So what is LayR?
Essentially, boiled down to it’s simplest components, LayR is a model of up to 256 analog synthesiser voices all capable of playing different sounds simultaneously. Through it’s simple user interface the user can layer those voices across a keyboard in many different ways, ranging from hundreds of simultaneous monophonic synths, to four full layers of 64 voice polyphony or any other combination. In reality, most people’s playing technique means it’s possible to create many layers of texture and not run into voice stealing issues.
LayR is also multi-timbral, which means you can assign voices to different MIDI channels and even different stereo outputs to it’s host app.
Almost every parameter in each voice can be assigned a MIDI controller, with a range over which the controller affects the parameter, in either direction, from low to high or high to low. This means a single controller can be used to morph values in different layers.
And why did I create it?
As a keyboardist who plays both live and in the studio I put a lot of demands on my setup and I like a big sound. I also want to be able to leave the laptop at home and use my mobile devices which are now so capable of fulfilling my requirements.
In order to achieve that goal I would need to run several synth apps simultaneously.
I also demand that my setup should be as easy as possible to recall every time I want to start a session or play live on stage and that is where I ran into too many issues. Nearly all synths have great sounds but all too often I found myself fighting to overcome frustrating foibles that meant I could not reliably integrate them into my set:
For example, one might not stay in tune due to it’s excessive analog modelling.
Another might not respond to MIDI Program or Bank Select.
Others make MIDI remote control difficult or even impossible.
Recalling whole sets or changing programs during a live set would be unreliable, if even at all possible.
Eventually I realised I had simplified and minimised the set of apps I could use to the point where my palette had become way too limited. At that point I started to think about creating the kind of synth app that would give me what I wanted and that’s why LayR was born...
If I had to think of a few keywords why I think LayR is a good idea, they might be these:
One app in place of many, with instant performance recall.
On stage or playing live, dealing with fewer apps is so much easier.
More voices, using less CPU, means other apps can provide the sounds that LayR cannot, e.g: pianos and samples.
LayR's multi-output options give up to 8 separate stereo channels.
Each channel with as many layered LayR sounds as you decide (up to 128 or 256 voices*)
LayR is an evolving software project, it will grow as I and it’s users grow with it. There are already some exciting features lined up for future updates, some of which are published and others I won't mention yet ( I do have competition you know! ). We also now have a forum where users can come to get and provide ideas, share presets and get and give help.
Let’s go! ...
*Total voice count from 128 to 256 depends on device type and age.