To run Sinfonia, you'll need a Windows or Macintosh computer with at least 4GB of RAM, a sound card and a relatively recent operating system (Windows Vista or later; Macintosh OSX 10.6 or later).
You will also need about 8GB of hard drive space to store the sounds required by the various shows.
For more detailed equipment information, please visit this article.
Some organizations place restrictions on their networks that prevent RMS SampleSync, our sound library delivery utility, from running. Here are a few things you can try to work around this:
Each computer you use Sinfonia on needs to have its own unlock code. To request an unlock code for an additional computer:
Please click here for a detailed list of our equipment recommendations.
Sinfonia is designed to accomodate almost any internal and external audio soundcard. For an economical treatment, you can use your computer's internal audiocard, and connect to your theater's sound system via the headphone jack or built in audio output for a simple stereo mix.
We recommend utilizing an external audio interface in addition to your computer. External audio interfaces are designed to achieve a bigger and deeper dynamic range and will also offload some processing power so your computer has more breathing room. Another advantage is flexibility in audio routing. More sophisticated audio interfaces have multiple audio outputs, which allow you to route a single instrument or group of instruments (ie. strings or woodwinds) to your house sound system for dynamic control of sound quality.
Sinfonia’s default setting is to produce the music in stereo: the left side comes out of Output 1 and the right side out of Output 2 (called output "A" in Sinfonia). If you use only one cable, you will just be getting 1/2 of the audio signal, and you will lose a lot of the richness and depth of Sinfonia’s sound.
1/4" cables can be bought at any store that carries audio equipment, and are relatively inexpensive.
Sinfonia’s default is to have just Outputs 1 and 2 designated for playback, but you can always change this to have a multi-channel set-up (for example, having the strings come out of Outputs B and the drums coming out of C). You can have up to 8 different 1/4" audio outputs with Sinfonia.
Probably not. The only Sinfonia device that we include a power cable for is the laptop computer. The MIDI Keyboard and audio interface devices do not need separate power cords, as they are powered up when they are connected to the computer and the computer is turned on.
Sinfonia is controlled by the MIDI Keyboard, and it sends MIDI information over the USB cable which connects it to the laptop computer.
Yes, please click here to download a PDF of the keyboard labels.
By playing a number of different "Play" keys at your disposal you can perform the instrument at whatever tempo is required by the conductor. The musicality and nuance of every song can be expressed in this way.
Absolutely not. Our editor allows you to choose from a multitude of rhythms so every gesture in the music can be played with the organic nuance it requires.
We have already gone through the score and put in rhythmic "tapping patterns" that we think are appropriate. By no means are you limited to the pre-programmed values, however! You can easily change the patterns to best fit your production.
There are a lot of reasons why you may not be hearing sound. Here are some troubleshooting steps you can try.
If none of these steps solves the problem, try the following:
Sinfonia uses hundreds of thousands of expressive parameters in the course of a given show. If you're jumping around sections in rehearsal, it's possible you might stop mid-song where pitch-bend is engaged. If you then relocate to a different part of the song, the effect might remain in place, causing things to sound out of tune. Use the MIDI Reset button to set things right.
While you don’t need to plug in headphones for Sinfonia to work, we highly recommend having headphones near the system for practicing and troubleshooting. Note that the headphones to be used with Sinfonia should have a 1/4" plug (which is bigger than the 1/8" plug found on the headphones which come with most portable music players). Most electronics stores sell inexpensive 1/8" to 1/4" plug adaptors.
Yes. In our rented system, the firewire audio device we include with Sinfonia has a headphone jack in the front and the two (or more) outputs in the back. The headphone and rear outputs have separate knobs which control their levels, and you can have sound coming out of the rear outputs while you have headphones plugged into the front.
Absolutely. Any keyboard that supports MIDI will work with Sinfonia. Newer MIDI keyboards allow you to connect to your computer via USB. Older keyboards only have MIDI port connectors, and in order to connect these devices to your computer, you will need to purchase a USB/MIDI interface. If you are using an external audio interface, check this device as some models support MIDI input.
Once you have connected to the computer, you can confirm Sinfonia recognizes the keyboard through the Setup Wizard (Tools Menu --> Setup Wizard) and then customize the real time functions ('Vamp', 'Play', 'Stop', etc.) via the keyboard window (Windows Menu --> Keyboard Window)
There is a known bug relating to the operation of the Firewire 410 device and how it communicates with the Apple operating system. Occasionally, the internal settings of the Firewire 410 may change so that the music it plays back appears to be a little more than a 1/2 step higher in pitch from how the music should normally sound. If you discover this to be happening, do the following:
The following steps will reset the MIDI keyboard and get it working for you again:
Your Keyboard probably got transposed by one or more octaves. Hit both Transpose Octave buttons at the same time; this should reset the Keyboard into the proper position. If this hasn’t solved the problem, do the steps in the post above to reset the MIDI keyboard.
Dedicated power means that the Sinfonia system is plugged into a power circuit that is providing power to no other devices. This means more than just having Sinfonia plugged into a wall outlet (with nothing else plugged into that outlet). Wall outlets will often be on the same circuit as other wall outlets in different parts of the room. It doesn’t help to have Sinfonia plugged into a wall outlet if that outlet is also on the same circuit as the light board and the popcorn maker! If you have any questions about whether an outlet is capable of providing dedicated power, please consult your school or theater electrician.
All sound effects cues which are meant to be played from within the orchestra (such as sound effects triggered by a keyboard player or percussionist) are covered. We do not include sound effects which are only indicated in the script.
Whenever we send out a system, we always send out a clean version of the show based upon the printed sheet music (scores and parts). However, this may not be what you are expecting. Please keep in mind the following:
RMS has carefully developed each show with its own specially-developed sound set using a very strict protocol of patch changes and patch select hierarchy. As a result, non-RMS sound modules will not be compatible with Sinfonia.
You may backup your showfiles to any directory on your computer or external hard drive.
To backup your show files:
If you need to restore your show files from a backup:
"Save As" allows you to create a copy of the showfile you are working with. This is important to use when you are making edits so that you have a version of the showfile to revert back to if mistakes are made and saved in editing functions like tempo or other parameters. Be sure to name your showfiles uniquely, preferably using the show name and date of modification so that files are organized.
It if you wish to generate a new showfile with default actions in place, simply go to the File Menu and select "New"
Sinfonia is programmed so there is a wide dynamic range between loud and soft sections: Sinfonia is designed to be playing along with traditional acoustic instruments like trumpets and violins who are reacting accordingly to passages marked "ff" or "pp" in the score. However, this contrast may come across as too much (or not enough) for you depending upon the acoustics of your venue and whether the singers are using microphones. As a suggestion for helping to balance Sinfonia's overall level, choose a loud moment in the show and set your trim and fader levels on the mixing board to that level. This should allow you to level out the mix (giving you room to increase it or decrease it as necessary) and offer headroom if adjustments are desirable during the show.
As an alternative, you can add an external "compressor/limiter" to the audio coming out of the Sinfonia system. Speak to your sound technician about the best way to go about doing this.
The Output Test is one of the most important components of introducing Sinfonia to your pit/sound environment. To use the output test, put the instrument mixer window in focus and go into edit mode. Click the small headphone icon above each channel strip to audition that particular instrument. At this time you audition all channels to prove it is sounding and heard in the mixing board.
The headphone jack is attenuated to work specifically with headphones. Plugging your speakers into that jack could result in blowing your speakers. Your sound technician should be able to provide you with the necessary tools to have a pit monitoring system and proper stage monitoring from the mix you are sending via Main L and R outputs.
Please consult your computer's display preferences to adjust the screen brightness.
In MIDI, each quarter note is broken up into 480 ticks. As a result, an eigth note is 240 ticks and a sixteenth is 120 ticks. You may want to add a meta-event such as "Atempo" or a "Rhythm" change in the middle of a beat for added nuances, so understanding which tick you want those changes allows you more control beyond the beats. Note that the first tick of a measure will always be tick 0 (the last tick will be tick 479 in 4/4, tick 239 in 6/8, etc.)
Sinfonia is packaged with a default preset for all realtime actions. You may edit the preset or create your own presets to accomodate your midi keyboard. To assign or clear a key mapping, click-and-hold the desire key and map the desired function, or choose 'clear' to unassign a function from that key.
The danger of relying on battery use is that you don't know exactly when the battery will run out. And you probably would be unhappy if it ran out in the middle of a show. Therefore we stongly urge that Sinfonia always be plugged into good, clean dedicated power (without sharing the power with any non-Sinfonia electrical devices).
For some useful information about MacBook power adapters, CLICK HERE.
One of the biggest factor in computer crashes is power fluctuations. Here are some rules to follow for setting up a computer in a theater: