SWAM (Synchronous Waves Acoustic Modeling) is a proprietary technology conceived by Stefano Lucato and further developed by Emanuele Parravicini. It combines concepts of Physical Modeling, Behavioral Modeling with the MultiVector (synchronous phase) Sampling technique.
The SWAM technology is best suited for multi-vector expressive acoustic instruments, i.e. instruments that require continuous input energy and control by the musician on several dimensions at the same time, especially for woodwinds (ref. The Physics).
The instruments begin as chromatic samples covering the orchestral range of each instrument. Along with the sampling of each sound, each note is sampled at several different dynamic levels. This allows each instrument to be transposed appropriately to cover the range of a traditional Orchestral or Band performance in the appropriate key transposition needed.
The sounds of the instrument are recorded in a dry environment with no additional effects to provide an accurate natural representation of each sound.
Even with very accurate sounds and multiple dynamics, this is only the beginning of what makes the SWAM instruments so special. The SWAM engine and its process brings accurate dynamics and articulation changes in Real-Time allowing for a level of musical expression with these virtual instruments that rival their natural counterparts. Because of this, SWAM instruments require more direct control in real time performance by the user to shape the sound and expressive qualities of each instrument.
SWAM instruments are readily playable “Out of the Box” and launch with a default keyboard setting. This allows a musician with just a keyboard to play the instruments. With only a keyboard they demonstrate good articulation and legato with a reasonable degree of smoothness. That however is only the beginning. With the use of other types of controllers such as wind or breath controllers, expression pedals or new expressive instruments like the ROLI Seaboard or LinnStrument, the level of expressiveness expands to an even greater level. The SWAM engine provides settings for these different types of controllers to make the initial setup of the basic functions much easier.
For each instrument there are additional settings on the main page of the GUI which can modify the timbre, tone color and transposition of the instrument to name a few. Many of these controls can be mapped to the controller, for an example the harmonic structure parameter can be mapped to (CC2 Breath) so that breath input will alter the harmonic structure of the instrument in much the same way the tonal quality of a real wind instrument changes in character as breath pressure increases. Many other similar adjustments and mappings are possible and with experimentation the performer can very easily create an instrument variation that is very personal to their style and tonal aesthetic. There are additional performance effects like Growl and Flutter tongue that can be mapped to an expression pedal along with overblow and fall down that can be used with Key Switches. The SWAM instruments also have micro tuning capabilities that can be set up in the options page of the GUI. This gives the SWAM instruments to perform on different scales or tunings as required in experimental compositions or ethnic musical systems.
With all of this flexibility, expressiveness and quality, these instruments can be used in live performance in a variety of musical styles ranging from classical, to jazz, popular and ethnic. They can also be used in recording and music production.
SWAM instruments are supplied only as plugins that will run on virtually any host. These plugins run on both PC and Mac and have been extensively tested on most common DAWs, like Cubase, Logic, Digital Performer, ProTools GarageBand etc.
They also work in live performance hosts: like Cantabile, MainStage, Plogue Bidule, Gig Performer etc.