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Homegrown Sounds has released Vortex, a Windows MIDI VST Instrument designed to be an inspirational and intuitive multi-timbral sequencer with live performance in mind. It combines 12 synthesizers with 12 independent sequencers, an FX engine, pitch rescaling and rhythm manipulation on the fly. Vortex can be used to control external MIDI instruments as well as the internal synths, either exclusively or a combination of two.

Vortex can be used to create the base of a complete track, or simply as an inspirational source of ideas for your next track. Using the many randomizers alongside the Scale Squasher, patterns can be generated very quickly. The last triggered sequence is instantly displayed ready for editing with a minimum interruption to creative flow. The included presets can provide a good starting point for making music, however a blank slate is only a single click away for starting from scratch. Vortex includes a clearly written manual, internal quick reference screens and some video tutorials to get you started.

Instant gratification is never far away, playing a preset is done exclusively via your MIDI controller, especially when knobs are assigned to the various parameters such as Cutoff, Resonance, Filter Decay, Release etc. Manipulating the entire output of Vortex with these real-time controls allows creating a musical journey full of movement and discovery. There is a dedicated octave of live triggers, for example the programmable stutter which will play a micro-sequence with the press of a key. A further octave carries an octave of assignable pitch triggers each with it's own Scale Re-mapper for altering pitch on the fly.

It has been through an extensive public development/beta testing phase through a good part of the year. There is a fully functional demo version which times out after 30 minutes and contains a limited sample set. The full version comes with 384 instrument presets and 1200+ drum/percussion kits.

Feature List:

  • 12 Step Sequencers triggered by MIDI Notes with a huge range of options.
  • Two assignable CC Sequencers per Sequencer which can be used in various modes including Step and Envelope modes.
  • The sequencers can be used with external MIDI, the internal sound engine, or a mix of the two.
  • 12 real time performance triggers including stutter, programmable stutter, retrigger, half tempo, double step and tie all notes.
  • Each sequence can be set to respond to any combination of triggers.
  • Squash to scale per sequencer, allowing notes to be squashed into a desired chord/scale.
  • Internal Sound Engine based on 12 adapted Ammonites. Capable of synth sounds as well as 1200+ drum kits.
  • TerraNova FX Engine which includes SoundScaper, Tempo Delay and three Modulators (capable of modulation effects such as flangers, phasers, filters and pitch shifters).
  • A series of performance -+ knobs for the internal synth designed for assigning to knobs on your controller so that the global Cutoff, Resonance, Release, Filter Release can be manipulated in real-time.
  • Multi-Sequencer which can group combinations of sequences to a single key which can also be transposed and rescaled.
  • 16 Channel MIDI Mixer, each strip controls Volume, Pan, 2 assignable CCs, and Program Change Information.
  • CC Mixer which allows selecting up to 8 CC numbers to knobs for real-time manipulation.
  • Internal WAV Recorder for recording directly to WAV file straight from the plugin, including loop mode so that sample accurate loops can be recorded ready for other applications.

Pricing & Availability

Vortex is available for Windows as a VST instrument plug-in. It retails at $140 but is $120 until the 1st June, 2012. Try the demo or read more.

There is also a sale on Homegrown Complete, a large downloadable sample collection which is $40 until the end of June. It includes all sample releases ever made by Homegrown Sounds.

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