MOTU debuted their long awaited universal software sampler, the MachFive. This was one of my favorite products of the NAMM show. Jim Cooper, Marketing Director at MOTU, gave Nick and I an in-depth demo of the product. According to Jim, the PC version will follow a few months after the Mac version.
The MachFive is a plugin sampler that supports a huge number of formats (list to follow). If you use DAW software that supports any of the major plugin/sampler/audio formats on either the PC or Mac, then you will be able to use this sampler.
Multiple instances of the sampler are possible, and each instance has sixteen parts, corresponding to midi channels. Complex layers and splits can be created within each of the sixteen parts. However, operation of the sampler is anything but complex, since everything is done in one window. The top level is the only level there is, making navigating the program quite self explanatory and quick. When you click on one of the sixteen parts, for example, all the parameters on the page jump to the settings for that part. Since the sampler appears on one screen, so there is no need to access menus or dig through dialog boxes.
MOTU calls the MachFive a "universal" sampler for a reason, the formats it supports are virutally all the major formats that exist. As Jim Cooper of MOTU explained to Nick and I, They want the MachFive to become the central hub for their users sample needs. Plugin formats supported are: MAS, Audio Units, VST (Mac/PC), RTAS, HTDM, and DXi. Mach Five supports sample libraries in the following formats: Akai S1000/3000, Akai S5000/6000, Akai MPC2000/MPC3000, Roland S7xx, EMU III/ESI/EOS, GigaSampler/GigaStudio, Emagic EXS24, Digidesign SampleCell, Creamware Pulsar STS, and Steinberg HALion. Sample import formats include: Kurzweil K2xxx, Akai MPC.snd, WAV/ACID, AIFF, SDII, and REX. Obviously, practically no one has been left out!
The MachFive is also a surround sound ready sampler. When released, MOTU plans to bundle a large sample library with the software which will include some instruments sampled in surround.
The specs are impressive: 32 bit internal engine, with up to 24bit/192kHz sample rates. Drag and drop import of SampleCell samples/banks, GigaSampler files and all other major sampler formats. Drag and drop import of all major audio file formats. Unlimited polyphony and ultra-low software latency. Zone-edit, dynamic mode and many features previously only available on high-end samplers.Multitimbral-create stacks, splits and layers very easily. Each part can have up to four built in effects.
File management seems quite logical and efficient. The MachFive remembers where it's sample audio files are kept and always keeps track of them, so when you go to load a sound there is little search needed. Also, MOTU bundles an extract program with the MachFive, so that the user's computer can load files from disks in any sampler format not normally able to be read by the computer. The operation of the extractor program is tied in closely with the MachFive, and is simple to use.
The MachFive also sports a built-in waveform editor in both stereo and surround formats. Yes, you can easily edit your surround sample library! All wave editing takes place in real time and can be performed while your sequence is playing.
There are four LFO's available per preset, and each LFO can be routed to an assortment of destinations including filter frequency, filter resonance, drive, pitch, pan and amplitude. MachFive can sync the LFO's and effects parameters to the sequence tempo.
The MachFive lists at $395. The Mac version will be available around March/April, with the PC version following by a couple months or so.
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