Unify's built-in Audio File Player plug-in is a very simple streaming audio player. It can play most types of audio files (WAV, AIF, MP3, etc.), and because it plays direct from disk (with minimal RAM buffering), it can play files of any length.
The Audio File Player has three main uses:
For the first two uses, the Audio File Player will most often be used in the instrument slot of an INST layer, although the present version is not technically an instrument because it does not respond to MIDI. (It simply plays when the Transport is running.) For any use, Audio File Player instances can be used inside a ComboBox.
Audio File Player's GUI is very simple, featuring just three controls:
The Library Menu on the left facilitates choosing audio files inside the Audio Files sub-folder of a Unify library folder. Simply select the desired library and click the file button on the right, and Unify will automatically open the correct folder.
The file button displays the name of the currently-selected audio file, if there is one, or the text “Click to load audio file…” if none has yet been selected.
The Loop playback checkbox determines whether the file is to be played once, from beginning to end, or continuously, looping back to the start each time the end is reached.
The Play mode pop-up menu allows you to choose what starts the playback:
MIDI-triggered playback is very most useful for one-shot samples and for playing e.g. vocal or drum sounds through the a vocoder effect; see Using with a Vocoder below.
Transport-synced playback is primarily intended for Playing backing tracks or stems below.
Hence, when using the Audio File Player, it's important to set up the Unify Transport correctly.
When you save a Unify patch with instances of Audio File Player, the saved state-data for each instance must include the path to the file to be played. Audio File Player (and other plug-ins including Guru Sampler and MIDIBox) uses the notion of library-relative file paths, to ensure that patches created on one system will play correctly on others.
These plug-ins all support three distinct kinds of file paths:
If you want to play along with a single stereo backing track, create an INST layer using Audio File Player in the instrument slot, and load your backing track into it, then be sure to set Unify's Transport to either “Manual start/stop” or “MIDI / manual stop”. Audio File Player follows the Transport, so in the default “MIDI / Quick Stop” mode, your audio file would only play while you're holding down MIDI notes—not very useful.
In some cases you may have a whole set of audio files that are meant to be played together at the same time. These are commonly called “stems”, and are used extensively in modern church music. A full set of stems might include all the parts for a complete performance, and you would load only the ones your ensemble can't cover. Working with stems is exactly like working with a single backing track, except that you create one INST layer for each stem track, and then since all Audio File Player instances follow the Transport, they all play, stop, and rewind together.
Checking the Loop playback checkbox causes Audio File Player to loop back to the beginning of the file right after it gets to the end. This can be used in two ways.
For solo practice with a backing track, you may want to loop the backing audio so you can practice a given section over and over. In this case you'd typically set the Transport to “Manual start/stop”, and rather than using a full-song audio file, you'd use your DAW or some other kind of audio editor program to isolate the section you want to work on and export that as a shorter audio file for looping.
To work with shorter, rhythmic audio loops, such as drum loops, you would use the same basic technique with two small alterations:
The MIDI / Restart method works best for Split patches with a mono bass in the left hand. By setting the key-range of the Transport the same as the left-hand INST layer(s), you will be able to play whatever you like in the right hand, without restarting the Transport.