Meet the programmers: Output

California-based Output, synonymous with releasing a string of successful Kontakt instruments, is now getting into the plugin game. 

Developer, Jacob Penn fills us in on the new direction and what is next for the company...          

Movement was your first foray into the world of plugins – what were the differences/challenges in working on this format, as opposed to the Kontakt format?

“The biggest difference is that there’s less of a sandbox to work within. We have to make our own constraints as to how we’re going to implement or limit the plugin. What sort of functionality is going into it? How much time are we going to spend on a framework versus actually working on the product?

“The development cycle has a lot less pre-built components to use and work from. There’s a lot less nicely packaged Native Instruments code for us to use, so there’s a lot more time spent on finding our own audio code, DSP code, and our own company code base that we’re going to continue to grow.”    

The Output design philosophy prefers digital graphics over skeuomorphic ‘hardware-style’ design. Why did you choose this approach?

“We want to be making cool new tools for musicians. We’re not trying to remake the same compressors, limiters, and hardware that’s been done over and over. The focus of our company is to create more intuitive instruments for users, and a large part of that involves ditching that old hardware style of design and designing an interface from scratch yourself.

“We have a lot of focus on graphic design because we want it to look as good as it sounds and sound as good as it looks, so the whole package comes in a nice user experience.”

Your Exhale vocal engine uses recordings of real singers to cut up and use creatively – how can you make sure you’ve got enough for producers to feel like they’ve got a sound that no one else is using?

A lot of the magic comes from the post-production

Jacob Penn, Output

“I think a lot of the magic comes from the post-production and how our sound design team goes through and mangles and makes the audio recording more unique. Yes, you can find a lot of talented singers out there, but the whole point of our instruments is that it uses analogue recordings only as a starting point and not an end point.”

For Analog Strings, how do you engineer the sampling process to produce something much more than ‘regular’ sampling?

“A lot of that has to do with how complex our recording setup was. We had a big recording session in a concert hall in Budapest that had miking locations all over the room. Sound designers were then able to go in and change the levels of all the mics to get more depth and more sound than the initial recording. Then we have the actual audio engine that we created to further manipulate those samples.”

What’s next for Output?

“The focus is to create a more flexible instrument that we can start to grow from, and still continue to create the Output content that we all love. We want to deliver that in an intuitive and effective manner for consumers and get out of this box of forcing people to install 12GB of content at once.

“We’re trying to optimise the experience so users can just get what they need when they need it. We’re stoked to show you our vision of the future producer’s workflow!”

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