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 …


Reason Opens Its Rack To Developers: Q+A with Propellerhead, What This Means for Plug-ins

Reason’s Rack, a walled garden no more. Hmmm… “reason.” “Logic.” I’m calling my next musical creation “Inanity.” Sound good? Who’s in? Photo (CC-BY) Marco Raaphorst. He’s a fan. Users want more: that much is clear. But for years, Reason has famously (or infamously, depending on your point of view) resisted plug-in formats as a way of extending its production environment. At the moment, plug-ins have been dominate largely by Avid (RTAS), Apple (AU), and Steinberg (VST), as open source alternatives have failed to gain wide commercial traction. Those formats apparently didn’t make the cut with Reason. That changed officially tonight. …

You've got to love the ultra-compact track collapse feature - ideal for 11" MacBook Airs or Linux netbooks.

Renoise 2.8 Gets More Usable, 64-bit; Trackers 4ever

Who says every music production tool has to be either a traditional DAW or Ableton Live? Not Renoise, for one. I’m running out of things to call it. Modernized tracker? Tracker on steroids? Music production tool from an alternate history in which conventional DAWs were ignored and everybody just kept on using trackers? How about this: a gem that a tiny development team somehow keeps making more awesome with regular updates with misleading names like “point 8.” So, what does “2.8” give you? A couple of OS compatibility fixes and one new delay effect? Wrong. New in this release is …


Time and Tune, More Fluid: Melodyne Editor 2.0 Brings New Tools, ReWire

The Melodyne editor, which promises to make working with audio as fluid as working with MIDI, has long had some impressive technology under the hood. But it’s as the tool gradually matures in terms of workflow and usability that I think it could win some additional converts. Melodyne 2.0 is a major update to the editor all around, with additional timing and tuning options and better usability, and the addition of ReWire (atop plug-in compatibility) is a big plus for some. It’s easiest to just see the videos, but the overview of what’s new in this release: Attack Speed tool …


Reason 6 Combines Record Features, Adds Effects; New Bundles and First Props Hardware Interface

Propellerhead today unveils the new Reason, incorporating Record functionality in both the full-blown and “Essentials” versions, a new audio interface in their first-ever hardware, and a beta that will at last make ReCycle a modern Mac tool. Record added some wonderful stuff to Reason, including a terrific analog-style console, modeled EQ and dynamics, the ability (finally) to place racks side by side, and extra effects modules, including nice Line 6 modeled guitar kit. In other words, Record introduced a bunch of stuff you’d really want in Reason all along. Conversely, if you only bought Record, you were left out of …


DAW Day: Propellerhead Record is Here, with Lots of Free Training

Record is now shipping, and the beta closed – and now is a perfect time to talk about learning. Okay, let me explain something. Propellerhead doesn’t want Record to be called a “DAW,” for Digital Audio Workstation. I personally overcame my own distaste for the strange acronym today because, well, there’s not another good name for a related set of tools. But I do think Record is different. Workstations are usually defined by being all-in-one environments, for hosting other third-party instruments and effects, and adding in additional features like notation and video scoring. Record is none of those things. You …


Renoise 2.1, Now with Mac-PC ReWire, Plus JACK on Linux, Live Performance Tools

Renoise has already earned a passionate following among lovers of trackers. The once-forgotten alternative to conventional sequencers, these music editors were beloved for their quick workflow and vertical, atomic approach to assembling beats and patterns. But Renoise is increasingly poised to appeal to other kinds of music makers, too, not just tracker purists. 2.1 you can sum up pretty easily: now you can integrate Renoise with other stuff easily. There’s ReWire support (appropriately enough for a tool beginning with “Re” in the title). And if you’re on Linux, you can pipe control and audio through the ultra-elegant, ultra-powerful JACK. (If …


Sibelius 6: Notation Software Gets Magnetic Layout, ReWire, More – Details

Sibelius today gets the biggest upgrade I’ve seen from the tool in a long time, with major improvements to the way the notation package lays out musical objects on the score, and ReWire support so you can integrate it with your host of choice. This is an especially meaningful upgrade to me, as I’ve spent a lot of time with Sibelius since its first Mac release about a decade ago, both composing and teaching with it. In case you missed it Friday, I just spoke about some tips that can help with working in both education and composing: Five Sibelius …


Numerology 2.0: Modular Sequencing Environment on the Mac, Now Even Cooler

Sequencing – the collection of techniques that actually assemble events in our music – seems to get far less attention than it deserves. After all, there are fairly accepted ways of synthesizing sound, but as many ways of thinking about musical events as there are ways of thinking about composition. Among the big DAWs, you’ll often see pitches to upgrade based on new effects plug-ins or magical audio-processing abilities, but rarely MIDI sequencing improvements. (When there are, of course, I applaud.) That makes this week’s pre-Christmas announcement of Numerology 2.0 all that more special. Numerology is a modular sequencer and …