The technology was developed under a joint licensing program between Yamaha and Stanford University.
The Yamaha Soft Synthesizer S-VA uses Intel's Pentium II processor for generating musical tones. It combines the Virtual Acoustic tone generator, which produces tones based on simulations of instruments, with a wave table synthesizer that plays back previously recorded tones in response to MIDI signals.
The Virtual Acoustic tone generator was developed by Yamaha from a Stanford physical modeling patent and Yamaha's own applied technology. The software produces sound by mathematically simulating the physical forces inside real musical instruments, such as string vibration and air flow. Digital musicians can adjust the virtual instruments' string length or reed shape, creating imaginary instruments that might be impossible to actually build.
Previously, musicians looking for professional-quality synthesizing generally had to hook up external hardware devices to their computers. Computers can control outside devices such as synthesizer keyboards via MIDI.
MIDI (musical instrument digital interface) is the standard protocol used by digital instruments, computers, and synthesizers to communicate information about musical notes. The Yamaha system also conforms to the XG format, an enhanced version of MIDI that defines how a tone generator responds to MIDI data.
Yamaha intends to begin selling the Soft Synthesizer S-VA in both stores and online by the end of 1997.