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Sonitarium v1.3 VST


How it works
MIDI Mapping
Version History



Sound demo video: One instance of Sonitarium playing, no effects, constantly changing controls.
Jelly Trip Experience


Sonitarium employs a variant of DSF synthesis with aliasing-free oscillators that generate a quadrature stereo signal. Providing up to 200 oscillators per voice, Sonitarium is most suitable for fat pads, drone sounds, and horror music.

Sonitarium was made using Synthedit. The sound engine isn't based on native Synthedit modules, though, but newly coded in C++.


  • Aliasing-free DSF oscillators, each generating a quadrature stereo signal.
  • Up to 200 oscillators per voice. Unison controls to alter the pitches and phases of the oscillators.
  • Freely selectable polyphony with up to 16 voices.
  • Text field input for all controls.
  • Envelope and key tracking controlled volume. Adjustable pitch bend range. 
  • Freely adjustable Attack, Decay, and Release slopes.
  • MIDI control of all parameters (CC).
  • 92 presets.

How it works

Feel free to read my article The Math behind DSF Synthesis if you're interested in knowing how the synthesis of Sonitarium works.


The interface is divided into three sections: Oscillator, Unison, and Mix. In the Oscillator section, the general oscillator settings can be specified. In the Unison section, you can specify how many oscillators shall be used per voice and how to detune them. The Mix section, again, basically controls volume and stereo.

Whereas control changes in the Oscillator section affect all oscillators, control changes in the Unison section only have an audible effect if at least two oscillators per voice are used. Besides, control changes in the Oscillator and Unison section don't affect the voices that are currently playing. Instead, a control change will affect only the next played note and the notes after that. So when you automate the Oscillator and Unison controls, many voices with different parameters may play at the same time. In contrast, control changes in the Mix section immediately affect all voices currently playing.

All continuous controls have text entry fields which you can use to enter values - just click on them and type, or use copy & paste. The sliders can be moved with more precision when you press CTRL while moving them. And to turn the knobs with more precision, click on them, then move the mouse pointer away while keeping the mouse button pressed; the farther away the mouse pointer is, the more precise the knob will be.


The knobs in the Oscillator section have the following meaning:
  • Harmonics: This determines how many harmonics each oscillator generates. There is rarely an audible difference between, say, 500 and 1000 used harmonics. If the amount drops below 100, though, the difference is getting more significant.
  • FreqRatio: These two knobs determine the distance between two neighbored harmonics, the frequency fr.While the fundamental frequency fis specified by the currently played note and the Pitch settings, fr is computed as
    fr  = fc * left / right, where "left" is the value of the left knob, "right" is the value of the right knob.
    Well, forget the math and try it. For example, a 1:1 ratio generates saw-like sounds, a 2:1 ratio generates square-like sounds.
    With the button next to the knobs you can control whether the values are rounded (which makes the sound more harmonic) or not.
  • Pitch: Alters the pitch, measured in octaves. That is, a value of 1 means that the note is played one octave higher. With the button next to the knob, you can control whether the value is rounded.
  • Brightness: This is the rate by which the magnitude of the harmonics drops off from the fundamental frequency. Low values make the sound dull, high values make the sound bright.
  • Color: If this knob is in its leftmost position, the harmonics will be on the "left" side of the fundamental frequency only, ie. in the lower frequency range. If the knob is in its middle position, harmonics will be on both sides of the fundamental. And if it's in its rightmost position, the harmonics will be on the right side of the fundamental frequency only. Turning the knob to intermediate positions will continuously mix between those states.


The knobs in the Unison section have the following meaning:
  • Oscillators: The amount of oscillators used per voice. From 1 to 100.
  • Dampen: When there are many oscillators running, the upper frequencies may sound harsh at times. This control dampens that effect. Use Dampen together with Brightness to give the sound the right tone.
  • Pitch-Spread: Controls the range within which the pitches of the oscillators are spread. At 0, all oscillators have the same pitch. At 1, there dissonance is at maximum.
  • Pitch-Shuffle: Controls how the pitches are spread. At 0, they are spread evenly. Approaching -1 or 1, the pitches are condensed at certain spots.
  • Phase-Spread: Controls the initial phases of the oscillators. At 0, all oscillators start with the same phase (when many oscillators are used, this causes a high pitched resonance sound). Approaching 1, the intial  phases are spread more and more (basically, this weakens the resonance sound and makes pads more smooth). 
  • Phase-Wind: To understand this control, you best view it as a sort of time-machine that changes the initial phases defined with Phase-Spread. At 0, the initial phases are not changed. Approaching 1, the phases are "winded forward", as if the current note has already been playing for a while. Approaching -1, the phases are rewinded, ie. the initial phases are extrapolated towards the past. This is not a real forward or backward winding effect, though, because it always acts as if Phase-Shuffle was set to 0 (that is, it is real forward or backward winding if and only if Phase-Shuffle is 0). The effect becomes most audible if you have an evolving sound.
  • Retrigger: If this is switched on, then the oscillator phases get reinitialized each time a note is played. If this is switched off, then each newly triggered voice inherits the oscillator phases from the last played voice. You may want to use this to make pads extra smooth, or to make a sound that keeps evolving while playing new notes.  


The knobs in the Mix section have the following meaning:

Envelope Settings
  • Attack, Decay, Sustain, Release: Just the same old volume envelope settings. Below Attack, Decay, and Release, there are additional knobs which can be used to alter the slopes if the respective curve.
Stereo Settings
  • Width: This control works different than the Width control in Tetra.When the knob is at 0, the harmonics are out of phase by 90 degrees (all cosines on the right, all sines on the left). At -1, you get a mono signal (only the left channel). At 1, it's mono as well (only the right channel).
  • Angle: Angle by which the stereo image is rotated.
  • Incr: The angle by which the stereo image is rotated further every time a note is played. At -90 and 90 degrees, left and right channel will be swapped with every note.
    Notice that Angle and Incr don't have an effect if Retrigger is switched off.


  • Voices: The maximum amount of voices that can be active at the same time. It can be freely set between 1 and 16.
  • Track: Turned to the left, lower notes get emphasized. Turned to the right, higher notes get emphasized.
  • Bend: This is the pitch bend range measured in half tones. If you're using a pitch bend wheel, you may have to alter this parameter to get the desired effect.
  • Volume: Limits the overall volume.

MIDI Control Mapping

This table shows to which MIDI CCs the controls are mapped

PhaseWind 1 Track 23
PhaseSpread 2 Brightness 24
Width 8 Dampen 25
Volume 11 Harmonics 26
PitchSpread 12 RatioM 27
PitchShuffle 13 RatioC 28
AttackS 14 Pitch 29
DecayS 15 Color 30
Attack 16 Voices 76
Decay 17 Oscillators 77
Sustain 18 Bend 78
Release 19 PRound 80
ReleaseS 20 FRound 81
Angle 21 Retrigger 82
AngleIncr 22


Put the file Sonitarium.dll into your VST Plugins folder.

Version History

v1.3a: Fixed problem preventing the plugin  from working with Windows XP.

  • Upgraded to Synthedit1.1.
  • New Skin.
  • Increased maximum number of oscillators from 100 to 200.
  • 10 new presets.
  • About 40% less CPU drain (only on systems supporting SSE2 instructions, eg. Pentium4, Athlon64 or later).
  • Fixed crackling noise when running multiple synth instances on multi-core systems.
  • 22 new presets by runagate.
  • Fixed potential pops and sticking notes.
  • Limited the maximum generated frequency to 21kHz even at sample rates greater than 44.1kHz to avoid volume change at different sample rates.
  • Downward compatible to v1.0/v1.0a.
v1.0a:  Fixed retrigger bug when "retrigger" was set to off.
v1.0:    Initial Release.


Thanks to runagate for his presets.


You can contact me by E-Mail at: (Burkhard Reike).


This software is provided as is, there is no warranty and nobody is responsible for any kind of damage. Use it at your own risk.
VST is a trademark of Steinberg Soft- und Hardware GmbH, Germany.

Download: (Windows)

Older Versions: (Windows) (Windows)

This synth is free. If you like it, feel free to leave a donation.
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