Hap to Make VJs Happy: Codec Looks Better, Plays Faster on GPU, Free [Mac]

Hap as in happy sounds about right. Hap is a family of free and open source video codecs for Mac OS X. The notion is that the computer’s GPU – rather than CPU – does the heavy lifting of decoding frames. Because GPUs are optimized for lots of parallel operations in a way CPUs are not, that means the ability to use higher resolutions. And, best of all, you can get this for free. The code that makes Hap work is already up on GitHub, and you can begin using it right now if you’re in VDMX. I quickly polled …

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The Most Out of Windows 7: Choosing and Optimizing Windows for Music

From our call for CDM reader studios, Eric Beam’s studio. In his setup: Windows 7 64-bit, Cakewalk’s SONAR 8.5 DAW (with native 64-bit support), and the excellent modular patching environment Plogue Bidule. Click through to Flickr for a closer look. Photo (CC-BY) Eric Beam. This week, while we poll readers to find out what platforms they really use and care about for music, we’re launching a new series to help you get the most out of whichever OS you choose. We’ve been covering the complexities of Windows for a while, from the bumpy Vista transition to the smoother advent of …

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More with Less:”Efficient” Renoise Music Tracks and Tips, Deadline Extended to 10/25

You don’t actually have to put foliage on your desktop to inspire you to conserve energy, unless it, you know, helps. A lovely Ubuntu screenshot by Akira Ohgaki. A challenge to efficiency brings some terrific results. We’ve got tracks for you to hear, a few quick tips on production with Renoise, a place to go talk about the tracks and how to optimize them for netbooks, and a new extended deadline. And if you’re curious what kinds of music can be made with trackers, now’s a perfect chance to give folks from this community a listen. You may be surprised …

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Details of SONAR 8.5, and the Dystopian Future in Which You Use It

What happens when you mix technical chatter on the Cakewalk forum, Samuel Beckett, and The Matrix? I’d wager you get something like the surreal video above. Prompted by the posting of technical details for a new update to Cakewalk’s SONAR production software for Windows, and empowered by a strange, new tool that generates eerie virtual reality from typed text, we get banter like this: The arpeggiator is now on every track, so you are supposed to use it. It is one of the new rules of recording. Yes, I came from the days of one-finger piano playing. This is a …

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Obsessive Windows 7 Under-the-Hood Guide for Music; Can You Finally Dump XP?

Windows 7 running on a laptop, as photographed by / (CC) Luke Roberts. Windows 7 makes far subtler changes than Vista did, which gives it an opportunity to refine features by the ship date. And it’s been tested unusually widely, by testers like Luke. Windows matters. It’s what roughly half of CDM readers use, and – for all the attention Apple gets – it’s a big part of the computer music world. Windows today also faces many of the same under-the-hood challenges that other operating systems do, so even if you’re a die-hard Linux or Mac user, you may want …

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ArKaos GrandVJ to Support 50-60 fps, Framerate is Beautiful, Plus Why FRAPS Rocks

GrandVJ struts its stuff at the World Lighting Fair. Mmmm… light. Delicious light. Photo courtesy ArKaos. GrandVJ is the live visual world’s best secret at the moment. Maybe it’s the software’s streamlined feature set or simple-looking UI, or maybe hard-core visualists had come to associate the name “ArKaos” with the company’s previous product, which recently had indeed started to look long-in-the-tooth before GrandVJ finally replaced it. But here’s the reason GrandVJ is worth your consideration: it plays back video and it’s rock-solid and fast while doing it. And I’m happy to sacrifice some whiz-bang features to accomplish that. Here’s a …

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Vista Tweak: Use the Audio Profile Cakewalk’s CTO Uses

Cakewalk didn’t really need to implement custom profile support for SONAR 8 under Vista. You don’t really need to make use of it. But when I found out Cakewalk’s CTO had a profile he liked, I had to share it with fellow tweakers. Adjustments under the hood: photo (CC) Stefan Sonntag. Earlier this fall, we got an inside look at the various Vista optimizations in Cakewalk’s SONAR 8. It was all fairly technical stuff, but odds are you may have been puzzled by a mention of support for custom “MMCSS task profiles.” Don’t worry – the correct response here is, …

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More on Adobe’s Pixel Bender in CS4 and Flash, GPUs, and Performance

Pixel Bender from Adobe is capable of developing all manner of filter eye candy, like these selections from users at the Pixel Bender Exchange (many of them free to use). In case you didn’t watch comments on my Pixel Bender preview, there was some good discussion, including Kevin Goldsmith, who manages the Adobe Image Foundation group; he blogs at digital-motion.net and specifically on these technologies at blogs.adobe.com (and he’s a musician, too). I overstated the importance of Pixel Bender being GPU accelerated. First off, of course, you really don’t care where code executes, whether on the CPU or GPU – …

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More on Adobe’s Pixel Bender in CS4 and Flash, GPUs, and Performance

Pixel Bender from Adobe is capable of developing all manner of filter eye candy, like these selections from users at the Pixel Bender Exchange (many of them free to use). In case you didn’t watch comments on my Pixel Bender preview, there was some good discussion, including Kevin Goldsmith, who manages the Adobe Image Foundation group; he blogs at digital-motion.net and specifically on these technologies at blogs.adobe.com (and he’s a musician, too). I overstated the importance of Pixel Bender being GPU accelerated. First off, of course, you really don’t care where code executes, whether on the CPU or GPU – …

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Optimizing for Vista: Inside the Mechanics of SONAR 8 with Cakewalk Engineering

Vista, launched in an ice house in Toronto. That’s where I want my project studio this winter, for sure. Photo (CC Sam Javanrouh. On a purely technical level, how does Windows Vista work with a leading pro audio application? A lot of that depends on just how much the developer does to tune their software, and to hook into some of the new audio technologies in the OS. I wanted to know more about how Cakewalk’s SONAR 8 DAW was specifically optimized for Windows Vista. SONAR 7 was already out in front with support for Vista’s audio plumbing, but SONAR …

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