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At Winter NAMM, MOTU announced MachFive ($395), 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 also offers many advanced sampling features, including support for sample rates up to 192kHz and the ability to import and playback multi-channel samples in surround.

A universal plug-in

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, state-of-the-art sound source directly within their projects and then save all MachFive settings with the project for instant and total recall. Since all MachFive settings are saved with their host application session, users enjoy the highest degree of convenience and speed because there is 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, without the need to flip through different pages or dig through menus.

Collaborate across platforms

With unprecedented compatibility and interoperability, MachFive is the first truly universal software sampler. Because MachFive supports every major audio production platform on both Macintosh and Windows (MAS, VST, Audio Units, HTDM, RTAS and DXi), users can effortlessly 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. The user would simply save a MachFive performance (a snapshot of all MachFive settings) in DP or Logic and then load it into MachFive running in Pro Tools. All settings are exactly preserved, and MachFive is ready to go.

Intelligent file management and compatibility with all sample libraries The most critical feature users need from a sampler is easy access to their sounds. MachFive offers unprecedented sound bank management, helping users concentrate on their music -- not file handling chores on their hard disk. MachFive always remembers where sounds are located, and it has been optimized for browsing and loading libraries. Even multi-gigabyte libraries are quickly and efficiently scanned.

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 even the entire disc) in just a few clicks. MachFive helps users consolidate their current sound libraries into a unified MachFive library, instantly 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.

Powerful 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. The award-winning UVI-Engine that powers MachFive delivers unlimited polyphony and ultra-low latency.

Built-in 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 from mono to 5.1 surround

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 lengthy sample rate conversion operations.

MachFive is a true surround sampler. Users can play and transpose 5.1 audio files in real time, add multi-channel effects and route multi-channel presets to their host software's 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 even ask MachFive to analyze the sample, determine its pitch and assign it to the appropriate keymap pitch.

Drag & drop import of samples

MachFive supports easy drag-and-drop importing of samples. Users can simply drag samples from their computer desktop or host application to the MachFive keyboard. Users can even 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.

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