I couldn't find anything on the forum about this, so I thought I'd post a few thoughts about the new incarnation of NI's Massive.
NI has released a broken/unfinished product - that's totally clear after a few days of messing around with it. It feels like a step backward...but I'm certain it will get fixed at some point.
- The layout - I really like the clean design of the GUI. It's scalable, and (subjectively) pretty. The colors of the various parameter modulators are nice and bright - it's easy to see what's what.
- Routing - this is actually The Bomb. Using a flow diagram/Max-style interface, you can drag and connect elements of the synth together, and route things in some really neat ways. This is so intuitive, easy, and fun.
- Performer - A neat performer style envelope. Easy enough to program, pretty interesting design options.
- Noise - OMG - so many types of noise can be added. Not just your whites/pinks, etc, but sounds like bubbles, or water. It really can add a neat layer of sound to your, er, sound. Performers can be strung together, too, and you can switch which performer is playing on the fly. That's kinda sweet.
- Insert FX - these are really good for extra elements of sound shaping. Not like reverbs (they're found in the outboard FX section), but more design-oriented. There are even extra oscillators in there.
- The manual - there isn't one. WTF. There are quite a few elements of the GUI and functionality that absolutely need explanation. I guess this is "sign number one" that the product isn't ready for release. So bizarre.
- Visual feedback - probably one of the largest and most spectacular omissions. While you can easily see your color-coded modulators, there isn't much else going on. As you modulate wavetables, you can't see the shape of the wave change, or even the little knob moving up and down. Sure, you can use your ears, but it makes auditioning wave tables tricky. And I like to see that something is working. Oh, the ADSR envelopes - you can't use the "diagram" to change the ADSR. Sure, using the knobs is fine, but again I like to see what's going on. They do have diagrams in there, but they are completely non-interactive. Again, really weird. Oh, the diagram for the "exciter" LFO makes absolutely no sense.
- File organization - this sucks a huge egg. The original Massive had a great browser approach. Organizing sounds was easy, as was importing libraries. Kiss all that goodbye with Massive X. You have your presets. And then you have your "user" folder - the location of which cannot be moved. So frustrating! I have moved the presets to my external drive (and I had to get help from the NI forums to get that simple task achieved), but I can't put my user-library on there. Another WTF. Nor can you add subfolders, so categorizing your sounds is down to creative filename labeling. Oh, there's no meta tagging either. Sound name, and author, that's all you can do. This is kinda of a massive let down, especially if you like designing your own stuff.
- Mysterious functionality - now, this could be easily worked out if there was a manual. Take a look at the pic at the top. Note the wavetable section on the top right. There's a note symbol, which clearly indicates that's where you go to change the pitch of the oscillator - easy. Then note the two mysterious numbers below. No idea. Same in the pitch modulation section below it. Oh yeah, also note those pics of the ADSR envelope...that's all they are, pictures.
- The sound - ooooof, this one is totally subjective. I think it's pretty good...but I have noticed a couple of weird artifacts in a sound or two I've designed. This could be down to parts of the wavetable, though. Either way, I'm gonna have to get the EQ scalpel out and get to work. Tell you what, though, the Dimension Expander effect can add some very nice polish to sounds.
- Wavetables - there's not as many as Serum, but that's okay. But...you can't import your own. I dunno, I feel like pretty much all wavetable synths let you do this (didn't Ableton just add this to their synth?)
Alright, I'm off to mess around with it more, but I'm curious what you lot think about it?
Oh, I may have mentioned this but...THERE'S NO FUCKING MANUAL.