Friday, January 19, 2007


Well, it only makes sense that NAMM week will have me making a lot more posts than normal. Hope you guys are enjoying it. Even a jaded old crank like me is going to find at least a couple of interesting sparks in a mostly dry and copycat industry.

One of the things you won't see a lot of in this blog is software. For one, I'm pretty saturated, and in the last year or two have been moving away from software, and finding a niche in analog modular stuff. For two, there's no shortage of places to read about music software online.

However, as with the Eat Static post last month, there will always be a couple of things that grab my interest enough to break these little blogging rules. While I'm totally bored and uninspired with all the 'me too' software synths and FX that are saturating the marketplace, there's always a ray of creative inspiration burning in the offices of the crazy Ohm Force crew. These guys have a long track record of bringing incredibly powerful, bizarre, and musically creative products to market. They are the only software company I can think of that has no-one nipping at their heels - these guys are totally unique in what they have to offer, and I have to say that I own every single Ohm Force product, and while I sold off most of my VST stuff last year, Ohm Force products will be with me as long as I'm still alive and breathing.

Anyway, thusly I am happy to introduce you to the newest member of this strange family, Ohmicide: Melohman.

Proceeding from the 4-band distortion idea exploited in the Predatohm product, Ohmicide is a new generation distortion product, giving you enormous flexibility over four bands of very flexible distortion in many different flavours. Who else would come up with a distortion algorhythm and call it "Porridge"? I love these guys.

You can expect all the regular Ohm Force stuff - the insane gestural mouse movements, the totally inspired "per parameter" LFO and ADSR management (a stroke of pure design genius that still no-one can touch years after it was unveiled), top audio quality and low CPU - but also interesting is the addition of the Melohman featureset in what is an FX plugin. Previously Melohman has only been available on synth plugins, it's availability on a effect should be simply astounding.

Put (very) simply, Melohman is a set of performance-oriented tools that allows for parameter control and morphing to be controlled while playing. A simple example is to dedicate an octave of a controller keyboard to preset morphing - you can assign a preset to each key, and morph between them seamlessly while playing. The speed of the morph can even be controlled with velocity or modwheel. I anticipate some *SERIOUS* results from this plugin.

It's 79 Euros for a single platform license, a bit more for the 'pack' if you need it in VST, AudioUnit and all the other usual suspects. Bundle deals for people that have all the Ohm Force products. An absolute steal for a product of this calibre. Most software leaves me totally cold - Ohm Force makes some of the only stuff that actually fulfills the potential of software - they make products that probably would not be feasable doing in hardware, and I guess that's why they have kept my interest.

Edit: Some new information, thanks to the awesome guys over at Ohm Force. Please see the comments to this post.

Ohm Force website here

Ohm Force production blog here

Ohmicide:Melohman press kit here


SIGHUP said...

I'm a bit unsure of this one so far. I always like the Ohmies ideas, but not always in love with the results. This one is a cool idea, and certainly lovely to look at. But the sound clips I've heard so far are a bit uninspiring.

I look forward to demoing it, hopefully it has powers not yet displayed by the samples put out by the beta testers.

Muff Wiggler said...

Thanks for your comments Steve. I actually need to update my comments to this post anyway, got some new information...

Since making this post on my blog I've been in touch with some of the guys at Ohm Force.

First, they want to correct a couple of things - Ohmicide doesn't have the full complement of modulation options found on their other FX. They have done this by design - rather than overwhelm you with insane 'per everything' gee-whiz rocket-science modulation, they've purposefully limited it. The Ohmies feel that the distortions (more on this below) are so unique and powerful, they wanted an interface that gets people to tweak and FIND the best sounds, to really focus on sound design instead of crazy modulation. They feel it will be a lot more rewarding this way.

Also, they point out, the CPU usage is not something they were willing to scarifice sound quality for. This is intended for modern machine, and it can indeed take a fair bit of CPU - they say that "for an effect, it is a bit high", but as you probably know, Ohm Force is all about the sound. The CPU figure I was given is roughly 10-14% max on an Intel Core 2 Duo @2.13 Ghz.

Finally, and here's the exciting point - from talking with these guys, one thing really stands out. They are incredibly proud of the DSP in the distortion algos. They tell me that so much of the "same, classic" DSP is used in most plugins, the same DSP you can find in a text book.

For Ohmicide, they have actually invented brand new DSP techniques and algos that have never been used before. I can't overplay how genuine and excited the guys feel about this.

Regardless anyone's first opinion, this one will be worth your demo time to try it out for yourself, and see if you can hear anything new. My guess (based only on Ohm's track record) is that we won't be disappointed.

Oh, and don't read into the lack of interesting stuff from beta testers. Beta testers for the most part really, really suck. I should know, I've been on many software beta teams! (but not this one, in the interest of journalistic transparency)

gregory.makles said...

Getting really great demos is pretty tough. On one side you've got the dev who knows the plug well but miss time and doesn't make as much music as most of the potential customers anyway (a kind of common trend in the industry). On the other side you've got beta testers who are generally good musician (although rarely professional for obvious time avaibility reasons) but who really have a short time frame to get it right.

More significantly I think the impression a demo can make is very subjective. I assume you're speaking about the sound bites from here :

For myself I think that is really good and good enough to be used in our announcements. I know melohman use is not as skilled as it could be for instance but still it's pretty nice and can give you an idea. I think it's not reasonable to ask more from a sound demo before no musician has been able to use it regularly for at least a pair of month...

Muff Wiggler said...

I don't know if I do this for the reasons that Gregory mentioned, or for other, but I've always purposefully AVOIDED listning to sound examples from beta testers on upcoming products.

As tempting as it is, believe it or not, I haven't listened to a single Ohmicide demo yet.

One, I don't want my expectations to be colored prior to trying a new piece of gear. Two, as beta software evolves, the sound gets better and better (hopefully). I don't want to be underwhelmed hearing an early demo of something about to get better.

Three - and probably most importantly, a lot of the demos just aren't up my alley, and I don't want that to cloud my opinion or expectation of the product. As Greg mentions, a demo is subjective. A good example is the (always controversial) Metasonix. Most people just moan and complain about the audio demos. I don't, but also I don't like them. They don't show off the units at ALL in the way that I like to use them. I would not have bought one based on the demos, but fortunately got a chance to try them first-hand and see how different they really were "from the mp3's".

So I guess this all leads to "try it and see for yourself". I know I will.....

SIGHUP said...

Yeah, I was talking about what I'd heard at KVR and at the Ohm blog.

I do a lot of beta testing these days, so I can forgive any difficulties that beta testers have with really showcasing a plugin to its fullest. But I was hoping to really hear how the distortion types sound different from other distortion effects, before the melohman stuff even gets involved.

Maybe I should check into that thread again, I haven't listened to anything posted there for a while. But I'd really like to hear A/B kind of clips, just to get a sense of the kinds of distortion available.

Grégory said...

That makes sense. As it is the easiest thing to do we usually forget about it :)
It's fun because still that is what we do when we test others plugin!

SIGHUP said...

Actually, it's a good thing I checked that thread again. Mully's example clips were exactly what I wanted to hear. I'm more intrigued now, certainly the feedback stuff and that Distructo clip sound like stuff is happening a little differently.

Muff Wiggler said...

i still haven't heard any of the sounds! I'll try the demo at release time though.... it's hard to not listen, i must admit...