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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Behind the Scenes with Justice in Rio

Here’s a unique chance to step onstage with electronic duo Justice – well, through photos, at least – on tour in Brazil. Behind a stack of Marshall Amps and other gear that looks ready to push back an invading horde of Barbarians with a battering ram, these two have some very lovely goodies for live laptop performance. No plain-vanilla DJ sets here. Our friend Fabio “FZero” writes: I came across some pictures of the gear Justice used to play in Rio. They were taken by a guy which works on Circo Voador (the place were they played) and uploaded to …

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Laptop Music with AlphaTrack: Yes, I AM Checking My Email

Laptop musicians, had enough of people saying you look like you might be checking your email? Try actually checking your email. That’ll show ’em. David Battino (who also runs O’Reilly’s Digital Media site) did an “advertorial” for Electronic Musician on Frontier Design’s AlphaTrack. He goes into lots of details as far as assignments, but as a quick “because it’s there” gimmick, assigns a function key to an AppleScript for checking email. This being CDM, I’d want to go further, like assigning the contents of your email server to a wild visualization in Processing or something. But David does have some …

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Recording on Planes and in Bubbles; Battery-Powered In-Flight Recording

Jamiroquai sound engineer Rick Pope joins the mile-high recording club. Funny, when I try to set up this way on a plane, my neighbors get annoyed. When you hear the repeated stories about how traditional recording studios are dead, I suspect your first thought is not, “Finally! The dream of in-flight recording has its day!” or “Ah-hah! Now all the bands will move into inflatable plastic bubbles as a marketing stunt!” Yet, such things have come to pass. One involves a band you may care about and actually yields some practical tips. The other involves a band I’m almost sure …

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Burning Man: Musical Mac Laptops in Home-Built Bio-Hazard Boxes

Laptops as bio-hazard? Dust problems in the desert? Just stick them in a miniature “clean room” environment. Chris Martinez of effect69 writes us with details: Worried about dust and dirt? PowerBook got an alien plague? This should help. Burning Man 2006: Hope & Fear the Future When we were asked to play on the playa, I immediately thought of all of the stories of â€Å“That dust gets everywhereâ€Â? and did I really want all of my precious gear getting destroyed? Would you? No! So I went to work on a plan that would help keep most of the dust and …

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Mac OS X 10.5: 64-Bit Features, Automatic Backup, Bundled Software, Virtual Desktops, Animation, More

Live from the WWDC keynote with CDM’s own Lee Sherman, Apple has the latest on their new operating system release: OS X is 64-bit, top to bottom: Here’s a real demonstration of the difference between Apple and Microsoft. Windows XP x64 has been a mess; virtually no one has adopted it (despite some advocacy on the part of music developer Cakewalk), and a lot of software isn’t compatible (like, notably, any music software that relies on PACE, as well as many drivers). Now Apple will make OS X 10.5 entirely 64-bit, with seamless compatibility for 32-bit apps. Hopefully that includes …

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Free Max Stuff: Manic Autechre Sound Creations, Downloadable for Max/MSP and Reaktor

The modular sound and multimedia environment Max/MSP has had plenty of “celebrity” users; among the better-known is the duo Autechre. Some of their newer creations have been featured in Sound on Sound, as pictured below. But via the excellent Spanish-language audiovisual blog mediateletipos, I see that a selection of creations have been reverse-engineered by some passionate fans and are available for download. One has even been ported to Reaktor: Reverse-engineering Autechre I’m not really trying to be Autechre, so I’m happy just to poke around in these patches and screenshots and get some inspiration for my own patching efforts. Good …

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mLAN Drivers Now Universal Binary, But You Probably Don’t Care

“July 2006: This is the year when mLAN FireWire Music Networking breaks loose!” Yamaha proudly proclaims on the mLAN Central website! Woo-hoo! Break it loose! Shake it down! mLAN, baby! Uh, okay, here’s why I’m skeptical about this. mLAN is a perfectly reasonable, FireWire-based technology for interconnecting audio devices, and it does work on a handful of Yamaha pieces. But Yamaha has long claimed that mLAN would become a new industry standard format, embraced by other manufacturers. Sounds great — except, years into the mLAN format, that hasn’t happened. There’s a semi-impressive list of partner companies supposedly working on mLAN …

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Mactel Watch: Peak, Rapture, Melodyne, Digi Tools All Intel-Native; MacBook Pro Music Impressions

Early 2006 brought us the blockbuster Intel Mac ports — Logic, Live, Reason, and (most recently) Pro Tools LE — but now, finally, plug-ins are flooding in with Universal Intel versions. Just in over the last week: BIAS Peak 5.2 brings Intel-native support to the old standby Mac audio editor. With Soundtrack Pro now available only as an upgrade for existing customers or as part of the Final Cut Studio bundle, Peak is likely to be many Mac users’ stereo waveform editor of choice. See my review for Macworld. Cost: Free. Celemony’s Melodyne Software suite is up to 3.1, bringing …

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Finale 2007 Announced: Intel-Native, Parts Linking, Video Scoring, Sibelius Leapfrog Continues

Rivalries are good: they keep software developers competitive, leapfrogging each other in features. They keep the pressure on, and having seen what happens when one company gets a monopoly (Microsoft Office, I’m looking at you), progress generally slows. Notation users have benefited from the Finale/Sibelius rivalry, and that competition continues to produce better and better notation software. Finale 2007 looks like it will continue that trend. Now, I’ve gotten in trouble before when I’ve said Finale was blatantly copying its music notation rival Sibelius. But I don’t think anyone can argue with me this time. The major features in Sibelius …

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