MOTU Machfive opinions

Discussion in 'Recording/Live Sound' started by Unburst, Sep 5, 2004.


  1. Unburst

    Unburst Member

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    I know a couple of guys are using it, just wanted some opinions before I pick it up.

    How much of a cpu hog is it?
    I plan on using it with a 933 G4 ibook.

    How good are the samples it comes with? I need some natural drum sounds for the most part.

    Anyone imported Emu samples into it?
     
  2. MichaelK

    MichaelK Member

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    >> How much of a cpu hog is it?

    Depends on the sample size. Short answer: it's a hog.

    >> How good are the samples it comes with? I need some natural drum sounds for the most part.

    Most are very good, and there are boatloads of great libraries available. The drums it comes with sound very natural, but unlike a GM drum kit they're unprocessed. So you'd have to create a "kit" track by track then add your own compression and EQ. I haven't done that yet.
     
  3. LSchefman

    LSchefman Supporting Member

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    I've loaded ILIO samples into it created for the E-IV, Kurzweil, Roland, and Akai samplers (all of which I have owned, and all samples bought legitimately). The only ones I've had occasional trouble loading correctly were the Roland samples, due to multilayering.

    I'm running a 500MHz G4 with 512 mb of RAM, plus Digital Performer, plus Reason, plus two software synths at the same time. No problems, it's more a memory hog than a CPU hog.

    Most of the samples it comes with are excellent. There are a few synth samples that basically sound too static. The organ, piano, and drums that come with it are excellent.

    I have created my own drum kits for sequencing, they work great.

    It's an excellent program and I highly recommend it.

    REMEMBER HOWEVER THAT MOTU IS PRIMARILY MAC-ORIENTED, and that some folks here have complained of MOTU stuff with PCs.
     
  4. MichaelK

    MichaelK Member

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    True.
     
  5. Unburst

    Unburst Member

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    No problem for me, I'm using OSX and DP4.

    Thanks for the info guys.
     
  6. Unburst

    Unburst Member

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    Hmmm, well I got MachFive and I have mixed feelings about it so far.
    Looks very cool but the range of sounds it comes with is dissappointing, I thought with 4 gig of samples it would cover most bases better,

    The drum sounds are poor imo, certainly not good enough for what I need right now, the sounds aren't good and they're not well sampled/programmed either, the velocity layers sound very different from eachother, it's obvious when the samples switch.
    The Hihats sound like toys, and there are only two cymbals(?)
    In comparison the drum sounds in GarageBand are a lot better and more musical.

    I have to say I'm spoiled for drum samples after using a Roland V-Drum brain for a few years, the modelling in these units lets you reproduce subtle changes in drum timbre with each hit, you can tune and adjust damping for each drum and you can use a controller to gradually open/close the hihat. The best system I've used for natural sounding drums.

    Anyone recommend a good drum sample library?
     
  7. LSchefman

    LSchefman Supporting Member

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    >>The drum sounds are poor imo, certainly not good enough for what I need right now, the sounds aren't good and they're not well sampled/programmed either, the velocity layers sound very different from eachother, it's obvious when the samples switch.
    The Hihats sound like toys, and there are only two cymbals(?)
    In comparison the drum sounds in GarageBand are a lot better and more musical<<

    Well, you're buying the program for its functionality, not the sounds, which really came as a bonus.

    However, I find that the large file drum samples are absolutely top-notch, especially the kicks and snares. So we have very different ears, to say the least! I do a lot of live drum recording here, so I believe I'm not completely insane, since I have a decent reference with tracks recorded on good kits.

    The piano and surround organ are also among the finest samples I've heard.

    I've also used a lot of V-Drum, and it sounds nice in some tracks, but still not quite like real drums.
     
  8. Unburst

    Unburst Member

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    Les I agree, I wasn't holding out too much hope for the samples but even so...
    Normally I wouldn't even consider the preset sounds on any piece of gear, but I'm not at home right now so I don't have my sound library and I need to record some drum tracks.

    I've recorded more drum kits than I care to remember, and back before there were sample CDs I spent a lot of time sampling/programming my own, so I know how I like a sampled kit to sound.
    These sound flabby, the velocity stacks are not smooth and the various samples sound too similar.

    The Bosendorfer sounds ok, the E. Piano is way out of tune in the middle, take the chorus off and it makes me cringe! The F-C 5th above C3 (I think) is awful, the F is 5 cents flat and the C is 5 cents sharp!
    Re-tuning velocity stacked samples is not my idea of fun.
    The upright bass is so out of tune it sounds like a joke.

    The V-Drum is not the best "sounding" i.e. it doesn't have the best snare or kick sounds but the nuances it can achieve are way beyond anything I've heard from a sampled kit.

    No offense, I'm just ranting because I hoped it would solve a problem and it didn't.
    I'm looking forward to using it with my samples, but with some better preset sounds it would be killer out of the box.
     
  9. LSchefman

    LSchefman Supporting Member

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    I definitely didn't take offense, in any event. Just pointing out that I liked the samples I used, ie, the large drum kits, the bosey, and the surround organ. I think we probably simply have different tastes in what sounds good.

    I also liked the "lo-fi" electric piano with the record scratch noise. A very cool sound, that I've found quite useful. I forgot which bank it's in offhand.

    What I did with Mach Five was start converting the many samples I've collected over the years; It's a lot faster than my hardware samplers to work with. I'm too old and lazy to be squinting into an LCD to screw around with setting up a sampler for work.

    What I like best is to program a drum machine, and then have a real drummer come over and play along with the groove, and record that. Real still works best for me, unless I'm doing electronica or hip hop, and then I will just use the machine.
     
  10. Unburst

    Unburst Member

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    Ditto!
    :D
     
  11. MichaelK

    MichaelK Member

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    I've only listened to them raw, not in an actual MIDI track, but my impression is that they are completely unprocessed. Meaning you have to add compressions, EQ, etc. as opposed to a GM drum kit where the samples are ready-to-go. That in mind, they sounded pretty sweet to me.

    I'll take your word that the velocity layers don't overlap well. There must be ways to adjust that... but like you, I can't be bothered seeing as they're just MIDI drums anyway. I like a bunch of kits I have in the Proteus, so I just go to that and I'm done.

    What Les is doing by loading his hardware samples into Mach Five sounds like a cool idea, but not for me. I find it faster and less memory-intensive just to use the hardware. I mainly bought MachFive for piano samples; anything else is gravy.
     
  12. LSchefman

    LSchefman Supporting Member

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    >>What Les is doing by loading his hardware samples into Mach Five sounds like a cool idea<<

    Here's why I actually sit around in my spare hours and convert samples to the Mach Five format (I know, I need a life):

    First, I like to keep my MIDI tracks MIDI; that way I can change them quickly without having to reload samples, etc. So I run three hardware samplers plus Mach Five (I used to run four hardware samplers, but keeping an old Roland sampler with a gigantic 32 megs of memory around is kinda silly these days). Mach Five lets me load as many samples into its memory as the computer has RAM available. When I do complex orchestral scores, this is a big help. It's very hard for me to simply plan ahead; I generally fill up the hardware samplers quickly.

    Second, it is a DREAM to instantly load samples from the computer's hard disk, without having to scroll through hardware menus, find CD-Roms, deal with those little windows on the hardware, etc.

    Third, I make use of Mach Five's filters and processing to create sounds I can't create on the hardware, and of course, I can also employ my Waves, Antares, MOTU, or any other plug-in processors at the same time.

    So it's really quite nice.
     

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