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Recording on One Screen: Upcoming Tools From Steinberg, M-Audio Do DAW with Less

Tracks, channels, begone! Ignite focuses instead on recording for musicians – and takes some cues from recent iPad apps, in the process. You’ll be able to get it later this year, but initially only if you buy a bundled keyboard. Image courtesy inMusic. If you’re a musician just looking to record some ideas, desktop computer music software can seem sometimes like going after a nail with a bulldozer. The very term these tools go by, DAW (Digital Audio Workstation), suggests something that integrates a whole lot of functionality. But over the years, music software makers have had a tough time …

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Ableton Live 64-Bit Beta: How it Works, And Some Caveats

This number “64” is important to some people making music. Here, we get to explain why, if you should even be concerned, and what it’ll mean to run Live in 64-bit. Photo (CC-BY-SA) shizhao. Sung to the tune of the Beatles’ iconic “When I’m 64 [bit]…” Do you need memory? / Lotsa more memory? / You want sixty-four. Ableton Live 8.4 is available in beta, making 64-bit available to Live users, and thus making Live exactly two times more in the sound as the previous version. Wait, no… that’s not right. Let’s try again: With 64-bit, you get twice as …

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Free as in Freedom to Break S***: Blender Makes Things Shatter Real Pretty [Video]

I’ve had a lot of conversations lately that run something like this: free and open source tools shouldn’t just be shown for the sake of it. They should be better – demonstrably so. Here’s the funny thing: free software advocates are often the people nodding in agreement. And in some cases, they can blow your socks off. Witness what happens with 3D modeling tool Blender as it breaks things, gorgeously. I’ll leave this to the YouTube description:

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You've got to love the ultra-compact track collapse feature - ideal for 11" MacBook Airs or Linux netbooks.

Renoise 2.8 Gets More Usable, 64-bit; Trackers 4ever

Who says every music production tool has to be either a traditional DAW or Ableton Live? Not Renoise, for one. I’m running out of things to call it. Modernized tracker? Tracker on steroids? Music production tool from an alternate history in which conventional DAWs were ignored and everybody just kept on using trackers? How about this: a gem that a tiny development team somehow keeps making more awesome with regular updates with misleading names like “point 8.” So, what does “2.8” give you? A couple of OS compatibility fixes and one new delay effect? Wrong. New in this release is …

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Digital Performer Runs on Windows; Hell Freezes Over; SONAR Left in the (Windows-Only) Cold

Digital Performer, and Performer before it, has been a Mac-only program for almost as long as you’ve been able to buy a computer called “Macintosh.” The first Performer release was available in 1985. (Professional Composer, before that, was out in ’84.) Performer, accordingly, has had a big impact on the history of the sequencer, and later the audio and MIDI arrangement hybrid that came to be known as Digital Audio Workstation, throughout the history of the genre. But it’s never run on any Microsoft platform – until now. In an announcement I doubt anyone saw coming, MOTU has announced they’re …

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iPad Gets a Desktop-Style, 48-Track DAW with Plug-ins: What it Means, Answers from a Developer

I like to do six impossible things before breakfast. You? This is either the first death knell for the traditional desktop DAW, or an ill-fated attempt to squeeze a desktop DAW onto a tablet. Or, more likely, it’s somewhere in between. Auria isn’t the first multitrack production studio for a mobile platform, but without question, it’s the first to look and function in the way you’d expect only a computer Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) to work. The track count is the first banner feature, but perhaps what will turn heads most is actually the support for conventional plug-ins. Updated: You …

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Omnisphere Review for Keyboard: Amidst Gigs of Sounds, Real Creative Sound Design, Too; Videos

I took a look at Omnisphere 1.5, the synth so big it’ll make your head hurt, for Keyboard in a story out now (and readable now). As I begin the story: Seeing its six DVDs of sound content, you might be tempted to duct-tape a key down and let Omnisphere finish your film scoring gig. While the director would probably love the results, you’d be missing out on the real fun. In other words, what I discovered in that review was that Omnisphere, particularly with additions in the new 1.5 update, is a powerful creative sound design tool, not just …

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Sibelius 7 Notation Software: Updated UI, More Samples, 64-bit, More Interchange and Sharing

Avid released Sibelius 7 yesterday. Highlights in the new version: A new UI. The most apparent change is a new user interface with dockable, tabbed panels. The design borrows heavily from Microsoft’s Office Ribbon, though a more subdued appearance makes it look just as comfortable on the Mac. My guess is that power users may just hide the whole thing and stick to keyboard shortcuts, but it should do wonders for discoverability for new users or more casual users not comfortable with that. There’s also a nice new inspector, which looks a lot more usable and less-clumsy than the previous …

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Mac OS Lion 10.7 is Here; The Obligatory Take-Your-Time Post, with NI and Apogee Info

King of the jungle, as seen at the British Museum. Photo (CC-BY-ND) wootang01/mckln (Uninteresting side note – I happened to be at this location yesterday.) It’s become something of a tradition here on CDM. Apple releases new OS. Music developers – one or more – release notes that suggest you might want to wait to upgrade. It happens every time, and so you should be cautious every time. This time, it may be even more serious: developers are describing symptoms that they say they haven’t seen in previous updates. Native Instruments, often some of the first out of the gate …

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Madrona’s Randy Jones on Aalto Soft Synth, Designing a New Instrument, Small Makers

Patching together unique sounds on the classic Buchla 100 was an impetus for a new software instrument by Randy Jones – just released for Windows. Photo (CC-BY) guiltyx/roll_initiative. Software can easily enough emulate, down to each knob and patch cord, a vintage synthesizer. But can a genuinely new software synth incorporate the ideas about instrument design beloved in a classic synth like the Buchla modular? How do you balance open-ended sound design with the sorts of limitations that give an instrument personality, limitations that inspire? And could all of this be meaningful even for someone first discovering synthesis, who may …

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