Logic Pro Tips: X Coexists Peacefully with Previous Versions; Unsolicited Advanced Tools Advice

As a follow up to CDM’s Logic hands-on, here are some additional notes. First, we can confirm that you can keep your old Logic with the new one if you’re afraid of losing compatibility with a plug-in. Second, I have some gentle advice for making sure a new option to hide and show extra features of the program doesn’t cause confusion.


Logic Pro X Brings iPad Control, New Features and Refinement [Gallery, Details, CDM Hands-on]

It’s been four years since we saw a significant update to Apple’s flagship music production suite. But the wait today is over. Logic Pro X is here, along with MainStage 3 and a new, free companion iPad app called Logic Remote. First, if for some reason you’re a loyal Logic user who has been dreading this upgrade, you can officially relax. As I suspected in 2011, this isn’t the sort of radical departure from previous versions of Logic some had feared. With the exception of the long-discontinued WaveBurner and Soundtrack Pro, you’ll be hard pressed to find any “legacy” feature …


Pro Tools 11 Boosts Performance, Video; USB Interfaces Add iOS Support; AVID Uncertainties Remain

Avid has announced Pro Tools 11, the latest version of their flagship DAW. There are no whiz-bang features in this upgrade; instead, it seems Avid was solely focused on performance. Those improvements look promising; real-world performance is one of those things that makes the biggest difference in day-in, day-out use. The engine rewrite is joined here by top-of-class video integration, benefiting from Pro Tools’ sister products in video at Avid. These still will do little to sway users of other DAWs, but that’s not new. What is new is seeing a Pro Tools upgrade overshadowed by uncertainty about its developer. …


Insane, Starship Control Panel Controls Sound Morphing-Synth in 3D: COSMOSƒ

If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times: manipulating sound presets should be as intuitive and powerful as regulating plasma coolant flow to the antimatter injector on a warp drive nacelle. I mean, knobs? How quaint. COSMOSƒ is a graphical morphing engine for sound, a standalone synthesizer with a wild, sci-fi interface. You can actually set up polar coordinates and navigate sounds through a sphere, in three dimensions. The sound engine is all internal, but looks like a lot of fun. (For more of this sort of thing, see the excellent, free and open source IanniX, which …


Podolski is a Free, Full-Featured Virtual Analog Synth Plug-in from Urs Heckmann [Mac, PC]

Any instrument from software maestro Urs Heckmann seems worth a mention. This one, doubly so: it’s free. Podolski isn’t new; it has made appearances through the years in the excellent German-language magazine KEYBOARDS (no relation to the US Keyboard). But now, it’s available for everyone, with some nice updates and modernization and versions for just about any Mac or Windows host (or Linux, via WINE). Now, even if we’re talking only free plug-ins, there are a lot of virtual analog synths out there. But this one is special: it’s got the great sound of FilterscapeVA, and waveform morphing and short …

What if your DAW were completely open-ended and modular, allowing you to send audio and control anywhere, and control from any device - including touch? Or, if that's too abstract for you, what if Usine ran on the Mac?

Sensomusic Hollyhock: An Open-Ended, Modular DAW from Usine Makers, Now Mac + Windows [Beta Preview]

Driven by musicians’ need to do a lot of the same things, and expecting certain ways of doing those things, DAWs have traditionally been mired in the same molds. Sensomusic Hollyhock, an upcoming DAW from the makers of Usine, promises to be genuinely different. Like Usine, it’s built around an entirely open-ended, modular environment – you can patch together only what you need, and can patch together just about anything. But building on Usine, Sensomusic have created an entirely rewritten app, with new audio engine, rebuilt interface, new MIDI management, and, among other things, cross-platform 64-bit support for Windows and …

You know, Windows 8 ... on a desktop. Photo (CC-BY-ND) Filip Skakun.

Windows 8 for Desktop Music Making: Faster, No Reason *Not* to Upgrade

“Windows 8,” in Microsoft brand vaguery, can refer to all sorts of technologies, from infamous new sets of colored tiles that mostly confuse users to touch-enabled ultrabooks to tablets to Surface to Surface Pro, from computers that run Intel chips that run traditional Windows software to ones with ARM chips that don’t. In the near future, some of this could be cool. Imagine a conventional laptop, for instance, you can convert into a tablet for touch-enabled live performance — no iPad required. But yes, “Windows 8” is also the version of Windows that follows “Windows 7.” While we await more …


Cubase 7 Brings Mixing, Harmonic Chord-by-Chord Features to Steinberg’s DAW [Preview]

It must be the season of the DAW. After a bit of a quiet spell, we have DP8 (and moving in on Windows turf), SONAR X2 (announced at about the same time), and Live 9 all coming into relief. And now, it’s Steinberg’s Cubase 7. The surprise: these audio tools that seem to do everything keep finding more things to do. Generally speaking, you have to twist yourself into a pretzel to describe all those “it does this new stuff” features. That’s okay – developers and users alike built a list of stuff they want, and getting it, under-the-Christmas-style in …

MOTU's revamped interface now comes with themes, like this lovely black version. And it runs on Windows, not just Mac. DP8, SONAR X2 each tune these mature DAWs; here's a look at what they have to offer. Image courtesy MOTU.

Two DAWs Ship: SONAR X2, MOTU DP8 – As DP8 Invades Windows, Too

Two DAWs, announced earlier this year, are now shipping this week. One is Cakewalk’s SONAR X2 for Windows, which extends the new user interface overhaul – loved by some, despised by others – unveiled in X1. But PC stalwart Cakewalk has new competition on the Windows platform. MOTU’s DP8, apart from being a fairly significant overhaul for Mac users, also marks the arrival of that DAW on Windows. The timing is interesting, too, as there have been long gaps in the release cycle for two other DAWs – Apple Logic and Ableton Live – that are widely expected to be …


An Amazing Free Touch Controller for Ableton Live; How Touch is Coming Your Way

Ableton Live has a number of robust touch solutions, but a creation from Graham Comerford called Yeco takes things to another level. It’s finally a Live touch controller that provides full views of clips, unlimited parameter controls, and extras like drum pads. There are even undo and redo shortcuts. The cost: free, downloadable now. It’s presently Windows-only (both 32-bit and 64-bit versions), but a Mac version is coming early September. The implementation is really elaborate and beautiful, giving you a much wider set of functionality than existing iPad apps and the like, which tend to focus on basic clip launching, …