Reaktor is already a
so-insanely-powerful-it-makes-my-head-hurt powerhouse combining sound
creation, sampling, effects, and interactivity. Now get ready for Native Instruments' Reaktor 5:

Core Technology: Low-level signal processing is now woven into
the DNA of Reaktor, so you can build custom oscillators, filters, EQs,
delays, and the like from scratch. (Look out, Max/MSP, in other words!)
And it's got nifty circuit-design icons, too.

Skinnable interfaces: Make your instruments look like whatever
they like. Native says you can use skins to create something as complex
as your own piano-roll sequencer.

More ready-made instruments: Reaktor is so deep that you'll
probably want to start with something that's already built. Over 20 new
instruments are in there, and they sound intriguing: an Aerobic drum
machine, Skrewell "soundscape generator," and a granular sampler?!

Multi-stage envelopes: There it is — my head's hurting again
thinking about what you can do with this. Now you can create
tempo-synced multi-stage envelopes a la Absynth and FM7.

That barely scratches the surface of what's promised: tabbed
interfaces, 64-bit audio quality, tweaked GUI, extended data storage,
voice routing, and MIDI, new macro collection, sample prelistening, and
(finally!) better documentation for new and advanced users alike. And don't forget OSC support.

Cost: US$579/EUR499 ($169/EUR149 upgrade)
Compatibility: Mac, Windows; VST, AU, RTAS, DX, ASIO, Core Audio, DirectSound, OSC, MIDI, ReWire
Availability: May (clear your schedule)

CDM contributor Pierce Case was at the Los Angeles Native
Instruments party — details soon, but Reaktor 5 was ready enough for a
live demo. Sadly, no NI action here in NYC.