Laptop Studio — Music software reviews, news and info for computer music

28 August 2005

MX4 2.0 review — Computer Music

Filed under: Music software at 12:16 pm (no comments)

The MX4 2.0 soft synth by MOTU gets a top review in the August issue of Computer Music magazine. They give it special awards for Performance and for Innovation, and the review starts as it continues: “Quite simply, this is one of the most powerful synths we’ve ever used — in every single respect.”

They like the crystal-clear organisation of this synth. The main screen contains all the controls for the various oscillators, filters, LFOs and other components. They note how easy it is to quickly tweak the settings with the straightforward GUI. They contrast its simple interface with the likes of Reason: “unlike some analogue-emulating GUIs that have virtual patch cables strewn all over, to find out which modulators are acting on a parameter you simply run the cursor over it. This causes all the modulators that are affecting that parameter to light up.” I have previously mentioned how daunting I find the Reason interface — maybe it’s because I haven’t had years of experience with old-skool hardware studios. In contrast, they say, “MX4 makes programming, or even just tweaking the factory presets, incredibly easy.”

They are also impressed with MX4’s effects: “We normally avoid onboard effects, but these are superb.” You can even use them by running external audio through MX4, or use it as a modulator. There’s also a feature called Random.. This resets parameters to random settings, creating entirely new patches. If you have a setting you like, but it isn’t quite right, you can keep the parameters you like and use Random on the other settings until you get the sound you want. It’s a simple concept, but apparently extremely powerful and useful — the review calls it “absolutely staggering”.

These reviewers really are knocked off their feet by MX4; they conclude by saying that MX4 offers “a staggering amount of power in the most awesome interface we’ve yet seen on a synth. … it sounds incredible.” They give it ten out of ten and some very simple advice: “you should buy MX4.”

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