Today sees the release of the third iteration of the SL49 and SL61 controller keyboards from Novation. The MKIII is much more than your standard run-of-the-mill controller keyboard with an emphasis on being a standalone centerpiece for controlling all of your hardware!
The keybed is Novations finest, most playable and expressive synth-style keybed to date with sprung action and the highest scan rate they have ever produced. There are 8 assignable faders, 16 tactile RGB pads and comprehensive transport controls for all your bread and butter needs but it doesn’t stop there –
The new SL series come packed with an extended feature-set including:
• 2x CV, Gate and Mod outputs
• 8 Track Sequencer
• 56 preset templates for mapping popular hardware (new and vintage)
• Chord and Scale mode
• RGB LED feedback
• Routable Clock
As you can probably tell, this makes the new SL MKIII series quite an attractive option for producers whether you work completely in the box or have a studio crammed with expensive hardware. The 5 beautiful OLED screens give you visual feedback on parameter changes. The 8-track sequencer really helps this stand out as a standalone product and opens up lots of DAWless possibilities. The Chord and Scale modes are integrated with the RGB feedback allowing you to instantly see what keys are in the scale – there is also a snap mode which will automatically assign whatever key you press to the nearest in-scale note. The Arpeggiator will be a welcome addition for anybody running synths without a built-in arp, I have a couple of bits of hardware myself which would benefit massively from this alone!
Novations very own Calc gives us a nice little performance video exploring the connection and sequencing capabilities of this exciting new product line featuring alsorts of different audio sources.
For anybody still reading who is really interested in this new release I’ve saved the biggest and most informative video till last…a massive 45 minute deep-dive by Calc. This will no doubt answer any lingering questions you may have in a better way than I possibly could! Enjoy!
For anyone just getting into making music the is an often bewildering choice of sequencers out there offering an astounding array of features that a few decades ago would have been unimaginable to anyone but those working in the largest pro studios.
The problem now is that even for the more experienced musician making the choice of which DAW you want to focus on is often tough, so for the beginner just wanting to start out and who perhaps doesn’t yet understand what they need it becomes even more difficult.
The most popular options always seem to be the most expensive, and to some extent that shouldn’t be a surprise. Pro studios require great support and those costly packages have levels of support that some of the cheaper options might not have the resources to match. Of course anyone starting out and who has their heart set on going into a pro studio situation might find themselves wanting to learn with the more popular packages, but the fact is that the are a wide selection of extremely cheap alternative and even many that are free, which have a strong user base able to help you learn and are often just as well featured as many of the commercial alternatives.
The alternatives below are all free. Some are cut down editions of larger more costly packages and others are free and fully maintained packages built and looked after by a dedicated user base. Either way if your not quite ready to spend a large amount of money on your sequencer but still want to experiment, then you could certainly do far worse than checking out one of these packages.
Starting with the well known names and ProTools first is a fairly recent entry from one of the longest standing DAW software teams. The was a time where ProTools was almost ubiquitous in studios around the world, although those days are now long behind us as market has fractured over the years largely due to the rise of home recording.
So firstly the key restrictions:
16 Audio Tracks
16 Instrument Tracks
4 Hardware Inputs
Restricted to Plugins Purchased from the Protools Shop
Saves restricted to the cloud with a 3 project limit.
As a self contained studio package for those wishing to get to grips with Protools before perhaps diving head first into buying the full package this works well; although given the inability to freely use third party plugins (at least not easily due to the “shop only” restrictions) this isn’t really suited for those wishing to experiment with sound design or working fully in the box. This base package however does make quite a bit of sense for the small band style projects as with 16 channels of audio you have enough here to multitrack your guitars, drums and vocals and wide enough selection of native effects to get the job done.
Of course the focus here is on bringing you into the world of Protools, with the ability to carry your home projects over to the full version when the time to upgrade comes. In doing so they look to have picked a rounded set of features that could well do the job for anyone wanting to record their band for the first time.
Having only been on the market since the late 00’s Studio One is still a relatively new comer to the DAW-wars but one that gained a lot of interest from the very first announcement. With a number of developers coming from the Steinberg camp the pedigree of the team behind Studio One is without dispute. Whilst still viewed as bit of an upstart Studio One has found favor with long established professionals and eager new comers alike. The free version referred too as Studio One Prime sets out to be an introduction to the world of Studio One in much the same fashion as ProTools First is for ProTools.
The restrictions here are far more subtle in nature, but the are certainly a few notable ones. Track count is unlimited but once again external VST’s are walled off and inaccessible in the base package. It includes 9 native effects and a virtual instrument in the shape of the Presence XT sampler which makes for a good jumping off point, but once again like ProTools First a lot of users may find this quite restrictive and anyone wishing to leverage third party tools for sound design will be disappointed.
Other restrictions may not prove all that noticeable for new users finding their feet. Features like video importing and additional audio exporting functions will be low on the list for new users, although might become more relevant later on. The same goes for more advanced features like additional channel editor functions and macro controls or the extended FX chains on offer in the more fully featured editions.
Once again the VST restrictions here might be a little off putting for a lot of people and again perhaps mean that Studio One Prime might prove more suitable for those recording small band projects rather than in the box sound designers.
Tracktion whilst perhaps not as widely known as some of the other more established sequencers, its fast approaching its 15th birthday. and over that time it’s gone through a number of revisions with Tracktion 7 being the current commercial release.
In order to continue to attract new users Tracktion maintains an older free version of its flagship client which is free to all of which the current version is Tracktion 5.
With unlimited audio and instrument tracks, the support for all VST’s without having to access their marketplace the are few key drawbacks here. Notable missing features include various warp modes when working with audio, and various grouping and extended functionality options, most if not all are missing from other basic and even payable options from many sequencer brands so really this is pretty fully featured and certainly worth checking out.
The fully open source LMMS is well featured, comes with all the functionality you would expect from a studio ready DAW but built and maintained by an enthusiastic community.
Offering a channel count only limited by you CPU, full VST support with an included bridge to allow the use of older plugins, as well as a healthy collection of freeware synths and effects included with it.
The one downside of LMMS is it’s lack of recording capability inside the software. It’s great for those working fully in the box, but in order to bring audio in you’d need to record it into an audio editor first (like the excellent freeware Audacity) and then export it over to LMMS for use in your project.
Whilst that is going to be off putting to anyone working with capturing large amounts of audio, making all your music in the system and importing the odd snippet here and there isn’t going to prove all that troublesome, especially given all the other functionally on offer here it could potentially make it a strong fit for anyone not convinced of the other offerings here.
Often a common inclusion in these types of lists, Reaper itself isn’t quite free, so it gets a special mention down here for its features to price ratio.
You should however consider taking advantage of the fully featured trail and if you like it the $60 full cost of the software (for home users) it is an absolute steal for a package this well featured. The audio engine alone is amongst the best performers out there, giving great low latency audio handling with extremely efficient code capable of eak’ing out one of the highest trackcounts we’ve seen when placed head to head with even the most expensive of DAW packages.
Sharing more in design and concept with sequencers like Cubase and ProTools, rather than the newer generation Ableton and Bitwig this might seem to have a steep learning curve when compared with some of its contemporaries, its ability to skin and configure it will let you fine tune it to your workflow if your able to take the time to learn it fully.
Fully featured from the outset with no notable restrictions in place, the are a lot of budget editions of all the key sequencers, but we don’t think you’ll find a more comprehensive package anywhere else at anywhere close to this price point.
If however you feel like your ready to step up to one of the larger packages?
So it’s been a few months since Steinberg released Cubase 9. A maintenance update has since been released which includes many bug fixes and improvements. The 143MB update (510MB for Mac users) is available for free to all existing Cubase 9 users.
Here’s a list of what’s included in the update:
Fixed an issue where dragging Chord Event across a Divided Track List resulted in a misaligned event.
Fixed an issue where “Follow Chord Track” was not working correctly.
Fixed an issue regarding wrong note colors when using “Chord Track” for event colors.
Fixed an issue where the Quantize Panel did not correctly display the Crossfade section for multi-track usage (via Folder Group Editing).
Fixed an issue where certain setups of the Input Transformer could crash the application.
Fixed an issue where pinned Inspector sections were all closed after loading a project.
Fixed a potential crash issue.
Fixed an issue where Filter Target “Note is equal to” was stuck on “C”.
Fixed an issue where using the Search field on the MediaBay could crash the application.
Fixed an issue where Show/Hide Controller Lanes did not work when Lanes were removed manually beforehand.
Fixed an issue where resizing the Controller Lane area within the Inplace Editor could crash the application.
Fixed an issue where note names where displayed with inconsistent enharmonics (e.g. Bb instead of A#).
Fixed an issue where MicroTuner settings were not applied after reloading a project.
Improved the compatibility of the number attribute for slurs (for import into Dorico).
Improved the compatibility in regard to the encoding of tuplets (for import into Dorico).
Fixed a performance issue when “Auto Select under Cursor” options was activated.
Fixed an issue where VST 3 plug-ins with special characters could not be used.
Fixed an issue where StudioEQ presets were missing in Cubase Elements.
Fixed an issue where panning could be wrong with REVerence.
Fixed an issue where side split LP/HP bands did not properly change type in Frequency.
Fixed an issue where the Maximizer output level was not consistent with the readings from the MixConsole metering.
Fixed an issue where “Open in separate Window” in MIDI Editors was not possible after working in the Controller Lane area.
Fixed an issue where the Overview Line was missing in Cubase LE, AI and Elements.
Fixed an issue where new recorded MIDI Parts were not displayed in open Editor tab in the Lower Zone.
Fixed an issue where remote control devices (e.g. NI Komplete Kontrol) could not follow the parameter mapping correctly while navigating through the track list.
Fixed an issue where Sample Start/End markers were not correctly set after dragging a resized audio event into the Sampler Control tab.
Fixed an issue where re-opening the Sampler Control tab showed no content.
Fixed an issue where the root key color indication on the keyboard display was incorrect.
Fixed an issue where “Remove unused Media” in the Pool was not working correctly for audio files referenced by the Sampler Track.
Fixed and issue where no content was displayed in a Sampler Control tab after re-opening the Lower Zone.
Fixed an issue where creating a sampler track from an MP3 file in the MediaBay crashed the application.
Fixed an issue where closing the Audio Hardware Setup window (e.g. for UR hardware) could lead to an application which could be no longer operated.
Fixed an issue where the F1 key did not open the Cubase Help referring to steinberg.help.
Fixed an issue where the cursor position was not synchronized while scrubbing with the mouse.
Fixed an synchronization issue using a jog wheel followed by Fast Rewind / Fast Forward commands.
Fixed an issue where TrackVersions on Signature Tracks could crash the application.
Fixed an issue that stops the recording when changing the Metronome volume.
Fixed an issue where no values for all sorts of Transport control related items could be entered by key command if both Transport Panel and Transport Zone were closed.
The Cubase 9 Pro update is available here. Updates are available across the entire Cubase 9 range so download sizes may vary slightly from what’s mentioned above.
So the rumours were true…. Steinberg bring us the latest edition of their flagship production suite – Cubase 9. Following the same trend as previous revisions it comes in 3 forms – Pro, Artist and Elements.
Steinberg conducted a survey earlier on in the year to see what new features we’d like to see in the next version. It seems the people spoke and Steinberg listened as many of the features we asked for have been implemented. Here’s a quick glance at some of those key features:
The Lower Zone
Intended to enhance workflow, the Lower Zone incorporates the mix window into the main project window and it can be dynamically resized. The MIDI and audio editors are also accessible from here. This will prove to be extremely beneficial for anyone working on a single screen!
Mix Console History
This will surely be massively useful! Gives you undo/redo functions and allows you to recall different stages of a mix.
Multiple Marker Tracks
The ability to structure your projects neatly and efficiently with up to 10 marker tracks.
You now have the option of being able to side-chain into VST3 Instruments that support it.
A basic sampler was on this list of requests. Well now we’ve got one! It allows you to drag audio straight out of a project and play it back chromatically on your MIDI keyboard. It also lets you transfer samples into other Steinberg instruments.
8-Band Frequency EQ
Offers M/S and Linear Phase support, Auto Listen, Spectrum Display and a musical keyboard to assist in finding the right tone. It also allows you to completely customize the look of the EQ spectrum.
Other features include better plugin management, updated plugin interfaces, revamped Production Grooves as well as improved services for cloud collaboration.
Here’s a breakdown of the key features of each version:
Cubase Pro 9
Award-winning 32-bit floating-point Steinberg audio engine with up to 192 kHz, 5.1 surround, flexible routing and full automatic delay compensation
Unlimited audio, instrument and MIDI tracks and up to 256 physical inputs and outputs
MixConsole for pro mixing desk experience and integrated high-end channel strip, VCA faders, Loudness Meter, Wave Meters
Complete suite of over 90 high-end audio and MIDI VST effect processors, including Quadrafuzz v2, VST Amp Rack and VST Bass Amp guitar and bass tone suites, REVerence convolution reverb, Frequency four-band EQ and many more
VariAudio for MIDI-style note editing of monophonic audio tracks, automatic voicing harmonization and auto-tuning effects
Intelligent compositional tools like Chord Track, Chord Pads and the advanced Chord Assistant for creative and playful composing of harmonic progressions and advanced voicings
Comprehensive set of 8 outstanding instruments with over 3,400 sounds, including HALion Sonic SE 2, Groove Agent SE 4, Padshop, Retrologue 2 and LoopMash 2
Full VST Expression 2 with Note Expression, VST Dynamics and Expression Maps for fully integrated workflows with musical articulations, dynamics and controller values
Perfect integration of external hardware effect devices and instruments, such as synthesizers or signal processors, into the sequencer signal flow.
VST Connect SE and VST Transit cloud collaboration services
Cubase Artist 9
Award-winning 32-bit floating-point Steinberg audio engine with up to 192 kHz, flexible routing and full automatic delay compensation
Simultaneous playback of 64 audio tracks, 128 MIDI tracks and up to 32 physical inputs and outputs
MixConsole for pro mixing desk experience and integrated high-end channel strip with dynamics and EQ
Comprehensive set of 8 outstanding instruments with over 3,000 sounds, including HALion Sonic SE 2, Groove Agent SE 4, Padshop, Retrologue 2 and LoopMash 2
Suite of over 70 high-end audio and MIDI VST effect processors, including Pitch Correct for vocal editing, VST Amp Rack and VST Bass Amp guitar and bass tone suites, Quadrafuzz v2 and many more!
Intelligent compositional tools like Chord Track and Chord Pads for creative and playful composing of harmonic progressions and advanced voicings
Thousands of MIDI construction kits, audio loops and samples as building blocks to create sketches, play-alongs or even full songs with just a few clicks
Lightning-fast multi-take comping with the dedicated lane tracks and the click-and-drag comp tool for conjuring the perfect recording
Track Versions for playlists-like editing and render-in-place for easily bouncing MIDI and audio parts
Streamlined music notation and score editing feature set
Cubase Elements 9
Award-winning 32-bit floating-point Steinberg audio engine, flexible routing and full automatic delay compensation
Simultaneous playback of 48 audio tracks, 64 MIDI tracks and up to 24 physical inputs and outputs
MixConsole for pro mixing desk experience and integrated high-end channel strip with dynamics and EQ
Three outstanding virtual instruments comprising the HALion Sonic SE workstation, Groove Agent SE drum machine and Prologue synthesizer
Over 40 audio effect processors, including high-end VST Dynamics, Pitch Correct for vocal intonation correction and the VST Amp Rack guitar tone suite
Powerful sample editor covering all common editing tasks and providing creative freedom while editing audio
Chord Track and Chord Pads for playfully and creatively composing with chords
Comprehensive content library with thousands of instrument sounds, MIDI construction loops and audio samples
Basic score editing features for music notation and composition
Full upward compatibility with Cubase Pro and Cubase Artist for
There’s certainly some interesting features in there and I expect many users will justify the upgrade based on what we’ve seen. For a more in-depth look at what Cubase 9 offers, head on over to the Cubase YouTube channel. There’s plenty of videos on there demonstrating all these new features.
Abletons ever popular Live sequencer and performance tool gets it’s 9.7 release free update this morning to registered users.
The main new addition is an update to Simpler, adding new slicing modes (Beat, Region, Manual) to the instrument. Also noteworthy is the improvements that have been made when syncing using Ableton link as well as a whole slew of improvements to integration of both generations of the Push controller.
Full Ableton Live 9.7 Release Notes.
The performance above shows off some of these new features, with a guided walk through of how they were applied in the performance below.
9.7 Release Notes
Improvements and feature changes:
New Simpler Slicing modes (Beat, Region, Manual) are now available.
As a consequence of the new Simpler features, Live Sets created with this version cannot be opened with previous versions anymore.
The beat time of connected apps in a Link session will be aligned when starting Live’s playback with Tap Tempo or via Looper.
Updated manual, lessons and info text translations.
Live would crash when canceling a freeze action, if this was performed on a previously frozen and flattened Clip.
Live would crash at startup if the preferences were corrupted.
Fixed a crash that could occur when using the ‘x2’, ‘:2’, or “Warp As” controls in Simpler, if there was no sample present.
Fixed a crash which might occur when creating a time selection on Group tracks in Arrangement View.
Live would crash when exporting a MIDI file on Windows.
Live would crash when converting a Simpler to a Drum Rack if certain Control Surfaces were enabled.
When resizing the left edge of a frozen Clip to the left, audio would still begin playback from the Clip’s former start position.
When converting Simpler to Sampler, the Sample Start marker would be visually misplaced.
The signal of send for grouped tracks would be doubled (+6dB), if the track’s output was routed to Master and the respective Return track ‘Pre/Post’ toggle was set to Pre.
When dragging unwarped Clips over the section of a song where the tempo was automated from a low value to a higher one, Clips stored in the clipboard would appear after the dragged Clip.
When running Live as a ReWire slave on a Mac, it would consume 100% of the CPU load after launching Live as a slave for the second time.
Converting an Audio Clip from Looper to MIDI would cause the Clip to assume a grey color.
When resizing a Clip past its limit, the dragged edge would behave erratically when it was not on a grid position or when the grid was disabled with a modifier.
When resizing Live horizontally, the positioning of Max Device windows would not adjust correctly.
When exporting audio from Looper, the resulting Clips would inherit the wrong color.
Live might run into issues when writing files to disk on Windows, if the file path contained non standard unicode characters.
Using 3 APC 40 units in ‘Combination Mode’ would cause LEDs on the APCs to flash erratically.
Some audio clips from the Core Library would open in the wrong tempo.
Changes for Push:
The new Simpler Slicing modes are available on Push 1 and 2.
It is now possible to set the color for Tracks, Clips and Drum Rack pads from Push 2.
It is now possible to adjust the Input and Output routing and the Monitoring state from Push 2. This is accessible via Track Mix Mode, where a dedicated ‘Input & Output’ button is added.
Introduced a third layout for Drum Racks and Simpler’s Slicing mode, which enables triggering the currently selected pad / Slice with 16 pre-defined velocities. This is a Push 2 only feature.
When transport is active, a progress bar on the Push 2 display indicates the playback phase for each of the currently playing Clips.
Added a visual feedback for the count-in on the Push 2 display.
The Push Record button now takes into account Live’s focus on Arrangement and Session View. If the focus is on Arrangement View, the Session Record button will trigger Global Recording, while the Shift + Record button will trigger / stop Session Recording. The logic is reversed when focused on Session View.
Session Record and Arrangement Record are now independent from each other.
By default, Fixed Length now respects the Launch Quantization setting. Its previous behavior can be toggled on via the ‘Phrase Sync’ option in the Fixed Length menu. This works with Push 1 and 2.
Different sensitivities are in place for the Push 2 pad matrix, depending on the function of the pads in the current layout. This is specifically aimed at avoiding inadvertently changing the loop selector while playing Drum Rack pads.
It is now possible to delete the currently selected Clip in Arrangement via Push.
It is now possible to duplicate Clips in Arrangement from Push.
When the focus is set to Arrangement View, ‘New’ is not available on Push anymore.
Improved the matching between pad and display colors on Push 2.
Improved the matching between Live and Push 2 colors.
On Push 2, the color white in Live is translated as yellow, since white is used to indicate selection.
The intensity of the LEDs on in the lower display buttons has been dimmed for Push 2, to create more contrast against the currently selected track.
Improved the performance when moving the Session Ring horizontally with Push.
Minor visual improvement for the ‘Cancel’ button in the ‘Convert’ menu or when entering the browser via ‘Add Track’. Additionally, the ‘Close’ button has been removed from the ‘Scales’ menu. Push 2 only.
On Push 2 display, Simpler’s playhead and loop markers are now the same height as the loop indicator.
Flag markers for Simpler and Audio Clips are now properly outlined on the Push 2 display.
The fade-in and fade-out visuals on Simpler are now represented differently from Loops on Push 2.
Page Left/Right buttons are now available in the Step Sequencer for Simpler in Slice mode.
The Push 2 firmware has been updated to 1.0.60. This version allows to automatically adjusts the LED white balance for units produced in the factory from November 2015. Also, this delivers a new pad algorithm that improves the sensitivity of Push pads when playing with wrist pressure. It also contains a fix for cases where Push 2 buttons might double-trigger, and improves the stability of the MIDI data sent from the Push encoders.
When recording multiple clips at the same time, triggering one clip would cause also the other ones to stop recording.
Live would crash when enabling the Push 2 Control Surface script on some systems. As a result of the fix, some display functions of Push 2 still won’t work. Improved the error logging to find out more about this issue.
The Push 2 display process would not start on Windows, if non-standard unicode characters were contained in the user profile name.
When muting or unmuting a track while in Mix Mode with Push 2, the state color of the track’s meters would only update if its peak level changed.
Pressing Record on Push would stop a Clip if the Clip Launch Mode was set to “Toggle”.
When changing Layout, the Step Sequencer page would reset.
The step sequencers might malfunction when odd time signatures were in use.
When step-sequencing a Clip in Arrangement View, the playhead would not be shown on Push 2.
When a Drum Rack or Instrument Rack was frozen, it was still possible to edit the Chain’s mix parameters.
If the selected Clip was in Arrangement View, Push 2 would not display its content in Clip View.
The Clip length would not be displayed in Clip View, when performing a recording with Fixed Length.
After being in beta for a number of months now, Fruity Loops 12 goes gold. With a host of updates to the engine, new features and being a free upgrade to owners of previous editions thanks to their free lifetime upgrade scheme.
Notable new features
Updated Editions with more value – FL Studio Fruity edition gains Automation Clips. Producer edition gains Sytrus & Maximus. Signature Bundle gains Harmless, Newtone, Gross Beat and Pitcher. Existing owners also get these great additions.
Vectorial UI – FL Studio is now 100% vectorial allowing it to be used on 4, 5 or even 8K monitors with pin-sharp fidelity.
Mixer – Completely redesigned mixer, dynamically resizable with 6 layout styles plus 3-user configurable docking panels (left, centre and right) for track management. Multi-fader selection and adjustment. Improved mixer track grouping. Multi-touch support. 10 FX slots per track. Many new multi-track routing automated options. Enhanced grouping and submix functions. The dedicated ‘Send’ channels have been replaced with general purpose send tracks and added to the overall track-pool.
Updated plugins – 3xOSC, Edison, Formula Controller, Peak Controller, Keyboard Controller gain vectorial UIs. Envelope Controller (8 articulators, Mod X/Y envelopes & vectorial UI), Send (can now send to any mixer track & vectorial UI), Hardcore (new tube distortion effect & convolution based cabinet simulation), Patcher (Plugins open outside patcher. Auto patcherizing of existing plugins & multi-touch support). Fruity Convolver new impulse library by Soundiron. Finally, the Channel Settings are now integrated into the Wrapper. ZGameEditor Visualizer – Loads all popular video formats and gains 4K+ rendering.
Piano roll – Time markers added for labelling and looping purposes. Auto-zoom can now be switched off in the General Settings. Stamp tool replaces chord tool and allows users to click in chords from a selector. Macro to find overlapping notes.
Playlist – Drop multiple stems or Audio Clips on the Playlist from any Windows file browser.
Browser – Improved layout with user configurable category tabs (name and icon). The default categories include Files, Plugins and Current Project providing key content at a glance. Improved file management with Right-click delete options for most content.
Multi-touch support – Multi-touch has been extended to Mixer functions, Channel settings and Control Surface. Swap between Windows Multi-touch and FL Studio Multi-touch modes.
Improved 32 & 64 Bit VST plugin support – The wrapper has been redesigned to improve stability and compatibility. The FL Studio Plugin scan tool now allows unlimited VST search locations and quick favoriting.
Steinberg has announced the latest edition of its flagship production suite this morning in the form of Cubase 8 and is promising work flow improvements and tweaks galore. Offering new audio tools, greater productivity and more musical creativity, Cubase Pro 8 continues to technical innovation and artistic inspiration in one powerful, accessible production environment.
So to take a quick look at the headline features, these are set to include VCA style fader grouping allowing the ability to route any combination of channels to more flexible groups, where you now have the ability to merge the automation curves from the channels and master groups to allow adjustable blending control when setting up your audio buss.
The improved channel strips are taking the improvements from C7 and giving you more feedback and control when working with the parameters and with the interface being far more configurable with dockable instruments racks, media bays a far more tweakable design, you can refine C8 to work just how you want it.
The classic freeze functionality gets a supercharge with the newly adopted “render in-place” function, allowing you to quickly bounce midi and audio parts quickly with all the FX rendered in place
On the creative side the new chord pads, circle of 5ths & proximity chord modes are all designed to help you quickly jam and spin off your ideas in new and exciting ways and are certainly a welcome addition. The has also been a revamp of the tracklist and inspector layouts with added configuration capabilities allowing you to organize and lay it all out so you can see the information that is important to you in order to maximise your workflow.
Rounding it all off we have also new Vst’s in the shape of new bass amp sims and the return of the legend that is Quadrafuzz 2 along with new Multiband Expander & Envelope Shaper tools. Additionally they have also updated DeEsser, Multiband Compressor and Tuner tools all being housed inside the all new and improved plug in manager.
Some nice and well needed features in there as well as plenty of refinements that users have been crying out for make this an interesting upgrade prospect and a great entry point for current and new users alike.
On the other side of the planet to Frankfurt, Avid today released details of the new Pro Tools 11 Software at the NAB conference.
Finally delivering full 64 Bit support and sporting a new audio engine, Pro Tools 11 is a free update to anyone purchasing PT10 after April 7th 2013. It should be available some point in this current quarter with a RRP of £459 + VAT (so from my calculations, picking up a copy of PT 10 right now looks to be a bit of a bargain, see the link at the bottom of page!)
Avid® (NASDAQ: AVID)today announced Avid Pro Tools® 11, a major upgrade of its industry-leading digital audio workstation that redefines music and audio production for today’s workflows. This latest version enables audio professionals to take on the most demanding productions with new, high-powered audio and video engines, 64-bit architecture, expanded metering, and direct HD video workflows.
“Pro Tools 11 represents a quantum leap in creative power,” said Chris Gahagan, senior vice president of Products and Services at Avid. “The newly designed architecture turbo-charges production with more plug-in processing, the ability to run more virtual instruments—and a host of new features—letting users create ambitiously, without holding anything back.”
Pro Tools 11 delivers the features, performance, and workflows professionals need to take on today’s increasingly complex sessions and tighter timelines.
Turbocharge sessions with the all-new Avid Audio Engine
Get multiple times the processing power of Pro Tools 10 to work with way more virtual instruments and effects plug-ins than ever before. And with the new 64-bit architecture, you gain the performance you need to handle the most sophisticated sessions—with more memory headroom to go even bigger.
Deliver mixes with lightning-fast offline bounce
Forget the wait—speed up your final mix delivery with new faster-than-real-time bounce capabilities.
Work directly with HD video
Play MXF HD, Avid DNxHD, and other HD video formats directly in the Pro Tools timeline, without transcoding, using the built-in Avid Video Engine—the same as in Media Composer.
Novation Launchpad S: It’s Bigger, It’s Brighter, and it’s getting us excited!!!!!
Hear Ye! All you Fleet-fingered Ableton Live users, a new King cometh etc.
Yep, it’s here…….
Novation Launchpad S
The no.1 Live controller: now brighter, faster and universal
Launchpad S is an update to the best-selling grid controller for Ableton Live: the Novation Launchpad. The 64 tri-colour pads can launch loops and clips, trigger drums and samples, and also control effects, volumes, mutes, solos and more. Launchpad S can do all this but has vastly brighter LEDs, a significantly faster refresh rate and is now plug and play with other software such as FL Studio. It also now works with iPad!
For those of you not familiar with the original Launchpad, it was about the most comprehensive way of manipulating Ableton Live’s particular way of working.
It was especially designed for launching loops/clips and triggering effects as well as getting full mixer control including volume, effects sends, pan, mute, solo and track arm. The grid can also trigger drums and one-shot samples. A second user mode allows users to freely assign pads to control other software parameters.
So what’s new!!!!
64-button music software controller Launch loops/clips, trigger drums and samples, and control effects and volumes.
Brighter, faster and works with more software Launchpad S is an update to the best selling original Launchpad.
Comes with Ableton Live Launchpad Edition Feature-packed version of Ableton Live lets you create music straight out of the box.
Plug and play with FL Studio and other software Now including custom software control overlays in the box.
Now supports iPad Launchpad S connects to iPad® with the Apple Camera Connection Kit — no drivers required!
New #1 iPad music app Trigger loops and remix on the fly with just a Launchpad S and your iPad
Create and perform anywhere Launchpad S is bus powered, even from an iPad, so you don’t need to connect it to mains power!
Launchpad S comes with the Launchpad Edition of Ableton Live, so you can start making music straight away. It also comes with custom overlays for using other grid-based music software such as FL Studio.
Novation has developed a Launchpad iPad app that enables loop triggering and effects from your iPad, independent of Ableton Live. Launchpad S can be connected to, and powered by, an iPad using a standard Camera Connection Kit. The app features a 1GB sample pack of brand new hand-picked loops curated by Loopmasters, ranging from drum samples to artist packs across a variety of modern genres……
This superb little box of tricks will retail at £149.99 and should be available from the middle of April………
Forget Christmas, it’s the release of Steinberg’s Cubase 7, and I for one can’t wait.
What’s so exciting?
Well pretty much everything…..
Starting with the overhaul of the mixing page (which can incidentally now be full screen), with its extremely flexible channel layout, 12 dB boost and dedicated processing power per channel, what they’re calling an ‘exceptional’ feel to the controls and comprehensive online and offline automation tools, MixConsole has been built to provide uncompromising audio quality and routing flexibility from the outset, with plenty of pristine headroom and a fundamentally transparent sonic signature.
It also looks cool! The Channel strip seems intuitive and has some built in usefulness from the start with the strip divided into sections including a Noise Gate, EQ, Compression, Saturation and Limiting, all movable to wherever you want them, and with an Inserts effects track at the very top to show where the signals being sent.
Next up, Chord track.
This is either going to be brilliant, or the biggest waste of time ever.
It’s basically an extension of the VariAudio function, which analyses your track for harmonic content, and then presumably makes suggestions as to Harmony or alternative Bass lines etc. based on what it see’s.
Whether or not this is going to be of any use to the more advanced musician (and I presume Cubase users at this level to have some musical knowledge) remains to be seen, but it’s certainly a handy function if your own level of musical competence isn’t able to suggest ideas for itself……
On the ‘up’ side, Steinberg are claiming that the ability to create lead sheets for other musicians has never been easier.
Intelligent composing assistance:
Again, this is either going to be a superb aide to writers or, it’s going to result in thousands of homogenised chord sheets, all sounding like a Gershwin Rhapsody whilst travelling from a I to a IV chord.
In essence, they are claiming that you could enter a start chord and an end chord, and the composing assistant will offer you a myriad of chords for the middle. Whether this has any benefit to originality I have my doubts, but I look forward to a whole ruck of Harmonically sophisticated dub step tracks…….
Most composers know of the difficulty of pairing ‘fixed tuning’ instruments like guitars and pianos, with variable tuning instruments like trombones or violins.
‘Hermode’ tuning allows you to….well, here’s what they say…
“Thanks to the Hermode tuning technology, the intonation of your synthesized notes are changed dynamically on the fly for utmost compatibility with well-tempered scales, while retaining a high degree of purity for third and fifth intervals “
We await with baited breath…………
VARI AUDIO 2:
This seems to be a superb update to an already ‘must-have’ technology.
Basically the engine works with the aforementioned ‘Chord Track’ to ensure all your harmonies are at the correct pitch. It will allow you to take a lead vocal and wrap harmony parts around it all day long, with varying levels of sophistication.
It will also provide the well known ‘AutoTune effect’, for those who like that sort of thing…… and, you’ll be able to edit multiple VariAudio parts across multiple tracks within one editor only!
Cubase sports the new Steinberg Hub loaded with tons of helpful information.
Alongside the enhanced Project Assistant you now find a list of regularly updated video tutorials and RSS feeds to keep you informed about important Cubase updates, support news or product releases.
So these are just a few of the advances ‘right out of the box’.
All in all, it looks like a very substantial re-working, of perhaps the most famous DAW on the market.
Its smoother and easier on the eye, and I look forward to ‘discovering’ things along the way, as always. LN48346.