New MacBook Air: Light, But Core 2 Duo, NVIDIA Graphics

Image Courtesy of Apple. Any time Apple unveils a new product, someone is likely wondering if it’s a viable choice for music. The answer on the new MacBook Air is probably yes – though for music production, even at a $999 price, you may want to sacrifice a little bit of weight for the specs on the non-Air MacBook line. Here’s a quick look: Core 2 Duo architecture. While running at slower clock speeds, this is a more efficient CPU choice for audio. (Don’t let the clock fool you, in other words – there’s a fair bit of power here.) …

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How to Install ReBirth in Linux, Get a Free Rack of Beat Machines

I just picked up a $280 Asus netbook and installed Ubuntu on it. ReBirth seemed a perfect addition; its compact-sized UI, lightweight processing and memory requirements, and simple functions are the ideal companion to a netbook. And, thanks to Propellerhead, it also happens to be free. If you stick with Windows, just download and go. On Linux, though, you have to give the installer some help to see the install disc. (Why install Linux? I’m finding Ubuntu is just fine for battery life, and I wanted to take advantage of the OS’ optimizations for netbooks and its flexibility for the …

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Symphony I/O: Next-Gen Apogee High-end I/O, Works with Any Mac DAW Via USB

Looking for all the world like a high-end audiophile stereo radio receiver as much as pro audio equipment, the shiny, new Symphony I/O has arrived from Apogee. It’s a top-of-the-range audio interface designed for low latency, high-quality digital-to-analog conversion, and quality clocking, as well as flexible input and output, coming from a company known in the category. With Pro Tools HD support, it’s also a rival to Avid’s own audio interfaces, while also working with all major Mac DAWs – even Ableton Live. You’re talking an investment of a few grand here, depending on configuration, so this isn’t likely to …

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Apple Refreshes MacBook Pro Line; Models Compared

Apple today refreshed its MacBook Pro line in a long-awaited update, moving the Apple laptops in line with recent advancements in Intel CPUs and NVIDIA GPUs. There are some caveats when you pull apart the line, however – the 13″ models miss out on the new CPUs in this lineup, at least – and you’ll pay to get some of the better improvements. Of course, a Mac is a Mac; for many readers, it’s the reliability of the combination with the Mac OS that is likely to be the deciding factor. The best news is, the 15″ and 17″ models …

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5 Years of CDM NYC Party: Beats + Baile + Open Bar + Laptops + Twitter Twister

  Design: onetonnemusic. Link love, chip love, software love, music love – Create Digital Music is celebrating five years, and it’s time to spread some of the love back to you here in New York City. Wednesday night, we’ll be celebrating five years made possible by our incredible readers with a big party at Love Nightclub in Manhattan. We’ve got one of the best sound systems in the city. We have eclectic, handmade, heavy beats from the likes of David Last, King Britt, Ganucheau, and IJ Catling (and me, opening up the sets). And because the Honorary Official Language of …

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Ableton Live Touch with Free Usine; Why Touch, Multitouch Works for Music

There’s plenty of rightful skepticism about the use of mainstream displays for multitouch in general purpose computing. And why not? As a full-time replacement for other input, multitouch probably doesn’t make sense. But for music, the equation is changing. Multitouch capabilities are showing up on commodity-priced PC computers like the multi-touch enabled HP laptop models – the tx2z seen here starts, incredibly, at US$850. And because computer musicians are looking for more control, having a touch-enabled display (even single-touch) just makes sense. The screen for a laptop musician is a huge piece of real estate. Finally, instead of sitting dumbly …

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Apple MacBooks: Reappearing FireWire, Disappearing ExpressCard

As you no doubt heard, Apple today refreshed their MacBook lineup with across-the-board adjustments to pricing. I’ll let other sites comment on the news more generally, as this is a music site, not a notebook site. But the big news for audio in terms of I/O, just so you don’t miss that: FireWire on more models: Finally, you can again get a 13” MacBook (now called MacBook Pro) with onboard FireWire – a FW800 connector. That’ll restore the use of audio interfaces and certain high-speed storage, and means the MacBook is again a good choice as an audio machine at …

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$200 Makes Your Laptop Touch-Enabled; Usine Music Demo

No doubt about it: touch is coming to more screens near you. But there’s no need to disappoint your current beloved laptop. $200 kits can turn your laptop into a functioning touchscreen. Now, as I’m working with JazzMutant’s Lemur this week, before you get excited, this is no Lemur – or even anything like your iPhone or iPod touch. Sensitivity and accuracy are workable, but not exceptional, the overlay is pretty simple (as you can see in the video) rather than integrated with the display, and this is single-touch only — not multi-touch. Lastly, on a conventional laptop that isn’t …

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The Mobile Music Netbook: Linux-Powered Indamixx OS + Laptop Looking Slicker

Going ultra-mobile: Korg’s nanoKEY controller plus a svelte, two-and-a-half-pound netbook running Linux and energyXT. Laptops for music are nothing new. But better versions of Linux make no-hassle music production easier and more powerful – and new netbooks make it cheap and ultra-portable, too, for times when even that 15” laptop feels clunky. Netbooks aren’t for everyone, and I imagine some people will miss Windows and Mac OS, even with better compatibility and powerful features on Linux. But if you are looking for an additional, more mobile machine, the combination is definitely worth a look. A significant revision to the one …

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Depeche Mode: Inside the Studio, Identify the Gear at Keyboard Mag

Depeche Mode’s latest album, “Sounds of the Universe,” is due April 20 internationally. I got the chance to cover the band for Keyboard Magazine, speaking with Martin Gore and Andrew Fletcher as well as returning producer Ben Hillier, who was a big part of the signature sound of 2005’s “Playing the Angel.” Martin developed eBay and KVR Audio addictions during the making of the album, so you can imagine just how much gear love was part of the process – with the talent of the musicians and Hillier’s vision as a producer managing to keep the resulting sound open and …

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