Feature Comparison

What distinguishes the Sparks, Express and Pro editions of Synfire

Features of the Sparks, Express and Pro editions have been carefully balanced out in order to make every edition as useful as possible for their envisioned target audience and at the same time allow us to offer more affordable options as an alternative to the flagship Pro edition.

The Sparks edition is a great entry into the world of Music Prototyping. It helps you create and arrange songs in an exciting new way.

The Express edition offers more creative tools and more control over details. It is great entry point for home producers who don't yet need the advanced features of the Pro edition.

The Pro edition includes all prototyping features ever made for Synfire, offering the most comfortable and productive workflow for professionals and music enthusiasts.

Table 1. Synfire Editions
Synfire Sparks Synfire Express Synfire Pro
Target Audience Songwriters, Bands, Teachers Home Producers Composers, Producers, Enthusiasts
Use Cases Songwriting, building instrumental parts for export to the DAW, teaching harmony Prototyping of arrangements, creating phrases with more detail and control. Composing orchestral music, advanced electronic music, game soundtracks, film scores, piano music, jazz, developing a personal style
Interpretation Presets Voice Leading, Chromatic, Strategies Voice Leading, Chromatic, Strategies, Voicing, Inversion, Alignment
Progressions Embedded Embedded, Standalone Embedded, Standalone
Palettes Embedded Embedded, Standalone Embedded, Standalone
Harmony Knowledge Base Standard Extended Extended, Customizable
Jazz Up/Down Progressions
Multiple Palette Windows
Catalog Editor
Merge Catalogs
Structure Song Parts Nested Containers, Two Levels Nested Containers, Unlimited Levels
Arrange Instruments 8 32 Unlimited
Sketch Instruments 8 24 24
Sketches Create & Play Fully Editable Fully Editable
Import Single Phrases Phrases, Libraries Phrases, Libraries
Advanced Import Options
Time Signature Changes
Container Snapshots
Overview Page / Map
Continuous Tempo Changes
Cue Markers
Phrase Morphing
Inactivate Container, Inactivate Phrase (A/B Testing)
Phrase Editing
Symbol Types Horizontal, Chords, Bass, Pitch Horizontal, Vertical, Chords, Bass, Pitch Horizontal, Vertical, Chords, Bass, Pitch, Relative
Parameter Interpolation Use-Only Recent, Linear, Snap, Dithered, Sequential, Hits
Extract From Figure, Output, Save To Figure
Inversion, Voicing, Bypass, Chromatic (Per Segment)
Advanced Figure Recognition
Simulate Strumming, Pedal, Broken Chords
Humanize, Enhance Beat
Shape Tool, Mute Tool
Focus On Symbol Type
Click Board
Scale Board
Text Data Entry
Custom Quantize Grid
Triplets, Quintuplets
Split, Merge
Parameter Templates Harmony
Harmony, Figure, Interpretation, Pan, Pause, Take, Volume
Custom Controllers
Bend, Breath, Expression, Length, Modulation, Output, Portamento, Preview, Reverb, Rhythm, Scheme, Shift, Step, Sustain, Transpose, Variation
Chromatic, Dynamics, Flow, Layer, Lyrics, Morphing, Skip, Tempo, Time
Drag/Drop, Copy/Paste
Immediate Phrase Editing
Standalone Apps
Batch Import
Libraries With Sounds (Racks)
Generating Phrases Variations of existing factories
Preparation For Archive/Sharing
Single-Instrument Groups
Mixed Groups (Folders)
Conversion of Arrangement to Snippets, Session to Arrangement
Generate Random Phrases Variations of existing factories
Edit New Factories
Embedded GM Synth
External MIDI Ports
Plug-In Hosting VST, VST3, AudioUnits VST, VST3, AudioUnits VST, VST3, AudioUnits
DAW Drones VST, VST3, AudioUnits, AAX VST, VST3, AudioUnits, AAX
DAW Drones (MIDI Effects) VST, VST3, AudioUnits, AAX
Record Parameters
Online Repository
Transport Remote Control
Sound Allocation Monitor
Custom Controllers
External Synchronization Basic SPP (MIDI Clock), MTC (MIDI Time Code), ReWire, OSC
Custom Synch Configuration
Custom Articulations
Device/Sound Templates
Tagging Of Takes
Multiple Audio Engines
Printing Tablature, Scales, Palettes Tablature, Scales, Palettes Tablature, Scales, Palettes
Drag & Drop MIDI
Standard MIDI Files
Transfer To Drone
Notation Formats MusicXML, LilyPond

Upgrading To Express

Upgrading from Sparks to Express much extends your possibilities to create, collect and edit phrases and gives you more leeway to arrange them in creative ways. Snippets allow for playing phrases as live loops.

  • Build more elaborate song structures with containers inside containers, nested up to two levels deep. Reuse containers in multiple places with aliases. Use containers that can overlap each other.

  • Time signature changes in any container.

  • Room for more instruments.

Phrase Editing & Parameters
  • Build more expressive Figures with an additional Vertical symbol type.

  • Additional parameters to control rhythm independently of Figure: Step, Rhythm, Shift, Length, Velocity.

  • Additional parameters to transform melodies and harmony: Transpose, Preview, Variation.

  • MIDI controllers: Bend, Breath, Expression, Modulation, Reverb.

  • Look at the Output parameter to see in an instant what Synfire is rendering from your input.

  • Save and recall Parameter Templates for many parameters.

  • Use the intuitive Click Board to transform a phrase and its parameters more comfortably.
  • Use the Shape tool to warp parameter data.

  • Use the Mute tool to silence individual Figure symbols.

  • Focus on a single symbol type at a time for easier selection and editing.

  • Edit Phrase Pools and phrases in a Library down to the parameter level. Do so inside the Arrange window or with a standalone Library App. Open multiple such apps at the same time to copy or move phrases with drag & drop.

  • Create libraries with their own Library Rack, so you can collect phrases together with their original sounds. Drop phrases along with their sounds to new arrangements.

  • Import MIDI files into a Library to collect new phrases for your songs.

  • Edit your Sketches with the standalone Sketch App.

  • Generate any number of variations to existing factories.

  • Place phrases in a Snippets grid and conduct them live and in real-time.

  • Customize the Catalog, which offers a more extensive collection of chords and scales from the start. Leverage an extended harmony knowledge base.

  • Keep multiple palette windows open at the same time to explore key changes.

  • Obtain more control over the Interpretation parameter with different voice leading strategies, filter settings and response times.

  • Assign chord inversion and voicing to individual figure segments.

  • Use Drones to host audio plug-ins for your instruments in a DAW and synchronize them with Synfire.

  • Define your own Custom Controllers.

  • Record individual parameters directly.

  • Access our Online Repository to share device descriptions with the user community.

Upgrading to Pro

Coming from Express, an upgrade to Pro dramatically increases your creative freedom, workflow productivity and fun. Generate phrases to transform and experiment with them. Enjoy the power of Music Prototyping to the fullest. Additional sophisticated tools allow for more detailed control and help you develop your own personal style of music.

  • Build container structures with unlimited depth and a virtually unlimited number of instruments.

  • Inactivate individual phrases and/or containers for A/B testing and experimentation.

  • Navigate the Overview page to see the how your container hierarchy actually rolls out onto tracks, like in a DAW.

Phrase Editing & Parameters
  • Build more expressive Figures with an additional Relative symbol type.

  • Define a custom Grid to make everything you draw or move around snap to arbitrary rhythmical positions. Drop phrases on the Grid outlet to use their rhythm.

  • Additional parameters to control rhythm, dynamics and articulation: Skip, Flow, Dynamics.

  • Additional parameters to transform harmony: Layer, Chromatic.

  • Use Morphing to smoothly blend parameters, phrases and even containers into one another.

  • Synchronize music to film using the Time parameter. Scale the tempo of your arrangement in order to match the beat with cue markers in a film.

  • Use continuous Tempo changes anywhere.

  • Assign an interpolation mode to parameters in order to achieve dramatic effects.

  • Have triplets and quintuplets at hand from the toolbar to build more fluid rhythms.
  • Freeze, split and merge phrases.

  • Enter parameter data as text.

  • Create libraries with their own Library Rack, so you can collect phrases, containers and snippets together with their original sounds. Drop phrases along with their sounds to new arrangements.

  • Populate libraries with automatically generated phrases (see: Factories).

  • Package finished libraries for archiving and sharing. Apply data reduction, time stamping, cleanup and more.

  • Unleash the power of an advanced Snippets grid with Mixed Groups to compose, improvise and arrange music live and in real-time. Combine any number of parameters and phrases in a snippet to affect a session in real-time.

  • Compute a snippet grid from any arrangement automatically.

  • Convert your last snippets session to a new arrangement automatically.

  • Configure your own custom Factories to generate random phrases that sound more musically sound than anything ever.

  • The saying goes: Music is a language. Experience first hand how the power of a rules-based Artificial Intelligence Programming Language (KIM) turns this principle into natural sounding music fragments like nothing else.

  • Generate thousands of unique phrases and variations. Enjoy a virtually endless supply of new musical expressions and ideas.

  • Merge multiple catalogs and control what to do with conflicting or duplicate entries.

  • Use polytonality to create multiple layers of Harmony.

  • Obtain even more fine-grain control over the Interpretation parameter.

  • Export MusicXML and LilyPond notation formats.

  • Publish beautiful lead sheets using the Lyrics parameter.

Note: The details of this comparison subject to change without notice.