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MOTU has announced a major upgrade to Ethno Instrument, their popular world/ethnic virtual instrument software for Mac OS X and Windows 7/Vista. The Version 2 upgrade more than doubles the size of Ethno’s included sound library of instruments, loops and phrases. Significant new features have also been added, including preset searching, microtonal scales, state-of-the-art time stretching, and much more.

“Ethno Instrument Version 2 delivers the most comprehensive world/ethnic sound library ever offered in a single package,” said Jim Cooper, MOTU Director of Marketing. “In addition, Ethno 2 represents the most advanced virtual instrument interface for ethnic sounds, with unparalleled features such as in-depth support for microtonal scales and tuning.”

New sounds abound in Version 2 from Asia, Africa, Europe, the Balkans, the British Isles, Latin America, Australia, and many other locations around the globe. Featured sounds include taiko drums, large African drums, thirty new instruments from India, hundreds of urban India loops (in they style of Slumdog Millionaire), Balkanish voices, Arabic voices, Persian voices, an extensive new collection of gongs and bells, extended cymbalum, and much more. To help users quickly find sounds in this massive 21 GB library, Ethno 2 lets users browse presets by geographic region or instrument category, or by a new search feature: users type in an instrument name or other text phrase and all presets with that text in their name instantly appear in the browser list. Users then simply click to audition sounds, without having to close the browser, for fast previewing and loading of sounds into separate parts. Version 2 now supports unlimited parts, so users can quickly build ensembles of instrument sounds, loops and phrases, with no limits on the size of the ensemble.

Ethno 2 gives users access to the rich and exotic world of non-western tuning and scales. Users can browse dozens of microtuning presets from all over the world, organized by world region or by scale type, and then play authentic non-western tempered scales of any size (from five tones to 24 tones) via any standard MIDI controller. The supplied microtonal presets were developed by a world expert in micro-tuning and conform to the Scala open file standard (.scl) for microtuning. Users can visit the scala web site, http://www.huygens-fokker.org/scala/, browse thousands of Ethno Instrument Version 2 major software upgrade — Press Release Page 2 of 3 microtuning files, download them for free, and simply drag and drop them into Ethno 2 to add them as user presets. Scales can be freely applied to any instrument presets, allowing users to mix and match microtuning scales with sounds from anywhere around the globe. For example, a microtuning scale from Thailand could be applied to a Celtic harp sound from Ireland.

Ethno Instrument Version 2 will ship in Q1 of 2010. Price is $395. An upgrade path will be offered for Ethno Version 1 users.