Interactive Phrase Synth

Hey Steinberg, Can a long time user get that back into Cubase or something similar? Alot of folks might not know what that is or does, but it’s a great creative tool for midi programming.

Interactive Phrase Synth

Given the wide availability of software virtual instruments for Cubase VST these days, you’d be forgiven for assuming that the Interactive Phrase Synth was a synthesizer in the conventional sense, ie. a sound generator. However, in this case it’s actually ‘Phrase’ that’s the operative word. The IPS is like an unusually complex arpeggiator, which is used to generate new musical phrases and motifs by processing MIDI note data. It is a purely MIDI-based module, which has been a part of Cubase since early versions on the Atari ST. It’s ‘Interactive’ in that, to get the best out of it, the user must provide a fair amount of real-time input.

Would be great for this to be in Cubase again. Cheers… :slight_smile:

It’s hard to say whether it belongs logically as part of Cubase or should it be a VST or MIDI plugin, but then again the same argument could be made about LoopMash. In the meantime, because it’s MIDI-based, you could use an actual ST with Cubase to send MIDI data into Cubase 6 and trigger all the sounds available there, and record the result. I sometimes use Atari ST applications running on the STEem Engine Atari ST emulator, sending MIDI to MIDI Yoke and into Cubase on PC, but I don’t think you’d be able to get Cubase for ST running because of the dongle required.

Perhaps some plugin developer would like a challenge? :smiley:

That would be the coolest thing ever. I used to get results from that thing, that no other midi processing plug in could achieve. I’m going to stay positive in one day something like the IPS pops up. :sunglasses:

Have to look them up as I don’t often use all the midi FX but I’m sure there’s a couple that utilise some simplified elements of the IPS. It could be quite an unwieldy beast, I did get some interesting end results from it but it took time and a bit of brainwork.

That’s what’s was crazy about it. I never got the same result, unless I saved it as a preset. The built in Cubase midi processing stuff is cool, but no where near the old midi echo, arp, ips, style tracks, etc.etc. Believe it or not, I really used that to make music with them tools. Also the quantize( Groove Control ) was unique. Match Quantize was another feature…lol A lot of good things missed…Creativity First…Maybe one day I’ll be :astonished:

Aloha guys,

I am drooling just reading this thread.
I loved the ‘IPS’. Lotsa fun.

I would love to have it again.


+! here. I have posted a few times asking for some kind of phrase library functionality, where you could store a theme and mangle it in musical ways - ie. invert it, change its mode, make it major or minor etc.
We have so much sound engineering stuff, but so little musical stuff that deals with phrases and form

Another vote here for the IPS…! That’s great seeing that screenshot again. :sunglasses:

I never quite wrapped my head round it, but back in the day (as they say) my mate got some fantastically weird and wonderful stuff out of that thing, playing results out to a Juno or his Korg Polysix.

Remember those SB engineers who recently ‘rescued’ the old Midex units, by building drivers (Win7 editions) in their spare time…? Maybe, just maybe, there’s other staff still at SB who know the code and might like the challenge of getting the IPS back in to the fold, in a similar manner (i.e. spare time/hobby/enthusiast task - can’t see that SB would sanction this as a proper paying job). It’d be very cool, for a lot of MIDI-heads I’m sure… :slight_smile:

And, well said ZeroZero - on that engineering versus musical comment.

+1 here too, I remember many an hour spent playing with it, and it’s sorely missed. It’s the kind of thing that once you use it you see all the possibilities it can give you, but if you’ve not done so (or been shown) then it may be left aside. Pity really as it was hugely creative at times, and just the kind of thing that Music Technology should do.

Yeah, coolest instrument. I missed it sorely.

It just dawned upon me a few days ago and I was like wow, gotta know if other members feel the same.
Thanks, Glad I’m not alone here. :laughing:

not quite the same but still a scale mode + input tweaking + it’s free →

Thanks, I tried it, it loads, but have not figured out how to get it working…

yeah, that’s one cool thingie fer sure!!!

You could plan for what you want out of it all day and when the cows came home you were always surprised what came out of the IPS. Awesome invention :sunglasses:

There were loads of cool features in the Pre SX versions!!! If they haven’t already done so some steinbergian ought to install it on some old computer in a corner , dissect it, pick the cherries, reassemble and if necessary rename, repaint and repackage. I don’t care as long as the original functionality would get revived again! :sunglasses:

I remember something about loading a SysEx dump from and to a Roland D50 right inside Cubase VST32. Is that correct haha? And there was something that looked like a corny feature called styletracks that was much cooler once you stopped using it as it was designed to be used teehee :mrgreen: I never had the chance to dive deeper into that so it would be welcome as well. The drum maps could have the I-notes and the O-notes set from the MIDI keyboard by just hitting the notes, MUCH faster than typing it in …

But back on topic! The king of cool was the IPS! :sunglasses: BRING THE IPS BACK IN CUBASE 7!!! … bring it back, please! :wink:


I have also created a poll thread where we can capture votes.


thanks for the positive feedback for my work nearly 20 years ago…
After the release of the Cubase SX versions, these features were too “esoteric” for the product management.
So it was more a political decision, that there is no replacement for the IPS. The basic engine is very simple, but it would need a lot of work for a new UI.
As so much people are running out of musical ideas nowadays, the time may be come for a successor.
The Arpache SX has some Elements of the IPS and if You use several Tracks, You can get similar results.

Werner Kracht
(Steinberg - “Inventor” of the IPS, StyleTrax, Logical Editor, …)


We’re not worthy! We’re not worthy!!!

Cool! The inventor! :sunglasses:
And NO it’s not esoteric unless you want it to be hehe. The thing with both the IPS and the StyleTrax (even though I can’t say I really had full command over StyleTrax) is that you shouldn’t overload the phrases with too much harmonic information. It’s not very effective on acoustic music unless it’s drony world music. If you use electronic textures and a lot of pingpong delays you get this swirly otherworldly atmosphere that nobody else has. Then you can listen, play along and “fill in the blanks” with regular instruments. That’s what I did anyway, but anything goes.

I get kinda tired of the new stuff these day whey you just load a mega VSTi, put a cup of coffee on a key on your MIDI keyboard, leave to take a leak and come back and your VSTi has played a complete song from just one key … :unamused: It just takes the fun out of it to know that there are 2500 more sounds/songs in the box! And nobody cares to tweak the sounds anymore.

The IPS let you build stuff from scratch and blend your own polyrhythmic delay brew which in turn implied a lot of new harmonic possibilities. Then you listen and interact in an endless synergetic spiral beyond imagination. Very modern! You HAVE TO reintroduce this magnificent tool for endless fun, and thank you very much for chiming in!!! :sunglasses:

Got to agree with HU on all those points… (I remember having some ‘odd’ looks from colleagues after putting violin sampled parts through IPS - weird results; and all together not right…! :wink:). But, as Ulf says, electronica textures/tones (even hi-hat patterns) ‘played’ through the IPS gave unexpected but sometimes wonderful output…!

Many thanks to you Werner Kracht for responding here - great to have it from the mouth of the inventor himself…! So happy to read/hear you are still with SB, and they are hopefully letting you work on more cool stuff. :wink: :slight_smile:

And hey look, in the IPS - if its a big hassle, what’s ‘wrong’ with leaving the UI alone…!?! Do any necessary background plumbing of course, but essentially why not launch it inside a self-contained plug-in window, so yes it will look extremely retro, but we’d get some (more) life out of it…!

Ok, maybe I’m dreaming… :nerd:

But right now is EXACTLY the right time to have cool stuff that no-one else has (thanks, but Arpache and several tracks is worth a look, though nowhere near as cool). :sunglasses:

Here, here…!! +1 :slight_smile:

Just needs a little color. You guys are making me want this thing REALLY BAD!! :open_mouth: And I thought Arpache SX was cool…