Free Version, Linux Support: 7 Cool New Things About Tracktion DAW

With users loyal to some great tools, how do you get attention as a different music production tool? Well, a $60 price, a solid free version, Linux support, and some cool features will definitely get you somewhere. So don’t overlook the lesser-known options yet – if they can make you happy and get your work done, the choice is up to you. Tracktion is one of those underdogs. Here are some reasons it’s gotten my attention. 1. You can use it for free, then spend $60 for the latest version. On Windows, Mac, and Linux, Tracktion 4 is now completely …


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 …


Kill Some Time Making Acid in a Browser, And Other Fun Tricks

Error 303, anyone? Computation is everywhere – phones, tablets, watches (apparently), and yes, browsers in all of those places. And that computational power can be harnessed to completely distract you from doing real work in the office — um, I mean, make music. “Acid Machine Beta” is a rather fun implementation of two synths and a drum machine, all running in your browser. The “Randomize” function alone should hook you for a bit. Beyond that, you get a decent complement of synth and percussion controls that could make a reasonable little groove. (Recording isn’t directly possible, but you could route …


Sophisticated Rhythms: 2 Mixes, 2 Approaches, For Your Listening Pleasure

Mixes have become another essential reflex of this age of overabundance, a way of navigating in material form the rhythms that come our way. I turn this weekend to mixes by two close friends. Matt Earp, aka Kid Kameleon (top), has been a CDM contributor in the past; his background spans music and technology and a wide breadth and depth of knowledge in those areas. Noah Pred is simply one of the finest DJs and producers I know, the ever-tasteful mind behind the massively underrated but prescient label Thoughtless Music. Each mix is singular in purpose, full of the sort …


Romance Again: Intimate, Personal Music for the First Warmth of Spring

Who’s ready for some springtime romance? Show of hands? Thought so. Here in northern Europe, at least, we’re at that inflection point as spring first crawls its way out of winter, tiny buds on the trees and ice/rain mixes giving way to faintly warm sunbeams. This is music that matches that mood. And it’s music that finds a voice, that can sing – not just in beautiful vocals (and the likes of Brolin certainly suffices in his latest work), but in music that is crafted from some intimate place. These are productions that are immediate and intensely personal in the …


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 …


Splice Just Launched a Huge Database of Free Music Plug-ins, And It’s Completely Awesome

This week, we’ve done nothing but pummel you with loads of gear you want. So, while you’re saving up thousands … sorry, tens of thousands of dollars for new analog gear from the 1970s, you might not be in the mood to ante up for a compressor or bass line synth. If you also couldn’t be bothered to carefully scour my article on how the purchasing of software is about to change forever, let me spoil some of the fine print for you: Collaboration tool Splice just quietly launched the biggest, best-organized database of free plug-ins I’ve ever seen. Here …


This Is What Happens When Vintage Robot Voices Make an Album

We hope that music will always have tribes of people keeping esoteric traditions alive – your Renaissance musical ensemble, your Slovenian folk instrumentalists. It just happens that electronic technologies have attracted their own followings, cultivating knowledge of Texas Instruments chips found in specific arcade games the way some people might maintain a balalaika. Chip singers have never gotten the kind of attention synthesizers have. But if Moog – and the synth itself – can look to Keith Emerson’s “Lucky Man,” fans of robotic sung vocals will always have Humanoid. The seminal acid track “Stakker Humanoid” was the work of artists …