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Massive X: Status/Future?

Discussion in 'MASSIVE + MASSIVE X' started by Lucas Howden, Mar 23, 2021.

  1. Lucas Howden

    Lucas Howden NI Product Owner

    Messages:
    20
    Dear Native Instruments team,

    it's only been recently that Massive X's brilliant sound caught my attention again and made me actually continue working with this synth. Having purchased it in 2019, the year of its belated birth (paying full price not long before it surprisingly went on sale for a short period...) and with quite some time having passed since then, question marks (and frustration) became bigger, if those missing fundamental synthesizer functionalities, which can be expected as natural synth plugin ingredients nowadays, will be maintained by this company of world-class reputation or not. In the meantime I even have repeatedly wondered if Massive X is a discontinued product already, which is an unfortunate challenge of my faith!

    Now, after some rather slight software updates every now and then, after some messages from me to the NI email support trying to gain some knowledge, and quite some waiting, Massive X is on its way to celebrate its 2nd birthday without actually having anything to celebrate, from my point of view.

    Massive X has once been advertised like this: "As you might know already, a big part of Massive X is its continued development – the introduction of new features, parts, and so on in the future.“
    This sounds pretty ironic to me now. My understanding of this was that great new features would have to be expected, providing even more creative and thus sound design potential. I had not hoped for having to wait for (basic) features for almost 2 years now.

    I really like this synth! I mean, it sounds fantastic to me! I like the GUI, it's pleasing, logical and fun to explore at the same time! I still consider it a highest-quality synth, sound-wise and even feature-wise.
    But I'm still missing features for being able to reasonably work with this synth. I know that many users have already collected many of those topics, but I'll just try some kind of my personal summary here:

    IMPORTANT FEATURES
    - Preset browser: Favorites! At least one level (e.g. a heart symbol); multiple levels are welcome (ranking functionality with markers of different colors)
    - Preset browser: Search functionality (text input)!
    - Preset browser: Filter functionality! I have to be able to search by different criteria at the same time, e.g. by expansion (e.g. Rush) AND by category (e.g. synth pad) AND further (e.g. favorites). We live in 2021.
    - Preset browser: Creation of custom folders and categories
    - Performer: Presets! I have to be able to save and load custom-made performer sequences. It's very tedious having to re-sculpt modulations on every new patch.
    - Performer: Copy/Paste: I have to be able to copy performer parts, at least inside of one performer. It's very tedious to exactly redproduce modulations for different bars manually, before finetuning them from there.
    - Enter values: I like being able to work precisely, and sometimes I just need to enter, say, a modulation frequency value by hand directly.
    - Visualization of modulation assignments: I really like the concept of the mouse hovering over the modulation source's crosshatch leading to a visual indication of the modulation targets by the appearance of circles of the same color as the modulator! Since this doesn't work on currently hidden areas yet, I propose the following: Please implement color circles as an overlay to the respective category. Example: L5 modulates different destinations. If Insert effect B is one of them, but Insert A is visually active, then there should be a green circle above B when hovering on L5's crosshatch, so the user knows there's a modulation hiding at all. There should be color circles, respectively, over P1, P2, P3 to T1, T2, T3, T4 as well as X, Y and Z. Otherwise the user has to step through all panels manually to reveal possible routings.

    NICE TO HAVE:
    - Modulations should be visualized with live motions on each respective parameter.
    - Wavetable visualization should not only change when moving the position knob, but also when being modulated (e.g. by a Macro knob).
    - MIDI learn for all parameters, not just macros.
    - Wavetables: Import
    - Wavetables: Editor
    - MPE implementation

    Massive X being a synth of "continued development" piques curiousity for new features - new modules (a compressor etc.), additonal oscillators (3 and 4), a further main filter (serial, parallel), but even whole new creative possibilities/effects (such as some features lent from Molekular and such).

    But (when) can (those) features be expected?!?
    Is it worthwile for me continuing to work with this synth? A synth nobody offers a real in-depth every-detail hours-long expert guide for, maybe because noone knows how long such a course will last before being outdated?

    I open Native Access waiting to be surprsied by those Massive X updates quite often. WHEN are crucial improvements to be expected?


    Best regards
    Lucas
     
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2021
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  2. EvilDragon

    EvilDragon Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    19,938
    This is something everyone needs to answer for themselves. Is the sound quality vs effort ratio worth it to you? Does it really matter nobody offers in-depth every-detail guides, though? Manual is rather well written and offers enough explanation i.e. regarding all the different wavetable phase distortion modes. That alone is months of exploration!

    This is what I would pose as a challenge. Why not first explore what is already in there. My humble 2 cents are: you're already getting a lot of wavetables with MX, and all the phase distortion modes plus FM increase sound shaping possibilities more than exponentially...


    This is not to diminish any of the known feature requests, of course. Everyone would benefit a better patch browser (and NI is well aware). MPE is still a bit niche though, but supporting it certainly wouldn't hurt. It's just a matter of prioritization.
     
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  3. Lucas Howden

    Lucas Howden NI Product Owner

    Messages:
    20
    EvilDragon, are you a Native Instruments employee or representative?
     
  4. Kymeia

    Kymeia NI Product Owner

    Messages:
    6,268
  5. EvilDragon

    EvilDragon Well-Known Member

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    19,938
    Read my signature. :)
     
  6. Lucas Howden

    Lucas Howden NI Product Owner

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    20
    Thanks for your initial support! But please don't put so much focus on the tutorials part of my post. My main focus lies on the questions if and WHEN there will be updates for Massive X. And which. And I'd be glad to hear about those by NI themselves.
     
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2021
  7. Philippe

    Philippe Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,553
    I must say I agree to almost everything you mentioned, with the exception of the Wavetable items. As EvilDragon says, frankly with the factory wavetables and all the modulation/routing features, they're not my main concern. But all this workflow improvements would be all welcome by people actually making sounds for MX. If one is more a player, then I guess the browser features will be favoured.
     
  8. EvilDragon

    EvilDragon Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    19,938
    There's not a great history of NI sharing their roadmap publicly with users. Occassionally happens with Maschine, but they've been burned with a few promises that didn't get realized eventually. So...
     
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  9. Matt @ NI

    Matt @ NI NI Team NI Team

    Messages:
    2,445
    It sounds like we had high aspirations when we released it. When looking at the release date, they seem to have been cut short by pretty big internal changes. Appreciate the feedback and to be fully transparent, I'm not sure we'll have a lot of these features coming super soon considering we need to address compatibility on Mac first.
     
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  10. LX World

    LX World NI Product Owner

    Messages:
    87
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 23, 2021
  11. EvilDragon

    EvilDragon Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    19,938
    It's a she, her name is Azra :)

    For the time being, on Windows, you can use SAVIhost for basically creating your own standalone. On Mac, I think you can use HostingAU to the same extent...

    Both free.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  12. Lucas Howden

    Lucas Howden NI Product Owner

    Messages:
    20

    To be true – this all makes me sad.


    "to be fully transparent, I'm not sure we'll have a lot of these features coming super soon"

    That´s honest, at least.

    Albeit far away from what I´d call “fully transparent”. Or an answer.

    I don´t expect a “roadmap”, and I don´t expect justification, but almost two years of inquiry and waiting might evoke certain expectations concerning progress, don´t you think?

    Priorities are currently on “Mac” issues (which I, by the way, don´t care about at all). Issues, I assume, that are way younger than Massive X. So I can only hope that the next big issues after “Mac” keep waiting for Massive X having a chance of getting implementation of some basic features.

    I find it strange to hear the manufacturer not remembering (or following) their own words (https://support.native-instruments....06211037-Welcome-to-the-Massive-X-Area-en-us-). But, letting disappointment speak, talking of “the future” doesn´t really specify a certain point or period in time. I truly regret the “big internal changes”, but if basic features already appear that much of a problem, I only dare to vaguely imagine some kind of schedule for updates beyond those basics.

    I guess many people saw “high aspirations” when Massive X was released, so did I. I don´t regret having purchased your flagship synthesizer, I really like the sound, and I like to use much of it. But I regret having to wait for that long. That feels like discontinued.


    In summary, now I still don´t know anything about Massive X´s future. Maybe this will change, and some progress will be possible in a not too distant future (a few days after “super soon”).

    Please keep in mind, and respect, that I am a customer and that I have paid money for this.


    Best regards

    Lucas Howden
     
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  13. Matt @ NI

    Matt @ NI NI Team NI Team

    Messages:
    2,445
    100% agree although I'm not entirely else I could say here. I understand the disappointment but as far as I can see, I don't believe there will be new features coming in the next few months. We don't have the full picture so it's not to say it's not coming this year for example but just the information I have right now.

    Massive X is not discontinued or dead like I can read but it's been just extremely slow. We still have plans to work on the browser and some of the features you suggested but no timeline quite yet.
     
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  14. LX World

    LX World NI Product Owner

    Messages:
    87
    Thanks EvilDragon. I used that SAVIhost years ago but forgot about it! Thanks for the reminder :)

    I was referring to your meow being worse than your bite (it was a play on words since the saying "bark" didn't seem right!)
     
  15. GuyCool

    GuyCool NI Product Owner

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    25
    This post is a great example of failure on NI's part.
    Waiting years for the most basic updates (the browser being among the most egregious...) looks really poor to the casual and non-casual observer. If the support team is so snowed-under with a backlog of work... EMPLOY MORE SUPPORT STAFF/CODERS.
    You would not know that NI are pretty much the largest producer of software/hardware for the home/prosumer market. Anyone would think it was a couple of guys in garage or bedroom somewhere.
    I into Ni stuff for about £2-2.5k in the last 2-3 years, believing that I could trust/rely on the company to deliver what they SEEM to be offering. Caveat emptor.

    I like a lot of the stuff I have, and I would love to love it all, but some of it is poor and feels crippled.
    The Big Sur debacle is another good case, as is the apple silicon situation.
    How long is long enough...?
     
  16. EvilDragon

    EvilDragon Well-Known Member

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    19,938
    Not all codebases are easy to port to Apple Silicon, if you think it's just writing a few lines of code and flipping a switch you're wrong. So, some things will take time until they are compatible.
     
  17. GuyCool

    GuyCool NI Product Owner

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    25
    How long is reasonable though, ED?
    Apple made their AS dev kits available 8-9 months ago!
    The MX issues have been around since it came out, 2 years ago!

    When one buys software that has the promise of updates, one is entitled to those updates, otherwise one is sold on a lie.
     
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  18. EvilDragon

    EvilDragon Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    19,938
    Yes they made their dev kits available but they aren't exactly sending out enough of them to all the various devs. Which is kinda important to bigger companies like NI which have a lot of products and different teams covering those products.

    How long is reasonable? As long as it's needed. At any rate you can already see Big Sur updates are well underway, but there's dozens of plugins to update, and they don't all share the same core. So it will take time.
     
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  19. Kubrak

    Kubrak NI Product Owner

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    1,056
    It may be pretty hard, if possible, to make Massive X run on Apple Silicon well. MX uses special complex CPU instructions, that Apple chip lacks. Replacing those instructions by 'ordinary' ones may lead to inferior behaviour. So, it may be a hard nut to make MX the both compatible and running satisfactory on Apple Silicon....

    There were six updates of MX. Updates for free... OK, one might expect more, but.... There were changes, restructuring and layouts in past years. And never ending story of Apple making things to breake with almost any change in OS.... And now Apple Silicon....

    No wonder, the highest priority for NI (concerning MX) is to make it run satisfactory (if possible) on Apple Silicon....
     
  20. GuyCool

    GuyCool NI Product Owner

    Messages:
    25
    Look. I’m not a coder. I don’t know too much about what is ‘under the hood’. I realise that the chip architecture is different, and that the way the chips achieve their end results is different...but I do not believe that the end result on an Intel chip cannot be replicated on AS. I suspect that, ultimately, things will run way better on AS than on X86-based chips. I realise that someone has to make that happen...my advice to NI is the same though. Employ more coders, so that you can work through the backlog of issues in a timely fashion; one that meets the expectations of your customer base.

    The updates so far to MX have simply been to make it into the product it should have been at launch. I don’t feel like I have been ‘given’ anything that I thought I hadn’t already paid for.
     
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