Devine Machine introduces Cycler

Related: , , , , , Posted in news on Jan 15, 2010 - comment 6 comments
Devine Machine Cycler

Devine Machine has unveiled Cycler, a new audio application and plug-in designed to be the missing link between hardware loopers and modern audio applications for live music, and is collaboration oriented.

Performances in Cycler are different from any other live applications. Special features (scene recalls, ‘one-knob-fx’) have been set to ease the live manipulation of the 16 loopers and the huge number of effects, without loads of MIDI controllers.

Two users can use Cycler simultaneously on the same computer with 16 loopers each, or can also collaborate remotely and exchange project modifications across the net.

Cycler features a slice sequencer: record a sound, and Cycler will sequence it immediately. Depending on nature of the sound you will record, the project nature will change radically. Musical possibilities are endless.

Sequence editing is very simple, you have several edit modes, and you can record the sequence via MIDI. Editing can also be done live via specific functions.

Cycler can stream audio files: say you have some songs ready and want to perform some parts on the song on stage. Simply bounce your tracks, load them in Cycler, rout them to different outputs if needed, and set the BPM. Cycler is now synced to your song and you are ready to perform. You can also reload your song with MIDI controllers.

Cycler will be released for Windows and Mac OS X in stand-alone and syncable VST versions* with ReWire* and Receptor support*. VST plug-in hosting is planned.

Release date is expected to be some time during Spring 2010. Price to be announced.

More information: Cycler / Cycler @ YouTube

* still under beta testing


Devine Machine announces Cycler

Related: , , Posted in news on Aug 14, 2009 - comment 2 comments
Devine Machine

Devine Machine has announced Cycler, a new looping software.

After four years of intensive development and extensive real-world gig beta testing, Devine Machine is proud to announce his revolutionary looper: Cycler.

Cycler is a totally new approach to looping on computers, designed to simplify creating music, with or without your screen!

Cycler is a radical departure from hardware emulation software and contains powerful and truly unique functions, such as multiple loop length capabilities, a comprehensive battery of effects and infinite undos for each of the 16 loopers, among many other truly unique features.

It aims to ease and simplify the relationship between musician and computer.

Arash Khalatbari and Wise Washington performing using CYCLER, the new upcoming looping and remix system from Devine Machine. Flutes, jaw harp and percussion are recorded and mixed live.

Release date is set for early 2010, price is not yet fixed. Versions for all platforms will be included with purchase. An extensive feature list will be communicated by October 2009.

More information: Devine Machine


Review: Devine Machine OTR88

Fender Rhodes Mark I

The electric piano is one of my favorite instruments and I regularly use virtual electric pianos in my music, as I love the expressive character of this instrument. My EP arsenal includes both sample based instruments and physically modeled instruments, with the excellent MrRay series and the Lounge Lizard EP-3 being my most frequently used weapons of choice.

Devine Machine’s recently released OTR88 is an electric piano instrument created with physical modeling based on reaction.

Now I know that there are quite a few people out there that will tell you that these physical models are nowhere near the real thing. I am not terribly familiar with the real thing (I unfortunately don’t own one), so I can’t argue with that, but they are probably right. So, going into this review, know that I am not comparing the OTR88 to a proper electric piano.

Anyway, Devine Machine likens this new way of physical modeling to 3D, as compared to sampling being photography, and traditional additive synthesis physical modeling being like painting.

3D can be very realistic and lets you change any aspect but requires more programming and computation.

Before we take a closer look at OTR88, here’s a list of key features.

OTR88 features

  • Powerful physical modeling for the most authentic electric piano sounds.
  • “Per key settings” concept makes keyboard instruments completely customisable.
  • Intuitive effect management to let you configure easily your post processing chain.
  • 7 high quality vintage stereo effects.
  • User friendly slick interface that gives you the most efficient access to every parameter.
  • Full automation to take full control of any global parameters from any midi controller.
  • Midi learn.
  • Preset Manager (Legato, Mono, Unison, 16 voice polyphony).

First impression

OTR88’s user interface is clean and intuitive. It’s quite easy on the eyes as well. Nice looking piano in the top, a lovely collection of stomp boxes in the bottom, and a small icon bar in the middle for selecting the various screens.

Devine Machine OTR88
Devine Machine OTR88 – perhaps the piano takes up a bit too much of the screen but it does look quite lovely (and yes, the keys can actually be clicked with your mouse)

The first icon in the center of the screen represents the preset manager. OTR88 knows two kinds of presets:

  1. Piano, only handles piano related parameters.
  2. Preset, includes all settings of the piano and effects.
Devine Machine OTR88 preset manager

I quite like this idea as you can now combine effect settings you like in one preset, with the characteristics of another piano model.

The various presets include the more traditional Rhodes and Wurli type sounds, as well as extreme variations with effects you might not expect from an electric piano.

To spice up the sound there are 7 effect stomp boxes available: tremolo, phaser, flanger, distortion, wah pedal, reverb, chorus, and delay. These effects can easily be inserted in the bottom of the screen and moving them around will change the effect chain in real-time, so you can audition the result instantly.

To get an idea of what OTR88 can sound like, check this Sleepless demo song. You’ll hear a few different patches being played.

So what about that physical modeling?

With physical modeling, an instrument is basically reproduced with virtual counterparts you would find in a real model. Let’s open the piano up and see what is in it.

Devine Machine OTR88 advanced controls

The OTR88 uses the following parameters for its tone production:

  • Vertical and horizontal symmetry of the tines, to set the position of the tines.
  • Vertical and horizontal amplitude, controls the movement of struck tines.
  • Pickup distance and volume, sets the distance and output volume of the electromagnetic pickups. A pickup tone control allows for cutting low frequencies.
  • Hammer/Damper settings: tip hardness and material for adding harmonic tones, decay and release times and release volume, to determine the way a sound fades out.
  • Pitch tuning, lets you (de)tune each key, including support of scala (scl) files.
  • Key noise, Oldness – stronger envelope attack for more “bark”, Looseness – tremolo type of modulation, and Pan for panning of individual keys or the complete range.

OTR88 allows for the parameters to be set individually for each of the 88 keys. A handy toolbox allows you to manually set parameters and quickly edit settings across the keyboard with interpolate, smooth and chaos tools.

The obvious advantage of having all these parameters is that you can really do a lot of tweaking to get the exact sound you want.

Controlling the electric piano

Devine Machine OTR88 MIDI / Automation

You could program your electric piano score entirely on the computer, but it’s likely you will be using a MIDI controller keyboard to play the instrument. The last screen in OTR88 features MIDI and automation settings.

Here you can set some basic things like the MIDI port, polyphony, pitch bend range, and the velocity curve.

MIDI learn is simple. Just click the knob/parameters you want to control, adjust the knob or slider on your MIDI controller and you’re done.

You can also group parameters and assign them to one MIDI control, allowing you to change multiple parameters with the turn of one knob.

So what do I think?

Well, I’m not exactly sure what to think of OTR88. I feel it has great potential, but somehow something is lacking. For one, the included presets didn’t speak to me all that much. Sure there are plenty of them, but I would rather have just a few I really like than lots of OK ones. Some are too loud (and I mean way too loud), others too… weird I guess.

OTR88’s physical modeling may be new but for traditional Rhodes/Wurli type sounds that doesn’t necessarily mean better. I don’t have a real model to compare it too, but when comparing it to other physical models and sample based instruments, the OTR88 seems to lack a little in authenticity. I’m just not getting that vibe that I am generally looking for in an EP. Perhaps I just need to look beyond the presets and spend more time with the advanced piano controls.

So is it all bad? I guess that depends on what you are expecting from this instrument. OTR88 is probably not the best choice when looking for the most realistic emulation of a Rhodes, but if you like to have a wide range of sounds – not limited to traditional EP, OTR88 sure has a lot to offer.

I really do like the advanced tonal control with per-key-settings and chaos button (loving that random touch), and the GUI looks lovely and is easy to use.

For 229 EUR (the price of OTR88) there are quite a few products to consider. Scrabee’s Vintage Keyboard Collection, Lounge Lizard EP-3, the relatively cheap MrRay series plug-ins…

It really depends on the type of sound you are after so I recommend you do check the demo version and see what you think.

OTR88 is available for Windows and Mac (VST/AU/RTAS) for 229 EUR, optionally payable in 6 or 12 month terms.

More information on OTR88 can be found on the product page.


Devine Machine releases Anabolic

Related: , Posted in news on Mar 25, 2009 - comment 0 comments
Devine Machine Anabolic

Devine Machine has released Anabolic, a collection of presets for the recently updated Krishna Synth.

Anabolic features

  • 400 new presets with movie files (Original Frame Oscillator content not included in Krishna Synth default presets).
  • Presets are classified into the same categories as the presets in the registered version of Krishna Synth.

The Anabolic preset pack is available as a digital download for 10 EUR.

Visit Devine Machine for more information and audio demos.


Devine Machine releases OTR88

Devine Machine OTR88

Devine Machine has released OTR88, an electric piano instrument plug-in based on physical modeling.

In early development stages Devine Machine received advices from Herbie Handcock himself.

Unlike sample based instruments, OTR88 physical synthesis provides seamless dynamics and virtually unlimited electric piano models sounds, for less than 10Mb hard drive space and moderate CPU usage.

OTR88 features

  • Powerful physical modeling for the most authentic electric piano sounds.
  • “Per key settings” concept makes keyboard instruments completely customisable.
  • Intuitive effect management to let you configure easily your post processing chain.
  • 7 high quality vintage Stereo effects.
  • User friendly slick interface that gives you the most efficient access to every parameter.
  • Full automation to take full control of any global parameters from any midi controller.
  • Midi learn.
  • Preset Manager (Legato, Mono, Unison, 16 voice polyphony).

OTR88 is available for purchase for Windows and Mac (VST/AU/RTAS) for 229 EUR. A demo version can be downloaded here.

OTR32, a free emulation of a small bass electric piano, featuring the same technology as its big brother OTR88, will be available for download soon.

Visit the new Devine Machine website for more information and some audio and video demos.


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