The new Session View. Yes, it's a different color. But mostly, look to the bottom of your screen: automation recording in clips, and curves in automation, at last.

Ableton 9 Live: More Tools For Starting – and Finishing – Music [First Hands-On Details]

Ableton today has revealed the details of Live 9, alongside new hardware called Push. The software update brings new ways of transforming sound into MIDI, new and improved devices for shaping sounds, tools for automation that work inside clips and with curved interpolation, a new Browser, and a number of interface and usability enhancements. There are also some features, conceived for Push, that could benefit people using any hardware controller they choose. And alongside these enhancements, you’ll also find a host of new sounds and preset content with which to work. First, here’s a quick look at what’s new, before …

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 …


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 …


Bitwig Studio, Approaching Beta, Releases Video Demo [Weekend Update]

Bitwig Studio, the new production and performance tool from an upstart Berlin development team, is now nearing beta. It’s the first real news we’ve seen since the product was first announced in January. Unfortunately, the latest video does little to tease new features (unless you look really closely). It still gives the impression of software with a UI paradigm modeled closely on Ableton Live, and because it’s largely a music demo, focus can easily shift to the sound of the track rather than the function of the software. That’s too bad, as we do know this software does promise some …


GarageBand for iPad Hands-on: Why It’s Ideal for Beginners, What You May Not Know

Let’s get this out of the way: musicians are not a “niche” group. Recording has done some damage to the popular practice of live music, but still, you’ll find an astonishing number of people play instruments and sing. (New pop culture phenomena like Glee, the Guitar Hero/Rock Band games, and the resurgent TV talent show have helped, too.) What’s “niche” is conventional music production software. While it’s a fast-growing segment, music making software remains elusive and befuddling to a whole lot of musicians. GarageBand for Mac was one answer to what software for the remaining group should look like. But …


FL Studio 10.5 Performance Mode in Beta: Bridge Arrangement and Live, Easy Hardware Control

FL Studio’s live performance functionality has been teased for some time online, attracting enraptured eyeballs and plenty of discussion online. Now, you can give it a try for yourself in the new FL Studio 10.5 beta. My prediction: it’s definitely huge for FL Studio die-hards, but it could also attract some “lapsed” FL users back to the fold, and it’s almost certainly a reason to fire up a copy of Windows. (That’s the sound of a bunch of Boot Camp installations.) The best way to see what the performance mode is about is in the video above. It’s actually a …


FL Studio Unveils Performance Mode Alpha; Live That Isn’t Like Ableton Live?

If you’re looking for a way of triggering sounds in live performance, but you want to meld that notion with the sequencer rather than play a drum machine-style sampling instrument, your commercially-available options are limited. And it seems, in particular, new creations simply work the way Ableton Live’s Session View does. Bitwig, a new DAW, struck many observers (myself included) to be strikingly close to Ableton’s Session View. More recently, a homebrewed effort for the tracker Renoise also aped Ableton’s interface. Today’s appearance of the much-anticipated (well, by FL Studio users, anyway) Performance Mode is something different. Seen in a …


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 …


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 …


Bitwig Introduces New Production+Performance Studio; Looks a Lot Like Ableton Live

For years, since the launch of Ableton Live, many have waited for a worthy rival, something that combines production and live performance for music users. Live isn’t without alternatives – Renoise, for instance, has earned some fans, though it isn’t necessarily built for live performance. But few provide the same real-time workflows. Bitwig, based in Berlin as is Ableton and featuring some Abletronic veterans, today took the wraps off its own Bitwig Studio. The good news is, it’s looking as though it might shape up to be a viable tool for DJing, performing, and making music. The bad news is, …