MachFive claims to be the first universal software sampler, as it supports every major audio platform on both Mac and Windows (MAS, VST, Audio Units, HTDM, RTAS and DXi).
The idea is that you can effortlessly move from one platform to another - or collaborate with colleagues who use different audio software.
MachFive is 16-part multitimbral, so one insertion may be needed - with up to 16 MIDI tracks in the sequencer playing back the different parts. You can set a different output for each part into the mixer when using Digital Performer as the host, so effects can be added and levels balanced between parts using different mixer channels. Cubase, Nuendo and Logic for Mac OS 9 provide eight outputs. Logic for OS X and Pro Tools provide only two - so the sounds from all the parts are mixed together into stereo. You can add effects and balance sounds within the plug-in, but if separate outputs are needed, it means using separate instances of the plug-in.
MachFive is much more than a sampler; it’s more like a top-flight synthesizer with sophisticated filters, envelope controls, LFOs and modulation options. Editing and performance parameters are presented in a single window, and samples can be dragged directly from the desktop or host tool to MachFive’s keyboard to create key groups. MachFive’s waveform editor can truncate, normalize, fade and otherwise manipulate samples in the central display area. The effects section lets users add effects to each multitimbral part, as well as up to four global aux effects and four master effects- choosing from the dozens available.
MachFive comes in six-, four- and two-channel versions, and accepts samples in all formats from mono to 5.1. There’s plenty of polyphony - up to 128 notes with the fastest CPUs - and you can set the polyphony for each part. MachFive supports 24-bit audio at up to 192KHz, and high-resolution samples can be used at lower sample rates- so go ahead and sample at 96 or 192KHz. A key feature is support for GigaSampler and all other major formats.
I encountered bugs in Cubase SX 2.0, but everything was fine in Pro Tools. Digital Performer let me use more tracks without breakup. I buy the idea of using MachFive on different hosts, as I regularly work many, and it’s a pain swapping between the EXS24, Kontakt, Halion and SampleTank.