Here’s Why the New Version of the Free Ardour 4 DAW is Great

It’s easy to make an argument to any cash-strapped producer that a free DAW is good news. And it’s easy to convince a free and open source software advocate that a free-as-in-freedom DAW is a good thing. But that’s not enough. If we’re going to talk about software, let’s make sure it’s worth using. Ardour, the free and open source DAW, has always been powerful. But it hasn’t always been seamless to use – especially outside of Linux. Ardour 1 and Ardour 2 were incredible feats of engineering, and some people used them to make music, but let’s be honest …


Bitwig Studio as Instrumental Pack: Cristian Vogel, u-he Deals

Bitwig Studio turns one year old this week, and they’re keen to use the occasion to convince you to try their software. But the pitch takes a different angle, focusing more than ever on the particular bundle of instruments and effects. There’s an artist pack by Cristian Vogel that makes it clear what’s possible (hello, granular) — and, ending on the 7th of April, deals on U-he instruments to sweeten the pot. For soft synth lovers, it might be a haul of Easter candy that convinces you to bite. We’ve already talked about my affection for Cristian Vogel: he’s an …


Live 9.2 Answers Your Warp, Automation, Tuner, and Pad Wishes

It’s nice to get what you ask for. More than any recent release I can recall, Ableton Live 9.2 feels like it’s ticking off a task list of user requests. The software enters (a very stable, in my experience) public beta this week. There’s nothing earth-shaking, but I know CDM has enough Ableton users that this will matter. To get there, though, be forewarned: Ableton is dropping support for some older Mac and Windows operating systems. (10.6 and earlier / Vista and earlier, respectively.) If you make the cut, though, you’ll likely find some welcome changes in this free update …


Apple’s MainStage Auto Sampler Turns Your Hardware into Software

Hidden in last month’s update to Logic and MainStage is a feature a lot of sampler lovers have been missing. You need the latest MainStage to access it, but it allows you to easily create sampled software versions of external instruments. Italian developer Redmatica had a host of technologies for transforming hardware instruments into software samples, all built around Apple’s EXS24 sampler. Anyone who’s ever built samples of hardware knows the process can be fairly time-consuming: you trigger notes one at a time, record audio from them, and map that audio to the keyboard. Redmatica’s tools made all of that …


Pro Tools Adds Free Edition, Subscriptions, Marketplaces for Plug-ins and Content

Remember Pro Tools Free? Years ago, it was then-Digidesign’s ploy to give you the first hit of Pro Tools without paying, in the hopes you’d get hooked and buy the full version. Well, the idea is back, just with a different name. Pro Tools First is a stripped-down version of Pro Tools. And it’s one of three changes in Pro Tools 12 to how you buy and work with the flagship music production software. Pro Tools 12 is now something you can use for free (with various strings attached). It’s something you can rent, with subscription pricing (in addition to …


Subscribe, Click, Collaborate: The New Ways to Buy Music Creation Software

It’s been a long time coming, but the month of January has brought more new ways to pay for music creation software than we’ve seen in a few years. When you want to share a playlist with a friend, you can count on giving them full-length tracks with Spotify. (Sorry, Taylor Swift fans, but everyone else.) If you’re on a tight deadline to finish a video edit, you can pay a small monthly fee to use Adobe Premiere – and send it to the film composer knowing they can do the same, rather than having to buy it outright for …


What’s New in Logic Pro X 10.1: Editing Power, Electronic Drums [In Detail]

With version number 10.1, the Logic Pro release out right now sounds like a “yawn, move along” bump. But there’s actually a big story here. Half that story is about making electronic beats. The other half, and maybe the more important half, is about editing. But let me explain. Even with a steady stream of updates, I’m not convinced Logic Pro X has entirely shaken concerns from some hard-core producers about serious editing – whether they’re being fair or not. Something about all the cute graphics and loop browsing and GarageBand and iPad and iPhone seems to make them, well, …


Bitwig Studio 1.1 Adds Lots of Details; Can It Escape Ableton’s Shadow?

Bitwig Studio has been quietly plugging along in development, adding loads of engineering improvements under the hood. Version 1.1 is the largest update yet. Here’s the summary of the update: Minus the marketing speak, the exhaustive changelog (here, for Mac): It’s an impressively long list of enhancements in quantity, though most of the changes are fixes and enhanced hardware and plug-in compatibility. For instance, you can side-chain VSTs, and there are new options for routing multiband effects and multi-channel plug-ins. The big enhancements: More routing for audio and MIDI VST multi-out sidechain support and multi-channel effect hosts Updated …


South Park Mocks Music Producers – and Their Fake DAW Is Surprisingly Realistic

In an episode last week, South Park took on 17-year-old producer Lorde. The punchline: Stan’s Dad is actually Lorde. (For some reason, publications like SPIN think the writers are serious about this. In the immortal words of MST3k, guys, just repeat to yourself, “it’s just a show. I should really just relax.”) What makes all of this interesting to us is that the show did go to some detail creating a realistic DAW UI. Eagle-eyed readers may figure out which UI elements were modelled here. It’s closest to SONAR, I would say, though with a GarageBand / Tracktion-style loop browser …


Reason 8 Overhauls UI, Adds New Softube Amp Models [Video, Gallery]

Let’s face it: Reason has started to look a little bit crowded lately. What began as a small rack of virtual effects and instruments has grown to add an enormous mixing console. Sequencing features have, since the beginning, been squeezed to tiny lanes at the bottom of the UI. And a browser floated around in a window. Reason 8’s individual parts aren’t so different from Reason versions you’ve seen before. But it’s the way they fit together that has changed – rather radically.