Let’s start out with the easy part: energyXT is awesome. This wildly underrated host runs on Linux as well as Windows and Mac, has an elegant, simplified interface that hides some powerful sequencing and semi-modular features, and runs incredibly fast. Think ridiculously quick load times and working methods. I’m doing a lot more work in energyXT this year, so expect to hear about it.

The other nice news: energyXT will run from a USB key in its latest version. This isn’t just a dongle — it’s actually a way of moving from machine to machine more easily when you’re on the road. (It’ll still run without the USB key, too.)

I want to talk more about energyXT, but I did have to include the latest promotional video. In it, we learn that in Europe people work in beautiful, light-filled offices with clean desks. (I, uh… better actually clean my workspace this weekend.) And we don’t learn a whole heck of a lot about energyXT. But that’s okay – stay tuned here. I can even put on my best suit if you like, though I sadly don’t have a very cool accent. (I grew up as a kid listening to American public radio, so basically I sound like that.)

New in 2.5:

  • Project templates, welcome screen
  • New mixer view has collapsible EQ, effects sections, graphical EQ, “quick add” for inserts, sends
  • Quick add in the sequencer for new tracks
  • MP3 import + export via LAME
  • Normalize, delete, trim, fade in/out, reverse audio processing
  • Beatslice, autoslice audio (really? have to see how that works…), cross-fade 2 audio clips
  • New preset browser for the synth/sampler
  • Drum sampler gets new easy view with drumspads, full implementation of EQ, Insert and Send effects for individual drums
  • New audio effects: bit crusher, multi-mode filter, compressor and high quality guitar amp

So, nothing earthshaking, but that’s the point. energyXT manages to add a lot of this functionality but actually cut straight to what you really need, and somehow the resulting tool doesn’t feel as heavyweight as some of its rivals.

We’ve obviously talked a lot about the forthcoming Ableton Live 8, and deservedly so. But the great thing about what’s available now is that you have some really strong tools for production, each of which has a unique approach to production. Instead of leapfrogging DAWs that duplicate the same functionality, these tools actually work in different ways. So expect to hear more about that through the course of this year.


Addendum: Consider this a teaser. I wrote this on my way out the door this morning to go teach. We will talk more about the “why this is awesome” bits soon. And, you know, I’m glad people don’t love marketing videos, because then there’s a place for CDM.