The Mela 4.8 update mostly focused on improving the internals of the app as well as added workarounds for some UI performance issues caused by hosts such as Logic Pro for Mac/iPad. Many changes have been made to the program code to future-proof Mela and make it easier to build new features on top. Of course, future versions will continue to improve the internals and there will be more optimisation work alongside new features. Note that this version dropped support for iOS 16 and macOS 13 to maximally optimise Mela for iOS 17 and macOS 14.
Drag-and-Drop Support and Other Modulation Enhancements:
- It's now possible to view and edit a parameter's modulator sources and their modulation intensities from a single view. Simply tap its title/value area and select Edit Modulation from the pop-up menu.
- The modulator modules now have a draggle target icon. Simply hold it for a split second and then drag and drop it onto a parameter's title/value area. The Edit Modulation popover will appear with the modulator added as one of the sources.
- The modulator modules now sort module names alphabetically in the modulation target pop-up lists.
- Added the Replace item to the module's action menu. Now you can replace a module using one action instead of needing to remove an existing module followed by inserting another.
- Added support for the Poly Aftertouch to the MIDI Source module. When the MIDI Source module is on an instrument lane it generates a polyphonic modulation signal.
- The name of a lane is now generated based on the lane type as well as the index of that type. e.g. "Instrument 2" instead of "Lane 3".
- Made animation durations shorter for various control interactions to make things feel snappier.
- Renamed the Perform menu item to Edit Perform to match the Edit Modulation’s naming style.
- Many other small interface tweaks and improvements.
- Fixed an issue where the max values of Sync parameters weren’t set correctly internally.
- Fixed the tempo text field not working correctly in standalone mode.
- Added new presets.
This update adds full Polyphony support to Mela 4, allowing you to build custom polyphonic synthesisers easily.
A Quick Guide to Polyphony:
- An Instrument lane takes a MIDI signal as input and converts it to a polyphonic signal which is simply a set of independent voices.
- A voice consists of note-on/off information as well as Pitch and Audio signals.
- At the end of an Instrument lane, the audio signals from the voices are summed and sent to the output.
- Modulators on either Audio or MIDI lanes act like monophonic sources whereas modulators on Instrument lanes generate polyphonic modulation signals.
- Depending on what type of lane the target modules are on we get 3 possible configurations: poly-to-poly (this includes mono-to-mono), mono-to-poly and poly-to-mono.
- With the mono-to-poly configuration, the same modulation signal will be applied to all voices that the target module is processing.
- With the poly-to-poly configuration, there will be 1-to-1 mapping with the modulation source and target voice.
- With the poly-to-mono configuration, the last triggered voice's modulation signal will be used as the source.
- For the full details check out Mela’s Getting Started guide.
- These settings define voice allocation rules and are stored as part of the preset.
- You can set the maximum number of active voices.
- You can also set whether to reuse a voice if its associated note is the same as the newest note or always follow the Voice Priority setting. The latter makes it possible to have multiple voices playing the same note.
- The Voice Priority setting prioritises voice allocation based on whether the note is newest, oldest, lowest or highest.
Voice Activity Module:
- The new Voice Activity module lets you monitor voice allocation in real-time.
- The module displays MIDI information as well as audio levels of each voice.
- The MIDI information includes note name, velocity and release velocity.
Module & Lane Actions:
- Added the "Duplicate" menu item to the module's actions menu.
- Duplicating modulator modules also duplicates the modulation targets.
- Added the "Duplicate" menu item to the lane's actions menu.
- After duplicating a lane, a duplicate of a modulator module will have the same modulation targets, except for those targets whose modules were on the same lane as the original modulator. Those will be replaced with the corresponding targets from the duplicated lane.
- Added "Convert to > Audio/Instrument/MIDI" menu items to the lane's actions menu.
- This makes it easier to modify presets, especially when trying to make existing presets polyphonic.
- Note this action removes incompatible modules and sets input and/or output fields to off.
- The following modules will no longer be supported on Instrument lanes: Chorus, Compressor, Envelope Follower, Flanger, Phaser, Stereo Delay and Oscilloscope.
- These modules will only be insertable on Audio lanes.
- The presets created pre-polyphony will continue to work in a compatibility mode.
- Note that this limitation is introduced as users generally wouldn't want an instance of such audio effects on each voice.
- Split "Synth" preset group in "Leads", "Pads", "Bass", "Keys" and "Synth FX".
- Migrated existing factory presets for v4.7. Those that made sense to be polyphonic were converted.
- Added new factory presets.
- Added "Open Recent", "Save Preset" and "Save & Export" items under the File menu for the standalone mode.
- You can use the keyboard shortcuts Command-S to save and Command-E to export the current preset on iPadOS and macOS.
- The Instrument plug-in's Default preset is now polyphonic.
- Envelope Generator now highlights the active segment.
- Fixed the Meter module displaying an inaccurate value for max peak.
- Fixed a bug where renaming a module would cause its animation to freeze or refresh at a lower frame rate, such as an LFO graph.
- Made MIDI Source’s Smoothing parameter to default to 0ms. For most cases, Velocity and Key Track ramping doesn't make sense.
- Some minor performance tweaks.
- Updated the Getting Started guide.
This update introduces 3 new digital distortion modules to help you add some dirt and filth to your sound.
- The Clipper module offers the following selection of clip distortion algorithms: Soft, Hard, Fold and Wrap.
- Its Drive parameter sets the amount of gain applied to the input signal. The Volume module can be inserted pre and post Clipper to control the signal gain further.
- The Degrader module distorts the signal by reducing its sample rate and bit depth.
- Its Clock and Bits parameters control the sample rate and bit depth of the output signal.
- The Mix parameter sets the effect dry/wet mix amount.
- The Rectifier module introduces asymmetric digital distortion to the signal.
- The Rectify parameter sets the amount of asymmetry introduced to the negative portion of the signal.
- At 50%, the effect is equivalent to half-wave and at 100%, full-wave rectification.
- The DC Offset parameter sets the amount of DC offset added to the signal. This can be especially useful when a Rectifier module is followed by another non-linear processor.
- All 3 modules have a graph that displays how a sinusoid with a unity amplitude would be transformed by its module given the parameters. Drag it horizontally or vertically to adjust the module parameters. Double-tap the graph to reset the parameters to their default values.
- Fixed the DC Blocker module's graph view incorrectly showing twice the actual DC offset value.
- Added presets showcasing new features.
EQ Band Module:
The new EQ Band module offers a selection of 2nd order filter types: Bell, Low Shelf, Low Cut, High Shelf, High Cut, Notch and Band Pass. It comes with standard parameters: Frequency, Gain and Q.
Comb Filter Module:
The module has the new Mode parameter which allows you to set the signal delay amount of the delay line in terms of frequency, time or the input Pitch signal. Depending on the type of effect you are trying to create one mode might be preferable over others.
When set to Time mode the Frequency parameter is replaced by the Time L and Time R parameters. These parameters set the time interval by which the left and right channels of the audio signal are delayed. And unlike the Frequency parameter, their value range is linear. Making them suitable for audio effects like Chorus, Doubler and Flanger.
When set to Pitch mode, the delay amount is controlled by the incoming Pitch signal. This mode is ideal when using the comb filter as an oscillator. Simply send short noise pulses on note-on events into the module.
- Added the Hold parameter to the Envelope Follower module.
- Made internal improvements to the Envelope Follower module.
- Added the Min and Max parameters to the Velocity module. The module will clamp the velocity of the note-on events to the range defined by these parameters.
- The modulator intensity dials now show modulation rings when they are being modulated.
- Added new presets.
The new oscillator module uses the Vector Phaseshaping synthesis algorithm, which is a generalisation of the classic Phase Distortion (PD) method. With its Skew and Formants parameters, you can create a lot of interesting waveforms.
When the Formants parameter is set to 50% the module behaves like a classic PD oscillator. Setting Skew closer to 0% or 100% turns the sinusoid into a saw-like shape. When the parameter value is very close to these extremes you may hear some aliasing. The aliasing could be considered part of the appeal of the classic PD sound, so experiment with it to taste. You can also use the Key Track as a modulation source to deal with aliasing for higher-pitched notes.
When the Formants parameter is set to a value closer to either 0% or 100% the waveform shape becomes pulse-like. Modulate the Skew parameter to achieve the PWM-style effect. When the Formants parameter value is above 100% you will start hearing formants as the module starts squeezing more sinusoid cycles in a single oscillator cycle. Modulate the parameter for interesting effects.
The module's graph displays the waveform the oscillator is generating. It responds to the horizontal and vertical drag gestures to control the Skew and Formants parameters. The dashed line behind the waveform shows how the phase of the sinusoid is distorted. The line starts at the 0% phase and ends at 100%. When both the Skew and Formants parameters are set to 50%, the line is straight, indicating that the sinusoid is not distorted. Adjusting either of these parameters creates a breakpoint, introducing phase distortion. The Skew and Formants parameters set the (x,y) coordinates of the breakpoint.
MIDI Capture Module:
The new MIDI Capture module records all incoming MIDI messages into a MIDI file that you can drag and drop into the host or the Files app. The module is especially useful when you have a complex MIDI processor chain in your host or Mela that you want to render into a plain MIDI file for further editing.
- Improved the waveform generation algorithm for the VA Oscillator module.
- Oscillators now only reset their phases on non-legato note-on events.
- Intensity dials' drag gesture behaviour reverted to be consistent with the other dials. i.e. to change the value of the parameter you need to perform a vertical drag gesture.
- Renamed the Logger module to MIDI Logger.
- Updated the Getting Started with Mela document.
- Added new presets.
- Module lanes are now grouped visually.
- You can now drag and drop lanes to rearrange them, just as you do with the modules.
- The Move Up/Down lane actions have been removed in favour of the drag-and-drop functionality.
- The lane I/O section, aka lane header, that used to be located at the leading edge of the lane is now moved to the top.
- Lanes can be collapsed or expanded by tapping the chevron symbol on the left or the title button.
- Long pressing on the chevron icon gives you the option to Expand or Collapse all lanes.
- Now it's visually clearer when a module can not be dropped to an incompatible lane.
- Removed the border around the Perform View to fit better with the rest of the UI changes.
- Perform View dials are now always laid out on a single row. The view becomes horizontally scrollable if the plug-in window is not wide enough
- The Perform View now animates changes whenever it's updated.
DC Blocker Module:
- The DC Blocker module removes DC offset from the input audio signal.
- Processes like ring modulation or asymmetric distortion can introduce a DC component to the audio signal. Use the module to filter it out.
- The module has a graph, which visually indicates the magnitude of the DC component present in the input audio signal.
- Note that, if a module introduces some DC offset you may not always want to remove it straight away and might make sense to insert the DC Blocker module further down the processing chain. For example, distorting a signal with a DC component will produce a different sound compared to the balanced signal.
MIDI Channel Module:
- The new MIDI processor module lets you control the channels of the incoming MIDI messages.
- In Filter mode, the module blocks messages whose channel values don't match the specified value.
- In Modify mode, all messages pass through with their channels converted to the specified value.
- Added Module renaming. The new name is reflected in all modulator targets as well as in the parameter tree that hosts observe for automation purposes.
- The Intensity dials (the capsule-shaped ones) will now only respond to horizontal drag gestures. All other dials will only respond to vertical drag gestures.
- You will now be able to adjust dials and sliders more precisely. The further you move your finger from the UI element, in the orthogonal direction of the controlling gesture, the finer the control will become.
- Added padding to the virtual musical keyboard on macOS to improve the look and feel.
- Added new presets.
- Fixed the Chord module blocking the drop functionality when another module was dragged on top.
- Fixed a bug where modulator graphs would freeze or update very slowly due to a memory leak.
Comb Filter Module:
The new module combines the feedback and feedfoward comb filters into one design that offers a lot of flexibility, aka a universal comb filter. Depending on the Blend, Feedback and Feedforward parameter values, and the type of modulation applied to the Frequency parameter the module can be used to create many types of audio effects, such as feedback and feedforward comb filters, delay, all pass filter, resonator, doubler, chorus, flanger, slapback, vibrato and phaser.
The comb filter cutoff frequency can be thought of as the inverse of the time interval by which the signal is delayed. The parameter is in the [19.5, 19968] range, which spans exactly 10 octaves. The default value is the frequency of the middle C note. This means the module can be used as a resonator if you modulate it using the MIDI Source that has its input set to Key Track and the target modulation amount to 100%. Simply set the input to receive a short burst of noise when you play a MIDI note and have fun.
VA Oscillator Sync:
- The VA Oscillator module now supports hard sync for the classic waveform types (Saw, Sine, Square, Triangle).
- The Sync parameter has the [1x, 16x] range, spanning 4 octaves.
- The Preset Browser no longer scrolls vertically with the modules. It stays pinned at the top.
- Modules in lanes are now always left-aligned, even when the number of modules isn't enough to fill up the horizontal width of the plug-in window.
- Replaced the thin space Unicode character with the hair space one in between the parameter value and unit.
- In Logic Pro for iPad, fixed the animation issues occurring when the plug-in window was being resized.
- Fixed an issue where Mela would assign an invalid value to the list type parameter (e.g. LFO's Sync) which was MIDI-controlled by AUM.
- Fixed the Note Echo module ignoring the input note MIDI channel information and outputting notes with MIDI channels all set to 1.
- Due to a bug in the Core Audio API, added a workaround for hosts seeing the old parameter tree after loading the plug-in state.
- Fixed the Control Change module generating MIDI messages with the channel value set to 15 when the module's Channel parameter was set to 16.
- Added new presets showcasing new features.
DS Oscillator Module:
- This module is based on a distortion synthesis technique.
- You can morph the waveform between a square and a sawtooth using the Shape parameter.
- You can adjust the harmonic richness of the waveform using the Harmonics parameter.
- The module graph displays the waveform the oscillator is generating.
- Drag the graph horizontally to adjust the Shape parameter or vertically to adjust the Harmonics parameter.
- Double-tap the graph to reset the waveform to the default shape.
- In Mela 2-3, this oscillator was known as "Pitch Dist", but the new module name describes the algorithm more accurately.
- The Pitch Processor module applies vibrato to the input Pitch signal.
- It's driven by a sinusoid LFO which retriggers on every note-on event only if no other notes are held.
- The LFO's rate can be tempo synced or set in hertz.
- The module can be inserted either on the Audio or Instrument lane.
Pitch Ratio Module:
- The Pitch Processor module modifies the input Pitch signal by multiplying it by a ratio of 2 integers. This is especially useful for ring and frequency modulation synthesis.
- The Ratio control displays the resulting ratio multiplier that's applied to the input Pitch signal.
- The ratio is simplified by reducing the numerator and denominator to coprime numbers.
- Tapping on the control gives you the option to quickly set the ratio to one of the common musical intervals.
Pitch Bend Module:
- The Pitch Processor module transposes the input Pitch signal according to the Pitch Bend MIDI messages it receives.
- Its parameters allow you to set positive and negative transpositions to have different values.
- The module displays the current Pitch Bend value in semitones as well as provides visual indicators for the Pitch Wheel position.
MIDI Source Module:
- All MIDI CC messages are now supported by MIDI Source.
- The module now also supports Release Velocity.
- The Input parameter's "Random" value was renamed to "Random on Note-on" to improve clarity.
- Added the Smoothing parameter, which is useful for smoothing out the discontinuities in the modulation signal generated from the incoming MIDI messages.
- Mela's UI has been simplified by merging the sidebar functionality into the toolbar.
- Removed redundant buttons.
- Tapping on the Preset Selector will toggle the Preset Browser visibility.
- On the iPhone, the lanes now extend to the edges of the device, utilising the screen fully.
- Added the Theme Designer in the Settings.
- It allows you to customise Mela's appearance.
- When the Theme field is set to "Custom" the Theme Designer becomes accessible.
- Use the Copy and Paste buttons to save and load custom themes.
- It's a list of 5 colours in hex format in plain text and can be easily shared with other Mela users.
- You can view themes created by other artists by tapping on "Artist Themes".
- Added "White" as one of the selectable themes.
- Mela now allows the host to query for a small number of the plug-in's most important parameters. Mela defines these based on what the user has assigned to the Perform View. For example, Logic Pro for iPad will display the first 3 parameters of the Perform View.
- Changed FM Operator's Intensity maximum value from 800% to 400%.
- Fixed a preset title text to be correctly truncated when it's too long to fit properly.
- Fixed the Settings toolbar being truncated in Logic Pro for iPad.
- Updated the Getting Started document.
- Added presets that showcase new features.
- Fixed the About view's background colour for the dark mode.
- Added some presets.
Introducing Mela 4, the next major update:
Inspired by the Mela MIDI plug-in, the latest version takes those ideas further and unifies all 3 plug-in types into one modular design. Going from Mela 3 to Mela 4 is a big jump. It feels like a whole new environment, yet if you are a Mela user, you will feel at home with the familiar interface. You have new dimensions of possibilities for creating music and sculpting sounds. Mela 4 addresses a lot of common user requests. But the work is not done yet, Mela's capabilities will continue to expand with regular updates just as it did over the past 3 years.
- There are 3 types of signals that a module can process: Audio, MIDI and Pitch.
- Usually, a module processes one of the signal types and passes the others through without altering them.
- A Pitch signal is a frequency and the receiving oscillator module will lock its pitch to it.
- There are 3 types of lanes: Audio, Instrument and MIDI.
- A MIDI lane takes a MIDI signal as input and produces MIDI output. Modules on this type of lane can only process a MIDI signal.
- An Audio lane takes an Audio signal as input and produces Audio output. Modules on this type of lane can process Audio and Pitch signal types.
- An Instrument lane takes a MIDI signal as input and produces Audio output. Modules on this type of lane can process Audio, MIDI and Pitch signal types.
- An Instrument lane automatically generates the Pitch input signal by converting incoming MIDI note-on events.
Modules & Modulation:
- Modules are the fundamental building blocks. Not all modules work with all lanes, so you can only insert or drag-and-drop compatible modules.
- A modulator module, regardless of which lane it's inserted in, can modulate any parameter of any module on any lane.
- Every module comes with a built-in help view describing its parameters and usage.
Routing & Buses:
- Signals flow from top to bottom, from left to right.
- Lanes can receive and send Audio and MIDI signals to and from the host.
- Note that not all hosts support multiple I/O cables.
- Signals can be routed between lanes using the internal Audio and MIDI buses.
- Mela 4 has a new unified preset format and is more text editor friendly.
- Since the features are identical in all 3 plug-in types, a preset created in one type can be opened by another.
- It's now possible to open a preset file from Finder or Files directly. It will launch the Mela app, import the preset and load it.
- Mela 4 audio engine is quite different from the previous versions of Mela and hence Mela 1-3 presets aren't compatible with Mela 4.
- The new preset file extension is "mela".
- Recreated the best Mela MIDI presets in Mela 4 and improved them using the new features. They can be found under the MIDI FX factory group.
- Inspired by the Mela FX plug-in presets, created effect presets for Mela 4 which can be found in the Audio FX factory group.
- Created monosynth presets for Mela 4 which can be found in the Synth factory group.
- As with the previous Mela versions many more presets will be added with each update.
- The User Guide has been renamed to Getting Started with Mela.
- It's now a much shorter document, designed to help a new Mela user quickly get started and not be overwhelmed by the size of the text.
- This has been made possible by each module having a built-in help view.
- As with all previous major version releases of Mela, Mela 4 ships with a new default colour theme with a matching icon.
- The existing colour themes have been refined.
Amp Envelope Module:
- Added a 4-slider amplitude envelope that supports AR, ADR and ADSR types.
- It processes incoming audio as well as works as a modulator.
- In the Legato mode, the envelope generator restarts only after all notes are released.
- Renamed the Bias parameter to Asymmetry and tweaked its behaviour.
- The LP Filter was removed, which was controlled by the Tone parameter to simplify the module.
- The XY pad has been replaced with the distortion transfer graph. It animates on parameter modulation.
- Dragging the graph horizontally adjusts Drive and vertically adjusts Asymmetry.
Envelope Follower Module:
- Simplified the module by removing features that could easily be added by simply inserting modules in front of it. e.g. Gain or Filter.
- Added an oscilloscope to visualise the modulator signal.
FM Operator Module:
- Added a simple FM operator module.
- The module generates a sine carrier and uses the audio input as a modulator.
- It also supports self-modulation.
Pitch Processor Modules:
- Mela 4 comes with 3 Pitch Processor modules: Relative Pitch, Fixed Pitch and Glide.
- Relative Pitch adjusts the incoming Pitch signal by a given semitones and cents.
- Fixed Pitch ignores the incoming signal and instead generates a new signal based on its parameters. Can be set by selecting the MIDI note or frequency in Hertz.
- The Glide module glides the Pitch signal to the new value on a note-on event. It has settable time and trigger modes.
- Added the Macro module which has a slider that can control up to 8 parameters at the same time.
- It's a great tool to be able to morph the sound of a preset by adjusting a single parameter.
- As with all the other parameters the slider can be assigned to one of the slots in Perform View.
MIDI Source Module:
- The module generates a modulation signal that follows incoming MIDI events. It can modulate any parameter in Mela.
- The transfer function graph displays how the source event values are mapped to the generated modulation signal.
- The transfer function is highly flexible and follows the Gain and Bias parameters.
- Add a MIDI module that produces one held note at a time.
- This module is generally useful to control how MIDI note events are delivered to a synth to play monophonically.
- In the Stack mode, note events are output from the module in the First-In-Last-Out order.
- In the Queue mode, note events are output in the First-In-First-Out order.
VA Oscillator Module:
- VA Oscillator is a virtual analog oscillator module.
- It comes with a wide variety of waveforms, some of which can be further tweaked with the Shape parameter.
- The oscillator can ring modulate the input signal.
- The selected waveform is displayed and updated when the oscillator parameters change.
Stereo Delay Module:
- The delay effect module is now more sophisticated with flexible feedback options.
- Added the Sync parameter with similar behaviour to other modules. When it's set to Free, the delay times are set in seconds. Otherwise, the delay times are defined as the product of the Offset and Sync parameters.
- The Feedback Modes parameter has been replaced with dials, enabling a fully custom mix of straight, inverted and cross-feedback signals.
- Added independent low and high cut filters to the left and right channel delayed signals.
- Added independent mix parameters for the left and right channels.
- The Rate parameter of the LFO and Random modules now span exactly 16 octaves, 0.01Hz to 655.36Hz. Since modulations in Mela happen at audio rates these modules can be used to create interesting effects.
- The other frequency and rate parameter ranges have been changed to fit exactly 10 octaves. This means, if you modulate these parameters by 10% their values will change by an octave.
- The Filter module types can now be set to low-pass, high-pass, band-pass or band-stop (new), replacing the Morph parameter. This approach seems more useful. The morph mode will be added later if there's demand for it.
- The LFO and Random modules now have a legato mode. In this mode, they won't retrigger during a legato.
- The Chorus, Flanger and Phaser module interfaces have been simplified.
- Tapping on the Compressor module's displayed gain reduction value resets it.
- The Envelope Generator module now has a Legato mode.
- Added the Panner module.
- Added the Level module with a 0% to 100% range slider. The module is useful for modulating audio levels linearly.
- Added the Volume module for adjusting audio levels in decibels.
- Added the Meter module that displays level metering. Tapping on the displayed max peak value resets it.
- Added the Noise Oscillator module with noise types: White, Warm (same as Mela 3) and Pink.
- Added the Oscilloscope module which lets you visualise the audio waveform passing through it.
- Renamed the MIDI Processor modules, Pitch to Transposer and Pitch Range to Note Range, to prevent any confusion with the Pitch Processor modules.