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User Reviews by KVR Members for MX4

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Reviewed By groovizm [read all by] on 28th October 2010
Version reviewed: 2 on Mac.
Last edited by groovizm on 28th October 2010.
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The MX4 is a mac-only software synthesizer which comes in MAS, RTAS and AU formats. From the website you can download a demo, which, when you buy and insert the iLok dongle switches to the full-version.

The MX4 is configured like a classic analog synth: 3 oscillators go through the filters to the amplifier section where two effects can be added to the overall sound. For modulation we have 6 LFO's, 4 ADSHR envelopes, and a step-sequencer.

The MX4 takes things a little bit further though.

The oscillators offer not only classic analog waveforms like saw, pulse and triangle, but also a whole range of digital wavetables. There are 'symmetry' and 'wavetable index' parameters (which can be modulated), FM, ringmodulation and hard sync. All these sound sources can be panned individually. This allows us to create some pretty complex sounds, without even using a filter or an effect.

The filter section is very flexible as well. There are two identical multi-mode filters which can be any combination of low pass, hi pass, bandpass or band reject with 6, 12, 18 or 24 DB/octave characteristics. The two filters are accompanied by a overdrive/distortion and they can be set up in 12 different topologies, like for instance distortion first and then the filters in parallel, or the distortion between the filters, or the filters in series. Whatever you can think of.

To round of the audio chain we have a master section where we can adjust volume, stereo, panning and mix in a fundamental. (Logic's ES2 has this feature too, and sometimes it is just what you need.)

This all would not be very exciting without some modulation thrown in. Luckily the MX4 offers a very powerful modulation matrix. Modulation sources are assigned by selecting a modulation slot and then option-dragging the controls of any parameter. This gives a nice visual feedback of the modulation range, much like in Native Instruments' Massive. On a separate page MX4 has a step-sequencer, an arppegiator and a gater. These, together with the LFO's can all be sync'ed to the hosts tempo to create vast evolving rhythmic soundsscapes.

The MX4 has a very warm, liquid-sounding character is surprisingly easy on the CPU. The one prob I have with the MX4 is it's user interface: it is laden with tiny fonts, sliders, switches and knobs that I just find hard to operate. It's a shame really, because the thing has so much character I want to use it all the time, but it's just so fiddly it can be quite tiresome to use. So I advice anyone to try the demo first and see if they experience the same.
Reviewed By Just Float [read all by] on 4th April 2005
Version reviewed: 1.0 on Mac.
Last edited by Just Float on 4th April 2005.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
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I think I'm the only person that owns this synth. I've had it for a couple of months now and here's what I think. The reason I chose MX4 was because after to listening to audio demos and playing all the demos I could, MX4 had the most organic evolving sound I could find. I don't doubt I didn't explore every other possibility with every synth but it seemed like it would be easiest to do with MX4.
The interface has got to be one of the simplest I've ever used. Especially considering how complex a single patch can be. Everything is on one panel and it's very sexy looking too.
Two things that stand out are the number of wavetables that it ships with and the ease of modulation. I don't know exactly how many there are but there's dozens of wavetables, each of them full of complex waveforms. With 3 oscs and all these waveforms, you can easily have a sound that is never the same at one time. 6 LFOS can modulate almost anything including eachother. Modulation is very visual as well, you draw out the range and you even watch the value changing as you play the synth (represented by little markers pulsating all over the interface). Every "modulator" also has a slot for itself to be modulated. So you can modulate things modulating things.
Everything can be synced to the tempo. Most of the patches I make with MX4 are complex rhythm sequences. This is what I think the MX4 is best used for. You can make beautiful little clicky textured drones with tons of character without adding a single effect. So there are endless mixtures of modulation and wavetables so I think it offers a lot of sound possibilities. I can't compare the sound to anything in particular, but it does have it's own sound. I guess I'd say that it's very warm.
The chorus and the delay sound fine and work although I can't say I've ever heard a bad kind of either. You can run audio through the synth although I haven't found a reason why I would want to do it, it's there if you want it.
It comes with an easy to understand manual but the synth is so simple to use and i think I've only read the manual about 2 or 3 times.
Presets are the only thing lacking here. There are very few and I hardly like any of them. This is fine with me since I prefer to program from scratch.
My experience with support: I lost my iLok. MOTU sent me a new one promptly once I reported it. What else can I say.
Value for money: I cant compare this to other synths Ive bought as its the only one I have. I like the sound, but It isn't cheap...
Don't think it's crashed ever.
Almost forgot:
http://www.kvraudio.com/news/2959.html
Add all those new features onto what it has to offer now and I think the value for money definently comes up.

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MX4

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