The purple strip at the top of the Mercury-4 interface is where you’ll load, save, and create sound presets. It also contains utility functions such as undo/redo, UI zoom and Focus controls, under-the-hood settings, and more. Let’s go over them:
New- Opens a new blank patch preset. If an unsaved patch is currently open or you’ve modified an existing saved patch, a dialog asks if you’d like to save the patch in its current state. This greatly reduces the possibility of losing an edited unsaved patch.
Save- Use this to save patches. There are a couple of levels of hierarchy:
Collection- This is the top level of organization, and contains entire “sets” of presets. The Mercury-4 Presets are the main included collection. We also include a User Presets Collection for storing your own presets, but you’re free to create your own collections. To create a new collections, click in the Collection text field (where it says User Presets above) and type a name. User-created sounds can be freely saved to any collection; we like to keep ‘em separated for organizational purposes.
Categories- Within each Collection are a number of sound categories. As with collections, you’re free to create as many categories as you like. To create a category, click in the Category text field of the Save dialog window and type a new category name.
Patch- A patch is an individual sound. To save a patch, simply type the name in the Name field and click Save.
Keywords- You can add descriptive words such as “huge,” “noisy,” “poly,” etc., to patches to make them appear when terms are typed in the Search field. Use commas to separate multiple keywords entries.
Browsing Patches- Patches can be browsed by clicking the <Select Preset> field. To select a preset collection, click in the area that says <All Collections> or on the downward-facing arrow next to it.
Clicking on the left-side categories narrows down which patches are displayed.
<All Presets> will show presets from all collections and categories.
<Recent> displays recently used presets.
Refresh- This is the circular arrow button to the right of the downward arrow; clicking this checks the Cherry Audio server for new or updated presets.
Pin- Clicking the push-pin icon locks the patch selection list open, allowing fast and easy browsing and auditioning of patches. Click the icon again to disable pin mode. when in pin mode, the up and down arrow keys can be used to select patches.
Preset- Step Back/Forward Arrows- These step to the previous or next preset.
Undo/Redo- These circular arrows will undo or redo the last action. It remembers many steps, so if you really loused something up, keep on clickin'...
Settings- This is where user preferences for user interface, audio interfaces, user account, and more are configured. See the Settings section for full information.
Zoom Magnifying Glass- Click to resize the Mercury-4 interface. Selecting 100% returns the user interface to native size.
MIDI Tab- Opens the MIDI controllers tab for configuring internal and hardware MIDI controls. See the MIDI Controllers Setup and MIDI Tab section for full information.
MPE Tab- Short for "MIDI Polyphonic Expression," Mercury-4 supports MPE, a specialized MIDI protocol enabling multidimensional controllers for controlling multiple parameters of individual notes. See the MIDI MPE Settings section for full information. The MPE Settings toolbar icon is only visible if Settings>Interface>Enable MPE mode is checked.
! (MIDI Panic) - Click to send an all-notes-off message in case of, "why won't this thing stop making noise?!?" stuck-note incidents.
Tempo (Standalone Version Only)- Displays Mercury-4's current internal tempo setting. Mercury-4's internal tempo affects the LFO, Arpeggio, and Tape Delay sections when their corresponding Sync buttons are toggled. The tempo setting can be changed by moving the mouse up and down anywhere in the tempo section, or by double-clicking the number and entering the desired BPM value.
The tempo display only appears in the standalone version of Mercury-4. VST, AU, and AAX plug-in versions receive tempo data from their host DAW app.
QWERTY Musical Typing Keyboard- Opens an onscreen keyboard allowing a standard QWERTY computer keyboard to be used for playing music notes. For more information, see QWERTY Musical Typing Keyboard (MTK) section.
Oversampling Quality (Q)- The Q button sets Mercury 4's internal oversampling rate; the higher the setting, the better audio fidelity will be, with the caveat that more computer processing power will be required.
Internal processing can be set to 1x (same rate as the current sample rate of the host DAW or in the Settings>Audio/MIDI window for the standalone version) or to 2x, 3x, or 4x the current sample rate. The sample rate is downsampled at the instrument output stage to match the current host sample rate.
For example, if the current DAW/instrument sample rate setting is 48 kHz, and oversampling is set to 2x, Mercury 4's internal processing runs at 96 kHz, and is then reduced back to 48kHz at the output stage.
If the current DAW/instrument sample rate setting is 192 kHz and oversampling is set to 4x, Mercury 4's internal processing will run at 768 kHz, and you will very briefly hear the most ameeeezing synthesizer sound quality ever experienced by mankind before your computer instantaneously explodes in a fiery, white-hot supernova blaze. Ok, maybe we're exaggerating... a lot.
When oversampling is set to any multiple greater than 1x, the Q button glows yellow.
Dependent on a number of factors (audio system D/A converter quality, monitor speakers, the nature of the current Mercury-4 patch, etc.), you may not hear a big difference with higher settings. Generally speaking, audible differences may be noticeable when using sounds with a great deal of high harmonics.
Help- Clicking this launches your web browser and opens the help document you’re currently reading, which is a really meta concept.
Cherry Mercury-4 logo (upper-right corner)- Clicking this displays “about” information, and shows the version number and current registered user ID.
If you're using a tiny laptop, the user interface can potentially be hard to see. With this in mind, the Focus button conveniently blows up Mercury-4's view to roughly twice its normal size within the current window size. Unlike the Zoom "magnifying glass" function, Focus doesn't affect the current window size. By default, the patch panel section fills the current window, but the view can be scrolled vertically and horizontally with a mouse wheel, track pad, or Apple Mighty Mouse finger-scrolling. Or if you're the last person on earth still using a single-button mouse, scroll bars will appear at the window edges when in Focus mode. (Drop us a line from your SBC Global email account, umkay?)
Using Focus mode couldn't be easier - just click the Focus button the top menu bar. To return to standard view, click Reset. There's also a superfast key shortcut - on Mac, hold the ⌘ [COMMAND] key and click the mouse; in Windows, hold the [OPTION] key and click the mouse. Focus can be reset with the same key shortcuts.
Preset List Right-Click Functions
Show File- This displays the selected preset in the Mac or Windows folder containing it. This is useful for backing up or sending a preset file to another user.
Show In Original Category- Selects the preset within its category, i.e. the category will highlight in the left preset menu. The Show In Original Category command only displays if the preset was selected within the <All Presets>, <Favorites>, or <Recent> categories.
Favorites- Favorited presets will show in when the <Favorites> category is selected. A star will display next to the preset name. Right-click on the preset and reselect Favorite to un-favorite it. (Or say something nasty about its mother.)
Delete- Deletes the selected preset.
Restore Factory Preset- If one of the factory (i.e. not user) patches is edited and saved, selecting this command restores the patch to its unaltered "factory" setting. This menu will be grayed-out for user bank patches.
Restore All Factory Presets From 'Mercury-4 Presets'- If any patches from the "factory" Mercury-4 bank are edited and saved, selecting this command restores all of them to their unaltered "factory" setting.
Restore All From Factory- If any patches from the "factory" banks are edited and saved, selecting this command restores all of them to their unaltered "factory" setting. At the time of writing, the Mercury-4 bank mentioned above is the only factory bank, so this function and the Restore All Factory Presets From 'Mercury-4 Presets' above have the same effect.