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REVIEW: NI's Massive X Is Good But Needs Improvements

Massive X GUI
Massive X's GUI is a fresh but slightly confusing design.

Native Instruments has released the long-awaited follow up to their massively popular synth, Massive. Massive X looks to dethrone Xfer's game-changing wavetable synth, Serum. In the future it very well could but for now it needs some improvements. NI has promised to offer coming updates that will expand it's features and several things standout.

1. It doesn't import custom wavetables.

In typical NI fashion, it features a lot of things and almost all of them are in some encrypted, proprietary format. Users will currently be unable to import their own wavetables. This is a big deal if they want to lure Serum users away.

2. It has limited presets.

The presets are good but they lack in quantity. This is actually a bonus for the after market sound designers. Thankfully, users CAN save and export presets they make or modify. This will likely lead to a staggering amount of presets coming from third party creators.

3. The GUI is fresh but it can be slightly confusing.

Overall the look is nice but finding basic controls like the ADSR is not obvious at first. Luckily they provide a tutorial on their website.

4. It lacks visual representations of things like LFOs and modulations.

Serum users like how visual the plugin is for it's processes. Unfortunately, Massive X lacks a lot of this, which would be fine but it's not apparent that users can, or will ever be able to, modify the GUI, or skin. This will likely turn off many users of other synths that like to see the information processed visually.

The routing process is kind of neat. It's very similar to graphical programming languages used in applications like SynthEdit or Flowstone. The resource burden it demands is quite minimal. Overall it's a good product. It isn't great, yet, but is worth the purchase simply because NI will likely add significant features in the coming months and third party sound designers will likely follow suit.

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