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MOTU Symphonic Instrument

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Quick Overview

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MOTU Symphonic Instrument Overview

Finally, one simple-to-use instrument that contains everything you need to create complete orchestral recordings. From solo instruments and small ensembles to full orchestral masterpieces, the MOTU Symphonic Instrument delivers.

Start with a massive 8GB library of brand new sounds from world class orchestras and musicians, recorded with pristine audio fidelity and careful attention to detail. Quality and variety abound. Now add a simple, easy to understand, single-window interface to personalize your instruments. Adjust your sound quickly and intuitively.

To further enhance the stunning realism of your compositions, the MOTU Symphonic Instrument includes a built-in convolution reverb processor to produce the most realistic room ambiences available. Use authentic acoustic spaces, from orchestra sound stages to renowned concert halls to majestic cathedrals.

The MOTU Symphonic Instrument is a CPU-efficient plug-in that saves with your host application document for instant recall. Nothing could be easier!

The MOTU Symphonic Instrument is compatible with all major plug in formats for Macintosh OS X and Windows (VST, Audio Units, DXi, MAS and RTAS).


Attention Symphonic Instrument users: do you have a 64-bit system? 

The Symphonic Instrument sound library is now available as a 64-bit compatible UFS file, which can be used with MachFive 3 or UVI Workstation 2 on 64-bit Mac and Windows systems.



The MOTU Symphonic Instrument provides over 8 GB of world-class orchestral instrument sounds. The library includes a wide variety of instruments organized into soundbanks.

Brass ensemble

The Brass Ensemble bank provides unison performances of the various orchestra brass sections, including French horns, trombones and trumpets. These presets provide the sound of the entire section playing the same notes in unison. Both staccato and sustained variations are provided. For each instrument (French Horns, Trombones and Trumpets), two different sections of four players each were recorded in order to provide a more broad variety of sounds. For the French Horns, an additional section of eight players was recorded for that big Hollywood orchestra French Horn sound.

Brass solo

The Brass Solo bank provides individual brass instruments playing on their own by world class virtuoso instrumentalists.

Classical Guitar

Two very different classical guitars are provided. Classical Guitar 1 is a custom made instrument played with finger and nail. It can be used for a variety of classical guitar styles. With its more organic sound, it is well-suited for the Spanish/gypsy style. Classical Guitar 2 is more appropriate for contemporary classical styles. Both presets provide a variety of playing techniques, in addition to the normal plucked single string.


Two different harp instruments, each with a distinctly unique sound, are provided. Harp 1 is soft and emotional, a truly unique sound. Harp 2 has a more bright, conventional sound suitable for a wide variety of musical styles. In addition, a variety of playing styles are provided, including single plucked notes, glissandos, cascades and chords.

Historical instruments

One of the most unique soundbanks included with the MOTU Symphonic Instrument, the historical instruments can add an extra level of authenticity to your classical compositions and recordings. Of particular interest are the extensive harpsichord presets, one of the most extensive harpsichord sample collections ever created. A wide variety of harpsichords were carefully multi-sampled, and many presets even include the authentic, mechanical sound made by these instruments when releasing each note.


The Mallet presets provide notes played individually for a variety of mallet instruments, as well as a number of glissando effects. Shieldmayer and Mustel instruments were recorded under the very best conditions to achieve an extremely clean and detailed sound.


The percussion bank provides a comprehensive and memory-efficient collection of orchestra percussion instruments, including several different types of gongs and timpanies. The Basic Percussions menu preset provides a wide variety of orchestra percussion sounds, each assigned to a different key across the keyboard.


Two beautiful concert grand pianos are provided: A Yamaha C7 and a Steinway D. These piano recordings represent state-of-the-art piano sampling, both in terms of the quality of the sound and the efficient use of memory.

Pipe organs

The pipe organs are organized into two major categories: Baroque (chamber) organs and Romantic (cathedral) organs. A wide variety of baroque organ sounds are provided, each with a variety of stop configurations. These instruments were recorded in European churches and preserve the sound of the acoustics of the church in addition to the sound of the instrument itself. The romantic organs are larger cathedral organs recorded across Europe. These instruments provide organ sounds on a more grand scale and sound especially authentic with the cathedral reverb settings.


Due to its relative youth as a musical instrument, compared to its classical instrument bretheren, the Saxophone was not used in the classical music repertoire. However, contemporary classical music adopted the saxophone as its popularity grew in the 20th century. Therefore, it has been included in the MOTU Symphonic Instrument library to provide complete instrumentation, even for contemporary classical repertoire.

Strings Ensemble

The String Ensemble bank provides unison performances of the various orchestra string sections, including violins, violas, celli and basses. These presets provide the sound of the entire section playing the same notes in unison. A variety of playing styles and techniques are provided. In addition, these recordings were made with each section placed in its proper position on stage. Therefore, when combined, they are spread across the stereo field in a manner that is true to their actual position on stage.

Strings Solo

The Strings Solo bank provides individual string instruments in a variety of playing techniques. In addition, they were recorded in mono to provide the most authentic sound.

Tutti Orchestra

Tutti is a conventional musical term used to describe the sound of multiple instruments all playing the same notes in unison. The Orchestra bank provides tutti ensemble performances for brass, strings and the entire orchestra playing together. These presets sound big and, when employed judiciously in a musical score, can be used effectively for emphasis. Several string quartet presets provide a nice intermediate sound between the solo strings and the full strings (and full orchestra). The Orchestra Run and Orchestra Tremolo presets are exceptional.


Recorded in Moscow and in Europe, The Voices soundbank contains an exclusive and extensive library of human choirs. Male, female and children’s choirs are supplied with a variety of vowel sounds, including ah (as in the word all), eh (as in the word every), ih (as in the word if) and oh (as in the word old). Both male and female soloist voices are included.

Woodwinds Ensemble

The Woodwinds Ensemble bank provides unison performances of the various orchestra woodwind sections, including clarinets, flutes and oboes. These presets provide the sound of the entire section playing the same notes in unison. Both sustained and staccato playing styles are provided. The clarinet and oboe sections consist of three players each, while the flute presets consist of two different sections of four players each.

Woodwinds Solo

The Woodwinds Solo bank provides individual woodwind instruments in a variety of playing techniques. Again, the solo instruments here were recorded in mono to provide the most authentic sound.


Version 1.1.3 New Feature Highlights

Version 1.1.3 offers significant new features and enhancements available in both the new stand-alone version and the plug-in:

  • Stand-alone application - you can now operate Symphonic Instrument by itself, without a host program. Turn your Mac or PC into a dedicated orchestra ensemble, ready and waiting for the wave of your baton.
  • Disk streaming - sample data can now be streamed from disk, instead of always being loaded into RAM, significantly reducing load time and freeing up large amounts of RAM for other software.

  • 64 parts - the Symphonic Instrument window now lets you load up to 64 different instruments simultaneously, offering you unprecedented flexibility and convenience in creating ensembles of any size.
  • 64 MIDI channels - four separate banks of 16 MIDI channels each let you assign all 64 parts to their own MIDI channel.
  • Multiple outputs - each part (instrument) can be assigned to one of 17 separate output pairs for sub-mixing, separate effects processing and a variety of other applications.

Stand-alone operation

The MOTU Symphonic Instrument can now run as a stand-alone instrument application, independent of a plug-in host, turning your Mac or PC into a streamlined orchestra instrument powerhouse with 64 parts, disk streaming, 16 independent audio outputs and 8GB of orchestra sounds. Stand-alone operation also allows you to use the Symphonic Instrument with Make Music Finale 2006 and other music software applications that do not host 3rd-party instrument plug-ins. Stand-alone operation is virtually identical to plug-in operation, except for a few additional settings for audio/MIDI input and output.

Disk streaming

The Symphonic Instrument can load 16 different orchestra instruments into one instance of the plug-in and play them all simultaneously. Disk streaming, which can be enabled or disabled independently for each of the 64 instruments, is a process where large samples (instrument sounds) are only loaded from the hard drive into RAM for playback when they are actually triggered, rather than being loaded in their entirety beforehand. Streaming conserves large amounts of RAM, allowing you to load more instruments simultaneously and free up your RAM resources for other plug-ins and applications. Streaming also significantly speeds up the time it takes for instruments to load, especially instruments with large sample sets.

64 Parts

The Symphonic Instrument is multitimbral; this means that one instance of the plug-in can load different instruments (presets) simultaneously, and each instrument can play its own individual part via a separate MIDI channel. Version 1.0 provided 16 parts. Now, version 1.1.3 provides 64 parts, which can be accessed by clicking four part list tabs.

64 MIDI channels

To support its 64 parts, the Symphonic Instrument also supports 64 separate MIDI channels, divided into four banks of 16 channels each (Bank A, B, C and D). You will see them presented in your host software (if it supports more than 16 MIDI channels for virtual instruments) with a bank letter plus MIDI channel number. You can use any MIDI channel you wish for any of the Symphonic Instrument’s 64 parts. Parts (as many as you wish) can also share any MIDI channel.

This feature is supported by the stand-alone version of the Symphonic Instrument, Digital Performer (MAS) and Pro Tools (RTAS/HTDM). Other plug-in formats (VST, Audio Units and DXi) do not support multiple banks of MIDI channels. If you use a host program that uses one of these plug-in formats, and you need more than 16 parts in the Symphonic Instrument, you can open multiple instaces of the plug-in.

MSI Outputs

Multiple outputs

In Version 1.0 of the Symphonic Instrument, all 16 individual instruments were mixed together to the stereo output of the track that the plug-in was instantiated on. In Version 1.1.3, each instrument can be independently assigned to one of 16 different stereo output pairs, which in turn can be routed to any available audio hardware outputs. With this greatly increased flexibility and convenience, you can create sub-mixes directly in the Symphonic Instrument by assigning two or more instruments to the same output pair. Or you can even send each instrument to its own independent output.

The Symphonic Instrument provides both convolution reverb (to place your orchestra performances in stunningly realistic acoustic spaces) and conventional reverb (to conserve computer processing). With multiple outputs in Version 1.1.3, you can apply the reverb to any output pair you wish.


Additional Feature Highlights

Dozens of ensembles are included - or create your own

The MOTU Symphonic Instrument lets you load and save Multis - a collection of instruments that can be loaded and saved together as an ensemble, complete with an acoustic space (reverb setting), volume, panning, tone control and everything you need to save and instantly recall a perfectly balanced, unified ensemble. Dozens of preset ensembles are included, such as Brass Quintet, Choirs & Classical Guitar, Eight French Horns, Concert Mallet & Percussion and Baroque Orchestra. And you can, of course, create and save your own ensembles. You can then reload the entire ensemble in one easy step.

See a complete list of included instrument ensembles here.

Easy to navigate browser

Double-click one of the sixteen parts to open the multi-column instrument browser. Instruments are clearly presented and intuitively organized by category. You can find and audition the instrument you want in seconds.

Dynamic performance with Expert Mode

Expert mode lets you dynamically add, remove and stack (layer) multiple Symphonic Instrument sounds 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. The MOTU Symphonic Instrument truly is a powerful real-time performance tool that delivers an entire orchestra to your fingertips.

Realistic expression with MIDI controllers

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

Compatibility with MachFive

If you own MachFive, you can load MOTU Symphonic Instrument sounds into MachFive. This lets you use the unified MachFive interface to incorporate the huge Symphonic Instrument library into your MachFive-driven workflow. You can also take full advantage of MachFive's extensive Expert Mode features for even more dynamic performance control over your Symphonic Instrument sounds.

Scroll Wheel Support

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



  • 8GB orchestral instrument sound library.
  • Convolution reverb for authentic acoustic spaces.
  • MachFive compatibility – library loads directly into MachFive for consolidated project management.
  • 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.
  • Unlimited polyphony and ultra-low software latency.
  • 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, 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)
  • Audio Units
  • DXi

What are the system requirements for MOTU Symphonic Instrument?

System Requirements for MOTU Symphonic Instrument

MOTU Symphonic Instrument (MSI) has the following system requirements:

  • A minimum of 256MB of RAM is required. However, since Symphonic Instrument loads samples (or a portion of the samples) into the computer's RAM add as much RAM as possible to your computer; at least 1024 MB (1 GB) is highly recommended. Note: MSI version 1.1 allows samples to be streamed directly from disk thus freeing up RAM.
  • A large hard drive (preferably at least 40 GB). See below for Mac and Windows specific hard drive requirements.
  • iLok USB key which must be purchased separately. iLok NOT included.
  • An available USB port for the iLok USB key. Note that if you have multiple products which use iLoks for authorization you can consolidate multiple authorizations onto a single iLok.
  • A CD/DVD disk drive for installation.

For Macintosh:

  • A G4 500 MHz Power Macintosh or faster, with G4 800 MHz or faster preferred. A G5 or Intel-based Mac is recommended (MSI 1.1.2 or later is required for Intel Mac support); dual processor machines are also highly recommended.
  • Mac OS X v10.2.4 - 10.6.8 is required; v10.4.11 - 10.6.8 is recommended for MSI 1.1 and above. MSI is not officially qualified for OS X v10.7 or later.
  • A hard drive with enough space to hold the 8 GB sound files. The drive must be formatted as Mac OS Extended (also known as HFS+). Journalling can be on or off.
  • An audio sequencer software package that hosts MAS, AU, VST, or RTAS/HTDM instrument plug-ins. As MSI has 34 outputs (stereo main outs + 16 stereo aux outputs), the host needs to support instruments with greater than 32 outputs. Alternatively, MSI can be used as a standalone application.

For Windows:

  • An 800MHz Pentium III-based PC compatible or faster.
  • MSI 1.0 requires Windows 2000 or XP; MSI 1.1 and later require Windows XP or later.
  • A hard drive with enough space to hold the 8 GB sound file. The drive must be formatted as NTFS.
  • An Open GL-compatible video card with the latest graphics drivers (support for OpenGL 1.2 is required, with support for 1.5 or 2.0 preferred).
  • An audio sequencer package that hosts DXi, VST, or RTAS/HTDM instrument plug-ins. As MSI has 34 outputs (stereo main outs + 16 stereo aux outputs), the host needs to support instruments with greater than 32 outputs. Alternatively, MSI can be used as a standalone application.
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