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Someone tried redesigning Ableton Live, and he’s getting lots of attention

Ableton Live’s dominance over a lot of workflows is unparalleled. But the software itself is looking long in the tooth. There are clearly some features long in coming, and despite some updates, the UI is still largely unchanged since the software’s debut over a decade and a half ago. That’s good in some ways, but it means the software can be clunky on modern displays and in certain use cases. It says something about the love for the software that UI/UX designer Nenad Milosevic would create a deep redesign project, spec, just for the heck of it. If Nenad’s redesign …

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Maschine 2.6.5 makes it easier to manage ideas, routings

Ableton has accustomed a lot of us to the idea of having a grid of bits of ideas we can trigger and layer (among other similar metaphors in drum machines and the like). So of course that same functionality would make sense elsewhere. Maschine Jam took Native Instruments’ groove workstation into a different direction by focusing on how you generate, transform, and arrange ideas. Now that focus on workflow is finding its way into the whole Maschine family, both in the form of refinements to Jam and new functionalities elsewhere. So, as NI quietly rolls out Maschine 2.6.5, all Maschine …

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Hell freezes over, Reason 9.5 adds VST support

For those who fear we might live in the End Times, I have some really terrible news. Propellerhead is adding VST plug-in support to Reason. Yep, that’s Propellerhead who for years had sworn they’d never add plug-ins because of concerns about stability, compatibility, and even simple features like undo implementation – and because conventional plug-ins don’t integrate the way that native devices in Reason’s trademark rack do. So what happened? Well, first, Propellerhead found they had something of a hit in their own Rack Extension format and accompanying store. Based on conversations I’ve had with developers, the business opportunity there …

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Bitwig Studio 2 is here, and it’s full of modulators and gadgets

Go go gadget DAW. That’s the feeling of Bitwig Studio 2, which is packed with new devices, a new approach to modulation, and hardware integration. Just a few of these on their own might not really be news, but Bitwig has a lot of them. Put them together, and you’ve got a whole lot of potential machinery to inspire your next musical idea, in the box, with hardware, or with some combination. And much as I love playing live and improvising with my hands, it’s also nice to have some clever machinery that gets you out of your usual habits …

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Offline processing in Nuendo 8.

You can compose entire interactive game scores in Nuendo 8, more

There isn’t one music production tool that fits everybody. What’s special about Steinberg’s Nuendo is that it is uniquely poised for high end production workflows. And maybe more than any other developer, Steinberg seems to be catering to the needs of A-list game scores. That says something not only about Steinberg, but about the changing face of music production. Once, there was the studio world, and “pro” releases meant the Audio Engineering Society (AES) show. You know, for people producing records. Now, odds are, you’re going to laugh when you open the statement from your label showing how much you …

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The $499 Softube Console 1 now looks like a great buy for producers

Softube’s Console 1 was an intriguing offering when it came out, but I suspect some people balked at the price – and simply didn’t know what it was or what it was for. Now, at five hundred bucks, the audience should be bigger. And Softube are working on making the “what is this anyway?” story clearer. So, what is it? Let’s back up. First, imagine a big mixing desk – like a big Solid State console. Now imagine what that console would look like a computer accessory. Obviously, you’d want it to be a whole heck of a lot smaller, …

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Updates make Logic more pretty, powerful; GarageBand more like Logic

Apple continues to modernize and streamlined its flagship Logic DAW. And for anyone fearing it would turn the app into GarageBand, what you’re getting is quite the opposite – Logic features added to GarageBand, and some ongoing pro-oriented improvements to Logic itself. (Don’t worry: no EDM presets or fake drummers in this article. So read on, if you’re not into that sort of thing.) GarageBand: Alchemy, mobile recording for Logic Let’s talk GarageBand first. The big news here is baking Alchemy, the synth Apple acquired, into GarageBand on iOS. That will do little to comfort Alchemy fans who previously had …

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Bitwig Studio 2 lets you modulate and control like a bandit

Bitwig gets its first blockbuster upgrade since launch, in beta now. And the first look at this software suggests it’s continuing to deliver what an enthusiast audience wants – even if some of the revolutionary promise of the tool remains over the horizon. So, first, what it isn’t: it isn’t a complete modular environment. Underneath all the goodies Bitwig offers is a set of modules that provide its functionality. Bitwig’s developers have said eventually they’ll open that up to users, not just for their own development. And that’s be exciting indeed. But forget about big ambitions for a moment. The …

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In-depth: Cubase 9 adds integrated Sampler Tracks, lots more

Cubase 9 is here, and Steinberg are touting improved stability and performance, and lots of user-requested features. That includes new goodies like a built-in Sample Track for manipulating audio, plus history in the mixer. At last, all the Cubase releases are synced – Elements, Artist, and Pro all hit Cubase 9 at once. (Steinberg says it’s the first time that’s happened.) But this is also intended to be a clean break. 32-bit plug-in support is out – 64-bit only. There’s also meant to be improved compatibility as a result, and a scanner tool will hunt out plug-ins you’ve got that …

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FL's new look, as of version 12, won't burn your retinas.

FL Studio keeps rocking – now with mobile integration

FL Studio, the program once known as Fruity Loops, is one of those indestructible gems of music software. It’s the thing people may sheepishly admit to using – only to proceed to gush about their love for it. And it just keeps chugging along with updates. It’s a reason to love music software: while some creative tech turns into a monoculture (cough, Adobe), music remains obsessively eclectic. This update’s surprises? How about a US$49 add-on emulation of the 303? Oh, and, Willy Wonka style, that enters you to win an original 303 or a modded TT-303 hardware clone? Or what …

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