Umlaut Audio: Motors

Umlaut Audio's Motors is a dual-layered, loop-based VI with an abundance of features. The company designed it for film and game composers alike, in a bid to create an engine that could make finding the right rhythm and tone as easy as riding a bike. But have they succeeded?

In a word, yes. At the core of Umlaut Audio's Motors are its two 'Layers', each of which can be worked with on its own, or they can be linked as a pair. On each layer, there are a series of functions, and a mass of sonic options at your fingertips. You have your attack, release, cutoff, resonance, and tune, plus two reverbs and delays per layer, but it all gets much deeper than that.

There is a great EQ, plus tape saturation and distortion effects; a compressor; and transient, lo-fi, and modulation options, all of which are endlessly tweak-able, because of all of the options within options: within each preset, there are no less than 20 'Processed' and 60 'Organic' variants of that individual sound. So, a lot! I guess if there is a downside to this VI – which there really isn't – it might be that there are so many options, you don't quite know where to start, or to stop, for that matter, so if you're taking Motors into a session, be prepared not to come up for natural light for some time.

If you're taking Motors into a session, be prepared not to come up for natural light for some time.

We found that the easiest way to get on quickly with Motors was to pull up a couple of presets, and just experiment.

This engine is dedicated to producing rhythmic sounds with great tone control, and it's brilliant at doing so – it's a fantastic tool for any type of composition, whether you're working on a frantic, up tempo scene, or trying to create that perfect mellow chill-out vibe to accompany a beautiful piano part. Honestly, it's pretty extraordinary what you can do with this bit of kit, and in no time at all.

Within half an hour, and with only one YouTube video as our guide, we'd created something pretty cool, and barring a little drum loop, everything was done in Motors – and what fun that was.

One other function we have to mention is Motors' cherry on top, its ingenious 'RAND' button (random), so even if you've spent more hours than you care to mention fine-tuning your sound, and you're still not sure, one click, and Motors will randomise all your parameters, transforming your audio completely, and instantly. Keep on hitting it, and it'll keep randomising, so it's more than likely that you'll soon get to where you need to be very quickly. It can genuinely provide you with a bit of unexpected inspiration.

And how much will this cost you? Under £100. So if you've got a little cash spare, you could do a lot worse than invest in this little beauty; it'll bring a new energy to your workflow.