SynthFont[1] tutorial, part 2

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More about Plug & Play
The main toolbar
SynthFont[1] - the main toolbar buttons
The buttons in the main toolbar are:
Exit - exit the program
Setup and Options - change a number of settings and manage your selection of VST effects and instruments
Save Arrangement - save the arrangement for a MIDI file. The arrangement contains the selection of SoundFonts, VST effects, VST instruments and many other similar settings (NOTE: press RIGHT mouse button to pop up the Save As... alternative)
Open Midi or Arrangement - open a midi file or its arrangement. Press down arrow button for a list of your Arrangements and some functions for organizing them.
SoundFont File... - open a SoundFont and assign it to a midi channel (press right mouse button for a history list)
Play to Speakers - play the midi file to the standard audio output (speakers or headphone)
Play to File - create an audio file suitable for writing to a CD or storing on your media player. A Save dialog box will appear in in which you can choose the file format.
Play to Both - send the audio to both standard output and a file (slower than just using ”Play to File”)
Turn Midi Input ON - play not from a MIDI file but in real time from a MIDI input port source to which for instance a keyboard could be connected
Save Midi - save a midi file which you have edited (not visible in Just Playing mode)
How to play a midi file
When SynthFont starts up for the first time it will ask you to load a midi file, or load one file delivered with the installation package. To load you own file you can either go to the "1 Files / Folders" page and to the Explorer at the bottom and look for to folder with the midi file you want to load. Double-click the file in the files list to open it in SynthFont. Alternatively you can press the Open Midi or Arrangement button in the main toolbar. An Arrangement file is simply a text file with information regarding the settings you want for a particular midi file. When you open a new midi file there will not be any Arrangement file available, but as soon as you change something, like the Payback volume or SoundFonts used, SynthFont will create an Arrangement in memory which you the can save (or not).

Creating audio files
You play a file to the standard audio output (i.e. your audio card and speakers or headphone) by pressing the "Play to Speakers" button in the main toolbar. You also have two more choices: "Play to File" or "Play to Both". "Play to File" will by default let you create an standard Windows WAV file, which you later can burn to an audio CD. Also other file formats are available. (Please note that midi files are not audio files and cannot as such be burnt to an audio CD). The speed of creating a file is highest when you use the "Play to File" button, as nothing is sent to the standard output then. "Play to Both" sends audio to the output at the same time. You can also let SynthFont convert to a compressed file, for example Windows Media Audio (WMA), MP3 or OggVorbis (OGG) by choosing the particular file format.

The Arrangement file
This file contains the name of the midi file for which it was created and a number of additional settings. For example, the VST effects you have installed are stored here. Thus, when you open a new midi file you may find that the VST effects list is empty. If you find that the arrangement is not what you want you can either erase it from the system (it is a file) or you can open the midi file using the "Open Midi or Arrangement" button and uncheck the "Read data from Arrangement as well" check-box.
The Synth Rack
SynthFont[1] - the Synth Rack
Beats Per Minute: The midi file contains data that defines the BPM for the song. This data may change throughout the song. You can also change the overall playback speed by changing the Speed factor. Use the four up/down buttons to change the factor in units of tenths (”.1”) or hundreds (”.01”). You can activate a metronome that wil click at the current BPM speed.
Playback volume: There are two sliders you can pull, Left and Right. Normally these are synced to each other and change at the same time. To change them separately you need to un-toggle the Sync button. Above the Sync button there is a Soft button. Toggle this to switch on/off the soft limiter which reduces distortion when the signal becomes out of range.
Output VST Effects (”Fx”): You can assign third party VST effects to 17 separate lines, or ”busses”. The first bus is the Main bus, which is always used by all midi channels. The other 16 busses can be assigned to each midi channel separately. Below the ”Bus chain” drop-down list there are six buttons for manipulation of VST effects. You have to install or register VST effects at first in ”Setup and Options” before you can use them.
Playback Range: Here you can define what part of the tune you want to play. You can select to use Markers, which are either defined in the midi file or later by you (and stored in the arrangement file), or you can select to play an area defined by a set of Bar and Beat numbers. The Playback range is also visible in the playback percentage box to the left, where the markers are show as two vertical lines in the progress bar, and the Bar/Beat start and stop values are shown as two small triangles below the progress bar. If you have selected a Playback range, you may select to loop it a number of times or indefinitely.
Playback progress: The two small triangles below the progress bar can be pulled around to define the Bar/Beat playback range. There are nine small buttons: Back to start, Back one or ten bars, Play/Stop, Pause, Forward to next marker, Forward one or ten bars, Create a new marker (markers can be seen and manipulated in the Pianoroll pane), Go to next song of the playlist, and Set the songs final decay length (the time SynthFont will wait for the last notes do ring off).  There is one big button: Player. This toggles the real time Player Piano window.
Synth Options: This buttons opens the Setup and Options dialog and goes directly to the Synth options in the dialog.

Leardini system: This button opens the Leardini system dialog. Click the region to read more about this special feature for blind users.
Voices: this is also for information only, it shows the number of simultaneous voices, or wave samples, playing at the same time (often referred to as “polyphony”). SynthFont can handle up to 1024 voices, but your CPU may put limitations on the number you can reach without cause disruptions in the audio output. NOTE that when playing to a file, there is no CPU limitation.

CPU: this is for information only, it shows the CPU load while playing.

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The Playlist and file Explorer