Hybrid synth engine with subtractive/wavetable/FM and more 13/10/03
The new MX4 from MOTU
MOTU weren't keeping anything back at this show with the release of their new MX4 virtual instrument plug-in for MOTU DP4 (MAS), Pro Tools (RTAS) and other Mac OS X audio hosts (Audio Units).
The MX4 features a unique, hybrid synthesis engine that combines several forms of synthesis, including subtractive,
wavetable, frequency modulation (FM), amplitude modulation (AM) and analog
emulation. MX4's flexible programming and advanced modulation architecture
provide the intimacy of a vintage synth, the flexibility of a modular synth,
and the innovation of a virtual synth.
"Our inspiration for MX4 came from legendary subtractive synthesizers like
the Prophet-5, PPG Wave and Moog Modular," said Jim Cooper, MOTU Marketing
Director. "But then we took the concept further using today's powerful
computer software technology. The result is a unique, hybrid synthesis
engine that delivers both fresh and vintage synths sounds alike. Whether
you're looking for killer synth presets or intense synth programming, MX4 is
As a plug-in, MX4 operates efficiently and provides unlimited voices,
polyphony and instantiations (subject to the processing resources of the
host computer). Playback is sample-accurate with supporting host
applications, such as Digital Performer 4. MX4's 32-bit internal resolution
provides wide dynamic range, and it supports all standard sample rates up to
192kHz. Users can work fast and intuitively in a single, efficiently
organized window labeled with real-world values like semitones, decibels,
etc. All settings are saved with host software projects for instant recall.
MX4's basic synthesis architecture provides 3 oscillators with modulatable
waveform symmetry and hard sync, 2 variable topology multimode filters, 4
variable waveshape LFO's and 4 ADSHR envelopes.
MX4 provides all standard analog synthesizer waveforms, but every waveform
has adjustable symmetry. This allows users to create standard pulse width
modulation effects, as well as waveform "morphing" effects, such as smoothly
changing from a triangle waveform to a sawtooth. Changing the symmetry of
simple sine waves can even create interesting and unique spectra.
Each of the three oscillators can use a wavetable instead of a standard
waveform. Dozens of wavetables are supplied, and users can also create
their own. The wavetable on each oscillator can be individually indexed, and
symmetry can be applied to wavetables as well, for a wide array of timbres.
Oscillators 1 and 2 can be synced together to create the same hard sync
effects found on classic analog polysynths such as the Sequential Circuits
Prophet-5 and Moog Memorymoog.
Oscillator 3 serves as a frequency modulation (FM) source for other
oscillators ‹ or the filter cutoff frequency. Because oscillator 3 includes
all waveforms, as well as the wavetable and symmetry features found on the
other oscillators, it can produce a wide array of modulation effects that
extend from LFO rates into the audible range.
In addition to the three oscillators, an independent fundamental-tone
oscillator and ring modulator are also included to further extend the
Two resonant multimode filters (with modulatable overdrive) provide
low-pass, high-pass, band-pass and notch filters with independent slope
specified as 6, 12, 18 or 24dB per octave for a total of 16 different filter
types. As a result, users can create a wide variety of vintage keyboard
sounds. Both filters can also be stacked, combining them for a total of 48dB
MX4's unique Variable Filter Topology� allows users to easily and
intuitively arrange the two filters and overdrive in 14 different
configurations that produce over 3,000 different filter topologies. Users
can then further adjust the filter settings, providing a very wide range of
filter effects to explore.
The four variable waveshape LFOs include adjustable symmetry, rate delay,
fade and phase. Four ADSHR envelopes are also provided, with graphic
controls for intuitive programming. All parameters can be modulated.
Flexible modulation routings are essential for expanding the sonic palette
of a subtractive synthesizer such as MX4. All continuously variable
parameters, including LFO's and envelopes, can be modulated by many sources,
including track automation, MIDI controllers, LFO's & envelopes. They can
even be modulated by multiple sources simultaneously.
Conversely, each modulation source in MX4 can modulate an unlimited number
of destinations simultaneously, with the modulation range independently
scaled at each destination. The provides modulation flexibility rarely seen
outside of a modular synthesizer - but without the associated complexity. A
user can click a modulation source, and MX4 displays the range of all
parameters it is modulating. The filters and envelopes display the
modulation range both on the knob itself and on the graphical
representation. Modulation routings are clearly displayed in the MX4 window
so users do not have to search through multiple pages or windows.
MX4 is expected to ship in Q4, 2003. Price is $295.