Umlaut Audio MOTORS by Synth Guru
Developer: Umlaut Audio
Formats: OS X 10.9+, OS X 10.10+ recommended and Win 7+ VST, Audio Units, ASIO, ASIO Core Audio, WASAPI, AAX Native (Pro Tools 10 or higher)
Disk Space Required: 2GB of free hard drive space, 4GB RAM Min., 8 GB recommended, Kontakt or free Kontakt player v 5.6.8+ required.
DRM: Website serial number activation.
Demo: Not available
Umlaut Audio delivers another powerhouse of sound! Introducing Motors, a tonal and rhythmic pulse engine capable of performing countless of rhythmic patterns and intricate pulses. Included are 140 preset snap shots available which are broken down into clean, complex, and experimental categories. 32 Step Sequencer with zoom feature, 80 sound sources with 3 variations each, 3 modulators, sends effects section with 2 delays and 2 convolution reverbs and much more.
The Motors interface consists of two sections each containing a layer. The engine is based on Umlaut Audio’s Arps & Pads but with extra features. Sounds are formed from a combination of the two layers consisting of Organic and Processed sources. There’s a total of 60 sources for each layer that when combined produce a series of rich tempo synced pulses and lush melodic rhythms. Sources can be selected manually or can be randomly generated via the randomizer button. The center dial is used to mix between the two sources.
Each of the sources has three variations of sound with different timings which can be triggered with the E, F, and G keys for each layer independently. Even though each loop is different, variation 1 pulses on the beat, the 2nd variation doubles the tempo, and the 3rd variation is doubled yet again.
Each layer has pan, volume, envelope filter, and tune controls. Additionally, the layer controls have seven individual effects modules consisting of Solid EQ, Tape Saturator, Distortion, Lo-Fi, Transient, Compression and Modulation.
Selecting the mod button reveals a second page where the user can assign a combination of three envelopes: Env, LFO, and a Sequencer which can be assigned to any number of parameters in either layer. Here you’ll also find the Input Quantize function which results in a delay in the playback of the instrument until a precise beat division is reached. Divisions include 1/16, 1/8, and so on up to a full bar. These can be toggled by the input quantize selector.
The Legato Variation mode enables the ability to switch between variations as you play without having to reach for the root note key. Layers 1 & 2 play in unison by default but can be played individually by deactivating the layer link icon. This enables you to play different root keys.
The Effects have a sends FX section. Each layer can be routed to a combination of four different sends FX channels. There are two delays and two convolution reverbs. There are controls for the reverbs containing a slew of different room environments including Cathedral, Concert Hall, Chamber just to name a few. Using the send FX can transform a somewhat basic pulse into a complex multi-tap rhythm.
Additional tools include a Global section and a Sequencer Zoom feature that magnifies the steps for easy viewing and adjust-ability.
* Please see below to view screenshots of the user interface.
Sound Quality: The sound quality of the loops is remarkable and come with a huge assortment of sounds. The 140 preset snap shots that are categorized as clean, complex, and experimental are just the tip of the iceberg. Combine the presets with the Organic and Processed sources and you just greatly magnified the sound possibilities that can be gleaned from this behemoth. Tweak the controls a bit and add some of the onboard effects and the sound armada just grew exponentially. This is why they are called snap shots because there’s a multitude of possibilities that can shape the sound which then becomes unique.
Ease of use: The user interface is easy to follow and the manual is straight forward. Everything is within reach to get you up and running in no time.
Features: One of my gripes and entirely not Umlaut Audio’s fault, is that the user interface cannot be resized. I’m hoping that Native Instruments will enable this feature for future Kontakt products. Aside from that, the onboard FX are very good and provide a great way to add zest to the overall sound. The 80 sound sources with three variations are a dream come true when playing live and using the Legato variation mode. You can say goodbye to the samo-samo repetitive loops that come with other rhythmic packages. One of the features that I really like is the Zoom view on the 32 step sequencer and the send effects section with its’ delays and convolution reverbs. There is no demo of this product available however, you can head over to Umlaut Audio’s website and listen to some samples.
Bang for buck: Outstanding value rivaling those of more expensive counterparts.
Overall: The sounds of Motors inspires musical creativity and innovation. The user interface is well designed and provides for an uncluttered workflow that is easy to navigate. Umlaut Audio definitely hit the mark with Motors. It’s an application that delivers a robust assembly of high quality sounds and is the perfect tool for creating and designing a myriad of rhythmic patterns and intricate pulses. Highly recommended for musicians, sound designers in both television and film industries, or anyone looking to incorporate tonal and rhythmic pulses into their tracks. Motors is the perfect companion to add that special convolution magic to your tracks.