Native Instruments offers behind-the-scenes looks at MASSIVE X

NI Massive X Lab

Native Instruments has launched MASSIVE X Lab, a series of behind-the-scenes looks at the upcoming MASSIVE X software synthesizer instrument. Over the coming months we’ll be speaking directly to the people involved in its design and creation, looking in detail at individual sections (oscillators, filters, and more), and covering topics like preset design. In this […]

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NI Massive X synth sees first features, interface revealed

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?

https://blog.native-instruments.com/massive-x-lab-welcome-to-massive-x/

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.

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Bicubic Audio releases Bass Port drum & bass Massive soundset

Bicubic Audio Bass Port for NI Massive

Bicubic Audio has launched its latest sound pack Bass Port, a collection of 55 drum and bass sounds for the Massive synthesizer instrument from Native Instruments. The pack is inspired by producers such as Noisia, Spor, Black Sun Empire and Mefjus. Bass Port is a presets collection of 55 bass sounds for NI Massive. The […]

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NI launches Beat Safari & Electric Impulse Bundles, 9 Expansions for $99 USD!

NI 9 Expansions for 99

Native Instruments is offering two collections of 9 Expansions each for only $99 USD / 99 EUR for a limited time, offering a discount of over 75% off regular. Expansions are genre-specific packs that work with a range of Native Instruments products, and can be used in any DAW. Created by top artists and sound […]

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ADSR releases sound pack by Phiilo incl. Serum & Massive presets

ADSR PHIILO

ADSR Sounds has announced the release of its new sound pack ADSR Presents: Phiilo, a collection of Future Soul drum one-shots, Serum and Massive presets, signature guitar loops and textured synth loops and one-shots. ADSR welcomes the second pack in our new Artist Series Label from Phiilo, an incredible future bass duo from Denver CO! […]

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Tech House Bundle offers 50% off on 5 Class A Samples packs

Class A Samples Tech House Bundle feat

Loopmasters has launched the Tech House Bundle, a limited time collection of 5 packs from Class A Samples at a 50% discount. Class A Samples is a samples and patches label focused on modern trends of dance music. Class A Samples is used by artists on Spinnin, Hexagon, Enormous Tunes, Armada, Anjunadeep, Unreleased Digital and […]

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Industrium brings experimental, creepy dark sounds to NI Massive

Industrial Strength Industrium for NI Massive

Industrial Strength Samples has announced its latest sound pack Industrium, a collection of loops, one shots and Massive synth presets for Industrial and EBM producers. Industrium features a brand new sound set for NI Massive. We should say an insane set of Experimental, Creepy Dark presets. The sounds were made from the ground up. The […]

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Mod Bits II modular synth sample pack released by OhmLab

OhmLab Mod Bits II

OhmLab has announced a new release in its popular modular synth sample library series. Mod Bits II features a diverse collection of interesting percussive sounds. Modular. Layered. Twisted. Punchy. Textured. Original. Funky. Useful. Mod Bits II is a diverse collection of interesting percussive sounds developed here in the lab. Each sample is a combination of […]

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Incognet releases Future G-House Drops Vol. 2 sample pack

Incognet Future G House Drops 2

Incognet has announced the second volume in its G-House/Bassline House Drops series of sample packs: Future G-House Drops Vol. 2. I remind you that in this series we focus on G-House and Bassline House and combine it with so called Enormous House (House by Enormous Tunes label) and Future house. G-House its a mix of […]

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Function Loops releases Pop & Rnb Vocal Kits sample pack

Function Loops Pop RnB Vocal Kits

Function Loops has announced its latest sample pack Pop & Rnb Vocal Kits, a new collection of commercial sounds that fuses Pop, Future Rnb and Trap. The pack includes five construction kits with stems, loops, one-shots, MIDI files and synth presets. Function Loops sounds were spotted in some of the major hits around the globe. […]

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