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Native Instruments Massive X

Native Instruments Massive X  ·  Source: Native Instruments

It’s now been over half a year since Native Instruments announced Massive X, the sequel to its hugely powerful Massive software synth. Since then, we’ve had to make do with small bits of info here and there, and even had to swallow the bumping of the release date from February to June. At last, they’re now telling us more about what exactly Massive X will be able to do. Here’s what you need to know.

Native Instruments’ latest blog post gives an overview of the new software synthesizer, which is part of Komplete 12. We already knew that it’s not a replacement for the original Massive, but rather meant to coexist with it. It’s a completely new synth and the presets will not be compatible with the old Massive.

Two wavetable oscillators

Massive X features two wavetable oscillators and will come with around 125 wavetables “at launch”, which sounds like that number may later be expanded upon. These oscillators can operate in 10 different modes, suggesting that you’ll be able to do pretty much anything you like to a wavetable. Furthermore, there are two phase modulation oscillators whose job it is to modulate the main OSCs. They come with another set of wavetables specifically for phase modulation. The sound generation stage also includes a noise section with two simultaneous noise sources. There are over 100 different noises to choose from, including natural soundscapes.

The filter section contains eight new filters, each of which offers several modes. As we’ve come to expect from Massive, the filters seem to be very flexible. In addition to standard low-, band-, and high-pass filters, the section includes a comb filter and dual filters in several configurations.

Insert oscillators

Like the original Massive, Massive X features an insert FX section. Its three slots can be filled with audio effects or – and this is where it gets interesting – insert oscillators including sine, pulse and saw waveshapes. This means that you could potentially have three more oscillators in addition to the two main wavetable OSCs. By offering standard waveforms, these insert OSCs can form the basis for more traditional subtractive synthesis, or all sorts of phase modulation experiments.

Massive goes modular

Everything is tied together with what NI says is “one of the most flexible audio routing systems ever seen in a synth”. You can make click-and-drag connections between the different modules, sending audio pretty much anywhere. This means that Massive X should be capable of almost any kind of frequency and phase modulation that one could imagine. Here’s where the underlying Reaktor framework really shows its strengths.

Native Instruments Massive X

Massive X’s “Performer” looks like a powerful modulation sequencer

Modulation

The expanded modulation section now offers up to nine envelopes and/or LFOs. A new “Switcher LFO” can morph between shapes, controlled by up to three modulation sources. Massive X also lets you insert the modulation sources into the audio signal path. For rhythmic modulation, the software synth features three “Performers” – essentially drawing boards for modulation sequences. There is also a feature named “Remote Octave”, which lets you trigger up to 12 Performer snapshots live or via a sequence.

All of this sounds very tempting indeed, and only adds to the anticipation. Now all they’ve got to do is release it, already!

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