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.

http://www.energy-xt.com/

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.

  • Orubasarot

    If this thing could have something like the Fruity Granulizer I'd finally be able to leave FL for good.

    Also can't wait for the moody broad in godawful headphones aesthetic to finally die off some day.

  • bliss

    So — Why is it awesome?

  • B

    I recently gave up on EnergyXT. It's got a nice layout, but it's really unstable. A lot of improvement was hoped to come with 2.5, but there didn't and as a result almost everybody at the userforum was pretty pissed.

  • bliss

    I've heard that energyXT 1.4 was better…

    How does the latest improve to "awesome" status?

  • gb

    I am using xt2.5, mainly because of the linux support. It is a pretty good piece of software.

    That said.. this promotional video is horrible in my opinion. Mr Bjor is talking as if he would want to sell his company to a competitor, not as if he wants to sell his software to musicians.

    Am I the only one who gets a creepy feeling when watching this?

  • http://toilville.com peter swimm

    Im still using 1.4 as a live host. It amazing how a dev could go from do no wrong hero from above, in the 1.x days to a pariah in his own official forums. The 2.x updates never fellt better than 1.4, just different, and the bugs have kept from from probably giving it its proper chance.

    Is 2.5 a tech milestone, or a marketing milestone?

  • Dajebus

    I have never even tried the other versions before. When I hear Linux I usually run in the other direction as fast as I can.

    But this is not bad.

    Very fast and easy to pick up. Not much menu hunting. I like that not much gets in the way of making music.

    That said, it's not perfect. It really stresses out my system. I do not like the way it handles loops at all but I think LIVE has spoiled me on that end.

  • Johan

    I've been messing around with the demo version for the last hour or so. Impressions: decent built-in effects and synth, confusing layout, horrible color scheme, no AU support, undo function does not always work, no way to change grid size, no way to set level of quantization, etc.

    In short, sounds good but seriously lacking in ease of use, at least compared to Ableton, my my usual DAW of choice.

    The price is nice though. You get what you pay for, I guess.

    And the promo video is really creepy, I get the impression that it's more directed at potential investors than regular consumers.

  • http://andrew.hicox.com plurgid

    nah, gb … you're not the only one.

    that's pure euro-hype … clearly they're trying to sell out to an American company.

  • http://myspace.com/fallsastar foosnark

    I watched this with the sound off (at work). While Jorgen Aase looks like a software guy, the dude in the suit looks like a vampire. Except it's so sunny.

    So yes, creepy.

  • Johan

    Oh, one more thing: the buttons for close, minimize and maximize are on the right hand side of the windows, even in the Mac version. It's amazing how such a small issue can cause such massive frustration.

  • http://833-45.net K.M.Krebs

    I have to admit that I still rely on 1.4 as well. I saw a lot of promise in the way 2.5 integrated the modular view & sequencer, but I feel like 2.5 still isn't as developed or stable as 1.4. I've been an ardent user of EnergyXT for years, but if Reaper ever gets a modular view, I would probably have little reason to use it anymore. Plus, there is the new hope of Buzz development!

  • Justin

    Mmmm…. total marketing hype and with a side of creepy.

    Aside from that EnergyXT is pretty good, I run it and Renoise when I'm using Linux.

  • pho

    eXT2 has a few more hurdles to cross before it qualifies as an exciting DAW, imho. But: Jorgen has been back at it, and the amazingly cynical user forum this past year is fluffing back up. So there may be real promise.

    If the OSX version grows a VST, then it really will be exciting.

    If LiveSlice finally grows OSX wings, then I may forget about the stock market for a minute.

  • Cholo Portolo

    Nice headquarters, what else they produce?

    http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&am

  • dptronz

    I predict Adobe buys this company and charges us all $349 for the full version.

  • Jaime Munarriz

    You all miss the main point: you can route anything into anything!

    That makes a total modular environment, where even the main parts (mixer, seq…) are conectable moduls.

    That's the real beauty of energyXT.

    And you can even run it as a plugin inside another host, building mega massive plugins by combining several common ones…

    Of course it's not perfect, but it's vision is brillliant.

  • pho

    Jaime, right….but:

    Which XT and which platform are you talking about?

    2.5 is not a plug-in for OSX…………….yet.

    Also, for a long while there (like, years), Jorgen was totally AWOL to his KVR user base.

    I'd say that only at this moment now does eXT2 stand a chance at becoming a viable alternative DAW, or anything else. Up until now, things were looking really, really shaky.

    And for heaven's sakes, I can't tell whether that marketing video is more scary or funny. Jorget would do well to take control of his branding and do his own PR. That guy in the suit is downright creepy.

  • mattly

    so you going to link it up or do we have to use the googles?

  • Paul

    I've had ExT for years, and for years its been utterly useless as it has a nasty habit of crashing so completely that it just vanishes off of the screen for no apparent reason. This "new" version, which appears to be last years Beta with no changes seems to work a lot better, and has only crashed on me once, and at least I got a warning. Looking forward to the next version, as it looks its actually having the bugs addressed.

  • Paul
  • http://www.riosuitecasino.net riosuitecasino

    nice XT stuff

  • sasarasa88

    There's something weird with the first guy in the video. For a moment I thought of Chewbacca's younger brother.

    On the other hand, I'm glad to know that Jorgen is able talk. He remains absolutely silent on KVR when people demand fixes for old bugs.

    Finally, I still can't believe eXT in version 2.5 lacks a feature such as a CPU load indicator.

  • Ray

    Never used this daw until now, but its maybe the easiest daw i have used, next to garage band.

    This is big news for linux users, this beats rosegarden out of the water imo but tbh i wont give up logic for this but i really liked this for its simplicity

  • Math:Eugenic

    Draculas estranged nephew sells DAW software now?

    Or maybe we should be concerned about James Bond shutting down their operation?

  • sasarasa88

    For your delight, here's more of our guy
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2-cFjAQdVcw

  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    Yeah, the video is odd.

    Well, I'll say this — what's great about energyXT is basically two things. One, near-zero launch time. Two, a simple but open-ended modular environment — kind of like Logic's Environment, except really easy to understand. You can just instantiate what you need and plug it together really fast.

    Now, on the other hand, the thing is so simple that you may find some stuff you like is missing. This is, of course, always the challenge.

    @sasaras88: CPU load indicator — erm, careful what you wish for. CPU indicators are notoriously inaccurate and can actually place a draw on your system. That's replaceable.

    I'm curious which bugs are important to people, though, which stability complaints you have. I'm newer to the environment so I suspect you know more than I do. I'll check through the forums, but for folks who are readers here, please be specific.

  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    Oh yeah, and one other thing: energyXT isn't the only commercial host on Linux. Aside from the fact that a lot of people are using Reaper successfully in WINE, Renoise also runs on Linux. And my sense is Renoise's Linux support is more robust (LADSPA, anyone?)

  • http://niceweatherforairstrikes.co.uk radian

    @ K.M.Krebs

    Buzz can be synced to Reaper via MIDI and audio piped back and forth with ReaRoute, it's a sweet combo.

  • http://www.workhorsenetlabel.com/ Fernando Carvalho

    What about MU.LAB? Nobody talks about it, It deserves much more attention I think.

  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    MU.LAB is quite nice — good point.

    Of course one reason to run Linux is that there's Buzztard, a pretty active effort to rebuild Buzz from the ground up.

  • Myles de Bastion

    So is 2.5 finally stable enough now? 1.4 wasn't that stable but I used it for years loyally until that one started crashing with some of my huge projects and then I switched to REAPER (equally fast boot times and runs from USB sticks too, full osx support hopefully by the time I make the switch).

    Still have my ext license though so maybe give the ex a second chance…

  • kragg

    "I’m curious which bugs are important to people, though, which stability complaints you have. I’m newer to the environment so I suspect you know more than I do. I’ll check through the forums, but for folks who are readers here, please be specific."

    3 big showstopper :

    - automation doesn't remember the starting point setting. So when you rewind, you have lost your initial setting.

    - Try to insert a plugin with side-chaining in the mixer : you hear the sound only on one side :(

    - No automation for the effects inserted in the mixer, and not even for the embedded synth.

    So, no, not quite here.

    I like Ext2, as, as you said, it is quick to launch and easy to make something with, but it really becomes frustrating since you try to make something else than a 4 bars pattern quick & dirty test.

  • B

    Also, in comparisson to other DAWs you can't put very much in it before the sound starts to crackle, and you'll have to restart your machine to make it (temporarily) go away.

  • http://www.keyquestmusic.com aje

    The promo video soundtrack reminds me of the Phantom Menace on a low budget, with its menacing percussion and choir. So where's Darth Vader?

    "we're STRONG on this, STRONG on that, STRONG on the other". Okay fella.

  • kyran

    You can automate vst plugins in the mixer, just not the buildin fx (and synth), which is indeed a big flaw. Especially on linux where there are not that many vst fx availlable. (and the buildin ones do sound nice)

    The reason it starts to crackle so fast is because it doesn't remove plugins from memory when you delete them. So insert an instance of kontakt, then remove it, it'll still be loaded into memory using the cpu it uses when idling (which can be considerable on certain synths)

    It'll clear the memory when you restart the app.

    The reason it works this way is to make the undo functionality work. You can undo the removal of your plugin.

    Other hosts (like FL) just warn you that there's no undoing removing a plugin from the project and then clear it from memory, which is a better approach imo.

  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    Hi Kyran,

    Ah, okay, that's hugely helpful … just the sort of thing I hadn't found in more casual use. And yes, I agree absolutely that that's not what you want from the memory management.

    It's really odd that you'd have less automation of internal devices and not the other way around.

    I'll spend some more time with this; greatly appreciated.

  • Mallyone

    I think we are all getting sidetracked here by the features and stability, and the product itself for that matter. What I feel is a real point in this article is that Peter is going to throw on a suit, and make an energyXT video for us, complete with American public radio voice…

    I mean, you did put it on the table.

    m…

  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    I, uh, literally do have to go buy a new suit this week. (Seriously)

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  • JC

    I have energy xt 2.5, I am personally finding that, you get what you pay for……. This is in my opinion an unfinished sequencer, seems the lightweight feel does run as a theme throughout i.e. bugs and stability. Although massive kudos for what they are doing, Seems a that the PR video money would have been better spent in more development in the sequencer, and replying to people in their own beta testing forum. Guys, get a full test drive before buying!!! And guys at energy xt, please put your money where your mouth is, with regards to beta testing and development…. Got a soft spot for this one, would be great for music peeps globally as a potentially great product

    Brilliant for learning, horrible for

  • BassReaKtor-TheMainF

    The DAW has been designed with a view to a sale to a major competitor who in turn can develop the software further in order to improve the structure, layout, operations and GUI controls and this is where the latest half hearted incarnation fails.

    It is clearly obvious that no serious musician or producer would buy this substandard DAW as this would not offer the level of professionalalism required for music production.

    I have tried the DAW but it's no good.

    I would recommend that artisits, producers and musicians seek to use more seriously thought through software from Vendors who are in the business to be "in the business" and not from some half baked organisation which believes it's customers are as naive as they are.

    This software is cheap, tacky and useless and an insult to anyone wishing to make music.

    Throw it in the bin and look at FL,Sonar,Reason,Pro T,Cubase,Logic etc.

  • kristiano777

    ma ktoś może instrukcję obsługi po polsku do energyxt 2.5 ?? pilne

  • Reckless

    After looking at all reviews etc I am begining to think I am the only one in the world who will be using this software in a live ( gig ) situation. Remember that people?, musicians playing ( real not virtual) instuments in a live situation & recording the performance. The software came with the X1832USB & will be used to record rehearsals & live performance. Has anyone else used this equipment for that purpose?? Or are we only interested in it as a virtual tool & my conception of this as a real tool is farfetched.