Created in 2005 and still going strong. Podolski is a free, straightforward, CPU-efficient virtual analogue synthesizer. One oscillator, one filter, one envelope and an arpeggiator / sequencer. Simple, but with a few tricks up its sleeve. Create high quality sounds with ease.
The current version of Avid's toolkit for building AAX plug-ins is not compatible with the Apple SDK needed to build plug-ins for Apple's new ARM/M1 processors. We are therefore not able to provide updated AAX versions on macOS, neither for Intel CPUs, nor for Apple M1. If you're a Pro Tools user on macOS, please continue using the previous version of Podolski for the time being. Once the AAX toolkit supports Apple's M1 processor architecture, we will provide new AAX versions for macOS, with support for Big Sur and both Intel and Apple M1 CPUs.
Podolski is a simple, CPU-efficient virtual analogue synthesizer. Basically a cut down version of FilterscapeVA with just one oscillator, one filter, one envelope and two LFOs, it also features a Zebra-style arpeggiator/sequencer plus chorus and delay effects.
Podolski's specialities are the Click parameter (emphasizes the filter attack) and its ability to seamlessly morph between three waveforms (WaveWarp).
For this current version, the factory library was overhauled, the TUC Toys soundset was integrated into the main library, all factory presets have been tagged and Podolski is now NKS-ready.
Podolski has been refurbished with some new presets by Howard Scarr, has undergone a GUI makeover (two new skins) and supports a wider range of plug-in formats. A new English language manual is also included. Download Podolski for free.
Version 1.0 was released as a free gift for visitors to the u-he booth during Musikmesse 2005. Right after Musikmesse it went on the cover mount CD of the German Keyboards magazine (later Sound & Recording). Podolski was u-he's first "magware" offering, and was distributed with every issue until about 2009.
Release notes: Podolski
Updated with every release (beta versions and latest builds not included)
August 10, 2021
Podolski 1.2.3 (revision 12092)
Native M1 ARM support
- Native support for Apple Silicon chips (M1)
- macOS Big Sur compatibility
- Improved GUI performance on Mac
- Support for Oddsound MTS-ESP
- Improved handling of junction links on Windows
- Improved soundset installation
- Preset browser bank name support
- Fixed LFO free-running in single trigger mode
- Fixed notes to be restricted to MIDI note range to prevent random audio glitches
- Fixed global transpose not working in arpeggiator mode
- Fixed crash when loading script presets (e.g. Randomizer)
- Fixed rare crash on project reload
- Fixed audio clicks when switching presets
- Various framework fixes and improvements
- Context menus need plugin focus to work (Apple issue)
- AAX support on Mac removed temporarily (will come back in next update)
- Updated minimum requirements, CPU needs to support SSE4.2 instruction set
- Linux: minimum required glibc version is 2.28 (otherwise plugins won't show up)
- macOS 32-bit support discontinued
January 30, 2020
Podolski 1.2.2 (revision 9724)
- Mac installer notarized (Catalina)
- NKS compatible
- Windows installer improvements
- UTF-8 support for installation paths
- Improved VST3 implementation
- New Preset Browser
- Factory presets have been tagged
- Drag & drop between browser and system file windows
- Improved GUI response time on some Macs (sluggish GUI)
- Windows UI performance improved (less CPU load with open GUI)
- Mac installer improved to prevent permission issues
- User defined MIDI CC sources replace expression and breath
- Mouseover shows parameter values in Data Display
- Plugin format and OS info shown next to revision number
- Init preset can be loaded from Data Display (for Win users: also works via right-click)
- Increased maximum number of installed skins from 10 to 20
- Improved handling of 14-bit MIDI CC assignment
- Sustain pedal now working according to standard (0-63 = off, 64-127 = on)
- Fixed an issue with dialogs appearing transparent in Cubase 10.5 and Logic
- Various small fixes and improvements
October 8, 2015
Podolski 1.2.1 (revision 3898)
- 10% GUI scaling
- AAX support
- Minor improvements
- Fixed Logic / Studio One "no GUI" bug
December 17, 2012
- Redesigned GUI
- New presets
- New installer
- New user guide
- VST3 Mac/Win
April 6, 2005
Mac OS X 10.9 or newer
Windows 7 or newer
- Host software / DAW
- 1GB RAM, more recommended
- 50MB free disk space
- 1000 × 600 or larger display
- Modern CPU required:
Windows/Linux: Intel Nehalem or newer, AMD Bulldozer or newer
Mac: Intel Nehalem or newer, Apple M1
- Linux: glibc version 2.28 or newer
Podolski is not a standalone product, it requires host software. Podolski is compatible with nearly all DAWs.
AUv2, VST2, VST3, 64-bit only
temporarily no AAX (read more)
VST2, VST3, AAX*
* AAX requires Pro Tools 10.3.7 or later
Podolski is Native Instruments NKS-ready and compatible with Maschine and Komplete Kontrol hardware.
Downloads for Podolski
Try the latest builds of Podolski, which include improvements and bug fixes. Note: these are stable, but still beta versions.
Older Podolski installers are in our release archive (for legacy systems).
Podolski is a freeware virtual analogue synthesizer featuring a flexible, Zebra2-style
arpeggiator / step sequencer, plus delay and chorus effects.
• Oscillator – the Warp and Invert functions can be used to create many different waveforms, including (of course) the classic sawtooth, triangle and pulse / PWM
• Envelope – only one envelope here, but Gate can be used for the amplifier instead
• 2 LFOs – one global (i.e. for all voices) and one per voice
• Filter – classic Lowpass, Bandpass or Highpass with extra parameters Drive, Click (an
impulse at Note On) and AutoFM (bipolar frequency modulation from the oscillator)
• Arpeggiator – combined arpeggiator, step sequencer and modulator, like in Zebra2
• 2 effects – stereo delay and chorus / flanger with feedback
• resizable GUI – with 3 alternative skins. Version 1.2.1 introduces 10% GUI scaling
Go to the Podolski page, grab the installer for Mac or PC, double-click on the downloaded
file and follow further instructions. To update, simply install over the existing version.
The precise locations depend on your installation paths:
Presets (local) C:\Users*YOU\Documents\u-he\Podolski.data\Presets\Podolski\ Presets (user) C:\Users*YOU\Documents\u-he\Podolski.data\UserPresets\Podolski\
Preferences C:\Users*YOU\Documents\u-he\Podolski.data\Support\ (.txt files)
Presets (local) Macintosh HD/Library/Audio/Presets/u-he/u-he/Podolski/
Presets (user) YOU/Library/Audio/Presets/u-he/Podolski/
Preferences YOU/Library/Application Support/u-he/com.u-he.podolski… (. files)
Resources Macintosh HD/Library/Application Support/u-he/Podolski/
To uninstall, delete the plugin(s) and the associated files / directories.
Team 2021 (Q3)
Urs Heckmann (boss, concepts)
Jayney Klimek (office management)
Howard Scarr (user guides, presets, necessary grump)
Rob Clifton-Harvey (IT admin, backend development)
Sebastian Greger (GUI design, 3D stuff)
Jan Storm (framework, more code)
Alexandre Bique (all things Linux)
Oddvar Manlig (business development)
Viktor Weimer (support, presets, the voice)
Thomas Binek (QA, bug-hunting, presets)
Henna Gramentz (office supervision, support)
Frank Hoffmann (framework, new browser)
Alf Klimek (tagging, rock-stardom, studio)
Sebastian Hübert (media, synthwave)
David Schornsheim (more code)
Stephan Eckes (yet more code)
Luca Christakopoulos (communication design)
Podolski’s knobs work like vertical faders (click and drag). You can also hover over any
control and roll your mouse wheel if there is one. Values appear in the data display,
which reverts to showing the name of the current preset after a few seconds.
For fine control, hold down a SHIFT key on your computer keyboard before moving a
knob. Values can be reset to the default by double-clicking on any knob. Alternatively,
try alt+click (Mac) or ctrl+click (Win).
For the sake of simplicity, the pop-up menus dotted around Podolski’s GUI are called
“switches” throughout this manual. Select from a menu via mouse-click, or scroll
through the options using a mouse wheel.
The window can be resized from (70% to 200%) by right-clicking anywhere in the background. There is a choice of 2 skins: Cozy and Blue Steel.
The skin selection and GUI size can be made more permanent – see Configuration
The bar at the top is used for switching the view as well as calling a few utility functions:
SYNTHESIS | ARPEGGIATOR | PRESETS
The 3 large buttons select the panel view. Each has its own chapter in this user guide.
Either side of the central label you will see information about the plujgin format as well
as the revision number.
An indicator for any MIDI activity e.g. playing a note.
UNDO / REDO
Click on the curved arrows to UNDO or REDO an action. You can even undo a change of
preset so that you don’t lose edits made to the previous one. If an UNDO or REDO step is
available, the arrow will be highlighted (white).
Stores the loaded preset in either the User folder or the currently open folder, depending
on the status of the Save Presets To preference.
Right-clicking on the [SAVE] button lets you select the preset format you will be using.
Standard is .h2p, which has the great advantage of being cross-platform compatible.
The .h2p extended format is similar but also allows per-line comments (the preset files are
therefore a bit larger). If you loaded the VST2 version you will also see the option .nks in
the list. See the NKS chapter.
Selecting Tag this patch opens a window where you can specify one or more Categories,
Features and Characters for the currently loaded preset. See Preset Tagging.
Click on the badge to open a popup menu containing links to this guide, to our web- site,
to our support forum at KVR as well as our address in various social networks.
Clicking on the cogwheel symbol top-right opens the configuration pages where you can
set up remote control (via MIDI CC) as well as various global preferences. For details,
read the Configuration chapter
The main views, SYNTHESIS, ARPEGGIATOR and PRESETS are selected using the row
of buttons at the top left of Podolski’s window. The Synthesis and Arpeggiator views both
have a few panels in common, including the global settings:
The bar in the middle normally shows the name of the selected preset. While you are
editing the preset, however, it shows the value of the parameter being adjusted. After a
few seconds of inactivity it reverts to displaying the preset name again.
Clicking on the data display lets you select a preset from the current folder. You can use
the arrows to the left and right of the display to step through presets – even stepping
“across the boundary” into neighbouring folders.
Initialize function: Whenever you want to start programming a sound from scratch,
simply right-click on the data display and select init.
There are six voice-related controls immediately above the data display…
Adjusts the overall pitch in semitones within a +/- 2 octave range.
Controls portamento (glide) rate. Turn this up to slew between consecutive notes
Selects one of 4 basic voice modes:
poly …………………polyphonic i.e. you can play chords and overlapping notes
mono ………………monophonic: each new note triggers the envelope
legato ……………..monophonic: the envelope is not retriggered until after a space has been
left between consecutive notes – great for expressive solos
arpeggiator …….polyphonic: arpeggios are defined in the Arpeggiator panel
Specifies the maximum number of notes available at the same time, usually to save
CPU but also quite useful for characterful “voice-stealing” effects:
few ………………….4 voice polyphony (arpeggiator: 6)
medium…………..8 voice polyphony (arpeggiator: 12)
many……………….16 voice polyphony
These two small switches define the pitch bend ranges (down and up), from 0 to 24
semitones. Set down and up to different values (e.g. 12 and 3), then try the pitch bender
on your MIDI keyboard.
Below the Data Display are four arpeggiator controls. For a description of these switches as well as all the other arpeggiator parameters, read the Arpeggiator chapter.
Podolski’s oscillator is basically a sawtooth wave with adjustable symmetry (via Warp).
Podolski’s oscillator also includes an inverted wave that can be mixed in via the Inv/PWM
knob. As the two signals can be phase-shifted apart, variable width pulse waves and other
waveforms are available…
Tune / TuneMod / Vibrato
The Tune knob adjusts the oscillators basic pitch by +/- 24 semitones.
Note: Like our payware synths, Podolski now supports Oddsound MTS-ESP, a system
for microtuning multiple plug-ins within a DAW environment. The freeware ‘Mini’ version
is all you will need to get started.
The TuneMod knob sets the amount of Tune modulation from a source selected in the
neighbouring switch. Experiment with different modulation sources and amounts.
Sets the amount of Tune modulation from a fixed source, namely LFO voice (LFO1).
WaveWarp / WarpMod
Controls the basic oscillator shape.
The minimum setting gives you a bright spike, the centre position (50%) is a classic
sawtooth which morphs into a triangle as you turn WaveWarp up to maximum.
The knob sets the amount of WaveWarp modulation from a source selected in the associated switch. Experiment with different modulation sources and amounts.
Phase / PhaseMod / Inv-PWM
The Phase knob shifts (in opposite directions) the phases of the two oscillator signals.
The PhaseMod knob sets the amount of Phase modulation from a source selected in
the neighbouring switch. Experiment with different modulation sources and amounts!
Controls the relative mix between the ‘normal’ and ‘inverted’ waves. Facilitates PWM..
How to do PWM
Although the oscillator is sawtooth-based, it is also capable of generating variable-width
pulse waves. To achieve this, Podolski’s oscillator includes an inverted version of the
waveform and lets you shift the relative phases apart.
The centre-left waveform in this image is the same as the one above it, but inverted vertically and precisely 180° (i.e. half the total wavelength) out of phase. Adding these two
results in a square wave.
The phase of the centre-right waveform is much closer to the top wave. It is only shifted
by about 90°, resulting in a much narrower pulse.
This means that cyclic PWM (pulse width modulation) can be achieved by e.g. using an
LFO to modulate the phase difference…
- Load init via right-click on the data display
- Set oscillator Inv/PWM to the centre i.e. 0.00 (WaveWarp and Phase are at 50.00)
- Select LFO1 as PhaseMod source and turn the amount up to about 20
- Change the LFO VOICE Sync to 1s
- Push the modulation wheel…
Of course you could try a different modulator for the Phase e.g. the envelope…
Synthesizer envelopes are used to shape the volume and/or tone of each note…
Podolski lets you select one of four envelope modes – adsr exp, adsr ln, hdsr exp and
hdsr ln. Those abbreviations have the following meanings:
adsr…………classic envelope type with Attack, Decay, Sustain and Release stages, plus
an extra Fall-Rise stage that modifies the sustain (see below)
hdsr…………similar to adsr, but the Attack stage is replaced by a Hold stage: The level
starts at maximum and remains there for the time set by the Attack knob
exp ………….short for ‘exponential’: the attack, decay and release stages are all curves
like in the image below
ln……………..short for ‘linear’: the attack, decay and release are all straight lines
Stages (Attack, Decay…)
This knob controls either the time it takes for the envelope to rise from zero to maximum
level (in adsr mode) or the length of the Hold stage at maximum level (in hdsr mode)
The time it takes to fall from maximum down to the sustain level
The level after Decay. Normally remains at this position until the note is released…
…but what happens during the sustain stage can be modified by using Fall-Rise:
Negative values: time to ‘fall’ from the current sustain level down to zero
Positive values: time to ‘rise’ up from the current sustain level to maximum
Note: Fall-Rise settings close to the centre (0.00) are slow, larger values are faster
After a note is released, the time it takes to fall from the current sustain level to zero.
How much MIDI velocity (how ‘hard’ a note is played) affects the level of the envelope.
Note: Remember that Podolski’s envelope can modulate various parameters, not just
the amplifier. For instance, if you want the envelope to control e.g. filter frequency without affecting the volume in any way, you could try switching the VCA switch in the amplifier section to Gate instead of Envelope1…
This panel contains the main volume control plus a few extras…
The stereo position. Can also be useful for balancing the stereo image of presets that
have a lop-sided delay effect.
Envelope1…..uses the envelope to control volume
Gate…………….notes start immediately, are held and have just enough release time to
avoid clicks. Using Gate here frees up the envelope for other tasks.
The main volume control. Note that some presets – those with very high filter resonance
– have relatively low Output values to prevent unwanted distortion.
Output level modulation e.g. for tremolo effects (LFO), or to balance levels across the
keyboard (KeyFollow). The neighbouring knob controls the amount.
LFO global / LFO voice
Podolski has two LFOs (low frequency oscillators) which can be either synchronized to the
host tempo (from 1/64 to 8 bars) or set to absolute times (0.1s, 1s or 10s).
The main difference between the LFOs is that there is only one global LFO, while each
note gets its own voice LFO. The parameters on this page are common to both LFOs:
Sets the LFO speed. Except for three absolute times (see the note below), LFO rates in
Podolski are synchronized to the song tempo. The range is from a 64th to 8 bars, including several triplet (“3 in the space of 2”) and dotted (“half as much again”) values.
Note: At the top of the list are three absolute times measured in seconds (0.1s, 1s, 10s).
LFO speeds in Podolski can’t be modulated, however – consider them a bonus!
sine ……………..pure sine wave
triangle………..pure triangle wave
saw up ………..rising saw (‘ramp’)
saw down…….falling saw
sqr hi-lo……….square wave, restarted at the higher level
sqr lo-hi………..square wave, restarted at the lower level
rand hold…….random steps
rand glide……random curves
Determines when and how the LFOs are retriggered. The options differ:
The global LFO can be restarted in sync with the host application. The values are off,
each bar, 2 bars … 32 bars.
sync…………….never restarts – LFOs for all notes are always in phase
gate……………..restarts per note at the specified Phase (see below)
single…………..similar to sync, but restarts at the next note after all notes are released
random ……….restarts at a random phase per note (the value of Phase is ignored)
Sets the phase (i.e. the position within its cycle) at which the LFO will be restarted according to the Restart setting. Ignored by the voice LFO if Restart is set to random.
Voice LFO only. The level of the LFO is faded in whenever a note is played – this knob
controls how slowly this happens.
Tip: you can use the Delay feature to turn the voice LFO into a simple ramp envelope by
setting it to a slow square wave in Gate mode – see the preset HS Mix Area Musik.
Unlike the global LFO, the level of the voice LFO can be modulated. A typical use of this
feature is to control vibrato amount from a modulation wheel.
Podolski’s filter offers you the classic choice of Lowpass, Bandpass or Highpass…
The edge-frequency. In Podolski, integer steps are precise semitones apart.
Resonance is an internal feedback loop that emphasizes the cutoff frequency. Tip: High
resonance can lead to a very hot output signal, so you might need to turn that a long
way down to compensate. Even as little as 5.00.
The basic filter mode: Lowpass, Bandpass or Highpass.
Modulation 1 / Modulation 2
The filter has a pair of cutoff modulation switches / knobs. In the above image, cutoff is
modulated by a random amount as well as the voice LFO. The most commonly used
modulation source here is probably Envelope1.
The key-follow parameter controls the amount of cutoff modulation from the played MIDI
note – the higher the note, the higher the cutoff. At 100%, it follows semitones exactly.
Note that the ‘pivot note’ (where key-follow always outputs zero) in Podolski is E3.
The filter has its own Drive parameter which can be used to distort the filtered signal.
The effect can be subtle, but is particularly strong when Rez is turned up.
Click feeds a short impulse into the filter, which can be used to e.g. add punch or cause
immediate resonance, whatever the signal from the oscillator.
Podolski’s filter can be frequency-modulated from it own input signal i.e. the oscillator,
either negatively or positively. This feature is rare in digital synthesizers, although it can
deliver very lively timbres which, depending on the polarity and amount of FM, range
from silky-smooth to dirty-grungy. Especially effective with very low notes and/or PWM!
Podolski has a simple stereo delay unit featuring two host-synchronized delay times and
two types of feedback:
Sync Left / Right
The two Sync switches specify the repeat rate of each delay channel, measured in musical note lengths. The range is from one 64th to whole-bar triplets. Tip: You will usually
find that the non-triplet times are more suitable for rhythmic effects, and a mixture of
triplet and dotted times are often best for washy effects.
Controls how much of the signal is fed back into the same delay channel.
Similar to Feedback, but this one controls how much of the signal from the right channel
is fed into the left and vice versa. Experiment with Feedback and Cross together.
Balance control between 100% dry and 100% wet (delay only).
Chorus / Flanger
Although often frowned upon by analogue synth purists, chorus is a popular effect in polyphonic synthesizers. Podolski’s chorus is a fairly basic delay-based unit, but includes resonant feedback in two flavours (negative and positive)…
The Center knob controls the nominal delay times (from about 2 to 10 milliseconds).
Tip: Use lower values for typical chorus/ensemble effects, and higher values for more
complex flanging effects.
The chorus effect requires an internal LFO to modulate the delay times. The Speed
knob regulates its rate. Note that lower values are faster than high values i.e. the knob
works in the opposite direction from what you might expect!
Modulation intensity. Set fairly high values for deep effects, or turn all the way down for
static colouration effects.
Sends some of the output signal back into the input. When fed back, the short delays
create resonant frequencies that can sound very dramatic. Set to the centre for regular
chorus, or set negative / positive values for different-sounding resonance.
Balance control between 100% dry and 100% wet (delays only). Values above the centre (50%) increase the stereo width, but may reduce the tonal colouration
Clicking on the Arpeggiator button in the upper bar gives us the following view:
The right half of the window is now filled with arpeggiator parameters. The envelope panel
stays where it was, while the global section and the filter (simplified) are shifted to the left.
The remaining filter parameters and the oscillator are only visible in the SYNTHESIS view.
Switches in the global panel
First of all, you will need to select arpeggiator Mode. The parameters Arp Sync, Octaves,
Arp Order and Loop are also here in the global panel:
Remember: This is where you turn the arpeggiator on or off!
Sets the arpeggio rate relative to the song tempo received from your host program.
Any soundsets we distribute ourselves will (eventually) be available in .uhe-soundset
format. Third parties are also encouraged to use this package format for their own
commercial soundsets (for details please contact our support team).
To install, drag & drop the .uhe-soundset file into Podolski – anywhere will work. The
soundset should appear in the ‘User’ folder. If a soundset with the same name already
exists there, any modified files will be backed up and the location of the backup file will
Soundsets in .uhe-soundset format can also be installed by clicking on the u-he badge,
selecting Install Soundset… from the menu and navigating to the .uhe-soundset file.
This option is especially useful for Linux, as the browser version for that platform does
not support drag & drop.
Folders containing Podolski presets can be manually copied or moved into the ‘User’
folder. You might have to refresh the browser (see Directory context menu) before they
appear there. A refresh is generally necessary in Windows but not in macOS.
Note: As .uhe-soundset files are basically ZIP-compressed folders, you can rename
them i.e. replace the long file extension with ’zip’, then extract the presets and documentation
NKS Podolski now supports Native Instruments NKS format so that it can be integrated into the Komplete Kontrol software or Maschine environments. Podolski’s factory presets are optionally also installed as tagged .nks files. Saving in NKS format While the native, h2p and h2p extended options cause Podolski to save presets into the currently selected preset directory, .nks files go directly into the preset location used for Komplete Kontrol or Maschine, so they do not appear in Podolski’s preset browser. To make them visible in Komplete Kontrol, open its preferences and rescan the preset locations. Batch conversion First, right-click the [save] button and set the target format to nks. Via command-click (Mac) or alt- click (Win), select all presets in the current folder you want to convert, then right-click any of the selected presets and choose convert to nks. Note: The original files are not affected. What to do if Podolski doesn't show up in Komplete Kontrol / Maschine. First of all, make sure your NKS software is up to date: Komplete Kontrol V1.5+ or Maschine V2.4 are the minimum requirements for u-he. In Windows, Komplete Kontrol must know the plug-in folder containing Podolski: Open Komplete Kontrol preferences, go to Locations and add your plug-in directory if necessary, hit Rescan and check whether Podolski appears. Maybe the NKS preset folder is empty? If so, please reinstall Podolski with the correct VST path and the NKS option checked. The preset folder locations are: Mac Macintosh HD/Library/Application Support/u-he/Podolski/NKS/Podolski/ Win C:\Users\*YOU*\Documents\u-he\Podolski.data\NKS\Podolski\ Perhaps the XML-File is missing from this location (abbreviated to fit on one line): Mac Mac HD/Library/App Support/Native Instr/Service Center/u-he-Podolski.xml Win C:\Program Files\Common Files\Native Inst\Service Center\u-he-Podolski.xml A re-install with the NKS-option checked should also remedy this issue. What to do if Komplete Kontrol / Maschine is unable to load Podolski Either Podolski wasn't installed as VST2, or it wasn’t installed with the correct path. The default VST path is fixed in MacOSX, but in Windows it can be freely assigned: Mac Macintosh HD/Library/Audio/Plug-Ins/VST/u-he/ Win / (path for the VST plug-in set during installation) If Podolski’s VST plug-in cannot be found in one of these locations, run the installer again making sure that you set the correct path and have activated ‘VST’ as installation option.