different tracks. 

When using the Canon Tools, clicking on a note to select it in one voice (or clicking in the bar selection region) will select the corresponding notes on the canon’s other tracks to simplify editing. Double-click on the tool’s icon to bring up the set-up dialog that lets you set the offset between the voices. The same dialog is used for two and three-voice canons. For two voice canons, Key Offset 2 is ignored.

Three-Voice Canon

This tool creates a three-voice canon. See Two-Voice Canon above for more information about canons.

Canon Pitch Invert

This tool creates a second voice inverted and transposed from the first voice allowing you to create interactively a melody that will work in harmony with its mirrored version (reversed counterpoint). The transposition is defined by the key offset 1 set in dialog, so typically if you set it to a fifth at one octave a C3 will mirror into a G4. As with the canon tools Canon Pitch invert is often used in conjunction with “Show octaves ON” to better visualize harmonic relationships below or above a 7th. A classic reversed counterpoint will use a key offset 1 of C at 1 octave so that the fundamental mirror into its octave. Double-click the tool’s icon to display the setup dialog.

Canon Invert Time

With Canon Invert Time you can interactively create a melody that will work in harmony with its time-mirrored version (retrograde movement). The tool automatically creates a second voice whose notes are reversed in time. The current measure selection is used to determine the bounds of the mirroring and the melody length, often set at 2 to 4 measures. When you enter a note for the first voice at the selection start point, Xx creates a note on the second voice at the end of the selection.

Keyboard Step Entry

Use this tool to enter notes from a MIDI controller or the Mac keyboard. The note duration is set by the current grid value. Press the spacebar to advance the insertion point without creating a note. Press the delete key to remove the most recently entered note. You can move the insertion point by clicking. To enter notes by typing, use lower-case letters. ‘a’ enters the fundamentale or root of the current key. And notes correspond to their alphabetic order. In C, if you type abc, the notes C2 D2 E2 are entered.

In step entry mode, most keyboard shortcuts are ignored.

Pattern Brush

The pattern tool allows you to enter complex notes patterns with a single click. The current pattern is chosen from the current pattern library by double-clicking on the tool’s icon to open the patterns dialog (clicking in the pattern preview area, below the text “Choose Pattern”, to display the pattern selector pop-up). 

The pattern brush (and other pattern tools) are sensitive to the grid setting. When the grid is 240 (one-quarter note), the pattern’s time remains unchanged. If the grid value is different, the time and durations are scaled accordingly. For example, the pattern is inserted at twice the original tempo when the grid is 120 or at half its tempo when the grid is set to 480.

Patterns can hold arpeggios, melodies, chord sequences, drum patterns, etc. In general, the pattern is inserted using its reference key at the mouse click. When a pattern is a chord the fundamental of the chord will be used as a reference. In any case, the pattern is selected upon entry and it is easy to pitch shift using the up/down arrows.

Learn more about the Pattern tools in the section Working With Patterns of the chapter Using Xx.

The Patterns Dialog

Click on the displayed pattern to pop up a list of the current library’s patterns. To delete a pattern, hold down the option key and select the pattern that you would like to delete. The dialog provides buttons to open another library, create a new library, save the new library with a new name and to sort the list by pattern name. 

The repeat apply mode is used when a pattern is applied using the Repeat Pattern command Choose & Repeat Pattern… (P)

Random Music Generator

When this tool is active, clicking in the content area inserts music generated by the Random Music Generator. The generator creates one or more tracks of randomly-generated music consistent with the already-existing tracks and tonality. This is a marvelous tool for creating an accompaniment to existing tracks or getting new ideas for a completely new composition. Use this tool if you are stuck or need inspiration. Even if you don’t keep all of the notes suggested by the Random Music Generator, you will often discover something intriguing that you want to pursue.

The tool is recursive. When each track is generated, the previous track’s content is analyzed. Generally speaking, higher-numbered tracks will have higher pitches and faster notes (depending on the setting of Note Divide Probability). The results are very sensitive to the existing content.

Context Sensitivity & Settings. The Random Music Generator is very sensitive to the context and content of the existing tracks. In some cases, the music generator will generate notes that seem to violate the settings because it would not be possible for it to generate music that fits with the existing notes. For example, the shortest notes might be longer than those requested in the dialog if the existing tracks have many short notes.

The music generator has customizable settings. Double-click on the tool’s icon to open the Random Music Generator Setup dialog.

The settings are:

  • Measures – the number of measures to create.
  • Number of tracks – the number of tracks (voices) created. In Mono mode, all notes will be inserted on the current track.
  • Noise – the seed “noise” used by the generator: Perlin, Saw, Sine, Fractal, White.
  • Shortest Notes – these are the shortest notes that the music generator will create. The durations generated are influenced by many factors including the Note Divide Probability setting and the grid setting. The options are: Quarter Beats, Half Beats, Beats, Beats * 2, half grid size. The durations of the notes that are created will be influenced by the existing tracks. There may be cases where the generator creates notes that are shorter than the Shortest Notes setting if the generator cannot create a line with the chosen setting. For instance if the existing tracks have a lot of short notes, the generated notes may have a shorter duration than the one selected.In some cases, the shortest notes created may be shorter than the selected value in order to avoid conflicts with the existing tracks. In the example above, the red track was created with Shortest Notes set to “beats * 2”  by the Random Music generator after the blue track had already been entered. Notice that where there are short notes in the blue track there are sometimes shorter notes than half notes.
  • Algorithm – the algorithm used to translate the noise to music. The options are: Symmetrical/2, Asymmetrical/2, Asymmetrical/3, Randomized Divide
  • Range –  use default, use string ranges, use vocal ranges
  • Silence probability – the probability that any given “note” will be a space/rest.
  • Mean variance – This determines the contour of the lines that are generated and works together with the Distribution parameter. The value is the average interval (in semitones) between consecutive notes of a voice.
  • Distribution (wide <-> narrow) – Distribution works with the Mean Variance to determine the contour of the lines that are created. At the maximum (very narrow), the interval between consecutive notes will almost always be the mean variance. At the lowest setting (very wide), there will be a variety of intervals separating consecutive notes (although the average of the intervals will be the mean variance). The examples below use a Mean Variance of 7 (semitones). Keep in mind that the results will be influenced by the content of existing tracks. With Mean Variance set to very narrow, it is possible that there will be variation that is required to keep the tracks consonant.Mean Variance set to 7 (semitones) with Narrow Distribution. Consecutive notes are all 7 semitones apart.Mean Variance set to  7 with Wide Distribution. The distance between consecutive notes varies but averages out to 7 steps.
  • Note divide probability -This is the likelihood that shorter notes will occur on higher-numbered tracks. At the maximum, higher tracks will always be subdivided (have shorter notes) as allowed by the Shortest Notes setting. At the minimum setting, all notes will have the same duration. Where possible, the Random Music Generator will try to create longer notes on the lower-numbered tracks and shorter notes on the higher-numbered tracks.
  • Coherence & Repetitiveness – This setting determines how the underlying noise function is used to create notes. When the setting is higher, the likelihood of repetition is higher. Because of the number of factors that influence the note choices, the result may not always be obvious repetition. Changing this value provides a way to generate different note choices when all other parameters are the same. If you like the basic settings that you have chosen, tweak this value to explore different possibilities.

Grid Settings

The grid settings are used by the brushes to set the note durations and the note grid. The grid size is also used by many tools (such as the pattern tool) to determine note durations.

  • Size popup – The grid spacing in ticks. In 4 beats per measure a quarter note is 240. An eighth note is 120 etc. 
  • Grid On/Off Toggle – Click on the toggle to turn the grid on or off. When grid is ON notes displacement and entered notes are quantised time wise to grid boundaries.

DETAILS: NOTE SCORE AREA

This is the main area for entering and editing notes.

Score Sections

The score has subsections including:

  • Note Display Area – The score’s notes are displayed here.
  • Keyboard – Click on the keyboard notes to play the associated pitch on the track’s instrument. During recording, you can click on the keyboard to record notes.
  • You can use the keyboard to select a particular note in the entire track by command clicking on the keyboard note.
  • Time Range Selection Bar [Select By Measure] – Click or click and drag in this area to select measures. Selected measures are shown in blue. Some commands (such as Multi-Transform or Repeat Pattern – This acts on the measure selection rather than on  selected notes. Many other commands will use the measure selection when no notes are selected.
  • Time Scroller – Click and drag here to scroll the score. Playback usually starts at the time position set by the timeline scroller.
  • Controller Display – When the Show Controllers is active, controllers are displayed here.

Some modifier keys have a strong priority like control plus other modifiers.

Then any click on the canvas will provide an alternate behavior:

  • Use control to pick from the edit menu
  • Use control +command+option to pick from the file menu
  • Use control +option to preview the sound of a particular pitch
  • Use command + option to get the hand tool to scroll the score view
  • Use command to force the selection marquee tool

Without modifiers any click on the canvas will use the current tool among the sequencer tool set that are described in the Sequencer Tools section in this manual.

DETAILS: LOWER TOOLBAR

Scroll over the tools in the user interface to see the tool names.

Open

The icon shortcut to Open an Xx document command.

Save

The icon shortcut to save the current document.

Zoom In / Zoom Out 

Zoom in or out.

Scroll View (Hand Tool)

Click and drag on this icon to scroll the score display. To scroll directly, hold down the command + option key and drag in the score to scroll.

Quantize

Click on this tool to quantize the note-on of all selected notes without changing the duration. Shift-click to quantize both note on and note off. The quantisation is done using the current grid time regardless if the grid is on or off.

Reverse Time (t)

Reverse the order of the selected notes. If there are no selected notes the time inversion applies to the current measures selection. In poly mode the transform applies to all tracks.

Invert Pitch (i)

Invert the pitch of the selected notes by flipping them vertically about the middle pitch. If there are no selected notes the pitch inversion applies to the content of the current measures selection. In poly mode the transform applies to all tracks.

The original notes            The notes after inverting the pitches

Twice Faster (<)  [and Twice Slower) (<) ]

Double the tempo of the selected notes. Option-click to halve the tempo (Twice Slower). The shortcut for Twice Faster is < and for Twice Slower is >

Randomize

Randomize the notes using the settings last set in the Randomize dialog. To set the randomization parameters control-click on the Randomization tool or choose Pattern->Randomize (shortcut: command-option-r)

Canonize

Create a 2 or 3 part canon from the selection. By default, this creates a two-part canon. If you have been using the 3-part canon tool (in the Left Area Tools), the created canon will have 3 parts. Control-click the icon to bring up the setup dialog.

Scale Time

Click and drag to scale the time of the selected notes.

Scale Pitch

Click and drag to scale the pitch of the selected notes.

Change Duration

Click and drag to make the selected notes longer or shorter. Duration use the following scope logic

-if there are selected notes it applies to them

-if there are no selected notes it applies to notes inside selected measures

-if there are no selected notes nor selected measures it applies to everything

Delete Measures

Deletes both the notes and the measures in the selected measures. Note that locked or hidden tracks won’t be affected by Delete Measures so when globally restructuring a piece make sure to unlock all needed tracks beforehand and to use poly mode.

Time Insert

Click and drag to the right to insert blank time at the insertion point. Note that locked or hidden tracks won’t be affected by insert time so when globally restructuring a piece make sure to unlock all needed tracks beforehand and to use poly mode.

Octave Transpose

Transpose the selected notes (or measure selection content) up or down one octave.

Nudge Left / Right 

Nudge the selected notes left or right by the grid interval if the grid is on. If the grid is off, nudging moves the notes slightly.

Transpose (Nudge  Up / Down)

Move the selected notes up or down one step within the current scale. Transpose tools use the following scope logic

  • If there are selected notes it applies to them
  • If there are no selected notes it applies to notes inside selected measures
  • If there are no selected notes nor selected measures it applies to everything

To transpose chromatically (regardless of current tonality) you can press control+command keys while clicking on the transpose arrows. (control+command turns OFF pitch remapping)

Velocity Ramp Up

Click and drag to apply a crescendo (an upward velocity ramp) to the selected notes. When you click and  drag, Xx will display the velocity of the selected notes using the colors defined in Preferences. 

Offset Velocity

Click and drag to increase or decrease the velocity (volume) of the selected notes. When you click and  drag, Xx will display the velocity of the selected notes using the colors defined in Preferences. velocity of the selected notes using the colors defined in Preferences.

Velocity Ramp Down

Click and drag to apply a decrescendo (a downward velocity ramp) to the selected notes. When you click and drag, Xx will display the velocity of the selected notes using the colors defined in Preferences.

Velocity Tools Note

Velocity tools use the following scope logic:

  • If there are selected notes it applies to them
  • If there are no selected notes it applies to notes inside selected measures
  • If there are no selected notes nor selected measures it applies to everything

Set Global Effect

Set an effect (such as reverb) that is applied to the mixed tracks during playback (and rendering). Note that this effect won’t be used in export to metasynth project when the track uses a metasynth instrument.

Render Sequence

Mix the tracks to disk as an audio file. The file format and depth is set in preferences.

Transport Controls

Used to play, play selected, play from location, play looping.

  • Go To Start – Click here to scroll to the sequence’s beginning.
  • Play (space bar) – Play the sequence starting from the measure displayed at the left edge of the score. Note that command- play will start playback at the insert line.
  • Play Selection (option+space bar) – Loop play the selected notes. 
  • Play and Loop Measures (;) – Loop play the selected measure time range shown in blue. Click and drag in the measures bar area to select the measures to play.
  • Record – Record MIDI input. Xx records all incoming note data and most controller data. Pitch-bend and system exclusive data are not recorded. If you click on the on-screen keyboard, the associated notes are recorded.

Note that Xx does not have a metronome click. When recording a first track, it is usually useful to create a track (using the Beat Pen or the Multi-Generator) that acts as your click.

  • Go To End – Click here to scroll to the sequence’s end.

Time Display

The time (in minutes:seconds:milliseconds) associated with the playback position.

ToolTips

Information about whatever is displayed under the cursor is displayed here. Move the mouse over any tools to see information about them. The tool tips will give the notes in semitones when the mouse is over the Tracks canvas.

Single key shortcuts are often included in the tooltip under parenthesis. Modifier keys like option, control or command may modify the tooltip text if an alternate behavior is available. Tooltips are not viewable in full screen mode.

THE MENUS

Overview

Most of the important features are available through the ui icon pop up menus. The main menu bar is therefore rarely used. It echoes some of the standard file and edit features. The menu bar file menu has in addition the midi file import and export commands. 

Hotkey Shortcuts

Xx and MetaSynth use single key shortcuts to allow for rapid editing and streamline workflows. 

They also use internal picklist menus, and only a few functions appear in the Apple Menu bar. Lists within the applications appear as square icons with images that represent groupings. Additional shortcuts are available for transport control.

THE APPLE MENUS

Xx, and MetaSynth minimize the use of the Apple Menu bar in favor of internal menus, but some commands can only be found there. 

XX CTX 1.0 -> About Xx 

display the about screen with the current version number

XX CTX 1.0 -> Open Preferences (Command-,)

Open the preferences popup screen to change application settings.

File -> Import MIDI File (Command-i)

Import a midi file. When importing MIDI files, the track output is sent to the channel that corresponds with the track number. MIDI files can have mapping of a track to a different MIDI output but Xx always maps notes to the same channel as the track number. If the track number is larger than 16, the notes are mapped to channel 16. If the MIDI file has a key signature, it will be used when the import is done. Since MIDI files only support major and minor scales, the scale choice will be wrong if the real scale that underlies a piece is not major or minor. You can use the Find Tonality command (found in the Edit menu) to find the correct scale for an imported MIDI file. Imported tracks use the GM Synth by default.

File -> Export MIDI File (Command-m)

Compose in .xx and export the sequence as a MIDI file for importing in other Sequencers.

Online Help -> Launch Online Documentation (Command-f)

Xx and MetaSynth documentation is now online and available in multiple languages. Use this command to launch its webpage.

XX CTX 1.0 -> Preferences (command-,)

The preference dialog let you chose and set the following parameters:

  • Mix file format – The default file type and bit-depth to use when rendering an Xx sequence to disk as a sound file.
  • Output Device – The audio hardware to use for sound output. After changing the sound output device with this popup, it is a good idea to click on the Set Hardware Sample Rate button.
  • Sample Rate – This is the sample rate for your output device and will be used as the sample rate when rendering to disk. After changing the sample rate in Preferences, it is a good idea to click on the Set Hardware Sample Rate button.
  • MIDI and AU delay [ticks] – These fields compensate for inherent MIDI and AU delays. The default values provided are the values that gave the best results on our test machines. It is possible that the best values for your setup may be different. The values are in ticks which is approximately 1 millisecond. If your Audio Unit synths are responding strangely (missing notes that are sent to them or missing note off events), set this value to 1 or 0.
  • Enable Audio Units (checkbox) – Turn this option off (and then restart) to prevent Audio Units from loading. 
  • To re-enable Audio Units, turn the checkbox on and restart Xx.

Enable auto scroll on playback. Auto scroll will be disabled if you edit the score while playing or when using the timeline.

Use Default.xx as startup template. When this preference is on, Xx will Automatically load the Defaultsequence.xx file at startup. Edit the Defaultsequence.xx document and set it up however you prefer so that it can be the starting point template for your Xx  Sessions. 

Set MIDI Input Device (popup menu). This popup menu displays the available MIDI input devices. You must enable any input devices that you plan on using. By default, the first available input device is enabled. You can enable as many devices as you have available.

THE Xx FILE MENU

The commands in this picklist menu manage xx files, audio file renderings and provide useful commands for integrating Xx with MetaSynth CTX.  The file menu can be accessed with command option control when clicking on the canvas.

New XX sequence (Command+n)

Create a new empty “Untitled” xx sequence. Tracks color, names and instrument layout revert to defaults. 

If you need to start from an existing instrument and track layout template the easiest is to open an existing sequence, clear its content (select all + delete) and use save xx sequence as… to rename it. Note that you can use the default sequence to store your favorite instrument and track layout.

Open XX sequence… (Command+o)

Open an Xx document. The xx document contains all sequence data, the various generators parameters (if they were used) and the states of all instruments used in the sequence. In CTX the document also contains the last measure selection.

Note: patterns libraries are not part of an Xx document and are maintained independently.

Save XX sequence(s) 

Save the current xx document.

Save XX sequence as…(S)

Save the current xx document with a new name.

Load MetaSynth Instruments Bank…

Use this menu command to load a set of MetaSynth instruments into the MetaSynth instrument popup. When you choose the command, you are prompted to select a folder that contains MetaSynth instruments (usually one created by using the Save MetaSynth Instruments Bank command). You can also choose the Synths folder found inside another Xx document’s bundle.

Save MetaSynth Instruments Bank…

Use this command to save an instrument bank that contains the currently loaded MetaSynth instruments. This command creates a folder with copies of all the instruments that appear in the MetaSynth instruments popup. This is very convenient for sharing sets of instruments between projects.

Import MetaSynth sequence…

Import a MetaSynth Sequencer Room sequence onto the current track. The notes are inserted at the insertion line (whose position you can set by command-clicking in the score area).

Export MetaSynth sequence…

Export a single Xx Track to the MetaSynth Sequencer Room. In general you will use this feature after a MetaSynth project has been created and will place the sequence in the project Sequences folder. In certain cases you may want to use a sequence track in the montage instead of a collection of Image synth presets. 

Create MetaSynth Project…

After an Xx piece has been composed and saved it may be useful to export it as a MetaSynth project to gain more flexibility both in musical expression with image synth room and in the final mix with the montage room. Furthermore as Xx has no audio tracks a MetaSynth version will allow you to add vocals or any recorded audio material.

Selecting this command will bring the project dialog to choose the directory of the MetaSynth CTX. By default the project name is derived from the sequence name and the directory is placed in the same folder as the sequence. The Sample rate and tempo can’t be changed at this point and the display is informational only. Upon confirmation a Montage file, Image Synth Presets and Sounds folder will be created and filled with data derived from the xx sequence. Sequences,Spectrums and Effects & Resources directories will be created as well. A copy of your Xx sequence file will be placed in the Sequences folder. 

Xx converts the current sequence into a MetaSynth montage project filled with Image Synth presets (for tracks using MS instruments) and audio files (for any AU or GM builtin synth audio tracks). 

Xx names the IS presets with the track + instrument names. Since IS presets are limited in pixels Xx will split a track into various IS images placed in the montage using their logical length. A new IS preset is generated if a silence of one or more measures is encountered or if the length exceeds 2k pixels. After automatically rendering all IS sounds you may want to reset the length of each montage event if some extra release or effect release has lengthened the event. 

Certain effects like echoes or reverb that are normally part of the instrument in Xx will be converted as a global montage track effect.

Non-MetaSynth audio tracks are rendered in real time — one at a time — during export which can take time if the piece is long and/or has a lot of tracks. Xx renders audio from the first measure to the last measure + 2 extra measure to capture any effects’ release. You need to enable audio rendering in the project creation dialog. Note that audio rendering is not interruptible.

Export to MetaSynth IS preset…,

Export the selected track measures content as Image Synth presets to an existing MetaSynth preset library. A dialogue prompts you to locate a metasynth preset file. Usually this command will be used when adding or modifying arrangements AFTER a Metasynth project has been created. If you want to add more Image Synth Presets to any MetaSynth Project, select its Presets file.  

Mix to Disk as…(^)

Mix the tracks to disk as an audio file with a chosen name. The audio file format and depth is set in preferences.

Mix & Save ($)

Saves the current sequence and mix all tracks to disk as an audio file with a default name. The audio file format and depth is set in preferences. The file is saved in the same directory as the sequence.

Render All tracks

Render every track using a software synth (MS instrument, Audio Unit of built in GM synth) as an audio file. All audio tracks will start at zero and be placed in a folder named “sequence name_TracksSounds”, placed in the same directory as the sequence. Audio files are automatically named using the track name plus the track instrument name.

This command is not abortable in 1.0 and can take a while as tracks are rendered in real time. It can be interrupted starting 1.0.2 with the escape key.

This command is useful if you want to import your Xx work into any DAW for further mixing work.The audio file format and depth is set in preferences. 

THE Xx EDIT MENU

The edit menu can be accessed directly with control when clicking on the canvas. It gathers most of the main editing commands.

    Undo (z)

Undo the last action.

    Cut  (x)

Cut the selected notes to the clipboard. Cut performs a Copy followed by a delete. See Copy for details.

    Copy  (c)

Copy the selected notes to the clipboard.  The copy retains track origin information so that when pasted in Poly mode the notes are sent to their original tracks. The first note will define the time zero of clipboard content, thus if the start note doesn’t start at beat boundaries you may need to nudge in time the pasted version.

    Paste  (v)

Paste the notes from the clipboard at insert line without inserting time. The clipboard’s notes are merged with the existing notes without modification. Notes are pasted to the tracks they came from in Poly mode (regardless of the track that is currently active). To paste to the current track use Mono mode. 

You can also move notes between tracks using the Transfer Selection To tool.

Note : The insert line can be set by command click on the canvas, or by selecting one or more measures.

Tip : merging several track into one can be done with : 

  • Cut several tracks in POLY mode (use shift track select to make a multitrack selection or set caps lock to activate multiple tracks selection)
  • Move to Mono mode and select destination track
  • Paste to the chosen track.

Paste Fit & Merge (m)

This paste command works as Paste but analyzes the notes in the clipboard and adjusts them as necessary to avoid dissonances with the notes of other tracks using a strict consonance rule (all intervals lower than 3 semitones are forbidden at all octaves). See the dissonance tools in the Menu section of this manual.

Paste Insert (b)

Insert the notes from the clipboard at insert line pushing existing content the length of clipboard content.  Notes are pasted to the tracks they came from in Poly mode (regardless of the track that is currently active). To paste everything to the current track, use Mono mode. 

Clear ()

Clear the notes selection. Equivalent to pressing the delete/backspace key.

Select All  (a)

Select All will select all notes of the current track in Mono mode and select the measure range of the entire piece as well. In Poly Mode, all notes on all unlocked tracks are selected regardless of the track particular lock mode. If you want in Poly The audio file format and depth is set in preferences limit the selection to the current track you can click on the track color box after doing the select all.

Deselect All  (d)

Unselect all selected notes without changing current measure selection.  Note that with SHIFT key pressed  (D)  Deselect All will deselect the current measure selection as well. There are usually little reasons to reset measure selection, but there are good reasons to deselect notes without changing the measure selection to make sure that commands that apply to either selected notes or a time range are fed with a time range when needed.

Remove Overlaps

Remove overlapping of note-ons and note-offs.

Invert  (i) 

Mirror the selected notes pitch wise. If there are no selected notes Invert applies to selected measures (if there are no selected measures it applies to everything). The feature is echoed with the invert icon below the timeline slider.

Reverse Time (t) 

Reverse the selected notes time wise. If there are no selected notes Reverse Time applies to selected measures  (if there are no selected measures it applies to everything  ) 

The feature is echoed with the reverse time icon below the timeline slider.

Repeat Twice (r)

Repeat the selected notes twice. If there are no selected notes Repeat applies to selected measures  (if there are no selected measures it applies to the entire piece  ) 

Quantize (q) 

Quantises the time in of selected notes (or the selected measures content if no notes are selected)  to the current grid boundaries. ‘Q’ or shift q will quantise both in and outs. Quantize is also available as a button below the timeline slider.

Twice faster (<), Twice slower (>) 

Changes the speed of selected notes (or the selected measures content if no notes are selected) by 200% or 50%

MultiTrack selection (caps lock)

Turn MultiTrack Selection mode on/off. When MultiTrack Selection mode is on, selections made using the selection tool or making a selection by clicking in the Select by Measure area are applied to all unlocked tracks. Caps lock can be used as an alternate way to temporarily force multitrack selection to ON without having to set it here.

THE Xx PATTERN MENU

The pattern menu available in the main UI gathers all manipulations that deal with musical structures and generation, as well as musical patterns management. 

Add Pattern from selection

The selected notes will be added to the pattern library. The pattern is replicated as-is when the grid is set to 240 (quarter-note). The current scale information is stored with the pattern to help Xx now how to apply a pattern later. 

Chord Patterns: Xx can detect if a pattern matches a chord or not. Valid chords include triads or 4 notes chords (triad + seventh). Notes do not necessarily have to overlap to define a chord. As soon as a triad is included in an arpege it will define the pattern as a chord. To optimise key remapping it is advised to define chords in a 7 note scale in a track that has pitch filter ON. Patterns defined as chords in a 7 notes tuning space will work nicely in any 7 tunings (and even in 12 tones space since version 1.0.2) when the mode Match Chords is used. Otherwise it is advised to use patterns defined in the same tuning space for best results.

Xx will remap patterns as needed to accommodate the scale. To delete a pattern from the library, open the pattern dialog and hold down the option key while selecting the pattern to delete from the popup.

If the pattern library was modified you will want to save the library before quitting Xx to make the changes permanent.

Choose & Repeat Pattern… (P)

Brings up the pattern dialog and repeats the selected pattern to fill the selected measures. Unlike the pattern entry tool this command can adjust the pattern to follow the underlying chord structure if present. It is a very important feature for automatic arrangements. The dialog provides three modes that determine how the repetition is performed.

Repeat Mode options:

Direct – repeats the pattern exactly as entered (remapping as necessary to match the current tonality). This mode is advised for unpitched patterns like drums or percussion.

Avoid Dissonances – repeats the pattern exactly then remaps any dissonant notes using a strict consonance rule (all intervals lower than 3 semitones are forbidden at all octaves). The rule is similar to what is used in Fix Dissonances hard  see below (link)

Match Chords – transposes the notes of the pattern to match the detected chord base note. In this mode, Repeat Pattern functions like an Arpeggiator. This mode will work best with patterns that are themselves defining a chord. When the pattern is a melody the pattern will be transposed so that the first note matches the chord base. If you need strict consonance you may always use “fix dissonance”  (link)  afterwards.

Repeat Pattern (p) 

Repeat the current selected pattern to fill the selected measures using the current repeat mode directly. To change the repeat mode and selected pattern use the Choose and Repeat Pattern menu command. You may also double click on the pattern tool to invoke the pattern setup dialog.

New patterns

Create and use a new pattern library file.

Load patterns 

Use this command to load a different pattern library.

Save patterns

Save the current pattern library to disk. If the pattern library was modified you will want to save the pattern library before quitting Xx to make the changes permanent.

Remap… (K) 

Remap the notes of the selected measures. Remap is a powerful tool to create variations of melodies and algorithmic composition. It can also be used to change the keys, for example by replacing every A in the score with A#. 

Turn ON “Constrain to current scale” to remap only pitches present in it. Turn it OFF to remap any pitches to any other pitches.

Turn ON Auto-Endorph to ensure that no note is used more than once in the remapping and that all notes get mapped to all notes in a different order. When auto-endorph is ON you can create a cycle of transformation that will go back to the original form after multiple applications. Some mapping may go back to the original after 12 successive transformations. Using the dice icon will generate a random endomorphism. Note that the pitch bars are no longer editable when Auto-Endorph is ON because values are constrained.

For example to simplify we’ll use a 4 notes scale “cdef”. Suppose

c map to e, 

d map to f,

e map to d, 

f map to c

Transforms will be efdc , dcfe, fecd, cdef. So the 4th transform will revert the theme to the original.

One may use “Remap pitch” available within Multi Transform to generate multiple transforms at once.

Randomize… (R) 

Randomize the selected notes using the dialog’s settings.

Repeat selection by…(N) 

Will repeat the selected notes (or the selected measures content if no notes are selected) by N times, with N set in the following dialog. 

Multi Transform… (T) 

Bring up the Multi-Transform dialog and apply it to the current measure selection. 

The Multi Transform command is a powerful algorithmic tool for generating rich variations and elaborations of simple themes. A simple one or two measure theme can be turned into a rich passage many times longer.

Locked tracks and tracks with pitch tracking turned off will be repeated as necessary to stay in sync with the other tracks but will not have their pitches altered.

When you choose the Multi Transform command, you are presented with the setup window. You specify the number of times to apply the transformation and specify up to four transforms that will be applied. You also specify when each transform is applied. The transforms include operations like pitch transposition, pitch inversion, pitch remapping, time expansion or compression and randomization. The “when” rules allow a transform to be performed every time or every other time or every fourth time, and so on.

Once a transform has been performed, further transformations are applied to the transformed music (rather than the original). This recursive behavior allows very complex results to be achieved from a simple set of rules. With a bit of thinking one could generate a full fugue using a simple starting polyphonic theme. For example the theme can be transposed up at each repeats, transposed down to a fifth at every 4 repeats, pitch inverted at every 8 repeats.

Protecting tracks from transformations. You may have tracks whose pitches you do not want transformed. A track whose Pitch Filter is turned off (usually drum tracks) will not be subject to transposition or pitch inversion since those only make sense for pitched data. If the Pitch Filter option is turned off, Multi-Transform will simply repeat the track’s original pitches.

Measure Counting. Multi Transform starts counting at 0. The selected time range is treated as repeat number 0. So, Even Times applies the transformation to repeats 0, 2, 4, etc.  (which are the first, third, and fifth measures)

When. The When popup determines when a particular transform is applied. The options are:

  • Everytime Transform is applied at each every repetition
  • Even times Transform is applied at each even repetition (0,2,4…)
  • Odd times Transform is applied at each odd repetition (1,3,5…)
  • 1/3 times Even – Every third time,  starting with the original selection (which is considered 0).
  • 1/3 times Odd – Every third time, starting with the first odd measure.
  • 1/4 times Even – Every fourth time, starting with the original selection (which is considered 0).
  • 1/4 times Odd – Every fourth time, starting with the second repetition. (For example, if the selection is one measure long starting at measure 1, the transformation will first be applied in measure 3 and then again in measure 7).
  • 1/8 times Even – Every eighth time, starting with the original selection (which is considered 0).
  • 1/8 times Odd – Every eighth time, starting with the fifth repetition. (For example, if the selection is one measure long starting at measure 1, the transformation will first be applied in measure 5 and then again in measure 13).

The Transforms are all transforms available elsewhere in Xx. Some transforms take a parameter which is the number of scale steps that the selection will be transposed when the transform is applied. Fit Range, Randomize, and Remap Pitch have their own setup dialog which is opened by clicking on the parameter icon (which becomes active for transforms that have a setup dialog).

Example:

Starting sequence

Multi  Transform Settings

Resulting sequence.

Make chord with selection (k),

Transpose and merge the note selection to make a triad in current scale. The selected notes will be the fundamental key of each chord. This feature is mostly useful in 7 notes keys. In 12 tones it will create a minor chord.

This feature is available as a button as well.

Canonize selection (2 voices) 

Add the notes that create a two-voice canon for the selected notes (not the measure selection). The additional notes are added to the next higher-numbered track in Poly mode.   Canonize selection uses the current canon settings that is shared with the canon tool (link to canon tool)

This feature is available as a button as well.

Canonize selection (3 voices) 

Add the notes that create a three-voice canon for the selected notes (not the measure selection). The additional notes are added to the next two higher-numbered tracks in Poly mode.

 Canonize selection uses the current canon settings that is shared with the canon tool (link to canon tool)

This feature is available as a button as well with the option key pressed.

Generate Bass for Measures (u)

This command analyzes the selected measures to detect chords that match the existing notes and generates a pulse bass sequence using the chord base note on the current track. The current grid sets the window of analysis and the rhythm of the bass. It is a starting point that usually requires further editing to create a rhythmically more interesting bass line.

Tracks that have pitch filter ON are taken into account to evaluate the underlying chords.  Typically a Drum track should be ignored and set to pitch filter off or invisible.

Generate Chords for Measures (U)

This command analyzes the selected measures to detect chords that are the closest match to existing notes and generates a chord track using basic triads on the current track. The current grid sets the window of analysis and the rhythm of the chords.

Tracks that have pitch filter ON are taken into account to evaluate the underlying chords.  Typically a Drum track should be ignored and set to pitch filter off or invisible.

Sequence Generator… (g)

The Sequence Generator is a 3-track step-sequencer that you invoke by choosing this menu or typing ‘g’. It will use 3 consecutive tracks from your sequence so choose before which is the current track that defines the first instrument and set the next 2 track instruments according to your needs.  

Basics.Click the big dice on the Top to start a new polyphonic sequence randomly. You then can edit keys directly in the bar fields of each voice or randomize each voice individually. 

Each track loops independently with its own length. This feature allows you to efficiently create many kinds of loops: from drum tracks to ambient loops that take a long time to repeat (by using large prime numbers for the track lengths). In Mono mode, all notes are added to the current track. In Poly mode, tracks are added to consecutive tracks starting with the current track.

Like the main window, the Sequence Generator has a Tooltips area at the bottom center of the window. Move the mouse over the tools to see their names.

The generator’s set-up parameters are found at the top and left-hand side of the window. The pitches played are determined by the Notes and Velocities bar charts. The Repeats field is the number of repeats of the longest track. Each of the other tracks is repeated to fill the duration of the longest track. The note durations for each track are set by the Tempo Scale parameter. The number of notes for each track’s loop is the Steps parameter. There are useful tools for shuffling and adjusting each track’s notes immediately above the bar charts and to the right of the Velocities.

Notes. Note pitch is determined by the bar height (the higher the bar, the higher the note) and the velocity (volume) is determined by the height of the velocity bars. Where the velocity is 0, no note is played. The note bars are shaded to indicate note velocity (volume). 

The pitch range in the notes area is determined by a few factors. When Track Pitch Filter is Off for a track (usually done for drum tracks), the pitch range is 8 octaves to maximize the number of drum samples that can be played in multi samplers that have the drum samples spread widely. Otherwise, the notes area has a range of 4 octaves and they are constrained to the current scale.

Base Key and Pitch Range Offsets. The Base Key setting determines the pitch of the lowest note when the pitch range is not shifted. The pitch range can be shifted up or down one octave by clicking on the +12 (up one octave) or -12 offset buttons.

The Steps control determines the number of notes.

The Tempo Scale determines the note durations. In 4:4, a tempo scale of 4 is one beat. When Tempo Scale = 1 the generated notes are 16th notes, at 2 the notes are eighth notes, at 8, the notes are half-notes, etc.

The Repeats field determines the number of iterations of the longest pattern when the sequence is actually generated.

The other patterns are repeated as needed to fill that amount of time. In some cases, a single repeat may be shorter than the number of measures needed to create one cycle of the overall pattern. For example, a pattern made up of 7 notes (on track 1), 11 notes (on track 2) and 15 notes (on track 3) has an overall pattern length  1155 notes long (7 times 11 time 15). However, a single repeat will generate a 15 note pattern (since that is the length of the longest track). Track 1 will have 2 cycles of its seven note pattern plus one more note. Track 2 will have 1 cycle of its pattern plus an additional four notes. Track 3 will have the 15 notes of its pattern. To create one cycle of the overall pattern, you would need to enter 77 (7 * 11) for the number of repeats.

THE Xx TUNING MENU

The Tuning Menu gathers all features related to scales remapping, Tonality and harmonic utilities.

Find Tonality  (?)

This command analyzes the selected measures content and suggests one or more keys (scale and base key) most consistent with the notes. You can choose to remap all tracks to the selected keys. When working on a multi-tonal piece this command is particularly useful to recover the tonality of a section.

Remap Selection to Tonality (=)

Remap the selected notes to the current scale and base key.  If there are no selected notes Remap will use the current measure selection (starting Xx 1.0.2).

Remap Track to Tonality (:)

Remap the current track notes ( or all tracks in Poly) to the current scale and base key. Tracks that have the mode set to locked or Pitch filter OFF aren’t affected by the remapping.  

Remap Measures to Tonality …

Remap the music within the measures selection to any Tonality and base key set in a dialog. After remapping the main tuning is set to 12 tones to remove all tuning filters. 

            This feature allows you to create a multi-tonal piece. Do it at a final stage to benefit from all the tuning filters while compositing and arranging the music. If you temporarily re activate a particular tuning for editing a section make sure to NOT remap the sequence otherwise you will lose tuning variations in other parts.

Fix Dissonances loose (h)

Analyzes the selected notes against the other tracks and adjusts the selected notes to eliminate dissonances with a looser consonance rule. The rule is allowing 7ths, 9ths and above. For notes that are in the same octave and below, second (2 semitones) and semitone intervals are forbidden.

Original ramp in C Major and the effect of Fix Dissonances loose. The blue lines sets a constraining minor 2 note chord.Note the fix allows minor thirds, seventh and above and the filter completely vanishes 2 octaves higher.

  Fix Dissonances hard (H)

Analyzes the selected notes against the other tracks and adjusts the selected notes to eliminate dissonances with a strict consonance rule (intervals of 1 or 2 semitones are prohibited whatever the octave). If the underlying music is already dissonant the fix will allow any notes already present.

 the effect of Fix Dissonances hard. Note that seconds and semitones intervals are fixed at every octaves

    Match to chord

Analyzes the selected notes and adjusts them so that they match the nearest notes of the 3 or 4-notes chord whose fundamental note is suggested by all tracks content. If only one note is present it is taken as the base chord key. If there are no underlying notes the chord will default to the current key base. “Match to chord” is even stricter than “Fix dissonances hard” and produces more musically pleasing results as it avoids notes repetitions (since version 1.02). 

the effect of Match to chord. Note that notes are mapped to implied triads at every octave and repeating notes are transposed one octave.

Xx TO METASYNTH PROJECT

Xx was designed to be a companion to MetaSynth. You can use Xx to create your composition then export it to MetaSynth as a montage made up of Image Synth presets and audio events. You can also export selections from Xx to MetaSynth as individual Image Synth presets and import Sequencer Room sequences from MetaSynth into Xx. Xx and MetaSynth share the same native instrument architecture which allows Xx to use any instruments that you have defined in MetaSynth. And, you can create new MetaSynth instruments in Xx.

All of the commands related to MetaSynth are found in the MetaSynth File popup found in the Upper Toolbar.

Exporting from XX to MetaSynth

The CTX version of Xx can now create a full MetaSynth project from your sequence. This will contain a Montage, Image Synth Presets, and Sequence. It also creates folders for Effects & Resources, IS Sounds, Sequences (a .xx package is created), Sounds, and Spectrums. This allows sequences to be augmented and mixed within MetaSynth.

The first time you play your Montage in MetaSynth, the application will render all MetaSynth instruments to audio. If a 3rd party Audio Unit is used for a track in the Xx sequence, this will be automatically rendered to a file when the project is created.

Exporting Xx Sequence to MetaSynth Project Folder
Xx creates a MetaSynth project folder with all of the resources, including optional track renders.

A montage is created when exporting to MetaSynth project including Image Synth presets and audio renders.

MIDI Controllers with MetaSynth Instruments. 

MetaSynth Instruments have some capabilities in Xx that they don’t have in MetaSynth itself. Many parameters can be controlled by MIDI controllers. This capability allows you to create some great effects in Xx that aren’t possible in the Image Synth or Sequencer Room. When you export a project from Xx to MetaSynth, you need to render as audio any tracks that use MIDI controllers and use them as audio tracks in the Montage Room rather than as Image Synth presets since the Image Synth presets lack this controller information.

If your MetaSynth instrument tracks use MIDI controllers you will want to render them to audio manually import them into the montage as the Image Synth does not know about MIDI controllers. To render an individual track, set the poly/mono toggle to Mono mode and click on the Render Sequence button.

This Drum MultiSampler Track uses several MIDI controllers to control the MultiSampler. Controller 73 controls the Attack Time; Controller 3 controls the Filter Attack Rate.

TROUBLESHOOTING

Overview

Xx is generally very robust. There are a few commonly reported issues which this document will help you troubleshoot. Misbehaving audio units can be responsible for some strange behavior that you might not think would be audio unit-related.  If you experience generally strange behavior such as instability, odd sounds being produced, problems with the audio output, or other strange problems, see the section Audio Units & Troubleshooting below.

MIDI Input is not working.

In version CTX it is necessary to select MIDI input devices if you have more than one. This selection must be made in preferences each time you run Xx. You can have more than one MIDI input device enabled. To enable input devices, choose Preferences from the Xx menu (shortcut: command-comma) and choose any devices that you would like to use from the Set Midi Input Device popup menu.  Xx can receive midi from any channel. Make sure Xx is set to listen to midi from the same device you use.

Key shortcuts don’t work

Make sure the current tool is not the step entry tool which redirects keys to note entry functionality.

Audio Playback fails or is silent :

Either the output device is wrong or the AU graph is damaged. Save your work and relaunch xx to fix the problem. Make sure to select a valid output device and sample rate.

Icon or menu command has no effect:

Many commands assume a note selection, or if none, a non empty measure selection. Make sure the command has something to apply to!

Multi-Transform and Repeat Patterns Issues

Some users experience what appear to be problems with the Multi-Transform command due to a misunderstanding of how it works. Multi-Transform and Repeat Patterns acts on the current measure (time-range) selection rather than the note selection. When using theses, drag out a time selection in the time bar found below the score area to specify the source time range for transforms and the time range for repeat patterns.

Do not Select All before applying Multi-Transform as Selecting all creates a very long time range selection. Select just the time range that you want to transform rather than using Select All and make sure there is empty room ahead to have the various transforms placed.

Repeat Patterns on the other hand lay require a larger measure selection, or even the entire piece. In that case just use select all that does select the measures as well.

Audio Unit Information

Some users have reported problems that turn out to be related to audio units and you may encounter issues that are caused by an errant audio unit synth. Most of these issues are caused by audio units which violate Apple’s audio unit guidelines or make incorrect assumptions about the host environment. Such audio units may work perfectly in other applications (under which they have been tested, debugged, and issues compensated for), but behave poorly in Xx.

Here are some things that are important to know about Xx’s Audio Units support:

  •  Limit of 32 Audio Units. For performance reasons, Xx loads up to 16  Audio Unit synths in each category (multitimbral or not) . If you have such audio units, you can load them into another host application (such as Rax or Apple’s AU lab, or any app that accepts MIDI) and send them to MIDI via MIDI IAC. Some Audio Units also come with a standalone version of the plug-in to which you can send MIDI.
  •  Audio Units that lack an AppKit user-interface are not loaded. Xx CTX is an AppKit-based application. The vast majority of Audio Units provide both a Carbon and AppKit (Cocoa) user interface. If an Audio Unit does not have an AppKit user interface, it cannot be loaded. If you have such audio units, you can load them into another host application (such as Rax or Apple’s AU lab (https://www.apple.com/apple-music/apple-digital-masters/), or any app that accepts MIDI) and send them MIDI via MIDI IAC. Some Audio Units also come with a standalone version of the plug-in to which you can send MIDI.
  •  Audio Unit Delay compensation. By default, Xx assumes that Audio Units have latency for which it compensates. The default setting is 11 ticks as we have found this to be a generally useful setting. However, some Audio Units don’t behave well when the latency compensation is enabled. If you have AUs that are not responding, or have notes that are sticking, try setting the AU delay to 0.

Audio Unit Troubleshooting

If you are having strange problems or crashes at launch an Audio Unit is likely the cause. Try these suggestions in order to resolve the issue

  • For general issues, disable audio unit loading. Reboot your computer. Then delete the .prefs file in the Xx application folder – you will need to re-enter your serial number so have it handy. This will reset the Xx’s preferences to AUs off. Relaunch the application and see if the issue no longer occurs.
  • Identifying problematic audio units. If disabling all Audio Units solves your problem, you may want to identify the particular Audio Unit (or Audio Units) responsible. To do this quit Xx, then create “hider” folders and move your audio units into it. Then add them back one at a time and relaunch Xx. See Apple’s instructions for more details: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201532 We have found one third party application for the AppKit OS (MacOS X 10.10 through macOS 12) that can help with this process: https://icedaudio.com/site/
  • If an audio unit is not available in Xx, there may be more audio units installed than Xx can load (16 in each category). Manually managing or using Iced Audio’s AudioFinder app can help with this process (we miss you AudioUnitManager for Carbon MacOSX!).
  • If an audio unit synth does not respond correctly when playing back a sequence. We have found a few audio units do not behave correctly when Xx’s latency correction is turned on. If your audio unit synth is not playing notes correctly when a sequence plays back, open Xx’s preferences window and set the AU delay to 0. You may want to experiment with the latency compensation settings. In the rare event that this does not solve the problem, you may want to load that synth into another host program (including a lightweight host like RAX or Apple’s AU Lab application — which is available if you have installed the Apple Developer Tools) and send MIDI from Xx to the host using MIDI IAC (which is easily set up in Apple’s Audio MIDI Setup application).
  • Audio unit interface does not display correctly. Some (very few) Audio Units do not display their user interface correctly when hosted in Xx. This is rare and usually is the result of a bug in the audio unit synth. Please inform us about any Audio Unit whose interface is not displayed correctly.

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