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Mark of the Unicorn (MOTU) Ethno World Virtual Instrument Soft Synth

World/ethnic instruments, loops and phrases in a unified window. (10) Read 3 reviews for this product | Rate and review this product
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MOTU Ethno World Virtual Instrument

World/ethnic instruments, loops and phrases in a unified window.

The Ethno Instrument delivers expressive ethnic instrument sounds combined with authentic world music loops and phrases in one easy-to-use window. From solo instruments to full ensembles, the Ethno Instrument delivers all of the exotic textures you need to take your recordings to the four corners of the globe.

Start with a massive 4GB library of instrument samples from all over the world, recorded with pristine audio fidelity and careful attention to detail. Now add another 4GB of authentic loops and phrases, instantly tempo-locked to your host software time line. Slice loops with one click to trigger each beat from your keyboard, or drag & drop them into your host software tracks. Adjust your sounds quickly with the Ethno Instrument's intuitive controls.

Place your recordings in real acoustic spaces, from primordial caves to towering forests to remote canyons, all faithfully reproduced with stunning realism by the Ethno Instrument's built-in convolution reverb processor.

Supplied both as a stand-alone application and as a universally compatible plug-in (available in all major plug-in formats for Mac OS X and Windows XP), the Ethno Instrument can operate by itself to turn your computer into a world instrument powerhouse with disk streaming and multiple outputs. Or load it as a plug-in that saves all settings with your host software documents for instant recall.

MP3 Examples
Employing a variety of musical styles from around the globe, these MP3 examples demonstrate the quality and authenticity of Ethno's samples, loops and phrases.

Symphonic Presents Ethno - Composed entirely of Ethno sounds combined with Symphonic Instrument sounds

Africa - Voices, percussion, electric bass and other instruments from the bush and shanty towns alike

Africa-Balafon-Kora - The melodic kora combined with the percussive balafon

Africa-Ngoni-Valiha - Two African plucked stringed instruments that sound like they could be from just about any continent

Asia-Japanese Mood - Traditional Japanese instruments reflect a harmony with nature

Asia-Chinese Mood - Traditional Chinese instruments spanning bygone eras

Asia-Shamisen - Traditional Japanese stringed instrument performed in a natural setting and ambiance

Australia - An invigorating arrangement of instruments from the outback and down under

Celtic - Close your eyes, take a breath of fresh air and soak up the lovely Irish countryside

Eastern Europe - The bouzouki, oud and accordion have never sounded so good

India - A blend of traditional and modern musical influences from India that also demonstrates some of Ethno's included sound effects

India-Tambura-Sitar - Electric sitar combined with perussive loops

Indonesia-Gamelan - Mysterious and evocative, metallic and melodic

Middle East-Mediterranean 1 - Male and female vocal phrases accompanied by a wide variety of Middle Eastern instrumentation

Middle East-Mediterranean 2 - Synth pad, percussion, flute and violin

Occidental - Accordion, banjo, fiddle, acoustic bass, honky tonk piano and a shot of whiskey from the old Wild West

South America-Bossa - Smooth and sultry bossa nova

Spanish-Gypsy - Flamenco guitar plus men and women's vocals with percussion

West Indies - Sit back, relax and let this music take you on a brief Carribean hiatus

World Synth - Pads, leads and accents suitable for a wide variety of ethnic musical styles

Ethno Percussion - A sampler of world percussion instruments and styles features instruments, loops and phrases

Jojo's World - A blend of ethnic musical styles with captivating childen's vocals

Global-Human World - An intriguing modern treatment of Ethno's world-spanning sounds that demonstrates the versatility and releavance of world music

All tracks composed & performed by Patrick Chartol (pchartol.free.fr), except for "Symphonic Presents Ethno" and "West Indies" composed & performed by Guillaume Roussel (guillaumeroussel.com), and "Jojo's World" composed & performed by Geoffroy Soulaine.

Ethno Instrument Sounds
The Ethno Instrument provides 4GB of world/ethnic instruments combined with another 4GB of loops and phrases.

Ethno's instrument presets give you access to individual notes as usual, played from your MIDI controller. Ethno Instrument provides over 500 instrument presets made up of over 16,000 samples.

Browsing by geographic region or by category
Ethno's preset browser organizes instrument sounds by geographic region and by category to make it quick and easy for you to find the instrument you are looking for.

Instrument presets
If necessary, presets are organized into sub-menus with scroll bars to help you locate sounds quickly. Depending on the instrument, the number of presets that Ethno provides can be staggering.

Authentic tuning
Utmost care was taken to capture - in the finest authentic detail - the unique character of each instrument.

Many world instruments have truly unique tonality or tuning - much different than the Western 12-tone chromatic scale. Therefore, many of the Ethno Instrument's presets are provided in two forms: the original ("-o") tuning, which preserves each note of the instrument exactly as it would be played by the musician, and conventional western chromatic tuning, which saves you the pain-staking effort of having to remap or tune each note.

Ethno Instrument Loops
In addition to 4GB of world/ethnic instruments, the Ethno Instrument provides over 6,000 loops and phrases.

Ethno Instrument loops are typically several bars long and include one or more related instruments played in stylistically authentic fashion. Loops are different from phrases because they are designed to play as a loop (over and over, seamlessly). Phrases, on the other hand, would usually be played one at a time, such as a vocal phrase.

Browsing loops and phrases
The number and variety of loops and phrases is, again, staggering. But Ethno's elegant browser makes it quick an easy to find the sound you are looking for.

Loop example
Play the movie below to hear an example of a loop. In this example, the loop is being triggered via DP5's MIDI Keys window by holding down the 'a' key, although you could also use Ethno's Latch mode to just tap the 'a' key to play the loop indefinitely until you tap the 'a' key again.

Sliced Loops
Sometimes you want to play the entire loop, but other times you want access to each individual beat slice.

Loops are different than phrases because they can be instantly divided into individual slices with a single click of the 'Map' button, allowing you to play each individual slice from your MIDI keyboard, drum pad or other MIDI controller.

Phrases
Phrases effectively convey the authenticity and unique character of an instrument or voice by capturing the playing technique or singing style of the original musician.

By recording the performance characteristics, along with the instrument sound itself, it's as if you have the original musician at your fingertips. Phrases differ from loops in that they typically wouldn't be played continuously. In fact, you might find that the most effective use of phrases is to play them only once or twice during your composition, to give it that little bit of extra intrigue and depth. You'll find a wide variety of phrases in the Ethno Instrument, from guitar riffs to vocal phrases to instrument flourishes.

Drag and Drop
What if you want to do more with a loop or phrase? Ethno Instrument lets you drag and drop it into your host software.

Even though the Ethno Instrument gives you a tremendous amount of control over the sound of each loop and phrase, you may encounter situations where you would like direct access to the loop itself, for further editing, processing or arranging. And what better way than to use your favorite audio workstation, waveform editor or audio sequencer software? For this reason, the Ethno Instrument lets you drag and drop loops and phrases directly into the audio tracks of your host audio software (if it supports standard Windows XP or Mac OS X drag & drop functionality).

Dragging and dropping loops and phrases
You can drag and drop from the plug-in version of Ethno or the stand-alone version. Loops and phrases drag and drop as standard audio clips (regions) in your host software, where they can be freely handled as normal audio.

Dragging and dropping sliced loops
You can drag & drop sliced loops as MIDI data into MIDI tracks in your host software for unlimited reprogramming using the MIDI sequencing features of your host software. Working with loops has never been this quick, easy and flexible.

The example below is the same balafon audio loop as shown above, except that the "Map" button has been pressed (not shown). Now it will drag & drop as MIDI data into the MIDI track. Each MIDI note triggers a slice of the loop. You can quantize the MIDI notes to quantize the loop, or perform many other tasks on the MIDI data to completely transform the loop. You can also play the slices "live" from your MIDI keyboard, drum pad or other MIDI controller.

Tempo, Transports and Time Stretching
A sophisticated playback engine drives the Ethno Instrument's advanced tempo, transport and time-stretching features.

When loops and phrases play together, or play along with the tracks in your host software, there are many ways in which the loop can interact with other loops and your host's time line. It could play back at its own tempo, or it could match the tempo of other loops and your host. But where will the loop start - and when will it come in - after it is triggered. Right away, or at the next downbeat? Will the loop's beats and barlines line up with your host software's time line (or the beats and bars of other loops)? Or will the loop always start at its own first beat?

When you get down to the business of crafting music with loops and phrases, all of these considerations quickly come into play. Fortunately, the Ethno Instrument provides a wide range of features to handle all of the scenarios, independently for each loop, so that you can get exactly the results you want for each loop. The bottom line is that Ethno provides perhaps the easiest, yet most flexible and capable, playback engine for a loop/phrase library ever devised.

A quality sound engine
Even more importantly, it has to sound good. The Ethno Instrument employs a combination of beat slicing and very high-quality time-stretching technology to play loops at an extremely wide range of tempos without sacrificing sound quality or rhythmic accuracy.

Ethno Instrument Feature Highlights
Convolution reverb
Convolution is a process where the characteristics of a real acoustic space are directly sampled, such as a cave, forest, canyon, theater, cathedral or concert hall. The resulting impulse response (IR) consists of an audio file that holds the actual sound decay characteristics of the acoustic space. By sophisticated signal processing, that impulse response can then be applied to the loops, phrases and instrument presets in the Ethno Instrument, making them sound exactly as if it were being heard in the acoustic environment captured by the impulse response.

Convolution reverb is the most realistic type of reverb ever developed because it faithfully reproduces the actual characteristics of real acoustic spaces.

The Ethno Instrument provides a wide variety of convolution reverb spaces, plus 'fast' reverbs that work well on slower computers.

Dynamic performance with Expert Mode
Expert mode lets you dynamically add, remove and stack (layer) multiple instruments, loops and phrases as you play them from your MIDI controller. Bring instruments in and out, on the fly, using key switches, velocity ranges or note ranges. You can even crossfade between instruments by sending continuous MIDI data (expression controllers) from a mod wheel or other device. Ethno Instrument truly is a powerful real-time performance tool that delivers an entire world of sounds to your fingertips.

Realistic expression with MIDI controllers
Achieve incredibly realistic, dynamic performances from the Ethno Instrument using MIDI continuous controller data from your mod wheel, foot pedal, automated fader control surface or other MIDI control source. Most of the Ethno Instrument's parameters can be mapped to external control, giving you hands-on, real-time expressive control over your sounds. You can even assign MIDI modulation to crucial individual parameters such as filter cutoff frequency for even deeper expressiveness.

Scroll Wheel Support
For additional convenience and fast operation, the Ethno Instrument supports the scroll wheel on your mouse. Use it to quickly adjust settings or choose an instrument.

zZounds is an authorized dealer of Mark of the Unicorn (MOTU) products.
Instant access to 8GB of world instrument sounds, loops and phrases together in one window.

Browse sounds by category or by region of the world.

Create layered stacks in seconds.

Tempo-sync features let you browse & play loops in tempo with your music.

Sliced loops let you rearrange beats or play them via your MIDI controller.

Drag & drop audio phrases and loops directly into your host software, tempo-locked to your project time line.

Unique "Slice" button instantly divides loop into slices that you can play individually from your MIDI keyboard, drum pad or other MIDI controller.

Drag & drop sliced loops as MIDI data into MIDI tracks in your host software for unlimited reprogramming using the MIDI sequencing features of your host software.

Very high-quality loop and phrase time-stretching, even at extremely slow or fast tempos.

Convolution reverb provides authentic acoustic spaces, from natural settings like caves and forests to spacious concert halls and soaring cathedrals.

Advanced programming for live performance, including key switching, velocity crossfades and zone splits.

Play up to 64 parts simultaneously via 64 MIDI channels.

Unlimited polyphony and ultra-low software latency.

Submix to 17 stereo output pairs.

Disk streaming (per part) conserves RAM resources and quickens load times.

Supports all major Mac/PC plug-in formats. Stand-alone version included.

Superb sound quality with the 32-bit UVI Engine -- acclaimed worldwide for its lush and powerful sound.

Fast operation -- instant access to all parameters in one window.

Multitimbral -- create stacks and layers in seconds.

Expert mode -- add, remove and layer instruments on the fly, as you play.

Individual controls for each instrument, loop and phrase, including ADSR envelope, LFO (for vibrato, tremolo, etc.), tone controls, tuning and velocity response.

Multis -- create, save, load and share entire ensembles of any size and scope.

Plug-in formats
MAS

VST (Mac & PC)

RTAS (Mac & PC)

HTDM (Mac & PC)

Audio Units

DXi
MOTU Warranty ´╗┐MOTU offers a 2 year warranty on all Firewire interfaces and all Video/Audio interfaces. USB MIDI interfaces and PCI Audio interfaces carry a 90 day warranty.
If you have additional warranty questions, please contact the manufacturer at 617-576-2760
Customer Reviews
4.5 out of 5 (10 ratings) Rate and Review This Product
zZounds has verified that this customer bought this product from us. "Top Notch!"
Sound: I've found the instruments and loops in Ethno Instrument to be absolutely top notch. This is a fantastic product if you want to add some cultural richness to your music. Ease of Use: I found my way around the interface very easily and quickly. The only very minor thing is that some of the flyouts get a little long when selecting instruments and it's a tad annoying getting back to the main menu. Considering everything else, that minor annoyance is easy to overlook. Quality: This is definitely a quality product. The instruments and loops are very clean and realistic. They have a very rich human sound to them. Value: I think Ethno Instrument is well worth the price. Manufacturer Support: The company seems to respond relatively quickly with e-mail support. I got a response to a question within a couple of days. The Wow Factor: If you want to add some rich world culture to your music, this is a must have. Overall: I'll definitely use this for a long time. Know that I know the quality of MOTU, I will also be getting the Symphonic Instrument. Great stuff!
Style of Music: Jazzy, Rocky, Funky, Alternative, Ethnic, Pop
6 of 7 people (85.71%) found this review helpful. Did you?
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"just plain good"
Sound: sound are probably some of the best out there Ease of Use: if you have a clue ..........excellent as a plug and excellent as a standalone..for real sequencing programs Quality: no prolbem and transfers well Value: proper Manufacturer Support: the best when you get through on that one line The Wow Factor: real easy to navigate
Style of Music: jazz r and b house hip hop
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