updated 07:30 pm EDT, Wed October 17, 2007
MachFive 2.0 ships
Motu today began shipping MachFive 2.0, a major upgrade to the universal sampler instrument software. MachFive 2.0 features 32GB of included sounds, unlimited parts per instance, a new graphics engine, and full-screen editing as well as programming. A new modular synthesis architecture accompanies keybroup layering with rule-based switching, while a complete built-in mixer complements a total of 47 effects -- including convolution reverb. The software also includes the "LoopLab" groove slice engine, sample time-stretching, unlimited multi-point envelopes, and stand-alone operation. MachFive 2.0 is available for $500, with upgrades priced at $200 for registered MachFive 1 users.
MachFive 2 is designed as a universal audio sampler focused on compatibility and interoperability with all major plug-in hosts, sound libraries, and sample formats. The program supports every major software instrument plug-in format platform, according to Motu, including MAS, VST, AU, RTAS and DXi as well as full stand-alone operation on Mac OS X with full Universal Binary support.
"Users can effortlessly move from one platform to another and collaborate with colleagues who use different audio software or even different computer operating systems. With stand-alone operation, users can build Mac- or PC-based systems designed solely for large-scale sample playback with MachFive as the software front end for the system."
32GB of included sounds
MachFive 2 ships with 32GB (four 8GB DVDs) of sounds and loops are included. The DVDs include a wide array of multi-sample instruments, loops, and phrases -- including premium material recorded at 192kHz. DVD 2 provides a 24-bit 96kHz 8GB sampled grand piano, while DVD 3 supplies surround instruments and loops as well as hi-res (96/192kHz) electric piano, guitars, basses, drum kits, and percussion. DVD 4 offers the VSL Orchestra MachFive Edition, which is an exclusive collection of expressive orchestra sounds.
Direct sound library support
MachFive 2 directly opens and reads all major sampler library and audio file formats -- including Giga 1/2/3, EXS24, Kontakt 1/2, Roland S700 series, Akai MPC, Akai S series, Kurzweil K2xxx series, E-Mu, Ensoniq ASR, SampleCell II, MOTU Symphonic as well as Ethno Instruments, and SoundFont as well as UVI soundcards.
"No conversion is necessary. MachFive 2 can even read legacy sampler discs (Kurzweil and Roland). Mac OS X and Windows can't read them, but MachFive 2 can. There is no need for time consuming file format conversion. Users can load presets directly from the disc and even create and save disc images to any hard drive. MachFive 2 will read directly from the disc image as if the CD were in the drive."
Motu says it has paid close attention to compatibility with GigaSampler libraries, especially keyswitching and 'dimensions.' Users can open GigaSampler, EXS24, or Kontakt instruments in MachFive 2 directly for preserved preset characteristics such as key switch, release, and trigger-speed sample switching.
Advanced preset browsing
The software enables users to quickly load a desired preset by choosing from a hierarchical pop-up menu. Double-clicking opens MachFive's new full-screen preset browser to fill the entire window with a semi-transparent, multi-column list for browsing soundbanks, preset categories, and presets. Users can add favorite folders, libraries or disk volumes - including iso disk images of favorite legacy sampler discs - to the left-hand column and browse them directly without the need for conversion. MachFive 2 also supports browsing and loading instruments as well as loops from the MOTU Symphonic Instrument and Ethno Instrument libraries, assuming users own them.
MachFive 2 enables users to add unlimited parts to one instance of the plug-in (or the stand-alone application), eliminating the need to open multiple instances when more than 16 instruments or loops are needed. The update also supports 256-note polyphony per part, unlimited sample keygroups, unlimited sample keygroup layers, and up to 200 discrete audio outputs as well as 256 separate MIDI channels (depending on the host software).
Full screen editors
MachFive 2 incorporates the latest cutting-edge sampling technology, according to Motu, by merging "four worlds of advanced sound design" that include samples, loops, synthesis, and effects.
"Users can import, edit, synthesize, process and play multi-sample instruments, loops and phrases in MachFive’s unified, intuitive environment. MachFive 2's editors give users precise control of their instruments and loops. From sample-level precision to global management of multi-layer presets, MachFive's Sample Editor, Mapping Editor and Loop Lab Editor make instrument creation and management a breeze. All three editors can be expanded to fill the MachFive 2 window for detailed editing, or users can pop them out as a completely separate full-screen window, which can even be positioned on a secondary monitor. All three editors feature unlimited undo and redo."
A unique Loop Lab allows users to easily edit REX, ACID, UFS and Apple Loops, or to create their own by dropping the loop into the Loop Lab (even if the loop has not yet been sliced). Loop lab instantly maps slices, and finds or sets the tempo. The software supports destructive or non-destructive sample level editing, and time-stretching can be applied with no artifacts.
"Once the loop has been edited to taste, the AutoPlay features can trigger the loop when playback starts in the host sequencer application, or each slice can be triggered from a MIDI controller. Users can drag audio files from Loop Lab to their desktop or audio tracks in their host sequencer. They can even drag a loop into a MIDI track, where it appears as MIDI notes that trigger individual slices. Users can then play the loop one slice at a time to customize it or completely reconstruct/deconstruct the loop by playing the slices in a different order."
Keygroup layering and rule-based switching
Motu notes that samples are mapped to a keyboard using a simple two-dimensional matrix (pitch versus velocity) to create a keygroup layer. MachFive 2 adds "a third dimension" with multiple keygroup layers, enabling users to create an unlimited number of keygroup layers and then program advanced, dynamic, rule-based layer switching algorithms that respond dynamically to the way users play.
"A user could load various articulations of an instrument into several layers and use key switches and/or mod wheel to instantly change articulations (layers). MachFive's keygroup layering and rules programming dovetails with native Giga format libraries build with multi-layer 'dimension' presets, allowing users to load complex Giga presets directly while preserving the dynamic multi-layer programming. Users can also quickly combine single-layer presets to easily create new multi-dimensional presets."