Rax, the clever audio effect and instrument host for Mac, got a major update last year with performance rigs, custom visualizer support, and a slick UI designed by plasq. It’s an ideal tool for loading up some instruments and effects and playing on your Mac, especially if you want software that gets out of your way while you play another instrument or sing and don’t need a full app like Logic or Live onstage. But it never caught on with Mac users, even after I wrote a glowing review in Macworld. And it has certainly been overshadowed by more popular plasq products for the general Mac market, like Comic Life and the upcoming Skitch. So it was clear this unknown gem needed a new home.

Happily, Rax has now changed hands to another of our favorite small developers, Audiofile Engineering. Their Wave Editor has won over CDM’s game composer / contributor Brent, so we’ll be curious to see how they handle Rax. They’ll be supporting existing customers (few of them as there are out there, I expect there’s a good chance they’re reading this). Their 2.1.0 update is a minor release to bring Rax into the AE fold:

  • New Preferences window
  • Integrated Help Desk
  • Updated About Box
  • New licensing system
  • Removed PYMIDI framework, replaced with Audiofile MIDI framework

Interestingly, in their press release the developers at AE note that Rax, with its pure-Cocoa implementation and unique design, was an inspiration for their tools. (Also inspired by Rax: fluqe OnStage, a Logic Pro set management tool used by the Arctic Monkeys, among others, that I hope got some notice from the folks at Apple for the next Logic!) And Rax will continue to grow based on its existing features:

  • 16-channel mixer, with 25 effects racks
  • Setup of sets and songs for live gigs, with notepads / lyrics for each and preset management for your AU plug-ins
  • MIDI file playback
  • Live audio inputs
  • One-click recording
  • Live visualizer support (via Quartz Composer)
  • Slick UI redesigns of the included, free Apple plug-ins
  • OnStage view that you can see easily while you play an instrument

For more information:

About Audiofile Engineering
New AE Rax Product Page
Rax announcement at plasq

  • http://chollyhoss.blogspot.com/ pete

    Christmas came a little early this year thanks to the nice folks at Audiofile. I'm one of those folks who registered the original RAX and am too happy that it lives again. There are plenty of times where I want to run VIs and effects, but don't need or want the overhead of my DAW setup. I just want controller X to make noise Y when I mash it with my claw. Great program, to be sure. Even if it just gets more exposure for Wave Editor and other AE products it will prove to be a brilliant move on their part. EOL!

  • http://window.org.nz/ Luke

    I just use the AU lab that comes with Apple's developer tools. Took me a little while to find and install it, but it's free and provides a very intuitive graphical interface to manage Audio Units. It includes recording, side-chains, routing to a bus, and saving of presets. Finally figured I could save a AULab file and then open it, with instant vocal effects on one channel and SooperLooper running on another.

  • http://n0d3.org gahlord

    You have no idea how happy it makes me to hear that Rax has a home.

    Fastest, easiest (if you've ever set up a hardware rack anyway), most bombproof way to make some music.

    I love Comic Life too but I have to admit that I was starting to secretly scorn it, seeing what happened to Rax.

    Now what about Musolomo and Wormhole…?

  • Chris

    How can a traditional Logic user like myself integrate this into my music? I don't think I need it but I feel like I should. I have used Wave Editor as a demo and really liked it's Photoshop style application to sound. I continue to use an aging version of Peak and love it but I think perhaps a change would do some good. Hows the learning curve to get up to full edit speed?

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  • http://debsinha.com deb

    oh excellent!

    i like AULab but i have just started working with it and it feels a bit clunky.

    this is great news, and just in time for nuit blanche here in toronto!

  • Dissolver

    Today's release of MainStage as part of Logic Studio seems to be, at the very least, a worthy competitor. It will more probably put an end to RAX. I'm sorry to say that, but its probably true.

  • http://avanturb.com primusluta

    MainStage has potential, but not in its current state other than the VI's it's bundled with. Plus those guys over at Audiofile Engineering are quicker than Apple with the updates. Discussion has already started on Rax 3. I'm pretty sure the current version is just where Plasq left off. If you want certain features in Rax get over to that AE forum and start asking for them. There is a very good chance you'll get it.

    And Chris I highly suggest you get WE. Version 1.3 is right around the corner and packed with features we'll love.

  • http://avanturb.com primusluta

    Oh I forgot to mention, the AE guys are trying to rescue Muslomo as well. Let's keep our fingers crossed.

  • http://www.audiofile-engineering.com Matthew Foust

    MainStage put an end to Rax? We don't think so. Rax 3 is in the works and should be a worthy competitor to MainStage. Plus, it's significantly cheaper! Stay tuned…

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