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 …

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NVIDIA Sets Notebook Graphics Drivers Free, Makes GPGPU, PhysX Mobile; ATI, Your Move

Finally, NVIDIA extends a welcome mat. Photo by Anna Irsch. For graphics cards, drivers are everything: it’s just not possible to be on top of stability, performance, and functionality without access to new, stable drivers. But for Windows notebooks, unlike desktops, traditionally you had to turn to OEM PC vendors to get your NVIDIA graphics drivers. That would be fine, if PC vendors kept pace, but my near-universal experience has been that vendors are awful about drivers. Just finding drivers on many sites is a Herculean task, let alone getting something up-to-date. That had meant that, for GPU gurus, the …

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Now Shipping: Pro Tools 8, All Versions

I know some people were wondering about this – it’s now official. Digidesign reports Pro Tools 8 is actually shipping now, with the integrated MIDI edit window, score notation editor (via recently-acquired Sibelius) right in the DAW, bundled instruments and synths, some amp simulation, “Elastic Pitch,” and additional insert slots. None of this is huge news to users of competitive products, with the notable exception of Sibelius notation integration. I’m very keen to hear how people actually use that, because the score facilities in tools like Logic aren’t competitive with favored tools like Sibelius and Finale, in my experience. On …

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10 Free Non-Musical Windows Software Every Musician Should Use

  Process Explorer is the essential portal to seeing what’s going on with CPU and memory activity on Windows. It was good enough that Microsoft bought the tool. Any computer – Mac, Windows, and Linux – can experience degraded audio experience pretty fast if a background task starts stealing CPU or a driver is misbehaving. In contrast, a fully-tweaked Windows machine, equipped with a set of tools to diagnose potential problems, can be rock-solid for audio performance. That’s an especially big deal for those of us using computers for live music. I think a lot of people’s Windows experience is …

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Asus Eee As Cheap, Tiny Music PC: Guitar Rig 3, Linux Tips

The Asus Eee PC is unlikely to be your first choice of laptops for music. But it’s small, it’s cute, and it’s ridiculously cheap. Some CDM-reading computer enthusiasts are biting, as we found out in March when we asked you if you had turned the Eee PC into a music box. On the Linux side, you’ve got lots of options. Best among these, CDM reader Dan Stowell has put together a comprehensive tutorial on using SuperCollider, the powerful, free sound synthesis engine. You can even add custom GUIs using a free Java-based tool. There are also plenty of DIY environments …

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Digidesign Talks Latest Windows, Mac Releases, Compatibility, Drivers

Having already heard from M-Audio, we now have a response from Digidesign regarding concerns about driver support and Pro Tools software compatibility for the latest Windows and Mac operating systems. Bob Langlie, VP of Customer Support and Service, and via Digi’s forums, Digidesign’s product marketing and general operations representatives all weigh in with some clarification and answers. There’s even a response to me complaining about the lack of explicit Vista Home Premium support. (The short answer on that is, if you’ve got Home Premium, give it a shot and see what happens; a lack of explicit support doesn’t mean that …

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Digidesign and M-Audio Drivers Fail to Keep Pace with Vista, Leopard, and XP SP3

There aren’t many positive ways to spin this: if you’re a user of Digidesign and M-Audio products and looking to use current operating systems, very often you’re out of luck. In some cases, this isn’t so surprising — given issues with Leopard, I actually suggest running Mac OS X Tiger if you can until some issues are resolved. And while I have one machine here running Vista happily, suffice to say Windows XP remains the choice for many, as drivers from a variety of vendors mature. Still, I think it’s bad to see drivers missing altogether this late in the …

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Vitamin L: Ableton Live Keyboard, Mouse Shortcuts on XP

Ableton Live gets a little help from a Tonearm. (Photo: lowfatbrains.) My friend Ilia, aka Tonearm, has released his set of Windows XP-compatible shortcuts for Ableton Live. (Got to play out with Ilia last month and hope to do it again.) Ableton, if you’re listening, here’s another argument for more customization of the program. Even if you’re not on XP, it’s worth having a look and even downloading the ZIP and readme for some inspiration as far as what could be possible with Live shortcuts. Install the executable for Windows, and you get:

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Free Wavosaur: Wonderful Windows Audio Editor with VST

Wavosaur is a free audio editor for Windows that just hit version 1.0. It’s really good stuff: not only is it free, but the whole app is tiny (488kb), it’s designed to fit on a portable USB key, it hosts VSTs, and it’s an elegant waveform editor reminiscent of early versions of SoundForge. Even if you’ve got a wave editor of choice, might be worth sticking this on your USB key when you’re on the go — especially since it supports Windows 98, XP, and Vista. And it doesn’t have an installer or touch the Registry. I just gave it …

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