Aphex Twin and ODDSound’s MTS-ESP plug-in “redefines musical tuning”

Retune your entire studio with alternative and microtonal tunings with ease.

UK startup company ODDSound has teamed up with Aphex Twin and musical software developers to create MTS-ESP, a plug-in and software suite that lets you re-tune your projects beyond traditional western-world tunings.

The 12 Tones of Equal Temperament, or 12 TET, has been the common tuning for western music for over 500 years. ODDSound considers this concept a constraint, noting that many pop hits feature similar melodies, resulting in countless lawsuits over copyright and questions of whether we are running out of melodies. Plus, the company says, our aural familiarity of 12 TET tuning means that we find anything else discomforting and are ignorant of the possibilities of variations of tuning.

MTS-ESP is ODDSound’s way of showcasing the possibilities of new tunings. Developers Damon Hancock and Dave Gamble formulated plans to unlock the whole spectrum of pitch and allow synthesizers to be tuned in any way the user wishes in realtime.

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Aphex Twin got involved and demonstrated the custom firmware of his Rhodes Chroma synth, which allowed him to define new tunings and transfer them to other instruments. He also reached out to software developers to make MTS-ESP natively compatible with soft synths for effortless retuning.

Aphex Twin
Aphex Twin / Image: ODDSound

MTS-ESP acts as a master tuning device for all compatible synths, samplers and effects via your DAW. This includes synths from Audio Damage, Expert Sleepers, U-He, Xfer Records, TAL, Surge, Audiorealism and more, with new companies joining on a weekly basis. MTS-ESP can communicate with devices using MPE, MTS SysEx or MIDI Pitch Bend, as long as the device is compatible with MTS-ESP.
MTS-ESP can also be used for tuning in the virtual modular VCVRack and Max/MSP visual programming environments using free modules provided by ODDSound.

The plug-in is capable of importing existing tuning files, with comprehensive editing capabilities. Custom tuning systems can be made from scratch, either by ear or algorithmically. Tunings can be modified in realtime, with the ability to randomise tunings, morph between tunings and more.

MTS-ESP Mini is a free version of the software, allowing you to import scl, kbm and tun files to retune all connected MTS-ESP client plug-ins. You can store and recall tuning settings in the DAW session and the plug-in sports a simple GUI.

The full version of MTS-ESP unlocks the power to create new tuning systems, automate tuning changes across all plug-ins and MIDI devices, visualise and compare tuning systems and much more. This is priced at £80, with a fully-functional 30-day trial available.

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Learn more at oddsound.com.

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