Opinions on MassiveX

VST, AU, AAX, etc. plug-in Virtual Instruments discussion
noiseboyuk
KVRAF
2879 posts since 25 Jan, 2007

Post Wed Nov 27, 2019 3:16 pm

BONES wrote:
Wed Nov 27, 2019 2:41 pm
noiseboyuk wrote:
Wed Nov 27, 2019 12:55 am
You may have missedunderstood my point (or likely I said it very badly). I was distinguishing between soft synths that to my ears always tend towards the cold, clinical or sterile, and those that don't.
See, I don't even understand what that means because that's the kind of thing I use analogue sounding synths for.
Well, that kind of IS my point. I've rather foolishly taken the OP's title more literally than the OP itself, and having been dragging the thread off topic as a result ever since. It's been a mini revelation for me in trying both Massive X and Zebra that your summary is essentially what I like about synths.

That was a terrific, thoughtful post from Functional and I can appreciate all the solid arguments, but it doesn't much matter to me because I hear so little in the MX sound I actually like. Which isn't the fault of MX, its the fault of my ears and brain. I just don't like these kinds of synths, but I never fully appreciated this until recently.
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Functional
KVRian
754 posts since 26 Oct, 2011

Re: Opinions on MassiveX

Post Wed Nov 27, 2019 3:43 pm

noiseboyuk wrote:
Wed Nov 27, 2019 3:16 pm
BONES wrote:
Wed Nov 27, 2019 2:41 pm
noiseboyuk wrote:
Wed Nov 27, 2019 12:55 am
You may have missedunderstood my point (or likely I said it very badly). I was distinguishing between soft synths that to my ears always tend towards the cold, clinical or sterile, and those that don't.
See, I don't even understand what that means because that's the kind of thing I use analogue sounding synths for.
Well, that kind of IS my point. I've rather foolishly taken the OP's title more literally than the OP itself, and having been dragging the thread off topic as a result ever since. It's been a mini revelation for me in trying both Massive X and Zebra that your summary is essentially what I like about synths.

That was a terrific, thoughtful post from Functional and I can appreciate all the solid arguments, but it doesn't much matter to me because I hear so little in the MX sound I actually like. Which isn't the fault of MX, its the fault of my ears and brain. I just don't like these kinds of synths, but I never fully appreciated this until recently.
If you don't like the sound of MX, that's entirely fine and valid, there's no real reason for me to try and change your mind - even if it's just some psychological thing or whatever. I don't really care whenever a particular person doesn't like MX - what I care about is whenever people start rationalizing their dislike of Massive X based on some faux objective comparisons or something else stupid like the envelope graphics. It's clear that a lot of the criticism came from Serum folks and it's like... do they even really care about synths? They're very vocal to voice their opinion, but they don't seem to even really care how a synth performs and their metrics are entirely non-sensical to say the least.

The problem with all this is that their vocal misinformed opinion gets echoed all over the place to the point where people who have had zero experience with MX will say comments like "Massive X? More like Massive L, right?" because it's so hip. Not to mention, if synth developers are going to take notes from this, the notes are likely "Be more like Serum, or else get poor reviews by people who don't even tweak their presets"

Hell, the same crowd could be praising Dune 3 as-we-speak considering that Dune 3 has actually the broadest selection of unison algorithms including one (the non-linear one) that gets really close to JP-8000. But no, they'll go on thinking that Serum is the best thing out there for getting that classic supersaw sound.

I could write another wall of text about this but I guess I'll abstain to retain a little favor with our gods, namely Hink

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dionenoid
KVRist
487 posts since 3 Jan, 2019 from Holland

Re: Opinions on MassiveX

Post Wed Nov 27, 2019 3:48 pm

Functional wrote:
Wed Nov 27, 2019 2:11 pm

....

Massive X is a big, HUGE leap forward from this and it does one thing that I've never seen a synthesizer do - thing that makes this the go-to synth for anyone who is looking for a easy-to-use, software synth to create sounds that sound "organic" and have some actual damn unpredictability in their sound.

....
Great post, pretty much agree with everything you said. I quoted a part about what actually made me like it so much. "Organic" is a great way of describing how it sounds.

Even when you make pretty straightforward sounds with it, it can 'move' and feel alive in a way that i didn't hear in many other synths. Including my analog synths.

And i like to add something else : it doesn't need much work to sit well in a mix. For me as a producer that's a very important plus.
More BPM please

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BONES
GRRRRRRR!
9050 posts since 14 Jun, 2001 from Somewhere else, on principle

Re: Opinions on MassiveX

Post Wed Nov 27, 2019 3:57 pm

noiseboyuk wrote:
Wed Nov 27, 2019 3:16 pm
I just don't like these kinds of synths, but I never fully appreciated this until recently.
Those kinds of realisations are quite exciting, aren't they? For me, I never liked the sound of any Moog synth, way back to the early 80s, but I could never really say why. I know it was in the filter but beyond saying "the oscillators are huge but I don't like the filter", I couldn't really say what it was. Then a few years ago I was watching a video on Youtube where Bob Moog himself was describing the limitations of his ladder filter design - that as you turn up the resonance, the bottom end drops out - and it was a eureka moment for me. Very satisfying.
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Functional
KVRian
754 posts since 26 Oct, 2011

Re: Opinions on MassiveX

Post Wed Nov 27, 2019 4:12 pm

dionenoid wrote:
Wed Nov 27, 2019 3:48 pm
Even when you make pretty straightforward sounds with it, it can 'move' and feel alive in a way that i didn't hear in many other synths. Including my analog synths.

And i like to add something else : it doesn't need much work to sit well in a mix. For me as a producer that's a very important plus.
As much as I want to agree with this, I personally attribute these kinds of things largely to my brains just playing tricks on me. For this reason, I generally don't value the notion of synths having "a particular sound" too much. Hell, Hans Zimmer thinks (or thought) that daws have different sounds and that he can hear whenever something is made in logic. If a guy like him can be so awfully wrong (who clearly knows his shit in other regards), there's no reason to assume that my brains can't play these tricks on me as well.

With all that being said though, the VR modulator alongside with the random LFO + blue monark filter do really make a convincing case for me personally whenever I make simpler things. I've fell practically in love with sine-based sounds in Massive X in particular. They sound so beautiful and very, very Boards of Canada. If someone told me 5 years ago that the spiritual successor of Massive is going to be the perfect software synth to get down to that BoC action, I'd have a laugh and reply something snarkly like "Yeah, the synth and of course the 10 inserted effects to make it sound organic". And here we are, a synth that barely asks for inserted effects when creating those kinds of sounds.

dmbaer
KVRian
1391 posts since 11 Nov, 2009 from Northern CA

Re: Opinions on MassiveX

Post Thu Nov 28, 2019 1:17 pm

Functional wrote:
Wed Nov 27, 2019 2:11 pm
I've been using Massive X a LOT and it has pretty much become my "go-to" synth for anything . . .

. . .

. . . it would have been nice if you could switch between the two topologies.
Very impressive post, Functional. Both well-stated and totally on the money. Well done!

Buckster
KVRist
87 posts since 27 Nov, 2016

Re: Opinions on MassiveX

Post Mon Dec 02, 2019 8:53 am

Just to check please that you get Massive X with 12 Select ? Just 13 Select plus audio interface is only about 50 dollars more than massive X on its own

Thankyou

experimental.crow
KVRAF
6043 posts since 9 Mar, 2003 from the bridge of sighs

Re: Opinions on MassiveX

Post Mon Dec 02, 2019 8:57 am

Buckster wrote:
Mon Dec 02, 2019 8:53 am
Just to check please that you get Massive X with 12 Select ? Just 13 Select plus audio interface is only about 50 dollars more than massive X on its own

Thankyou
Komplete 12 Select includes the original Massive , not Massive X ...
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chk071
KVRAF
22457 posts since 11 Apr, 2010 from Germany

Re: Opinions on MassiveX

Post Mon Dec 02, 2019 9:00 am

Yes.

There's a comparison of versions here: https://www.native-instruments.com/de/p ... 2/compare/

Ohlson_M
KVRist
89 posts since 20 May, 2016

Re: Opinions on MassiveX

Post Mon Dec 02, 2019 3:24 pm

So I downloaded the Massive X demo. There is no doubt that this synth sounds INCREDIBLE. However, the GUI is far from intuitive and inspiring. The lack of visual feedback from parameters, envelopes etc. are quite shocking for a modern synth. This GUI just feels messy and overcomplicated to navigate in.

Really hope they add more visual feedback, as the sound itself is 👌👌👌.

cron
KVRAF
3250 posts since 27 Dec, 2002 from North East England

Re: Opinions on MassiveX

Post Mon Dec 02, 2019 4:02 pm

Functional wrote:
Wed Nov 27, 2019 3:43 pm
It's clear that a lot of the criticism came from Serum folks and it's like... do they even really care about synths? They're very vocal to voice their opinion, but they don't seem to even really care how a synth performs and their metrics are entirely non-sensical to say the least.

The problem with all this is that their vocal misinformed opinion gets echoed all over the place to the point where people who have had zero experience with MX will say comments like "Massive X? More like Massive L, right?" because it's so hip. Not to mention, if synth developers are going to take notes from this, the notes are likely "Be more like Serum, or else get poor reviews by people who don't even tweak their presets"
I've only demoed MX since I picked up Reaktor and Razor in the sale and thought I'd give it a spin while I was at it, but this really sums up the MX reaction in general well for me. Serum is... I mean I do like it but holy shit it doesn't sound good and it becomes abysmal when you throw more complex wavetables at it. The original Massive's Carbon wavetable would just be a mess of zipper noise if you tried it in Serum.

Also surprised by a few people saying the original Massive has a bad reputation. I think we're forgetting just how much it brought to the table back when it was released, not least that it essentially revolutionised soft synth ergonomics overnight. Things that we take for granted now like drag and drop modulation assignments with 'always on' visual feedback started or were perfected there.

As for MX, if I hadn't already spent so much already I'd be picking it up. It sounds great. One of those synths where even the simple stuff becomes a joy. When I'm not digging into the advanced stuff and just playing with the envelopes because the snap is so satisfying, I know I'm on to a winner. I can only assume 1.0 was in a terrible state because right now the first impression it leaves is great.

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pdxindy
KVRAF
16108 posts since 3 Feb, 2005 from in the wilds

Re: Opinions on MassiveX

Post Mon Dec 02, 2019 4:04 pm

I find the CPU to sound quality ratio very good in MX.

I like the fundamental sound of Bazille better, though MX has more useful FX and is no slouch sonically.

The GUI And Midi implementation of MX is the big downer for me. There is so much tabbing around in MX. It’s necessary to tab around to gather info about what is doing what. Lots of little menus and poor support for things like arrow keys. MX is like carpal tunnel deluxe.

I could live with the clumsy GUI but the lack of Midi support is the showstopper for me. MX doesn’t support expression pedal, or breath control. It doesn’t support MPE or even just Poly AT. With new synths/controllers like Hydrasynth which have Poly AT, that is very disappointing about MX.

MX also doesn’t have midi learn or direct parameter automation. So you cannot set up a midi controller to do sound design in MX.

MX is too lacking in capabilities that are important to me for me to invest my time into it.

I do like the sound capability, so maybe in the future if NI fills in those deficiencies, I’ll make use of it. NI doesn’t have a track record of doing that so I don’t expect it, but since it is part of Komplete I wont be selling it regardless.

vertibration
KVRist
88 posts since 11 Nov, 2010 from ny

Re: Opinions on MassiveX

Post Mon Dec 02, 2019 7:04 pm

With MX, you really gotta approach it with a clear mind, and have patience to know that you are going to start something from scratch. Start small, dont overthink. Its a pretty easy synth to wrap your head around. I am still trying to get really good with it, and when you actually put the effort in, the rewards are great. It definitely is the most organic sounding synth, and frankly I would rate it as the best sounding synth in the way it handles space. That is a big issue for other VST's. Plug in a Dave Smith synth, Stereo, and it surrounds you. I feel like MX has superior way of handling space in comparison to other VST's. It handles space as if it were in fact an analog synth plugged in as stereo with left and right outputs.

Stefken
KVRAF
1709 posts since 9 Nov, 2016

Re: Opinions on MassiveX

Post Tue Dec 03, 2019 12:14 am

Functional wrote:
Wed Nov 27, 2019 3:43 pm
"Be more like Serum, or else get poor reviews by people who don't even tweak their presets"
That's nonsense.
I don't like the sound of Serum at all but as for the GUI, there is a reason it's holding up so well.

The original gui of MX was so bad I could pretty much write a book about it. The idiocy of eating up screen real estate with a static! diagram of the envelope was very indicative of this poor design.
So it became somewhat a symbol of poor design. More so than the fact that there was no dynamic representation of the envelope.

They cleaned up some of the biggest ui problems in the update. It's better now but it won't win any UI prizes.

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DJ Warmonger
KVRAF
3457 posts since 7 Jun, 2012 from Warsaw

Re: Opinions on MassiveX

Post Tue Dec 03, 2019 12:32 am

I don't like the sound of Serum at all but as for the GUI, there is a reason it's holding up so well.

The original gui of MX was so bad I could pretty much write a book about it.
GUI of Serum and Massive is very similiar. There's top panel for oscillators, filter and FX, and the bottom panel for modulation sources.

Massive X however doesn't have these huge fancy animated wavetables, which look spectacular in Serum but also take a lot of precious space.
The idiocy of eating up screen real estate with a static! diagram of the envelope was very indicative of this poor design.
So it became somewhat a symbol of poor design. More so than the fact that there was no dynamic representation of the envelope.
This was obviously a bug or lack of time to implement the feature properly. It's not desired behavior, don't pretend to be smarter than anyone.
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