Music hardware and software company Expressive E have released a free synthesizer preset pack. The new twenty-preset pack does not require one of its unique Touché or Touché SE controllers; instead, the set makes use of the sound-design capabilities of Native Instruments’ flagship wavetable software synthesizer, Massive X.… Read More Expressive E Releases 20 Free Massive X Presets
Today, Native Instruments announced MASSIVE X, its new flagship synth. Built from scratch by the same team as its predecessor, Massive X is based on a state of the art architecture, delivering pristine sound, and greater creative flexibility for artists and sound designers alike – allowing users to create, modulate, and experiment with sound from a huge range of sources. … Read More Native Instruments Releases MASSIVE X
The last time Native Instruments released a synth called Massive, they accidentally helped define genres (EDM, dubstep). But MASSIVE X returns to the original vision: make it easier to get deep with wavetables and modularity and go wild with sound. And now, the wait is over.
It’s been years in the making. But the original team behind Massive are back with a sequel to one of the most influential software synths ever made.
I was actually the very first press meeting for Massive, back in the day. But what that tells you is, initially they thought they were making something for nerds, not what would become EDM mainstages.
In 2019, MASSIVE X enters a world that’s not only been shaped by the first Massive, but is also far more comfortable with digital sounds and modularity, the staples of the original. Even inside NI, you’ve got REAKTOR and BLOCKS. There are plenty of other wavetable synths, plenty of semi-modular plug-ins. There are semi-modular synths – heck, Moog alone has three just in one line. There are Eurorack modulars in pricey hardware racks that require a screwdriver and modeled in software so you just need a laptop.
I mean, basically, those of us who love synths are all really spoiled. And like any spoiled child, little wonder there are bunches of those people whining and crying and rolling around on the floor like a toddler who ate too much candy. Well… if you read message forums, which I try not to.
So is there a place for MASSIVE X? You’ll hear plenty of talk from Native Instruments and reviewers alike, but let’s boil this story down.
Bigger on the inside than it is on the outside
Basically, the latest MASSIVE gives you this: it makes an argument for a semi-modular design by packing the oscillators with features, and then giving you ways of playing and modulating and inter-connecting all that depth easily. It walks that balance between complexity under the hood and legibility inside a coherent interface. So while other people might easily dismiss adding another semi-modular plug-in when you could just patch, there is a fundamentally different method to constructing sounds based on this architecture:
All about those oscillators. 170 wavetables, 10 oscillator modes, submodes for each of the oscillator modes – Massive focuses you on one architecture and one UI, but then gives you loads of choices once you’re there.
Get weird without even patching. It’s a true semi-modular, so you can make sounds without patching anything – and you can use its phase modulation oscillators to start that modulation just from the oscillator section. (Yeah, you’ll wind up doing some sound designs where you never get past those oscillators. And that’s fun, anyway.)
Route and patch in ways conventional modulars can’t. With a huge routing matrix and a unique approach to insert effects, you can swap all sorts of unique processors inside an individual sound – and recall all of those as presets. Any control output can be connected to any input; audio can go to and from anywhere you like. It’s enormously flexible.
There are plenty of synths out there with deep architectures, but MASSIVE X allows you to then take that depth and work with it:
Make uniquely playable instruments. NI have added a number of tools for tracking input from performance, as in velocity, and then scaling and mapping that where you like. This means you can make sounds like instruments, and ‘play’ a lot of that sonic depth live. (There are four Tracker modules to accomplish this.)
Add variety in performance and modulation. Tracker modules let you play live; Performer modulators let you draw in up to eight bars of modulation patterns and use those without playing. That can mean either unattended modulation in the sound, or can be triggered live with your controller.
You have 9 slots for LFOs, voice randomization, and then a bunch of potential sources and shapes for those variations.
The original MASSIVE isn’t going anywhere. And that’s important, because it’s light on the CPU in a way the new X – and other plug-ins – aren’t.
But MASSIVE X is simply a beast. As a flagship for Native Instruments, it enters some competitive waters – not the least being the fact that NI itself has, effectively, more than one flagship.
Inside the Voice
Having said MASSIVE X is all about having a consistent architecture and UI – there is definitely a candy store inside. Just some rough ideas of specs, to give you an idea:
Wavetable modes: Standard, Bend, Mirror, Hardsync, Wrap, Forant Capture, ART, Gorilla, Random, Jitter
Insert Effects: Anima, BitCrusher, Correction Filter & VCA, Fold Wrap, Frequency Shifter, Distortion, Track Delay
Unit FX: Dimension Expander, Flanger, Nonlinear Labs, Phaser, Standard EQ, Stereo Delay, Stereo Expander
Filling a Massive niche?
The thing is, MASSIVE X makes even more sense in 2019 than it did when it first arrived. And if MASSIVE demonstrated that a larger slice of the population was ready for edgy, hyper-modulated experimental sounds, MASSIVE X might demonstrate that more people are ready for experimental sound design..
This isn’t a straight modular workflow. It isn’t a Eurorack. It isn’t REAKTOR. And it shouldn’t be any of those things. Instead, MASSIVE X brings back what made the first MASSIVE compelling – drag and drop routing, easy visual “saturn ring” modulation – and adds more sonic depth, the kinds of organic quality now possible on today’s CPUs, and more visual feedback. We all spend too much time staring at screens, but MASSIVE X gives us a good reason to look back – and is far easier on the eyes (and brain) in the process.
So, sure, we are spoiled for choice, which I’m sure means MASSIVE X will get some significant hostility from the sorts of people who lurk in comment threads instead of make sounds. But I’m happy to have my cake and eat it, and my other five cakes, too.
From my own vantage point, having not been entirely swayed by would-be contenders to the plug-in throne, I think MASSIVE X will be ideal as a complement to open-ended modulars. Having a single oscillator section that does this much means you don’t get lost window-shopping modulars. And that matrix and the depth of Trackers and Performers means MASSIVE X is manageable when other modulars (hardware or software) turn into messes of spaghetti-routing, at least for sounds you want to pack to the brim with subtle shifting transformations over time.
More details of this as I spend more time with the now-finished build. (Sound design, too – just give me some time on that!)
[watch this space, we should have the overview video from NI shortly…]
USD / EUR 199
USD / EUR 149 upgrade from the previous version
Included in KOMPLETE 12 (and greater editions)
There’s indeed a lot of competition. Look to:
U-he‘s ZEBRA2, Hive 2. Also deep modulation, but with a single window mode – more like Massive 1 – to MASSIVE X’s various pages and options.
ARTURIA Pigments We’ll be looking more soon at the sound possibilities of this one. It’s perhaps more conservative than MASSIVE X, but its virtual analog/wavetable hybrid is a crowd pleaser, there’s a unique and easy-to-follow interface, and it has a clear high-contrast dark look to the all-gray/beige Massive approach.
Serum of course arguably stole the bass crown from Massive as NI bided their time on an update. It is focused on wavetables (and custom wavetables) compared to MASSIVE X’s fascinating sprawl.
Who else would you want to see up for comparison? Let us know.
To me, at least my initial impression is all this mayhem of choice makes MASSIVE X stand out, but we’ll be interested to dig deeper and get feedback from other sound designers.
The post MASSIVE X synth arrives; here’s what makes it special appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.
Native Instruments’ Massive synth defined a generation of soft synths and left a whole genre or two in its wake. But its sequel remains mysterious. Now the company is revealing some of what we can expect.
First, temper your expectations: NI aren’t giving us any sound samples or a release date. (It’s unclear whether the blog talking about “coming months” refers just to this blog series or … whether we’re waiting some months for the software, which seems possible.)
What you do get to see, though, is some of what I got a preview of last fall.
After a decade and a half, making a satisfying reboot of Massive is a tall order. What’s encouraging about Massive X is that it seems to return to some of the original vision of creator Mike Daliot. (Mike is still heavily involved in the new release, too, having crafted all 125 wavetables himself, among other things.)
So Massive X, like Massive before it, is all about making complex modulation accessible – about providing some of the depth of a modular in a fully designed semi-modular environment. Those are packaged into a UI that’s cleaner, clearer, prettier – and finally, scalable. And since this is not 2006, the sound engine beneath has been rewritten – another reason I’m eager to finally hear it in public form.
Massive X is still Massive. That means it incorporates features that are now so widely copied, you would be forgiven forgetting that Massive did them first. That includes drag-and drop modulation, the signature ‘saturn ring’ indicators of modulation around knobs, and even aspects of the approach to sections in the UI.
What’s promising is really the approach to sound and modulation. In short, revealed publicly in this blog piece for the first time:
Two dedicated phase modulation oscillators. Phase modulation was one of the deeper features of the original – and, if you could figure out Yamaha’s arcane approach to programming, instruments like the DX7. But now it’s more deeply integrated with the Massive architecture, and there’s more of it.
Lots of noise. In addition to those hundred-plus wavetables for the oscillators, you also get dozens of noise sources. (Rain! Birdies!) That rather makes Massive into an interesting noise synth, and should open up lots of sounds that aren’t, you know, angry EDM risers and basslines.
New filters. Comb filters, parallel and serial routing, and new sound. The filters are really what make a lot of NI’s latest generation stuff sound so good (as with a lot of newer software), so this is one to listen for.
New effects algorithms. Ditto.
Expanded Insert FX. This was another of the deeper features in Massive – and a case of the semi-modular offering some of the power of a full-blown modular, in a different (arguably, if you like, more useful) context. Since this can include both effects and oscillators, there are some major routing possibilities. Speaking of which:
Audio routing. Route an oscillator to itself (phase feedback), or to one another (yet more phase modulation), and make other connections you would normally expect of a modular synth, not necessarily even a semi-modular one.
Modulators route to the audio bus, too – so again like modular hardware, you can treat audio and modulation interchangeably.
More envelopes. Now you get up to nine of these, and unique new devices like a “switcher” LFO. New “Performers” can use time signature-specific rhythms for modulation, and you can trigger snapshots.
It’s a “tracker.” Four Trackers let you use MIDI as assignable modulation.
Maybe this is an oversimplification, but at the end of the day, it seems to me this is really about whether you want to get deep with this specific, semi-modular design, or go into a more open-ended modular environment. The tricky thing about Massive X is, it might have just enough goodies to draw in even the latter camp.
And, yeah, sure, it’s late. But … Reaktor has proven to us in the past that some of the stuff NI does slowest can also be the stuff the company does best. Blame some obsessive engineers who are totally uninterested in your calendar dates, or, like, the forward progression of time.
For a lot of us, Massive X will have to compete with the fact that on the one hand, the original Massive is easy and light on CPU, and on the other, there are so many new synths and modulars to play with in software. But let’s keep an eye on this one.
And yes, NI, can we please hear the thing soon?
Hey, at least I can say – I think I was the first foreign press to see the original (maybe even the first press meeting, full stop), I’m sure because at the time, NI figured Massive would appeal only to CDM-ish synth nerds. (Then, oops, Skrillex happened.) So I look forward to Massive X accidentally creating the Hardstyle Bluegrass Laser Tag craze. Be ready.
The post NI Massive X synth sees first features, interface revealed appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.
Native Instruments just dumped a whole bunch of product news today – almost too much to follow. Here’s all of it in a nutshell. Spoiler: a new Massive synth is coming, TRAKTOR 3 is here, and it’ll cost less to get into their DJ, Maschine, and keyboard ranges.
There are two things coming that are really, really cool. One is the Massive synth, the power plug-in that sort of accidentally helped launched EDM, is back. And maybe to make up for EDM, now there’s a bunch of new features everyone will love. (Please, please try not to make another giant American/European dance genre with them.)
And on the DJ side, as I wrote separately, you get a new version of TRAKTOR plus a controller with moving, “haptic” wheels that’s more fun to play.
Other than that, this is mostly just about refreshing the product range and adding some more cost-effective entry points. Let’s follow along:
MASSIVE X: Roughly a decade later, we get an all new flagship NI synth. Massive X has a new sound engine that takes advantage of today’s CPUs, new subtractive filters, lots of new effects, and a big modular engine for routing everything together. We should get more of the grimy, analog-modeled sound Reaktor Blocks and Monark and their ilk have given us, but despite “Monark” appearing on the filters, NI’s engineers tell me they wrote new code. Massive X is interesting, though: it seems both simpler and more understandable on first glance, but deeper and more modular under the hood.
Unfortunately, you’re going to have to wait to see more – Massive X is due in February, and the screenshots I’ve seen aren’t yet available to the public.
It’ll lead Komplete 12, though, across all editions. The existing Massive remains bundled with Maschine, and will continue to see updates – as it’s far lighter on CPU usage.
New KONTAKT. Kontakt 6 is another long-awaited update. For end users, there are new instruments: Analog Dreams (retro synths), Ethereal Earth (hybrid traditional/synthesized instruments), and Hybrid Keys (digital/keyboard combos).
But it’s really the behind-the scenes stuff that matters here. You can add three new reverbs, Replika delay, wah-wah, and a new wavetable engine to your instrument creations. There’s also a powerful Creator Tools app for people building sound libraries for their ecosystem, including instrument editing and debugging.
In other words, what you’ll really want to do with Kontakt 6 is play around with that wavetable module and make your own instruments.
KOMPLETE KONTROL A-Series – the cheaper ones. Like the NI keyboards and their easy navigation / mapping, but don’t like the higher price and don’t need (or want) those light-up colors? The A-Series is for you. The display is tiny, but the encoders are still usable and touch sensitivity means you can see which parameters are mapped to each encoder. NI have also developed their own semi-weighted keyboard action – and it feels pretty good. In return, prices are way lower – US$/EUR 149 (25-key), 199 (49-key), and 249 (61-key). Seems like it’ll be a huge hit.
KOMPLETE KONTROL S88 – the hammer one. The fully-weighted, hammer-action S88 gets an overdue MK2 refresh (it was one generation behind all the other sizes), so with the new displays and control features, plus wheels and not just touchpads. Also, while it’s a Fatar keybed, they’ve chosen a different one with a slightly faster action. I like this one better, for sure – it’s on par with some of the better liked hammer keys in recent years (feeling to me indistinguishable from the Kawaii keyboards, for instance). USD/EUR 999.
MASCHINE MIKRO The new MIKRO lets you access Maschine without hooking up a larger controller. That seems ideal for tight spaces and tight budgets. It doesn’t have exactly the same pads as the MK3, and losing those big displays is definitely a tradeoff. But I’ve got one in to test to see how the pads compare, and I personally relish the idea of keeping the MIKRO hooked up at all times in my shared studio rather than constantly swapping the larger controller with other machines.
The software bundle is where this gets really nice: Maschine Factory Selection (still a full 1.6G of sounds), Massive, Monark, and Reaktor Prism, and of course a MIDI mode for use with other software. Price for all of this is US$/EUR 249, with all that software no one else has.
TRAKTOR 3. The latest Traktor Pro 3 is a major rebuild, with a slick, flat new look, and a much easier, more powerful interface. Mixer FX are more direct one-knob effect and filter controls that are made ready for live jamming. Audio quality is improved, too, with the ability to route mixer audio entirely externally and a new time stretching algorithm. More on this soon.
TRAKTOR S4. Haptic wheels, an updated controller setup, dirt-resistant faders, and full inputs and outputs for $899 makes this the flagship controller to beat. Full preview:
TRAKTOR S2. The S2 looks and feels a lot like the S4. Sure, it lacks the S4’s fancy haptic wheels, but at least the build is similar. The S2 is still a capable entry-level controller, though it will have to go up against Pioneer offerings that work with their CDJ and Rekordbox ecosystems (aka “pack only USB sticks and go to the club” ecossytems). I’m also curious how it compares to Roland’s new controllers, which work with Serato and feature low-latency operation and some 808-inspired drum extras. But it looks like it brings a lot of what was great about the Z1, only with the ability to beat match on wheels.
Note that this promises future iOS compatibility, though. Time for an updated mobile TRAKTOR, no doubt. US$/EUR 299.
Online platforms. Sounds.com itself looks largely as we’ve seen it – so we’re still waiting on how this will integrate with NI’s products or what other features it will bring. But it is expanding internationally to more countries and adding new content. The Loop Loft soundware site and Metapop online collaboration/community hub meanwhile, each recent NI acquisitions, see their own updates. I hope to talk to Mate Gallic from NI about how this is all fitting together.
KOMPLETE 12. A lot of these products center around the new Komplete bundle. This year’s edition includes the all-new Kontakt 6 and electric sunburst Session Guitarist, Massive X (later on, when it’s done), and TRK-01, the Reaktor-powered kick/bass synth. (TRK-01 came out this summer and is stupidly cool, like dangerously so. More on that another time.)
When they’re available
NI don’t normally announce products this far ahead of shipping, so it’s worth just putting this on a timeline.
Now: Sounds.com, Loop Loft, Metapop updates (Web services)
Fall: Traktor Control S2 (vague on that date at the moment)
September 18: Maschine MIKRO
September 27: S88 keyboard
October 1: Kontakt 6, Komplete 12
October 18: Traktor Pro 3
October 23: Komplete Kontrol A-series keyboards
November 1: Traktor S4
February 2019: Massive X
And you get this video now, of course:
The post New Massive, cheaper cost of entry, and all today’s NI news, explained appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.
Aktuell gilt es noch als Leak – dennoch findet man es schon im NI Forum, Komplete geht in Runde 12. Dabei gibt es eine ganze Reihe an neuen Effekten und zwei große Neuerungen und eine kleine.
Komplete 12 wird Massive X enthalten. Der Name deutet es schon an, es ist der Nachfolger oder die Verbesserung von Massive in der neuen Generation. Das ist kein großes Geheimnis, aber nun ist es auch offiziell. Sicher wird man alles ein wenig aufbohren, Wavetables erweitern oder gar selbst editierbar machen oder importierbar machen für fremde Wavetables.
Die zweite große Neuerung ist der Sampler Kontakt 6. Hier kann man aktuell nur spekulieren ob es einfacher wird oder ob bestimmte Elemente wie Granular-Features und Synthese-Möglichkeiten geändert oder erweitert werden, vielleicht etwas wie eine Crossmodulation oder ähnliches? Sicher wird es aber nicht wenig sein.
Der TRK-01 wurde bereits vorgestellt, es handelt sich dabei um einen Bassdrum-Generator im Geiste von analogen Klangerzeugern aber auch einer Bassline, Aber auch Samples können leicht mit integriert werden.
Außerdem sollen Maschine, die Controller von NI und Komplete generell näher zusammen rücken. Ob es mal eine Maschine ohne Hardware gibt oder ähnliches? Wie auch immer – es sind natürlich so viele Effekte dazu gekommen innerhalb der einzelnen Angebote aber auch als eigenes Plugin, sodass wir diese einfach nur listen können. Man weiss bald mehr..
Preise und Updatekosten oder das genaue Lieferdatum ist unbekannt, wird aber sicher sehr sehr bald sein.
die Liste, die man im NI Forum lesen kann ist wie folgt:
Massive X Synthesizer
Kontakt 6 Sampler
TRK-01 Kick/Drum for Reaktor 6
9 Sound Expansions
What Will Be New In KOMPLETE 12 ULTIMATE?
Massive X Synthesizer
Kontakt 6 Sampler
TRK-01 Kick/Drum for Reaktor 6
Session Guitarist – Electric Sunburst
Session Guitarist – Strummed Acoustic 2
Session Strings Pro 2
20 Sound Expansions
Drop Squad Bundle