This is a tale about the relentless pursuit of musical passions rather than any attempt to build a business empire. And it’s been that way from the very beginning.
Beginning? Perhaps, we should say ‘beginnings’.
Dave Spiers and Chris Macleod (that’s us) started GMedia Music in 2000. The next beginning was the formation of GForce Software Ltd 2003.
We’d spent most of our working lives in the music industry, and the aim of the new company was simply to create products we needed for our own uses.
With an emphasis on vintage synthesizer modelling, GForce Software has always worked with independent developers who share our love of music.
Our sole aim is to offer the highest audio quality products in the virtual instrument arena. (Actually, thinking about it, our other sole aim is to deliver a level of service that leaves every single customer with a smile on their face. Not too hard when you truly love what you do.)
All our virtual instruments have been individually engineered, without relying upon core code libraries, to ensure unique and authentic character. They take the spirit of the original instrument and add features that enhance the user-experience in the software environment.
Our first product was the M-Tron, an emulation of the classic hardware tape playback instrument, the Mellotron®. We launched it at a time when the sounds of the hardware original were as out of fashion as the mullet.
Yet, even though the M-Tron was originally only made for the benefit of our musician friends, once word of its existence got out, the phone started ringing with requests to make it commercially available.
The M-Tron was followed by the Oddity. This was another emulation of a vintage instrument, created in league with Ohm Force and using state-of-the-art component modelling technology to achieve the most realistic analogue synthesizer sound possible.
Next, together with long-term work colleague and fellow GForce associate, Jon Hodgson, we developed the virtual OSCar synthesiser.
The impOSCar (naming our instruments is one of the bits we love best) was recognised as a milestone in virtual synthesis development.
The filters have been praised by the intelligentsia and, on the strength of audio demos alone, they were licensed to fellow plug-in supremos, Spectrasonics. As a result, Stylus RMX and Omnisphere now contain a variant of the impOSCar filters.
What next? Having watched the plug-in world make several failed attempts at emulating the iconic Minimoog®, we decided to give this instrument the GForce left-field treatment.
Together with Ohm Force, the Minimonsta:Melohman was conceived. The Minimonsta takes the notion of software instruments as static, non-performance tools and turns it on its head.
With patch morphing, triggered by the user-defined Melohman Octave, the musician can create dynamic and unique performances with stunning sound quality. This feature dispels the myth that plug-in instruments are non-performance tools and proves that it is possible to create products which give a respectful nod to the past, while still having eyes firmly fixed on the future.
In 2007, the Virtual String Machine was the latest expression of our commitment to modernise retro, as those who have heard the instrument and witnessed the ‘Easter Egg’ will attest.
An analogue replica string ensemble (or ARSE as we like to call it) might not sound particularly ‘cutting edge’, but the experts were convinced. As with all our previous instruments, VSM won the coveted Future Music Platinum Award.
Taking what we’ve learnt in the past to help us keep moving forward, the immediacy and simplicity of VSM was the ethos behind our update to the original M-Tron, the M-Tron Pro.
Using our G:sampler engine, we developed a specific set of controls to ensure that all the inherent sound qualities found in the original M-Tron are retained, and then taken to a new level. M-Tron Pro is unique. Nothing else in the market has the quite the same nostalgic sonic qualities or impressive sound sculpting parameters.
It’s true, our products always seem to take longer to develop than anticipated. But this unstinting attention to detail might well explain why bands like Radiohead were happy to beta-test the M-Tron Pro on tour.
The next chapter? We believe we have a responsibility to keep striving to be different; to do things with software synthesis that have never been done before.
Just like the hardware synthesis pioneers who brought us all these tools that still truly inspire us.