EZkeys Dream Machine is a hybrid and preset-driven instrument designed for use in modern pop, ambient soundscapes and soundtracks. It’s centered around two main components from opposite ends of the audio spectrum: a Rhodes Mark 7 electric piano as well as an undisputed cornerstone in the melodic percussion family, the celeste. Both main instruments can be used individually, but together they form unique sonic texture unlike anything ever heard. In addition to these two instruments, a marimba and a xylophone are utilized in the background of several of the many included presets to paint even richer timbres of sound.
All in all, EZkeys Dream Machine is a new creative vantage point in your arsenal of songwriting tools. It’s percussive, melodic and, quite frankly, sounds like a dream.
Engineer/producer/mixer Sean Divine takes a “first look” at EZkeys Dream Machine and walks you through the interface and the sounds.
In these three videos, Mike gives you a brief background of the instrument itself and shows you some quick sound examples!
In EZkeys Dream Machine, you’re not only blending a Rhodes and a celeste – two fundamentally different instruments – you’re also using a marimba and a xylophone when layering sounds in presets. Where did the idea come from?
Viktor: When listening through what we already had in our line of instruments for EZkeys, we realized that we were lacking something with more of a mallets vibe. We wanted that bright and piercing tone of a celeste, but like the sonic explorers we are, we of course couldn’t settle for “just” a sampled instrument.
Mikael: When we started working on layering different instruments, we realized right away that the Rhodes and the celeste were a perfect marriage. They shared some pretty similar sonic qualities while they had an essentially different attack and tone. Together, they complemented each other on several levels. To add even more character and an extra ounce of percussive feel to it, we decided to use use a xylophone and a marimba as additional layers for several of the presets.
Were all these instruments sampled like traditional EZkeys instruments?
Viktor: The Rhodes and the celeste are multi-sampled with as much velocity detail and sensitivity as all other EZkeys instruments. You can pull up either of them and use them individually – both are amazing instruments. I personally love how they come alive when combined, though.
Mikael: To keep the size down and the usability in focus, the the xylophone and marimba are not quite as detailed, which was the plan all along. We wanted the product to be based around the two leading characters of the Rhodes and celeste while the other two would fill in the gaps and add that extra bit of creative power.
Listening to the presets in this product, the tonal range is pretty spectacular. It goes from subtle lullaby-like sounds to menacing and nightmarish. What was the thought process?
Viktor: Not all dreams are nice and cloud-like. They can be claustrophobic and quite horrifying also (laughs).
Mikael: We wanted to make a product that catered to a broadest possible range – something that could fit just as seamlessly in in pop song as an ambient soundscape or soundtrack. But as always when it comes to sound, it’s all about context and how someone ultimately applies these sounds in their creative space. That’s the good thing about creativity, it’s completely arbitrary.
To make this collection of presets as broad as you could, you also invited several outside producers to help out (Alexander Juneblad, Addeboy vs. Cliff, Andreas Estensen).
Viktor: Even though you may have all the tools you can wish for at arm’s length, it’s always challenging to reinvent yourself after a certain point. It’s also great to add an outside element. None of these guys were involved in the initial process of actually preparing the sounds, so it was like a blank slate for them. They could just start painting with sound with no preconception or restriction.
Mikael: EZkeys Dream Machine comes with more than 40 individually crafted blends of sound, so it’s a quite massive body of work. We have some truly talented people that we’ve worked closely with for other projects, so it was an easy call to get them involved. Some of their sounds are lightyears away from my own, so I think lending more than just a couple of guys’ creative mind space to the product was key in order to make it as broad as it possibly could be. The sounds really deserved it!
What are the effect chains in the presets built on?
Viktor: Anything and everything! The tools we have available in the backend of EZkeys to make presets include a complete array of effects and saturations. One thing that I particularly like is how some of the presets use different attack times and swells between the included instruments, making the stroke very articulate and unique.
Mikael: Delays, reverbs, filters, distortion, EQs – you name it. For some presets, a variety of effects were used while some have the instruments in complete tonal focus, with possibly just a hint of some saturation.
What’s your favorite thing with EZkeys Dream Machine?
Viktor: The width. It’s a perfect instrument for anything from shrill leads to ambient pads. Actually, I can imagine it in pretty much any context.
Mikael: I agree! Creatively, this truly is a dream machine.
Name: Viktor Hansson
Location: Umeå, Sweden
Role: Sound designer and content creator
Name: Mikael Stenberg
Location: Umeå, Sweden
Role: Sound designer and content creator
The included signal chain presets are based on high quality effects from Overloud. You can adjust each preset by using a set of controls that will affect the individual parameters.
MK VII Basic
Based on the MK VII with tremolo and reverb controls.
Mellow MK VII
Based on MK VII, tremolo, reverb and adjustable grit.
MK Seven Dimension
Based on the MK VII with a nice chorus and a hint of celeste.
A straight up combo of the four instruments. Decide your own mix and add reverb.
Rhodes and celeste. Adjustable tremolo and amp drive.
Roomy warm Rhodes with a hint of Marimba and Celeste. Adjustable wah effect. Add phase to your liking for that extra club feeling.
Blend Rhodes and marimba to your liking. Adjustable tremolo knob.
Based on the Rhodes with adjustable attack to imitate an old pump organ.
A Spooky Rhodes and marimba blend with adjustable reverb and swell.
A kind of gritty Rhodes with a hint of celeste. Add xylophone to your liking.
Ambient Rhodes with adjustable swell. Add celeste to your liking.
Ambient Rhodes with an adjustable swell knob and adjustable amp drive.
Rhodes and Mallets with lots of delay and reverb. Adjust amount of mallets, swell and octave effect.
Rhodes with a beautiful round Mallet feel to it. Adjustable swell and ambience.
Based on the celeste. Adjustable tremolo and reverb.
A smoother celeste with adjustable high cut and low cut.
Celeste with adjustable plate reverb.
Based around the Celeste but together with Rhodes and xylophone you get this unique “mallet piano”. Adjustable tremolo and reverb.
Ambient celeste w a hint of Rhodes. Adjustable tape drive and ambience. Adjust amount Rhodes to your liking.
An outer space celeste with soft-sounding mallets and reverb. Add Rhodes to your liking.
Mainly ambient celeste and a hint of marimba. Add Rhodes and xylophone to your liking. Adjustable swell.
A romantic ambient celeste with smooth mallets and reverb. Add Rhodes, swell and delay to your liking.
A mix of all four instruments with a Bell like feel to it. Adjust reverb and amount of Rhodes.
Mysterious Celeste with a hint of xylophone. Adjust ambience and modulation.
Ambient echo celeste. adjust swell, delay time and add marimba to your liking.
A nice basic roomy celeste with adjustable reverb and delay.
Marimba, xylophone and celeste in wide stereo. Adjustable stereo spread and reverb. Add phaser to your liking.
Marimba and Celeste and vibrato for a vibraphone effect. Adjustable vibrato and reverb.
Ambient and warm mallets combo together with Celeste. Adjust tremolo, ambience and modulation.
Ambient and huge sounding marimba and xylophone. Lots of adjustable resonance.
Mallets and Rhodes in a combo with lots of delay. Adjust modulation and delay repeats.
On the Beach
Marimba and xylophone in a perfect blend. Beach vibes with adjustable tremolo and modulation.
Marimba and xylophone for that popping sound. Adjust reverb and modulation.
Marimba and xylophone in a cartoonish collaboration. Adjust octaves, ambience and swell. Add Rhodes to your liking.
A spacey mallet-driven preset with lots of echo and space. Adjust delay, reverb, swell, delay and amount of Rhodes.
Marimba and xylophone and lots of delay builds this echoey bouncy preset. Adjust delay time.
A poppy and almost intergalactic combo of celeste, marimba and Rhodes. Adjust modulation, filter, ambience and amount of Rhodes.
Celeste, Marimba and Rhodes creates this cathedral sounding combination. Adjust room and Octaves
Celeste and Rhodes in a combination that brings you out in the cold. Adjustable reverb, modulation and pitch.
A horror combo of all four instruments. Adjust reverb, swell and amount of marimba.
A combination of Rhodes and Marimba that leaves you floating in space. Adjust modulation delay, swell, filter and reverse effect.
A combination of Rhodes and Celeste. A heavier and darker but still weightless feeling. Adjust Modulation delay, swell, filter and Reverse effect.
A head spinning, mind twisting combination of Rhodes and Marimba. Adjustable octaves and ambience.
The Rhodes piano in an ambient, filtered harmonic version with a panning effect. Adjustable reverb, panning and filter. Add celeste to your liking.
Filtered combo of Rhodes, marimba and xylophone. Adjustable ambience and swell filter.
Ambient combination of all four instruments. Nice, warm and welcoming sound. Adjustable, ambience, attack and amount of Rhodes.
A combination of Rhodes and marimba. Huge swells and sounds from an ever expanding sonic universe. Adjustable ambience, filter and swell.
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|Host||Supported & Tested||Drag & Drop Support||Multi Channel Routing||MIDI Channel Filtering||Requirements|
|Ableton Live||Version 9 or above.|
|Acid Pro/Studio||Version 7 or above.|
|Cubase/Nuendo||Version 4 or above.|
|Digital Performer||Version 7 or above.|
|Fruity Loops||Version 9 or above.|
|GarageBand||Version 6 or above.|
|Logic Pro/Express||Version 8 or above.|
|Mackie Traktion||Version 3 or above.|
|PreSonus Studio One Producer or Professional||Version 1.5 or above.|
|ProTools HD/LE/MP||Version 8.0.5 or above.|
|Reaper||Version 3 or above.|
|Samplitude Pro/SE||Version 10 or above.|
|Sonar PE/SE||Version X1 or above.|