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Software at AES

DAW applications, utilities, and plugins, plugins, plugins By Frank Moldstad

ACID Pro 5 demo at the Sony booth
Digital audio software developers used the recent AES convention in San Francisco as an occasion to introduce numerous new products and upgrades for audio recording and post production use.

In addition to mainline recording/editing/mixing DAW applications, there were a handful of interesting standalone utility programs -- and of course, plugins, plugins, and more plugins. Several of the mainstream DAW packages added features to facilitate post and video work, and surround features were a major component of nearly all packages. Another common element is built-in virtual instruments. MOTU, which recently released Digital Performer 4.5, did not exhibit at the show, and so is not included here.

Here is a roundup by category of audio software introduced at AES. This collection will be updated periodically as we discover other programs that we may have overlooked.

Recording/Mixing DAW Apps:

  • Sony's ACID Pro 5 allows users to mix in 5.1 surround, and features new  'search and tag' tools for quick loop finding, more than 1,000 new loops from the Sony Sound Series: Loops & Samples collection, plus the Native Instruments Xpress Keyboards VSTi soft synth bundle, and real-time pitch and tempo matching. It also includes 24-bit file support.

    New Media Manager in ACID Pro 5
  • Digidesign's Pro Tools TDM 6.7 for Pro Tools|HD and LE Systems was the big news, but Digidesign also unveiled Pro Tools 6.6 software, which specifically adds support for Avid Mojo video playback to the Pro Tools TDM 6.4 feature set with Pro Tools|HD and Pro Tools|HD Accel systems on Mac OS X. Pro Tools 6.7 delivers tempo-dependent audio placement, tempo-dependent automation, graphic tempo editing, precise control of meter changes, MIDI step input, enhanced support for instrument plug-ins, MIDI Detective, and Beat Detective LE. Pro Tools 6.7 also brings true cross-platform parity for simplified session transfer with major MIDI functionality enhancements to Windows. (The 6.6 release does not include the new features in Pro Tools 6.7, and the Pro Tools 6.7 release does not include support for Avid Mojo. A future release of Pro Tools wil add Avid Mojo video playback to the new features in Pro Tools 6.7.)

    Pro Tools 6.7 Edit window
  • Cakewalk's SONAR 4 bows with extensive surround recording, editing and mixing capabilities, and new tools such as Freeze, Enhanced comping and editing features, a Video Thumbnail track, and the TTS-1 DXi multitimbral GM2 synth, based on Roland sounds. Cakewalk also announced a free SONAR 4.0.1 maintenance release, with enhancements such as Prosoniqs MPEX3 time scaling algorithm, the update to MPEX2 (which was not available in time for the initial SONAR 4 launch); new Yamaha OPT Level 1 support extensions for bi-directional communication; and OPT Editors can now automatically read the state of gear via a Sysx bulk dump, improving the Motif and O1X user experience. The update also addresses some minor bugs discovered after SONAR 4 began shipping.

    SONAR 3 Producer Track
  • Steinberg announced Nuendo 3, shipping in late November. The upgrade includes new features for audio post production, including AAF support, a new set of media management tools, Pinnacle X-Send integration and Warp to Picture functionality. Steinberg also announced Cubase SL3 had began shipping worldwide October 25, with Audio Warp Realtime Timestretching, an intuitive Play Order Track, new user-definable workspaces, an improved and expanded track inspector plus new editing functions

    Nuendo project and mixer
  • Apple's Logic Pro 7 includes new software instruments, mastering plugins, built-in Red Book CD burning and a networking technology called Distributed Audio Processing. The new software instruments include UltraBeat, a drum machine with up to 25 independently modifiable drum voices and an integrated step sequencer, and Sculpture, a component sound modeler that can shape sounds.

    Ultrabeat drum machine window in Logic Pro 7
  • Magix Samplitude v. 8.0 DAW software was displayed at the RME/Synthax booth, with three different versions, Samplitude V8 professional, Samplitude V8 classic and Samplitude V8 master. Due at the end of November, it delivers  5.1-channel surround, surround effects and object surround, a realtime convolution room simulator for surround, and a MIDI drum editor/multi-editor for MIDI controllers

    Samplitude v8 project mixer
  • Magix Sequoia V8 High Definition DAW software was also shown, with a Surround Room Simulator, DVD burning that includes DVD-A capability, 12-channel surround sound and effects. It is also due at the end of November. 

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    Related Keywords:audio software, AES convention, DAW, plugins, ACID 5, Pro Tools, SONAR 4, Nuendo 3, Virtual Katy


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