Using Microtonality with Hardware Synths

Hi there, I’m using my Striso as the “master” over USB MIDI to my Yamaha Reface DX and Korg NTS-1, and I noticed that none of the Striso’s built-in microtonal tunings work with either synth, whether I use MPE or standard MIDI or Mono.

I know for certain that the Reface DX is open to being tuned to different tunings because it has an onboard setting for it, but it seems to affect the keyboard inputs only and not the synth engine when it is triggered from another device. I don’t really know the level of support on the NTS-1 for microtonality, although I believe the Minilogue it is based on supports it.

In any case, I was wondering if there is a way to make this work. Maybe something with the new Striso editor that has just been released? Thank you in advance for any help!

Some synths let you load and activate custom tuning files. Some respond to Midi Tuning Standard (MTS) midi messages. Some may respond to their own non-standard midi messages that affect tuning.

And these days there is also a method that is applicable to MPE synths and controllers. Since MPE means each note gets its own midi channel with its own pitch bend etc messages, this is made use of to support micro-tuning. DAWs like Bitwig make use of this to make their own microtuning features work.

Striso probably makes use of that MPE method, and so will only work polyphonically with synths that actually support MPE. However I have noticed that there is a problem with this method and many MPE hardware synths - some of these synths only respond to pitch bend messages received after the note on message, not before, but controllers and DAW features tend to send the midi pitch bend message that does the microtuning immediately before the note on message, not after.

But I havent actually tried the microtuning on the Striso myself yet. And I dont have the synths you mention either, though I can say they probably dont support MPE at all. But since there are some gaps in my knowledge, there may be something wrong with one or more of my assumptions in this post.

Oddsound MTS-ESP is an example of some computer software which can utilise all of the above methods I have described in order to make a variety of software and hardware synths work with microtuning. It can help a lot with certain synths when the person is still happy to use a computer as part of their setup. But its an alternative to the microtuning stuff built into Striso, rather than something directly related to it, and it still wont help if your synth supports none of the methods of microtuning.


Indeed, the Striso uses MPE for tuning, so microtonal tunings don’t work if the synth doesn’t support MPE.

Sometimes it’s possible to set the same configuration for multiple MIDI channels, which comes close to MPE. For the tunings to work correctly the bend range has to be the same on the Striso board as on the synth. By default that is 48 on the Striso, but if 48 is not supported on the synth that can be changed in a preset in the new configuration editor.

The Striso board doesn’t support the MIDI Tuning Standard, though if there’s enough interest for it it could be implemented. I’m not sure though how well it is supported on different synths. For the Yamaha Reface and Korg NTS-1 a quick search doesn’t show support.


Thank you for the reply! I’ll look into this some more!

Looking at the Reface DX documentation it seems the pitch bend range can be set to either 2 semitones or 12 semitones. I would just change the configuration on the Striso to match those values?