Hive 2 is an easy-to-use synthesizer combining u-he’s famous sound quality with a low CPU footprint. The extra modulation features guarantee more fun than ever before.
Hive’s clear layout and easy workflow let you create stunning patches in next to no time at all. Although surprisingly CPU-friendly, Hive doesn’t sacrifice flexibility or audio quality. Now packed with more controls than ever, version 2 opens up new dimensions of expression… and sheer fun!
u-he Hive 2 Highlights
Low CPU usage, 3 different synth engines
2 oscillators with standard waveforms or 2D wavetables, up to 16x unison, tunable sub-oscillators
Drag & drop modulation assignment
12×2 modulation matrix slots with modifiers for curvature, rectification, quantization, sample & hold, slew rate
4 user-definable XY control pads
Arpeggiator, step sequencer with real-time recording
Unique 8-step shape sequencer with 4 independent outputs
Scale quantizer with pre-defined list of scales
2 function generators which can serve as extra envelopes, gate generators, LFOs, slew limiters
Panel presets for oscillators, filters, envelopes, LFOs, sequencer, FX and modulation matrix
Solo buttons let you audition individual oscillators and filters during sound design
Scope to view the audio output or any modulation signal, with freeze option and zoom controls
Microtuning support (.tun files)
2000+ NKS-ready factory presets by some of our favourite sound designers, many more available online
Resizable UI from 70% to 200%
Alternative Izmo skin
The AAX plugin format for AVID Pro Tools is currently not compatible with macOS 11 Big Sur, so at this time we can not offer Hive 2.1 as an AAX plugin for macOS. If you’re a Pro Tools user on macOS, please use the latest previous version of Hive 2 instead for the time being. Once the AAX format supports macOS 11, we will provide Hive 2.1 for AAX on macOS also.
Underneath its sleek exterior, Hive 2 lets you go as deep as you like. Add movement and life using the shape sequencer, or instantly record, rotate and arpeggiate note sequences. The 12-slot matrix even lets you modulate effect parameters, encouraging you to explore a whole new world of creative options. With its swappable audio engine, flexible signal routing, wavetable support and quality effects, Hive 2 makes sure you can get the sound you want with a minimum of fuss.
How it works
Hive 2 includes Wavetables! These appear as multiple waveforms, and are controlled in the central hexagon. You can manually select wavetables, modulate the wave position via the matrix, or even scan through them automatically using the envelope and loop options (which let you animate wavetables without the need for an extra modulation source).
This panel also offers a Reverse option to flip the wavetable back to front, Cyclic mode for seamless wavetable cycling, and various real-time interpolation methods.
Wavetables can be split into multiple parts (up to 16), effectively creating a 2-dimensional oscillator. For instance, a wavetable with 30 frames can be split into 3 x 10 frames by setting Tables to 3. The lower Position knob will crossfade between those 3. This feature opens up a second dimension of wavetable scanning, such as velocity crossfade or multisample support.
Want to go even deeper? Many of Hive’s factory wavetables are not samples, but “.uhm” files containing scripts written in a proprietary wavetable generation and manipulation language. If you’re interested in writing your own scripts, grab this document (also included in the Hive installer)…
Hive provides 4 different algorithms for interpolating between wavetable frames: switch, crossfade, spectral, or zero phase. The appearance (and CPU usage) of waveforms can differ significantly, depending on the chosen interpolation. The spectral and zero phase modes shift the relative phases of partials differently, while the switch option only shows non-interpolated waveforms.
A quick run through Hive’s new wavetable interpolation modes. Taking the example of the 4th harmonic of any given wavetable, it shows what happens in the transition between wavetable frames. It also shows the tradeoff between quality and CPU. Note that the “zero phase” mode does not show any transition in this case, which is the expected behaviour. Filmed in Hive 1.2.
The Shape Sequencer is where you can create complex modulations and/or rhythmic patterns. It offers a comfortable way to ‘gamify’ rhythm creation. While it may look like a baby version of what other synths have to offer, Hive’s shape sequencer can do a lot more than first meets the eye…
Shape Sequencer in action
The shape sequencer has four Shape Modulator lanes (A, B, C and D), each with an independent set of options determining how the active cells in that lane are sequenced: This means that the shape modulators can be triggered differently and run at different speeds..
Hive’s Function Generators combine simple envelope functionality with LFO, slew limiter (a.k.a. envelope follower) and gate control. Each of the three outputs has its own ‘crosshair’ you can drag & drop onto any modulation target, onto the Scope or even onto the modulation matrix source fields. Triggered and/or modulated by the LFOs, the Shape Sequencer and each other, Hive’s Function Generators can create some truly mind-bending motion effects!
Arpeggiator and Sequencer
The ARP/SEQ panel in the central hexagon is where you make rhythmic and melodic loops.
You can select up to 3 octaves range, 6 different direction options, and 4 for the order. Additional features are Restart, which sets the number of notes the arpeggiator will play before jumping back to the beginning, and ClockDiv, which slows the arpeggiator down relative to the sequencer.
The sequencer has 2 different modes, one of which lets you send control signals (CC) without triggering any notes. Like the arpeggiator, the sequence will run whenever one or more notes are played, and will stop when all notes are released. In record (REC) mode you can enter individual notes on your keyboard or even capture the output of the arpeggiator.
Hive’s hexagon includes 7 different effects: Distortion, Reverb, Equalier, Chorus, Delay, Compressor, and Phaser.
Enable and rearrange
The on/off status and position of each effect in the chain is controlled using the central column: Click once to enable or disable an effect, and drag up and down to rearrange. This ease of use invites experimental combinations e.g. short reverb into highly resonant phaser into heavy distortion.
Edit and modulate
Effects in Hive are fully-featured with many editable controls, a selection of presets, and the well known u-he quality.
Want more? Every control you see can be modulated in the modulation matrix – even a few you can’t see.
Hive features a 12-unit modulation matrix (6 units per page) which lets you connect modulation sources (LFOs, envelopes, shape sequencer, MIDI controls etc.) to countless targets, optionally via a second modulation source. 2 targets can be assigned per unit, each with its own modulatable depth control. The row of 5 modifiers per target can alter the curvature, rectify, quantize, sample/hold or slew-limit the modulation signal: This is seriously deep stuff, but it doesn’t get in the way!
On this page you’ll find a pad with 4 controls – simply connect them to your MIDI controllers for maximum fun on stage. Other views are also available.
Automatic parameter scanning
Hive is able to assign XY controls to parameters automatically. It looks into the structure of presets that have unused XY controls, and assigns them to the most appropriate XY macros (pre-defined sets of parameters). Of course you can create your own XY control definitions, with up to 4 targets per dimension.
Animated graphics in software synthesizers not only look cool, but can also help you program your sounds by showing you what’s happening in real time. Hive’s Scope is especially useful for displaying how the parts of complex modulation interact (e.g. the Function Generators with an LFO).
Modern CPU required:
Windows/Linux: Intel Nehalem or newer, AMD Bulldozer or newer
Mac: Intel Nehalem or newer, Apple M1
Linux: glibc version 2.28 or newer
Hive 2 is not a standalone product, it requires host software. Hive 2 is compatible with nearly all DAWs.
AUv2, VST2, VST3, 64-bit only AAX Mac is temporarily unavailable until native AAX support for Big Sur/Apple Silicon arrives. Pro Tools users should continue working with the previous versions until further notice. (read more)
VST2, VST3, AAX*
* AAX requires Pro Tools 10.3.7 or later
Hive 2 is Native Instruments NKS-ready and compatible with Maschine and Komplete Kontrol hardware.
We saw Apple’s switch to their own CPU architecture as a welcome opportunity to up our game and “go native”, so to speak. After several months of hard work, we have new plug-in versions, all refactored to offer a massive performance boost on recent Macs with Apple Silicon CPUs, especially if your host application has also gone M1-native. This means more instances of your favourite u-he plug-ins!
Users of other computer systems are not left out in the cold: We improved multicore support for Intel-based Macs, and the GUI response is generally smoother on all Mac models. Windows and Linux users also benefit from the following:
Improved browsers, easy drag & drop soundset installation
New resource management in Hive means that most presets will use even less CPU
Support for MTS , a new project-wide microtuning standard
New designs for Triple Cheese (freeware) and ZebraCM (magware)
Better overall performance for all plug-ins on all platforms
What’s new in Hive 2.1?
macOS 11 (Big Sur) compatibility, native support for Apple Silicon (M1 CPU).
macOS 32-bit support discontinued.
100 additional factory presets.
Simplified soundset installation.
New smart folder type ‘Bank’: origin of presets or custom collections.
4 new filter modes: Comb, Dissonant, Reverb, Sideband.
4 new filter modulation targets: Spread, Damp, Ratio, Mix.
New delay & reverb modulation targets: Pan.
New Shape Sequencer targets: Position A/B/C/D.
New shape sequencer option: ‘Halt’.
New modulation source: ‘Mod Noise’.
The scope can now display modulation matrix outputs.
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