A synthesizer or sampler is multitimbral if it is capable of producing more than one type of sound or timbre (pronounced tam bur) at a time. Usually this is described as the number of “parts” a unit can play at once. For example, a Kurzweil K2500 is 16-part multitimbral, meaning it can produce 16 different sounds at once (a sound being defined as a single patch or preset; part one might be piano, part two strings, part three trombone, part four flute, and so on. Generally these parts are assigned to different MIDI channels for independent control). This is distinct from the amount of polyphony, or number of actual notes the unit can simultaneously generate. Using the K2500 example again, a 16-part multitimbral K2500 can produce up to 48 notes of polyphony distributed dynamically across those 16 multitimbral parts.
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