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Author Topic: New and cool...  (Read 2746 times)

mark fassett

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New and cool...
« on: May 13, 2004, 07:51:00 PM »

A friend of mine brought over something cool and interesting last night... it's a device not yet on the market, called "Receptor" by Muse Research.  In the interest of full disclosure, my friend works for Muse Research... but I have no interest in the product (though I want my friend to enjoy a long career at the company).

More about it here:

I won't really talk about the marketing stuff, that's all up on their web page.  I'll just talk about my experience with it.  Keep in mind this is an early model, I have no idea how close it will match the shipping model.  

We plugged it in to AC power, MIDI from my sequencer, a stereo pair of outputs to my mixer, and ethernet to my existing hub.  Once we turned on networking on the unit, it appeared in OSX as a network volume... so I grabbed the Mac client, unstuffed it, and ran it.  The interface popped up.  

The interface looked different... not like a Windows app or a Mac app... it's Linux, that's why.  It's a lot like a standard mixing board with three inserts, effects sends/returns, and 16 channels.  Each channel can be a different input.. MIDI to drive a VST instrument, line input, or guitar input (on the front panel).  

So we tried a wide variety of things... playing VST instruments live and via sequencer, hooking up a guitar, etc.  At this point, it's full of shareware/freeware plugins, and they're a mixed bag of course.  Crystal, one of the best VST instruments around that happens to be free, was what I was most curious about.  I didn't really do a performance test, but I think we had 3-4 instances of Crystal running simultaneously... only when we stressed it with a lot of controller data did it start to bonk.  Crystal is a CPU hog on my Mac.  

The most interesting thing to me was when we hooked up my Casio MIDI guitar to it... imagine having one source for BOTH your guitar and MIDI... one device.  Playing a VSTi mixed with guitar, through the same send effects, etc was really amazing... all mixed digitally.  The guitar preamp/amp simulator was decent (again, freeware), good enough to get some usable sounds out of.  I did hear some unwanted clipping, but I wasn't watching the gain staging that closely.  I think MIDI guitar users might just be the killer application for this, though there might not be that many of us around anymore!  I'd love to see a Line6 or SansAmp plugin installed on this thing... THAT would be cool!

Latency is adjustable.... and low enough, at least to me, to not be noticeable.  I thought it would be a problem when my friend described the product to me, but honestly it wasn't.  

Over all, a pretty cool unit.  The big question is how things will play out with 3rd party developers, Waves, Lexicon, Native Instruments, etc... how much will I have to pay to run my current VSTis on it?  If it all works out, it might be an easy way to take your VSTis and VST effects on the road... it was certainly a lot of fun to check out.  
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