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MOTU Announces MachFive Universal Sampler Plug-In

Supports all major plug-in formats on both Mac and PC platforms By DMN Staff Writer
MachFive main window (click for larger view)
MOTU, Inc. announced MachFive at the NAMM show, a universal sampler plug-in for Macintosh and Windows. MachFive supports all major plug-in formats on both platforms (MAS, VST, RTAS, HTDM, Audio Units and DXi) and imports all major audio file, sample and soundbank formats including Akai, Kurzweil, Roland, Emu, Giga, SampleCell, EXS24, HALion, Creamware, WAV, ACID, AIFF, SDII, REX and more.

MachFive's advanced sampling features include support for sample rates up to 192kHz and the ability to import and playback multi-channel samples in surround.

"For sound design, music production or broadcast, MachFive gives users a perfect balance of speed, advanced features, superb audio quality and across-the-board compatibility," said Jim Cooper, MOTU Director of Marketing.

MachFive operates as a plug-in inside a host audio application such as Digital Performer, Pro Tools, Logic Audio, Cubase, SONAR and virtually any major audio software program for Macintosh and Windows. This allows users to employ MachFive as a flexible sound source directly within their projects and then save all MachFive settings with the project for instant total recall. Since all MachFive settings are saved with their host application session, speed and convenience are increased because there are no separate application or associated documents to manage .

As a plug-in, MachFive displays all editing and performance parameters in one window, showing users everything in one glance, with no additional pages or menus.

Collaboration across platforms
With its wide compatibility and interoperability, MachFive is the first truly universal software sampler, according to MOTU. Because MachFive supports every major audio production platform on both Macintosh and Windows (MAS, VST, Audio Units, HTDM, RTAS and DXi), users can move from one platform to another ? or collaborate with colleagues who use different audio software. For example, a user might compose and track a project in Digital Performer or Logic and then move to Pro Tools for mixing. Doing this is simply a matter of saving a MachFive performance (a snapshot of all MachFive settings) in DP or Logic and then loading it into MachFive running in Pro Tools. All settings are exactly preserved, and MachFive is ready to go.

Intelligent file management
The most critical feature users need from a sampler is easy access to their sounds. MachFive's sound bank management is designed to help users concentrate on their music, instead of file handling chores. MachFive always remembers where sounds are located, and it is optimized for browsing and loading libraries. Even multi-gigabyte libraries are quickly and efficiently scanned, MOTU says.

MachFive includes UVI-Xtract, an import utility that allows users to audition and load programs and samples from every major sampler format, including Akai, Roland, Kurzweil, SampleCell, HALion, EXS24, Gigasampler and others. UVI-Extract even allows users to insert sample content CD-ROMs from Roland, Emu, Akai and other formats into their computer ? discs that otherwise cannot be mounted on their computer desktop ? and then convert programs (or entire discs) in just a few clicks. MachFive also can help users consolidate their current sound libraries into a unified MachFive library, accessible from within their host application.

Flexible multi-timbral performance
Users can open as many MachFive plug-ins inside their software as their host CPU resources permit. Each plug-in instance of MachFive provides 16 parts (separate instruments). Each part has its own unique audio output assignment, volume, pan, etc. Each part can receive MIDI data from any channel and send its output to unique audio outputs (depending on the host audio software). Simple stacks can be created by assigning two or more parts to the same MIDI channel. However, MachFive also provides Expert Mode, which allows users to create complex layers and splits that can be dynamically triggered and modified on the fly. For example, the left hand could change samples via key-switching ? or even gradually crossfade between layers with a mod wheel or other controller ? while the right hand plays the samples. Expert Mode was designed for demanding live performance situations.

The synthesis engine
The central section of the MachFive window shows the filter, three envelopes and every modulation tool. Six filter algorithms are provided and everything can be controlled and automated by MIDI. Modulation options are provided at every stage of the synth section. MOTU says the UVI-Engine that powers MachFive delivers unlimited polyphony and ultra-low latency.

Multichannel waveform editor
MachFive accepts audio samples in all formats from mono to 5.1 surround. The waveform display allows truncating, normalizing, fading and many other destructive DSP audio manipulations -- all in real time. Users can even set the crossfade of a loop in real time while listening to their full mix.

Support for 24-bit 192kHz audio
MachFive takes advantage of high definition audio interfaces like the MOTU HD192, allowing users to build their sound libraries at any sample rate up to 192kHz. MachFive also provides on-the-fly downsampling, allowing users to build a high-resolution sample library and use it at any sample rate that their current project calls for, without the need for sample rate conversion.

Surround sampling
Users can play and transpose 5.1 audio files in real time, add multi-channel effects and route multi-channel presets to their host software¹s mixer with multiple outputs (if the host software supports these surround features).

Analyze and tune
MachFive is a one-stop sound design factory, with tools such as a graphic spectrum analyzer and a built-in tuner with graphic display. When importing samples, users can ask MachFive to analyze the sample, determine its pitch and assign it to the appropriate keymap pitch.

Drag & drop sample importing
MachFive supports drag-and-drop importing of samples. Users can drag samples from their computer desktop or host application to the MachFive keyboard. Users can also drag multiple samples in one step to map into layers or splits, chromatically, on white keys only, according to their name, or even according to their pitch, which MachFive can determine automatically. Users can also audition samples when importing them, listening to each note as they stretch the sample over a range of keys.

Modulation and tempo sync
Four LFOs are available per preset: two that can be applied across a preset's entire keygroup, plus two additional LFOs that can be applied individually to each sample. Each LFO can be routed to an assortment of destinations including filter frequency, filter resonance, drive, pitch, pan and amplitude. MachFive can sync both the LFO and effects parameters to sequence tempo.

Integrated multi-effects
Each multi-timbral part can have up to four unique effects, for up to 64 effects per performance with instant recall, including reverb, tempo-synced delay, tremolo, chorus (and other modulation effects), filter, BitCrusher, and others. All effects settings are saved for total recall. Users can also save effects with each preset for permanent storage in their sound library. The effect section allows users to leave a part's effects in place while they audition other parts.

MachFive is expected to ship in the first quarter of 2003 for all plug-in formats on Mac OS 9 and OS X, with a Windows version soon to follow. Disk streaming (the ability to stream very large samples from hard disk) will be offered as a free update soon thereafter. The list price for MachFive is $395.

For more information, go to

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Related Keywords:MOTU, MachFive, Sampler, Plug-In, Mac, PC, MAS, VST, RTAS, HTDM, Audio Units, DXi, Akai, Kurzweil, Roland, Emu, Giga, SampleCell, EXS24, HALion, Creamware, WAV, ACID, AIFF, SDII, REX


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