A successor to Native Instruments’ flagship wavetable soft synth Massive (reviewed in SOS February 2007) was announced last Autumn. Following a couple of delays, the new Massive X has now gone on sale.
Despite the shared name, Massive X uses a completely redesigned synth engine compared to its predecessor; patches from the older instrument cannot even be ported to the new one. If you ever bought Massive, however, there is a crossgrade to Massive X that is cheaper than buying it from scratch.
The new synth has dual wavetable oscillators with 170 different wavetables and 10 different oscillator modes. Sounds can be warped by two phase‑modulation oscillators and an external modulation input before they even pass out of the oscillator section to the built-in effects, noise generators, and generous selection of filter types — and the semi-modular routing architecture goes way beyond what was on offer in Massive, allowing any output to be connected to any input, and audio to be routed to or from multiple components simultaneously. There are nine slots for LFO and envelope modulation, and three new ‘Performer’ modulators, for which you can flexibly define modulation curves by drawing them in, and then trigger the modulation from a control octave on your attached keyboard, ‘playing’ the modulation at a time of your choosing. You can also define 16 macro controls for real‑time tweaking while playing.
That’s already quite a lot of synth, but NI promise that both the spec and the preset list will expand with future upgrades. Best of all, at €199$199 in 2019, Massive X costs less than Massive did on its launch (£229 in the UK in 2007). The Massive/Massive X crossgrade costs €149$149.