NAMM 2006 Winter Show: MOTU debuted the MOTU Ethno Instrument, a cross-platform virtual instrument that gives users access to an 8GB library of world/ethnic instruments, loops and phrases.
“Ethno is truly unique because it combines ethnic instruments with world loops and phrases, all in one window,” said Jim Cooper, Director of Marketing for MOTU. “This hybrid approach allows Ethno to provide the most comprehensive collection of world sounds ever assembled in one virtual instrument.”
With 4GB of expressive ethnic instrument sounds combined with another 4GB of authentic world music loops and phrases, Ethno Instrument delivers all of the exotic textures needed to take recordings to the four corners of the globe. Ethno’s multi-column preset browser clearly organizes both instruments and loops by regions of the world, including Africa, Asia, Australia, Celtic, Eastern Europe, India, Middle East, Mediterranean, West Indies, Occidental and others. Instrument sounds may also be browsed by instrument categories, including Woodwind, Stringed, Bell/Metal/Gong, Key, Voice, Percussion and others. When the user loads a sound, a map displays the area of the world that the instrument comes from. If the user then clicks the map, a picture of the instrument appears so that the user can see what it looks like.
Musicians who specialize in each instrument were recorded in world-class studios with pristine audio fidelity and careful attention to detail. For example, many of the included instruments do not conform to Western tonality, so two different Ethno presets are provided: one preset with original, unmodified tuning and a second preset with each note tuned to conform to a Western 12-tone chromatic scale. Users can then play the instrument in its truly authentic form or easily incorporate it into music with conventional Western tonality.
Loops and Phrases
Ethno Instrument’s 4GB of stylistically authentic loops and phrases include percussive rhythms, vocal utterances, solo and ensemble voices, single-instrument chord progressions, multi-instrument rhythm sections, ornamental flourishes (such as harp glissandos), and much more. Rhythmic loops always play in tempo with each other, wherever possible, and a “Sync to Host” button allows loops to play in tempo with the time line of plug-in host applications such as Digital Performer, Pro Tools and Live. State-of-the-art time stretching technology ensures sound quality, even at extremely slow or fast tempos. Many additional looping controls are provided, such as Sample Start adjust, Double/Half Tempo and Latch mode for starting and stopping loops with a single keystroke.
Highly rhythmic and percussive loops are stored as sliced loops, similar to REX2 files. With a single click on the “Map” button, loop slices can be automatically mapped to MIDI notes as single hits or beats. Users can then trigger (and record) the individual beats from a MIDI keyboard, drum pad or other MIDI controller to completely rearrange (or otherwise manipulate) the beats any way they wish.
>> Drag and Drop
To import a loop into the host for further editing, processing and manipulation directly in the host, users can simply drag and drop the loop from the Ethno Instrument window into a host audio track. Sliced loops (described earlier) can be dragged into a MIDI track as MIDI data, where all of the MIDI sequencing capabilities of the host application, such as randomization and groove quantize, can be brought to bear on the MIDI notes that trigger each slice.
Sound sculpting and convolution reverb
The sound of all loops and phrases can be independently adjusted with a variety of intuitive sound-shaping tools, including an amplitude envelope, multimode filter, LFO, two-shelf EQ, pitch controls, and MIDI velocity response curves. Stunningly realistic built-in convolution reverb allows users to place their sounds in authentic acoustic spaces, from natural settings like caves and forests to spacious concert halls and soaring cathedrals.
Plug-in and stand-alone operation
Ethno Instrument can be used on the Mac or PC as a plug-in with any compatible host application (VST, DXi, MAS, Audio Units and RTAS) or as a stand-alone application (included), where users can load up to 64 different instruments per instance (triggered independently via 64 MIDI channels) to create ensembles of any size and scope, sub-mixed to as many as 17 independent stereo outputs (under stand-alone operation or under hosts that support multiple outputs).
A snapshot of all Ethno settings can be saved on disk as a “multi”. Multis can then be freely transferred and exchanged among computers and host programs. For example, an Ethno multi created in Digital Performer on Mac OS X can be opened in Ethno Instrument running under Pro Tools on Windows. Disk streaming can be enabled on a per instrument basis to conserve RAM resources and quicken load times. For live performance, “Expert Mode” provides advanced programming features, such as key switches, velocity layers and keyboard splits (zones). Ethno Instrument is powered by the second generation UVI Engine, renowned for its sound quality and performance.
The MOTU Ethno Instrument will ship in Q1, 2006 for a list price of $295.
More information is available at the MOTU site.