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At the NAMM Summer Session, Seer Systems of Los Altos, CA announced the updated version 1.5 of Reality, the software that turns a PC into a full-featured, multiple format synthesizer. New features in version 1.5 include greatly expanded voicecard support, a new way to broadcast high quality music via the Internet, and the deletion of cumbersome copy protection hardware.

Reality 1.5 supports Microsoft's Direct Sound. This allows Reality to work on any PC with a soundcard and most laptops. In addition to the Creative Labs Sound Blaster cards that were required for version 1.0, many other soundcards are now supported, including: Terratec EWS64L, Guillemot MAXIsound, the Digital Audio Lab's Card-D series, Turtle Beach, Hoontech Soundtech 97 PCI, and AVM Apex.

"With Reality 1.0 being in the market for over a year, we have received a lot of useful feedback from our customers," explained David Roach, Seer Systems Vice President of Operations. "The need to support many other audio cards was paramount and version 1.5 fills that need."

In addition, SeerMusic capabilities have been added to Reality 1.5. Originally earmarked for version 2.0, SeerMusic's release was moved up due to the proliferation of music on the web and the limitations of other audio delivery systems. Now, using Reality 1.5, a composer will be able to put full compositions on a website that can be played in real time without coloration or compression.

Reality 1.5 is a PC-based synthesizer with 128-note polyphony and very low latency for live performance, sequencing, hard disk recording, and other uses. Reality utilizes many synthesis techniques including analog, samples, physical modeling and FM that can be combined any way the user wishes. At $495 suggested retail price, Reality provides the power of hardware-based samplers and synthesizers ten to twenty times the price.

Reality 1.5 will be available in late August, 1998 at music retail stores throughout the country. Purchasers of Reality 1.0 should contact Seer Systems for upgrade information. To locate the retailer closest to you, call Seer Systems at 888-232-7337 or write Seer Systems, 301 S. San Antonio Rd., Los Altos, CA 94022.

Summary of New Features in Reality 1.5

No More Dongle
You hated it. It's gone.

Increased Soundcard Support
Reality 1.5 supports Microsoft's Direct Sound technology, meaning that it will work with any Direct Sound-compatible soundcard or motherboard.

SeerMusic Authoring
Author a piece of music using Reality and your favorite sequencer, and broadcast it anywhere in the world with SeerMusic, our new Professional Internet Audio solution. Deliver CD-quality audio without high-speed Internet connections. Anyone anywhere will be able to play your music exactly as you created it. The SeerMusic browser plug-in will be included on the CD, and there will also be a free download available from the SeerMusic website.

New Sounds
A new set of multi-sampled instruments and drum kits is being created expressly for SeerMusic (and, by extension, Reality) by the sound design wizards at Tim Gehrt & Associates. TG&A are music industry veterans who have worked for Sequential Circuits, E-mu, Alesis, InVision and many, many others. These guys are top flight. You have heard their work.

There will also be some new and improved algorithms. Definitely slated for version 1.5 are DeltaString, a great new plucked string model, and a 1-into-3 topology for FM. Think four-operator FM can't be fat? This is downright obese. There may be more if we can get them in in time.

The carrier in FM patches can now be a PCM sound. Ever wonder what a drum loop modulated by a vibes sample might sound like? Now you'll know! (It sounds cool.)

SoundFont Support
Reality's sound library just got HUGE! Reality now supports SoundFonts, which is being adopted by sample developers faster than any other new format. E-mu has already released the Proteus 1, Proteus 2, Proteus 3, Vintage Keys and Orbit/Planet Phatt as SoundFonts on CD-ROM. Sampleheads, Q Up Arts, and Voice Crystal have also begun porting high quality material to the SoundFont format.

Seer will ship a shareware version of FMJ Software's Awave with Reality 1.5. The full version of this program translates over 140 different sampler formats into SoundFonts, which Reality can then read in directly. Import Kurzweil, Roland, Ensoniq, Yamaha and SampleCell files into Reality, with all synthesis parameters intact.

MIDI Sequence Player
Allows the user to import and play Standard MIDI Files, export SeerMusic files, and to save sequences along with the sounds in one convenient file.

New MIDI Page
Allows the user to view and select patch, volume and panning for all 16 channels from one page. This page also includes an activity light for each MIDI channel.

New Audio Capture Modes
Start/Stop Mode allows you to control audio capture with MIDI start/stop commands from your favorite sequencer. Threshold Mode, created with sound design in mind, automatically enables recording only when Reality is producing sound.

Audio and CPU Meters
Monitor Reality's audio levels and CPU usage.

"Browser" Buttons
Easily navigate among different views with these browser-like Backward and Forward buttons.

Increased Polyphony
Reality's polyphony has been increased to 128 voices maximum (maximum polyphony is dependent upon CPU speed and the types of synthesis employed).

General MIDI Mode
Allows MIDI Channel 10 to be limited to drum sets and percussion sounds.

Shareware Folder
Reality 1.5 will ship with a folder featuring demos of some of our favorite shareware. In addition to the aforementioned Awave, there will be Sweet Piano from Roni Music and Seq-303 and ArpX8 from TechnoToys. Sweet Piano is a virtual MIDI keyboard. Seq-303 and ArpX8 are an "analog" sequencer and eight-layer arpeggiator, respectively. All of these utilities are highly recommended. In fact, we liked the TechnoToys stuff so much that we asked their creator, Jim Johnson, to join our illustrious staff of engineers. He accepted.

Other Stuff
Wave parameters (start point, loop start point, loop length, etc.) are now local to specific oscillators. In other words, the same waves can have different wave parameters in different oscillators or different patches.

All effects settings are now saved with the bankset, so banksets that are created for particular sequences will always have your custom settings.

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