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Native Instruments updates Maschine to v1.5

Native Instruments Maschine

Native Instruments has announced the release of Maschine 1.5, a major free update that significantly increases the functionality and creative potential of the acclaimed computer-based music production system.

With more classic drum machine features, improved host integration, new sampling functions, an extended sound library, and even more efficient workflow, the 1.5 software expands on the concept of MASCHINE as the most integrated and intuitive groove production studio for producers, live musicians and DJs.

Changes in Maschine v1.5

  • Classic Drum Machine features
    • Program import from Akai MPC* 500/ 1000 /2000(XL)/ 2500/ 3000/ 4000
    • 2 vintage sampling modes emulating the sound of MPC60* / SP-1200* (with 5 filter settings)
    • Individual swing for each group
    • 16 Velocity Levels. Map one sound to the 16 pads for dynamic grooves
    • Improved polyphony with choke and legato options on Sound level
    • MIDI pitch bend and CC (i.e. mod wheel) support
  • Sampling, Slicing and Audio Editing features
    • More than 10 new destructive audio editing tools such as normalize, truncate, reverse, fade in & out, silence, cut, copy and paste
    • Revised slicing: preview slices, new “Split” mode for adjusting slices
    • REX 2 file support
    • Direct monitoring
    • Improved waveform zooming, scrolling from hardware
    • Sampling page: Ability to remember settings with project
  • Improved Workflow and Studio Integration
    • Save project with samples: Easily share projects
    • New selection features: Select events from hardware
    • Quiet sound selection: Select a sound without causing it to play – important when performing live
    • Extensive MIDI I/O: sequence your external MIDI gear with MASCHINE and vice versa
    • Improved GUI navigation from hardware
    • over 10 new hardware shortcuts for mouse-free editing
    • Load kits without patterns: Hot swap through drum kits without changing the pattern
    • New step mode: Adjust note pitch, velocity and position
    • Custom defaults: inc. pattern length and input quantise
    • Increased performance: Reduced CPU load of many FX
  • Improved Host Integration
    • Export MIDI files or drag and drop of MIDI files directly into DAW. Layout a beat in MASCHINE in standalone mode then finalize the song in any host using MASCHINE as a plug-in sampler
    • Drag and drop of audio. Export pattern as an audio file by dragging and dropping directly to DAW
    • DAW recording of MASCHINE events. Bypass MASCHINE’s internal sequencer and directly record into your host
    • Group Macro Controls: Assign any parameter of the dedicated group (filter, pitch, any effect parameter) to the 8 knobs on the hardware. Macro Controls can be assigned to MIDI channels and controlled from external MIDI-controllers or a DAW
  • Extended Sample Library and New Effect
    • Over 1 GB of all-new drum kits and multi-sampled instruments — now over 6 GB of content with more than 18,000 samples in total!
    • MASCHINE versions of ABBEY ROAD | 60s & 70s Drums
    • MASCHINE versions of SCARBEE basses & e-pianos
    • MASCHINE version of upcoming new KONTAKT Instrument “SESSION STRINGS”
    • Vintage MPC60 kits sampled by Goldbaby
    • Vintage synth samples (SE-1™, Moog Voyager™, Korg MS 20™, Juno 60™) from URBAN ARSENAL 2
    • New Grain Stretch effect – stretch out the break, until you’re ready to dramatically drop the beat

The version 1.5 update is available as a free download for all owners of Maschine.

More information: Native Instruments / Maschine


Native Instruments releases Alicia’s Keys

Native Instruments Alicia's Keys

Native Instruments has released Alicia’s Keys, a virtual piano instrument for Kontakt/Kontakt Player.

The instrument samples come from Alicia Keys’ very own Yamaha­™ C3 Neo grand piano. This unique and highly-sought after instrument was built to celebrate Yamaha’s 100th anniversary in 2002 and represents the very top of the Conservatory Collection line. The exquisite and unique sound of the C3 Neo were painstakingly captured by Thomas Skarbye, Kontakt script wizard Nils Liberg, and Grammy-award winning engineer Ann Mincieli – making this exclusive instrument available to everyone. Using vintage microphones and preamps and through detailed analysis of Alicia’s playing, the team succeeded in capturing the warm, soulful and inspiring sound of the C3 Neo all the way down to the finest nuances.

Alicia’s Keys features

  • The sound of Alicia Keys’ own personal Yamaha C3 Neo piano: Almost 3,000 individual samples on 12 discrete velocity layers with and without pedal — equivalent to 17GB of uncompressed WAV files!
  • Sampled from Alicia Keys’ own playing, recorded in her studio with her own engineer.
  • Developed with the artist and tailor-made for her recording and performance needs.
  • Meticulous sampling technique including the noise of the finger hitting the keys (optional).
  • Sampled sustain and release phases with authentic implementation of the sustain pedal.
  • All-new sympathetic resonance system for harmonics in undampened strings.
  • Exceptionally clean quality, yet featuring adjustable microphone noise for old-school sound.
  • Natural mechanical release noises for each of the 88 keys and pedal noises.
  • Integrated convolution reverb for tweaking the sound directly in the instrument.
  • Easy user interface providing integrated documentation of all settings.

Alicia’s Keys is available to purchase for Windows and Mac (includes free Kontakt Player), priced at $119 USD / 99 EUR.

More information: Native Instruments / Alicia’s Keys


Native Instruments announces Alicia’s Keys

Native Instruments Alicia's Keys

Native Instruments has announced Alicia’s Keys, a new software that recreates Alicia Keys’ personal grand piano with outstanding authenticity and playability.

Developed in close collaboration with the Grammy-winning artist, the software is used as the primary instrument on her new album and on the current world tour. ALICIA’S KEYS is a unique and highly affordable way for musicians of all experience levels to utilize Alicia’s acclaimed signature piano sound in their own music production, live performance, and recreational playing. Designed as a comprehensive digital recreation of Alicia Key’s own custom Yamaha “C3 Neo” grand piano, and based on Native Instruments’ industry-leading KONTAKT 4 sampler platform, ALICIA’S KEYS provides a soulful and intimate piano sound that perfectly accommodates R&B, soul and pop styles. The instrument was meticulously recorded in Alicia’s personal studio by her engineer Ann Mincieli and renowned sampling expert Thomas Scarbee over the course of two years, using vintage microphones and high-end outboard studio gear that produced an exquisite piano tone with supreme sonic fidelity.

“I love this software so much that I used it on my entire new album. Not once did I record a live piano because there was just no need”, says Alicia Keys. “I plan to tour with this sound and use it all around the
world. I love how it gives those who may not be able to buy an acoustic piano a true piano experience.”

Utilizing 17 GB of high-resolution samples with 12 discrete velocity layers per note, and sophisticated emulation of crucial sonic aspects like key release, sustain pedal functionality and sympathetic resonance, ALICIA’S KEYS sets a benchmark in the digital recreation of acoustic instruments. The convenient user interface of the software gives intuitive control over the sound to further adjust it to the specific musical context and personal playing style, and also includes a studio-quality convolution reverb that provides various authentic room ambiences ranging from a small piano chamber to a large stage or concert hall.

Alicia’s Keys will be available to purchase for Windows and Mac (includes Kontakt Player, also can be loaded into the full-featured professional Kontakt 4 sampler for additional in-depth sound editing) in April 2010 for a suggested retail price of $119 USD / 99 EUR.

More information: Native Instruments / Alicia’s Keys


Native Instruments releases Scarbee Vintage Keys

Native Instruments Scarbee Vintage Keys

Native Instruments has released Scarbee Vintage Keys, a collection of 4 electric pianos for Kontakt (Player) 4.

SCARBEE VINTAGE KEYS contains four classic sampled keyboards from the 60s and 70s: The legendary MARK I, A-200, CLAVINET and PIANET models. This bundle opens up a treasure chest of authentic, soulful sounds.

Scarbee Vintage Keys

  • SCARBEE A-200 — This KONTAKT Instrument delivers an unrivalled reproduction of one of the most sought-after electric pianos. The character of the SCARBEE A-200 ranges from soft and sweet to a more biting, overdriven sound when played harder. The distinctive sound of the original A-200 was much loved by pop and rock bands in the 1960s and 70s and has recently found favor with a whole new wave of pop, indie and jazz and electronic artists. The SCARBEE A-200 was derived from Scarbee’s legendary “Edgy Electric Piano”.
  • SCARBEE MARK I — At last, the legendary electric piano of the 1970s has been sampled to perfection in all of its analog brilliance. The classic sound provided by the SCARBEE MARK I ranges from warm and mellow to bright and ‘barking’ and can also produce chiming bell-like tones. While it is of course the perfect choice for jazz, funk, fusion and R&B, this KONTAKT instrument is also versatile enough for any production where authentic electric piano sound is essential. The SCARBEE MARK I was derived from Scarbee’s legendary “Classic Electric Piano”.
  • SCARBEE CLAVINET/PIANET — The SCARBEE CLAVINET is a meticulously sampled and immanently playable Hohner Clavinet. This highly distinctive electrophonic keyboard has been used extensively on numerous classic funk, soul, reggae, disco and rock tracks since the late 60s. The PIANET – a perfectly captured Hohner Model N Pianet – is a classic electro-mechanical piano with a vibraphone-like tone due to its “sticky hammers”. The SCARBEE CLAVINET/PIANET was derived from Scarbee’s legendary “Funky Electric Piano” and “Sticky Electric Piano”.

Scarbee Vintage Keys is available to purchase for 149 EUR. The instruments are also available separately for 69 EUR each.

More information: Native Instruments / Scarbee Vintage Keys


Scarbee announces Final Sale – 40% Off

Related: , , , Posted in news, promo on Dec 07, 2009 - comment 2 comments
Scarbee - Thomas Hansen Skarbye

Scarbee has announced a Final Sale, offering 40% discount on its remaining stock.

As we will close our Web Shop for good on December 19 we will have a final 40% Sale of the remaining Keyboard Libraries and Vintage Keyboard FX from today: December 7 until December 18.

As Native Instruments will not release VKFX in future we have decided to discontinue the product as I will not have shop open just for 1 product – I look forward to have a weekend where I don’t have to check and send orders…

So this is absolutely last chance to buy Scarbee Vintage Keyboard FX.

At same time it is also LAST time to buy KGB – Keyboard Gold Bundle and VKC – Vintage Keyboard Collection. When Native Instruments releases the Keyboard sounds next year they will only be released as single instruments.

Note: Current owners of Scarbee keyboard libraries will be able to download a Kontakt 4 update when these products are released – just as with the bass libraries. You will still need a FULL version of Kontakt 4 though.

More information: Scarbee


Native Instruments releases Scarbee Jay-Bass

Related: , , , , , , Posted in news on Dec 02, 2009 - comment 0 comments
Native Instruments Scarbee Jay-Bass

Native Instruments has announced the release of Scarbee Jay-Bass, a new Kontakt Player powered virtual bass instrument for PC and Mac.

SCARBEE JAY-BASS is the go-to source for slap and finger bass. This addition to the “powered by KONTAKT” range of instruments is an expertly played and sampled late 70s Fender® Jazz bass.

Created by Thomas Skarbye. Based on the Scarbee Red Bass, it makes extensive use of the advanced scripting features introduced with the SCARBEE PRE-BASS. With three pick-up positions and a multitude of playing techniques, SCARBEE JAY-BASS has it all when it comes to slapped and fingered bass sounds.

Scarbee Jay-Bass features

  • Playable in real time – with the exception of cross hammering and trills all of the articulations in the list given further below can be triggered without the need for any keyswitches. Eg. Hammer-on & pull-offs are triggered by legato playing and fast grace notes by fast legato playing.
  • A powerful user interface that pushes the Kontakt user interface to its limits: a fretboard display gives an overview of the playing position and for each string what fret and articulation (displayed as a unique symbol) that are used & dynamically updated as you play.
  • All four strings sampled, more than 6000 samples and up to 4 velocity layers to capture the full timbre of the bass.
  • Each string is monophonic so new notes replace earlier notes, giving a perfectly realistic bass.
  • Automatic string selection – play and the script selects the most suitable string for you. Use keyswitches to limit the string choice or to move the active playing position (placement of left hand). The automatic string selection is tailor-made to work well with every articulation.
  • Automatic alternation of right hand index and middle finger samples (can also be controlled using keyswitches).
  • Convenient keyswitch mode – a keyswitch effects the following note or remains active as long as it’s pressed – making it easy to quickly return to the default mode of operation.
  • Slide mode – play a note legato while holding the sustain pedal pressed to trigger a slide. The velocity will determine a slide speed.
  • Chord mode – makes it possible for notes to be automatically assigned to the right strings even if the notes of a chord don’t arrive exactly at the same time.
  • Control over release samples – random alternation between different release samples where the proportion of each can be controlled by the user. Select a default release type and use a keyswitch to toggle between the chosen default behaviour and other types.
  • The sound of Mr. Scarbee’s own fingers.
  • Bass recorded DI – to give you maximum flexibility in the sound production.
  • EQ and Effect Presets – direct in the instrument user interface.
  • Integrated documentation for all settings – direct in the instrument user interface.
  • Articulations and Playing Techniques – Sustains, Mutes, Harmonics, Hammer-on, Pull-off, Fast grace notes, Slides – in practically any speed and any interval, Trills and trill-tails, Buzz-trills, Cross hammering, Chords, Chord slides, Percussive slides, Index and middle finger alternation, Two different sets of release samples: loose and tight, Pickup-hit noises, Fret noises

Scarbee Jay-Bass is available to purchase for PC and Mac (VST/AU/RTAS/Standalone), priced at $89 USD / 79 EUR.

More information: Native Instruments / Scarbee Jay-Bass


Review: Native Instruments Scarbee MM-Bass

After Native Instruments announced a collaboration with Scarbee earlier this year, they have been steadily adding Scarbee’s existing products to the Kontakt powered product line.

Native Instruments MM-Bass

MM-Bass is the latest addition to the collection of Scarbee bass instruments that is now available as a self-contained instrument for Windows and Mac.

SCARBEE MM-BASS is based on the highly-regarded Scarbee Black Bass created by accomplished bassist and producer Thomas Hansen Skarbye and inspired by the sound of Bernard Edwards (Chic). Bringing you the warm and creamy fingered bass sound of the 70s known from countless disco and funk recordings, SCARBEE MM-BASS is an outstanding addition to our series of “Powered-by KONTAKT” instruments – ready for use with the free KONTAKT PLAYER or KONTAKT 4.

All four strings of the MM-Bass were fully sampled, recorded through a DI (direct input) box so you can shape the sound to your preference with some additional sound processing.

The MM-Bass includes a multitude of features to create a bass instrument that sounds and plays like the real thing.

It features an extensive set of playing techniques including sustains, mutes, harmonics, hammer-ons, pull-offs, slides and more. And thanks to some sophisticated scripting, SCARBEE MM-BASS comes vividly to life with features such as a dynamic fretboard display, chord recognition, random alternation between varying release samples, random insertion of pickup hits and realistic vibrato – all to put the swagger into your groove.

Too good to be true? Let’s have a look.


Installing the Scarbee MM-Bass is easy. Unpack the download, launch the setup and click through a series of next, next, finish dialogs. The installation includes a well written manual which is well worth a read since it explains all MM-Bass articulations, playing techniques, etc. in detail.

The library needs to be activated in the NI Service Center, which you can launch manually or from the Kontakt (Player) library box panel.

Playing bass like you know what you’re doing

It is one thing to have a sample library of quality bass guitar samples and another to use those samples to produce the sound an actual bass player would. MM-Bass uses some powerful KSP scripts (by KSP guru Nils Liberg) for detailed control over many things, including automatic string selection.

Scarbee MM-Bass keyswitches

When playing certain notes a bass player can choose which strings to use. MM-Bass can automatically pick the string which would make most sense — including articulations — in order to get a realistic performance.

Manual string selection is available as well and a number of key switches can trigger playing positions & techniques and articulations for complete control of how the bass is played.

I am no bass player but it seems to me that pretty much all articulations you will ever need are included. Hammer-on/pull-off, sildes, trills, mutes, harmonics, etc. The default articulation is sustain.

MM-Bass also includes 43 different pick-up hit noises and three sets of release samples (loose, tight 1 & 2) to create an even more realistic sound.

Get the bass sound you like

MM-Bass features an advanced Kontakt interface with a lot of options readily available for your instant tweaking pleasure.

Native Instruments Scarbee MM-Bass
Native Instruments Scarbee MM-Bass

I will list a brief description of the various panels available.

  • Player Profile allows you to set your playing style. Pop & Country, Soul & Funk, and Rock & Retro each use different automatic string selection and playing positions (which can be overridden manually).
  • FX Presets includes a number of factory effect presets like Old School, New Wave, and Spacy, to spice up your sound. You can modify presets and save your own.
  • EQ includes controls for bass, middle and treble.
  • Vibrato speed and the volume of fret noise it causes is adjustable. Vibrato intensity is controlled by MIDI CC#1 or Aftertouch.
  • Pickup Hit can be on or off by default and triggered with a key switch. A knob sets the change in percentage that a pickup noise will occur (or not).
  • Release samples can be selected (loose, tight 1 & 2) and some controls are available to determine the chance of certain release samples to be triggered. A decay parameter sets the volume envelope for the release (the rate at which a release note becomes silent).
  • Chords can be detected by a KSP script. The sloppiness controls set the amount of time (in ms) for notes to be played apart for the script to still be able to recognize them as a chord. Normally you would like to keep the sloppiness at a low value since it introduces some latency.
  • Alternation between fingers can be manipulated by setting the amount of time that is considered to be fast playing (triggering automatic alternation).
  • Noise Levels can be set individually for release samples, fret noises, pickup hits and clap.
  • Controllers allows for setting MIDI #CC to control playing position, slide mode, release (loose or tight), sustain, and pickup hit chance.
  • Help is available directly from the Kontakt performance view (documentation for articulations, playing techniques, etc.)

That’s quite a bunch of options, but they are all pretty easy to understand and you can simply turn some knobs to find out what happens if you’re not sure.

For a quick demo I tossed a Midi of Continuum by Jaco Pastorius (sequenced and re-arranged by Reinhard Bock) in Ableton Live to see how the bass sounds without doing any tweaking. Note: I selected a nice effect for this bass sound. And yes I know it would’ve made sense to do a funk track and I really need a fretless for Continuum, but I just love this song.

On the Native Instruments MM-Bass product page you can listen to a number of audio clips in various styles to get a good idea of what MM-Bass sounds like. There’s also a nice video on the history of this instrument and an overview of its features.

So what do I think?

Product: Scarbee MM-Bass by Native Instruments
Format: Kontakt Player Instrument (PC/MAC) – VST/AU/RTAS/Standalone
Price: $89 USD / 79 EUR

Like I mentioned earlier, I am no bass player. That said, MM-Bass sounds pretty convincing to me. It sounds and feels very expressive and natural.

The Kontakt scripts for automatic string selection and fret position, alternate fingers, and articulation all do wonders for the instant playability of MM-Bass. You really don’t need to put in a lot of work to make things sound real, but if you want you have complete control of these parameters as well.

I am well impressed with both the sound quality and ease of use of MM-Bass.

Note: For those who don’t like DI recorded instruments, MM-Bass is also available in an Amped version featuring 4 instruments with different amp setups. A whopping 12.5 GB library for $119 / 99 EUR.

More information: Native Instruments / Scarbee MM-Bass