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Let’s make sense of Apple’s new iPad lineup – with charts!

The iPad isn’t just a gadget any more. There’s now enough of an app ecosystem that investing in an iPad is investing in a creative platform that turns into lots of other things. That is, it really is like another computer. For music, that means a lot. An iPad is a drum machine, or a vocal processor. It’s a practice aid, a simulated guitar amp. It’s an extension of your desktop music software, too, whether controlling instruments and transport in Logic or live sets in Ableton. It’s a DJ tool. Of course, the same is true of a computer. And …

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Octane Render Shows Awesome Power of GPU Rendering

Just how awesome is the GPU? So awesome. (That’s how we put it in highly technical jargon, anyway.) You’d be forgiven for being skeptical of what photorealistic rendering’s future might be. After all, we’ve been hearing about how raytracing and better-looking, more realistic renders would someday revolutionize 3D visuals, and that, thanks to the GPU, you’d get this power in speeds approaching real-time. But the delivery has taken some time. This isn’t a demo of some futuristic research tech at SIGGRAPH, though: it’s a product in beta right now you can use, today. (A beta license, amazingly, costs just EUR99 …

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ArKaos GrandVJ to Support 50-60 fps, Framerate is Beautiful, Plus Why FRAPS Rocks

GrandVJ struts its stuff at the World Lighting Fair. Mmmm… light. Delicious light. Photo courtesy ArKaos. GrandVJ is the live visual world’s best secret at the moment. Maybe it’s the software’s streamlined feature set or simple-looking UI, or maybe hard-core visualists had come to associate the name “ArKaos” with the company’s previous product, which recently had indeed started to look long-in-the-tooth before GrandVJ finally replaced it. But here’s the reason GrandVJ is worth your consideration: it plays back video and it’s rock-solid and fast while doing it. And I’m happy to sacrifice some whiz-bang features to accomplish that. Here’s a …

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Lenovo S10 Netbook Does Ableton – and Developers, Go Grab a Netbook

Yep, that’s an ExpressCard slot. Photo (CC) Ja-ae (Jarawee) – hello, Bangkok! (Know we have some readers out there.) Tim Hanlon of gizmag.com recently got an IdeaPad S10 – Lenovo’s lovely, $400 “netbook” – to test. He didn’t just do the usual benchmarks, though. His review also included the unlikely choice of Ableton Live and, thanks to a free ExpressCard slot, a MOTU Traveler FireWire interface.

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Optimizing for Vista: Inside the Mechanics of SONAR 8 with Cakewalk Engineering

Vista, launched in an ice house in Toronto. That’s where I want my project studio this winter, for sure. Photo (CC Sam Javanrouh. On a purely technical level, how does Windows Vista work with a leading pro audio application? A lot of that depends on just how much the developer does to tune their software, and to hook into some of the new audio technologies in the OS. I wanted to know more about how Cakewalk’s SONAR 8 DAW was specifically optimized for Windows Vista. SONAR 7 was already out in front with support for Vista’s audio plumbing, but SONAR …

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Macworld on MacBook Pro Update; Why Santa Rosa Matters

Macworld, naturally, spends a lot of time focused intently on Apple hardware while I get distracted by beatboxing parrots and modular synthesizers built out of yarn and rubber bands. They have an excellent write-up of the significance of the MacBook Pro Santa Rosa upgrades, with comments on their benchmarks of the equivalent refreshed MacBooks: MacBook Pro knows the way to Santa Rosa One thing I was a little unclear on in my previous story is what matters in Santa Rosa, Intel’s latest architecture platform. (They didn’t call it Core 3 Duo, but then, consistent branding and Intel don’t generally go …

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Updated MacBook Pro Performance Preview: Better Displays, Faster Visualist Apps, Better 3D

Audio, relying primarily on the CPU, can do fine on the non-pro MacBook: a fast CPU and FireWire 400 can be all you need. But for visualists, the GPU has become more and more vital. The integrated Intel GPU on the MacBooks is surprisingly capable, and certainly gets through basic video mixing. But throw enough shaders at it (even just processing video, without any 3D modeling or gaming), and it can’t keep up. That’s the reason Apple requires the MacBook Pro for Final Cut Studio; with Motion, at least, they’re absolutely right. You’d be wise to postpone a MacBook Pro …

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MacBook Pro Revision: Big Santa Rosa Performance Boost, 4GB RAM Option, More

There’s a reason all these MacBooks have become a big hit with laptop musicians. Expect to see so many of them you get sick of seeing them. That’s why we strongly suggest customization, like making a new case out of mylar or something. Apple has unveiled its revised MacBook Pros today, with some subtle but significant improvements. I spoke to Apple a few minutes ago to get some of the details on what’s new. The new MacBook Pro includes new, faster CPUs and the Santa Rosa Intel architecture refresh to the Core 2 Duo, delivering 2.2GHz and 2.4GHz brains and …

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MacBook Gets Core 2 Duo; Live Laptop Config; What’s Your Laptop Pick?

As widely expected, Apple has given its MacBook Core 2 Duo CPUs, as with its existing MacBook Pro. The MacBook ships with either a 1.83Ghz Core 2 Duo chip with a 2MB L2 cache or a 2 GHz CPU with a 4GB L2 cache. To me, the added MHz along with the added cache and better specs make the higher-end white MacBook the sweet spot as far as value. (There’s still a “color tax” on the black MacBook, which remains at $1499.) Does this MacBook now become the perfect music laptop? How should you configure it? Does Core 2 Duo …

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Free Utility Measures Audio Latency on Windows

If you’re wondering how your audio interface is performing on Windows with ASIO drivers, CEntrance has released a free utility that measures latency. Latency is the delay in transit as an audio signal performs a trip through your interface. Looks handy, and you know what this means: time to post some Windows driver/interface benchmarks! Measure away, and let us know how it goes! Keep in mind, you can take advantage of everyone’s favorite Windows driver, ASIO4ALL, to provide higher performance for even audio devices (like an internal laptop card) that don’t have ASIO drivers. I’d love to measure WDM/DirectX Windows …

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