For in-the-box producers, the return of Native Instruments’ best-loved synth is well, massive. To put it into context, at a time when music technology headlines seem always to be stolen by hardware, a second outing for ‘Massive’ has provided one of those rare moments in recent years when software returns to the foreground.
Since its arrival in 2007, at the height of the in-the-box era, NI’s flagship wavetable synth has played a huge role in shaping 21st century electronic music. Where house has the 303 and 909 to thank for altering the course of music history, the Massive was pivotal in the development of US dubstep and EDM.
Its success was propelled by its ability to court beginners and veterans alike, the former sucked in by its presets and straightforward UI, the latter by a flexible modulation system that lets you quickly create complex sounds thanks to the ease of routability of LFOs, filters, oscillators, envelopes and FX. Its sound quality became a new industry standard, prioritising power over CPU, and was a major advance for soft synths at the time.
Massive X has been rebuilt from scratch with an all-new, modern interface the first notable difference. The semi-modular vibe of its predecessor has been ramped up with a dazzling array of modulation sources (any output can now be connected to an input) and wavetables for creating unique, complex sounds in a reload that promises to be just as influential.
£179 (new)/£129 (upgrade), Native Instruments
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