Make synths easier to program

Making synth patch editing a faster, more fluid and more enjoyable experience would be very welcome.

What is the problem?

Menu diving to program synths is a pain and not fun or playful. It is is cumbersome, and feels like more like editing a system settings menu rather than adjusting synth parameters.

What do you want to achieve?

Make synths fun and playful to program taking full advantage of the knobs and/or pads.

This wish doesn’t aim to propose a specific solution to the Polyend team. Here are some ideas:

  • Have a mode where each column of buttons sets a synth parameter, similar to performance mode. You’d be able to tweak really fast, but not have all the parameters at once without having to switch to another view to get more. So for example the bottom button would be 0% for something and the top button 100% and the others in between. Maybe in this mode you could have a knob also that can do a more refined tweaking of the last edited synth parameter to give more control.
  • Each synth parameter gets just one up pad and one down pad, press once and quickly let go to change a small amount, hold the button down longer and let go and it will go up or down over time as you hold it until you let go. We have enough buttons that a entire synth could be programmed with the pads this way.
  • Each pad activates tweaking a different synth parameter, but then you have just one knob that you twist afterwards to edit it. Want to edit a different one? Just activate another pad for the different parameter you want. Then turn the knob again for that one. When you switch it shows you on screen which one you selected, so it would be much easier in this one to not accidentally tweak the wrong thing.
  • Have 8 parameters on the screen at once, corresponding to the 8 knobs (shown in red in the picture). You could adjust 8 related parameters at once. The 2 left hand screen buttons (shown in blue) would be used to switch between pages, each containing up to 8 parameters.

Are there any workarounds?

Use the menus to program the synth slowly.

Not a workaround but maybe not obvious: instead of clicking down on the encoder to say change “shape” of an oscillator, just turn the tempo knob instead.

Any links to related discussions?

Any references to other products?

Elektron use 8 encoders that relate to parameters per screen.


One thing that might help you now as thing are currently, although not a solution to your request - the tempo knob can change parameters in the synth editing menu so you don’t have to go to the final layer


Can you explain more I’m confused? I am trying to use the tempo knob now in various ways to program a synth now, but either just get tempo, or track speed nothing related to synth settings.

Instead of clicking down on the encoder to say change “shape” of an oscillator, just turn the tempo knob instead. Does this work for you?

yes, that helps a tiny bit, but other ways would be easier by far :smiley:

As it is now, this draft wish isn’t actionable. Either we sharpen it into a specific feature request or we turn it into a discussion. Both options are valid, we just need to pick one.

My personal take: I also have the impression that programming synths / editing patches could be smoother, maybe even more fun, but at the same time I have the feeling that I just need to practice more and develop some memory. Also, one thing is to create/modify a preset, and another is to explore the possibilities of a specific preset. For the latter, the use of knobs already makes it more fun, and Polyend has said that a perform mode for MIDI/(Synth?) is coming. Perhaps most of the general concern of this wish will be addressed in time by our practice and new releases, and then we can create specific wishes.

I look at it as wanting it somehow to be as easy and fast as programming normal analog synth that doesn’t have any menu diving you just go straight to the knob, button, switch, etc for each feature and change it and then move on to the next, or at least close to that. The quickness that you can change something on that makes it much more fun and easy to use, especially when you’re someone like me who has no idea what I’m doing programming a synth. Not asking about live performance features just faster ability to program and tweak the synths. And since I don’t know what they have planned I can only ask from the standpoint of what they do have completed right now.

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I agree with this wish. having to edit with the list editor is not ideal. considering the amount of encoders on the play it would be great if some form of edit mode would allow them all to be used to adjust the synth edit parameters, perhaps with a new visual layout on the screen when in that mode to show which encoder = which parameter

I like this one, I made a similar wishlist item with a few other ideas around this, not married to any of them just as long as it gets faster and easier to use!

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apologies, I couldn’t find your post when making this. I’ll add a link to it now :slight_smile:

No need to apologize they probably like this one better, since it’s really specific in the way they like these to be!

How we turn this into a real wish instead of a draft one. :thinking:

Sorry, I should have been more proactive here. First we need to resolve the duplication between Make synths easier to program and this wish. I suggest we merge them and co-edit the wish description. The goal is to describe the problem and then suggest different solutions. @radfaraf @beautron what do you think?

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sure Icaria.
my wish is just a suggestion that seems to make sense to me. I’m sure polyend have some good ideas up their sleeve. I’m open to any improvement in the ui/ux :slight_smile:

I thought offering multiple solutions wasn’t allowed?

Merged. I don’t know what the Polyend team will respond to this, but before we had two incompatible wishes trying to solve the same problem and now we have only one, offering different ideas. Progress! :slight_smile:

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I’d lean more towards 6 knobs and keep a scrolling list, but display them more visually.

Yeah I think whatever solution there is needs to have some sort of visual help to it because even though I like my suggestions of using the pads to be able to edit with 1 column per parameter, that will get really hard to use without having a visual somehow telling you which set of pads is for what. And there are way more pad columns then there is room on the screen to tell what each one is adjusting.

So from a practically standpoint I like what @beautron suggested with the 8 parameters on the screen, but also think that one could maybe be improved with 12 instead, as I think the screen might be big enough for that to be workable and there are those 4 additional knobs there that could be used for that. Or maybe that would get in the way of other functions in a way I’m not thinking of that 8 won’t?

@here Thanks for your wish. It’s now ready for voting :slight_smile:


We need a shortcut to edit the patch on the Play + so i dont need to choose Menu, Synths, Synth 1, Edit patch