Ok, let’s all agree on one thing. Sylenth is one hell of a synth. It was my first VST instrument and I’ve been a user for well over 10 years. However, as much as I’ve tried, I have never warmed up to the interface and pretty much only use presets. And therein lies the problem: The preset UI is from the dark ages!
The developers at Ultimate MIDI Plugin are trying to change that with a new program called Ultimate Sylenth Preset Manager (USPM). It’s a standalone Windows application that groups your presets into categories and lets you preview each preset. The game-changer feature, though, is its ability to set favorites! You can even create a soundbank of just your favorites. Here’s a short preview video.
This thing was released a couple months ago to absolutely no fanfare. There is very little information out there on it and I just had to change that.
Now, as cool as USPM is, it unfortunately has some high barriers to entry.
- It’s registration process is confusing and unlike any other program.
- It glosses over the fact that it only works with individual .fxp preset files, not .fxb soundbank files. Fortunately, they have a free utility that will break a soundbank into individual preset files.
- There is a secondary VST plug-in that is required to hear the preview sounds.
- There is no demo and it isn’t cheap. It costs $49.
It took me a while to figure out the registration process and to get the thing working, but it was worth the effort. I started to do a video tutorial, but a blog post seemed like a better format, so here we are. (BTW I sent the developers a Quick Start guide which hopefully will make it into the Zip file :-)
When you buy the program, a Product Key code will be given. Copy and save it in a text file somewhere. Later, you will get an email with a Usercode and you need to keep both handy. (Note: If you miss getting the Product Key, it will also be listed on your account on their website.)
The zip file will include two executables. One is called Setup(USPM-1.1).exe which installs the main Windows program. The other called Setup(SylConnector).exe installs the VST support program, SylConnector, which is needed to hear the previews. Install both. Also, download and install the free Fast Sylenth Preset Converter which will be needed later.
When you first run the main program, you’ll get this window. Enter your email, Product Key and Usercode. Then, click the Create Activate File Button.
This should create a file called activate.dat and save it to your Documents folder.
Don’t close the program window yet!
Next, login to your account at https://www.ultimatemidiplugin.com/login using your email and Usercode. Select License on the left and click the paperclip icon. Upload the activate.dat file that was just created previously. It should be saved in Documents\UltimateMidiPlugin\Ultimate Sylenth Preset Manager\assets\files.
A license.dat file will be created. Save it somewhere like on your Desktop.
Drag and drop the license.dat file onto the Drop License File button on program window.
If you get a virus warning, you’ll need to temporarily disable your antivirus. Drag the license.dat file again.
Now, close the program.
As I stated earlier, the program doesn’t work with .fxb soundbank files which most of use use. You need to use the Fast Sylenth Preset Converter utility to break them apart into individual .fxp files. With the utility, this is a fast and easy process.
Run Fast Sylenth Preset Converter and go to the Settings tab. Enter the full path to where your Sylenth1.dll file is and click the Check button.
Close the message dialog and go the the second tab (Fxb to Fxp)
Open a Windows File Explorer window and navigate to where you store your Sylenth soundbank .fxb files. Usually, this is Documents\LennarDigital\Sylenth1\SoundBanks\Custom.
Drag and drop the .fxb soundbank files to the area beneath the tabs.
Click the Convert button. The soundbank files will be split into individual .fxp preset files and saved to folders named after the soundbanks. Note that the original .fxb soundbank files will be left untouched. (If you are curious, the Delete buttons don’t physically delete any files, but just clear the list.)
Next, move the folders to the Sylenth1 preset folder, usually Documents\LennarDigital\Sylenth1\Presets.
Ok, the hard part is all done!
BUILDING THE DATABASE
Now, run USMP again. Click the gear icon to access the settings.
Select Sylconnector on the left. Enter the full paths to the SylConnector.dll and Sylenth1.dll and click Check.
Next, close the message dialog and click Database on the left. Enter the path to your Sylenth1 presets and click Rebuild. NOTE: Make sure your drive letter is a capital C:, not lowercase.
After the rebuild process, you should get a completed message.
Later on, if you get more presets, you can drag them to the middle area and click the Build button beneath Build (for speed). If you delete presets and need to update, you can click the Only for deleting Build button. HOWEVER, using the Rebuild button at the top, will not impact any favorites you set, so it is safe to always use that.
USPM makes a backup of the current database every time you rebuild, even if you click the Cancel during the rebuild. You can restore from a backup in settings. To perform a manual backup, click the Backup button.
USING ULTIMATE SYLENTH PRESET MANAGER
It is finally time to actually use Ultimate Sylenth Preset Manager!
Run your DAW and add the SylConnector plug-in to a track. It’s a VST instrument, so you’ll need to add Sylenth1 to another track.
Make sure Connect is checked on SylConnector. The slider in the middle controls volume and the Sound Off button can be clicked to silence a sound (clicking your mouse scrollwheel also works).
USPM nicely groups all of the presets into categories. Uncategorized presets will be in the ETC category at the bottom.
Right-clicking a preset will preview it for you. You can also preview and quickly move through presets using the up and down arrowkeys on your keyboard. The right arrowkey, will replay the preview. You can silence a preview sound by clicking your mouse scrollwheel. It’s pretty cool that USPM seems to play the preview using notes in the right range, for example, using a low note to preview bass presets.
To load a preset, just drag and drop it from USPM over Sylenth1.
To set a preset as a favorite, just click the star icon to the left of its name. To display only the favorited presets for the current category, click the star icon in the top-right corner.
Right-clicking on a preset in the Path column, brings up some handy options.
Open: Opens the selected preset file in File Explorer.
Count: Displays the number of searched presets in the status bar.
Random: Randomly sorts the presets.
Change Category: Let’s you change the category of the selected preset.
Reload: Reorders random presets to their original state.
If USPM is already running and you try to run it again, you will get this warning dialog. I’ve also found that after you close USPM, you may still get this warning if you try to re-run it. Try waiting a minute or so after closing before re-running.
You can access the manual by clicking the Open button on the Miscellaneous settings section.
Despite the program’s confusing registration and set-up, once you get it running it’s incredible! The price is a bit steep, but I have no doubt I’ll be using Sylenth much more frequently from now on.