MOTU has announced it is now shipping MachFive 3.0, a major upgrade to their universal sampler for creative music production.
Rebuilt from the ground up, version 3.0 includes a new user interface design, an extensive 45 GB sound library, seven signature instruments based on new scripting technology, a new hybrid synthesis engine, licensed algorithms from the IRCAM research institute, and many other new features and enhancements.
“With exciting new features and unified, cutting-edge technologies, MachFive 3 achieves our goal: to deliver an inspiring creative sampler and sound design tool for musicians, producers, engineers, DJs, remixers, and sound designers,” said Jim Cooper, MOTU Director of Marketing.
Design and features
The MachFive 3 window displays a tabbed list on the left-hand side, main controls across the top, and a tabbed main area in the rest of the window for access to all other features. Sections can be resized, shown, or hidden as needed, to streamline operation for any task or workflow. MachFive’s window is designed to operate at various sizes, from a compact plug-in running inside host software to a full screen application taking full advantage of cinema-sized displays.
To load sounds into MachFive’s unlimited parts, a multi-column preset browser fills the MachFive window and remains open while loading multiple parts to save time. “Favorite” locations are listed along with hard drive volumes, frequently accessed folders, sound banks, and 3rd-party sampler disc images. Type a word or phrase into the new search field to instantly list all matching presets from all sound banks and libraries.
Once sounds are loaded, users click any part to view basic settings in the Info tab, including a representative graphic of the sound currently loaded into the part, a virtual keyboard for playing the sound, several basic “macro” controls for tweaking the sound, and text hints for using the macro controls.
Most of MachFive’s thousands of factory-supplied presets provide macro controls for direct access to the sound’s most crucial and interesting parameters, from reverb time to filter cutoff frequency. This allows users to tweak sounds quickly, without having to dig through complicated screens full of controls. Some macros even adjust several parameters at once to completely transform the sound with a simple knob twist.
For deeper editing and sound design, additional tabs are available for the Oscillator Editor, Mapping Editor, Tree Editor, List Editor, Mixer view, Performance (multi) view, Effects Rack, Event Processor Rack, modulation settings panel, and other settings.
Sounds and Instruments
MachFive 3 includes 7 DVDs with 45 GB of multi-sampled instruments, synth patches, loops, phrases, sound design elements, and sound effects. The Universal Loops & Instruments sound bank is the most versatile, spanning a wide variety of acoustic and electric musical instruments, genres, eras, geographical regions, and cultural styles. The MachFive Biosphere™ sound bank provides hundreds of fresh, rich synth textures, including sweeping arpeggiations, enveloping atmospheres, soaring leads, anthem stacks, resonating pads and many other sounds developed by leading programmers. From car crashes to space storms, the 8 GB Xtreme FX bonus library developed by ultimatesoundbank.com provides 5000 creative sound effects, foley effects, and provocative sound textures that are ideal for music production and sound design alike.
All of these multi-sampled sounds can be used side by side — or even combined — with MachFive 3’s new synth engine, which produces twelve milestone forms of synthesis developed over the past 40 years, from classic additive and subtractive, to frequency modulation (FM), wavetable, and even granular synthesis. MachFive’s granular synthesizer has been licensed from the IRCAM institute in Paris and represents one of the most advanced, yet easy-to-use forms of this technology currently available. Users can load any sound and quickly transform it into completely new material. Further dynamic sound morphing can be be easily applied by simply automating or modulating granular synth controls such as speed, direction, density and grain size.
MachFive’s effects architecture has been redesigned to facilitate the use of effects processing both in sound design and in MachFive’s conventional mixer. 47 different effects, including convolution reverb, can be applied to sound design objects such as individual oscillators/keygroups, keygroup layers, and programs (presets), where they essentially become part of the sound itself. Alternately, effects can be applied throughout MachFive’s mixer as channel inserts, aux bus inserts, and even as master effects on the master fader, limited only by CPU resources.
Rounding out MachFive’s included sound library are seven signature acoustic and electric multi-sample instruments, developed in partnership with acousticsamples.net, that showcase MachFive’s new scripting technology. Together, these instruments deliver a complete rhythm section to any computer desktop, including guitar, bass, keys, drums, and percussion.
Like a real player, MachFive’s scripted instruments add expressive nuance that faithfully reproduces not only the sound but the playing characteristics of the instrument, including finger picking techniques, string hammer-ons, note-bending, and chord strumming. The electric guitar and bass instruments play proper fingerings and inversions for guitar chords, regardless of how they are played on a keyboard or other MIDI controller. MachFive’s signature instruments set a new standard for virtual instrument realism and ease of use:
- Telematic™ — a dynamic recreation of the Fender® Telecaster® electric guitar with 9500 samples, five velocity layers, four round robin samples per note, separate up and down strokes, hammer on, pull off, slides up and down, mutes, fret noises, chord recognition, strumming engine, chord sequencing, automatic hand position, and solo mode string detection.
- Star Drums™ — a complete drum set in both acoustic and processed versions with multiple mics, mixing, adjustable sample cycling, and easy setup with support for General MIDI and other industry standard MIDI controller mappings.
- J-Bass™ — a deeply sampled and scripted electric bass with a variety of playing techniques, including finger and pick (with or without muting from the right hand), legato, hammer, and slide.
- The Upright™ — a world-class acoustic upright bass supplied with multiple miking positions and many playing techniques including hammer, slide, legato, slap, release volume, and sensitivity.
- F Grand 278™ — expertly crafted Fazioli concert grand with release volume, pedal volume, key noises, resonance volume (the sound of the body of the piano), room ambiance (convolution), velocity sensitivity and velocity amplification.
- Mark 79™ — richly-sampled classic Fender® Rhodes® Mark II suitcase piano from 1979, including 2500 samples across ten velocity layers with time-based release samples for accurate staccato, resonance, effects such as tremolo and spring reverb, and adjustable key and pedal noise.
- Percussiv™ — a comprehensive latin/world percussion set with both General MIDI and default mappings.
Built on the 3rd-generation UVI Engine XT, MachFive provides a host of advanced features for high-end music production, such as on-the-fly upsampling and downsampling, so that users do not need to be concerned with the bit depth or sample rate of their sample material. Other advanced features include an enhanced, highly efficient disk streaming engine, support for HD audio, and full support for up to 7.1 multi-channel surround sound.
MachFive 3 excels at audio time-stretching and pitch-shifting with algorithms licensed from the renowned IRCAM research institute. Audio material can be stretched as much as four to five times slower or faster with no noticeable or harmful artifacts, while maintaining stereo phase coherence and rhythmic accuracy. For example, a guitar pick can be heard slowly scraping across each string in the strum of a chord that has been slowed down to 25% of its original speed, with audio clarity akin to the vivid visual clarity of slow-motion high-definition video. Several modes are provided to produce optimum results for various types of audio material. Time-stretching examples can be listened to here.
To fully support its advanced, flexible synthesis, sampling and sound design environment, almost every setting in MachFive can be automated, modulated, or both, with an unlimited number of internal sources (syncable LFOs, unlimited multi-point envelopes, rhythmic step envelopes, user-programmable macros, etc.) and external assignments via straight-forward MIDI Learn. Advanced external sources include unipolar random, unipolar unison, organ pan, and poly aftertouch. Mappers provide additional shaping of automation control. The open-ended architecture allows for unlimited modulation connections, available at every stage in the synthesis engine. MachFive’s Tree Editor is an ideal place to view and manage modulation connections, as it shows everything in orderly hierarchical fashion.
For multi-sample instrument development, MachFive 3 provides a colorful, full-screen graphic Mapping Editor with many convenient tools for quickly building multi-sample, multi-layer presets. Performance View provides a straightforward graphic interface for programming key switches, key range crossfades, velocity crossfades, and other dynamic multi-layer behaviors. The Layer Rules Editor provides a hierarchical, rules-based system for more complex behaviors between sample layers, based on MIDI input characteristics such as note duration, playing speed, same-note cycling, and others.
For professional sound designers with programming chops, MachFive provides a scripting engine to support custom scripted instruments written in MachFiveScript™, a straightforward programming API based on an industry-standard programming language (www.lua.org) used heavily in the gaming industry. Script processors perform advanced, customized transformations and analysis of MIDI data streams, as demonstrated by MachFive’s included signature instruments. For example, MachFive’s Telematic script, developed by acousticsamples.net, can generate authentic chord strumming.
Script processors and event processors are managed in MachFive’s Event Processor Rack, which looks and works just like the Effects Rack: users choose a part and then load processors into the rack. Preset event processors include an advanced arpeggiator with dozens of presents, a user-editable micro tuner that supports the open-standard Scala microtonal scale standard, a chord recognition module, a chord generator, a unison generator, and an ensemble generator.
Additional MachFive 3 Feature Highlights
- LoopLab™ — An advanced slice loop editor that supports REX, ACID, UFS, Apple Loops, and custom loops.
- Universal 3rd-party sample library support – Directly reads all major 3rd-party hardware/software sample formats and sample discs (Kontakt, Giga, EXS24, HALion, Kurzweil, Akai, Roland, Ensoniq, Sample Cell, and many others) with no conversion, for consolidated sound library management.
- Complete mixing – Graphic mixer with faders, FX inserts, and unlimited channels.
- New Xpander filter — Based on the venerable Oberheim Xpander, this new filter provides 37 modes, each a separate filter in its own right.
- IR Verb™ — A CPU-efficient convolution reverb processor that provides hundreds of presets for acoustic spaces, classic high-end studio reverbs, vintage plates and spring reverbs, plus eclectic impulse responses for sound design. Drag and drop your own IRs, and you can even edit IR waveforms directly.
- Drag and drop operation — Supports easy drag and drop importing of audio files, loops, and samples to and from the computer desktop or a host software application.
- Multi-sample import — Drag and drop multiple samples in one operation to map them intelligently into layers or splits. With straightforward sample-naming conventions, hundreds of samples can be precisely mapped in seconds with a single drag and drop operation.
- Multiple outputs – Submix to 17 stereo output pairs.
- Unlimited polyphony – Includes ultra-low software latency.
System specs, availability, and pricing
MachFive 3.0 supports Mac OS X (10.5 or later) and Windows 7/Vista. It operates stand-alone or as a plug-in (AU, VST and RTAS). 64-bit operation is available for supporting systems and hosts.
MachFive 3.0 is now shipping. Price remains the same at $495. Registered version 1 and 2 users can upgrade to version 3 for $179. A competitive upgrade is also available, with proof of ownership, for $295.