Life After Slots: What the Mac Pro, External Hardware Mean for Production

“Pro” is a funny word. When people say “pros” in contrast to “amateurs,” “producers” rather than “consumers,” they mean something about relative seriousness. And in tech, they usually invoke these words when they’re looking down on tools they feel aren’t up to snuff. That’s fair. Especially in music making and digital art where money is tight, people invest in tools because they deliver, not just to show off. And they’ve usually been burned by something less-than-pro letting them down. So, when people see a machine from Apple dubbed the “Mac Pro,” they have certain expectations. The problem is, the upcoming …

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Pro Tools 11 Boosts Performance, Video; USB Interfaces Add iOS Support; AVID Uncertainties Remain

Avid has announced Pro Tools 11, the latest version of their flagship DAW. There are no whiz-bang features in this upgrade; instead, it seems Avid was solely focused on performance. Those improvements look promising; real-world performance is one of those things that makes the biggest difference in day-in, day-out use. The engine rewrite is joined here by top-of-class video integration, benefiting from Pro Tools’ sister products in video at Avid. These still will do little to sway users of other DAWs, but that’s not new. What is new is seeing a Pro Tools upgrade overshadowed by uncertainty about its developer. …

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Sibelius Core Team Now at Steinberg, Building New Notation Tool

Avid’s Sibelius score writer, seen here, no longer has the team that once led its development. But those veterans are now planning something new – and are now working for Steinberg. In the production of printed scores and traditional notation, two tools have loomed large for over a decade: Sibelius and Finale. So, for publishers, composers, arrangers, and teachers who use scoring software, it was a big deal when it became clear over the summer that a reorganization at Avid pushed the core development team of Sibelius out of the company. That raised some protests among users, and serious doubts …

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Sibelius Will Stay with Avid, But Sources Report Principal Sibelius Office to Close

Users and developers of the music notation software Sibelius have expressed concern about the software’s future, in the wake of a reorganization at the software’s owner Avid. Sibelius wasn’t singled out in the reorganization announcement, though it was mentioned in company background boilerplate on the press release as one of the key company products. CDM asked Avid for the full details. Avid spokesperson Ian Bruce confirms to CDM that the Sibelius line of notation software will remain part of the company, from iPad to education products to the flagship notation tool itself (which is also integrated with Pro Tools). Avid …

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Music from Nature Crafts Organic Rhythms, And More Sounds Made Music by Diego Stocco

We’ve passed from Record Store Day to Earth Day – and here’s the perfect segue. Having ventured into the woods to find a music release, now we can hear trees transformed, by way of sampling, into catchy rhythms. Our friend Diego Stocco, that evergreen source of creative timbres, now makes everything from trees to beans into sounds that are subtle and complex, full of personality and uniquely tied to their origin materials. There’s no real violence done to nature, either; you can make all of these noises with little more force than a small thundershower. Remarkably, the video – shot …

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A New Plug-in Format, Really? Avid Answers Our Questions About AAX and Pro Tools

Alongside its Pro Tools 10 and HDX unveiling, Avid turned some heads by recently announcing it was replacing its RTAS and TDM formats to a new format called AAX, “Avid Audio eXtension.” Now, your first reaction may not be unbridled enthusiasm, exactly: it seems the last thing users are likely saying is, “yes, please, I’d like a new plug-in format to worry about.” But I wanted to give the engineers at Avid a chance to tell us what they were thinking and why they made the move. Avid’s product announcements have unfortunately coincided, presumably because of the financial calendar, with …

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Pro Tools 10, Pro Tools HDX: What You Need to Know

Editing gain before mixing. Soon – Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together… mass hysteria! At the AES show in New York, Avid as expected updated their flagship Pro Tools DAW to version 10, and unveiled a next-generation version of their higher-end HD line. Since it’s Friday, and perhaps not the best day for processing loads of information about new DAWs, let’s see if we can’t boil down the major points. Pro Tools 10 Clip Gain helps you to set gain levels before you get to the mixer. More flexible use of files: mix formats, and in a departure for …

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Universal Audio Adds Plug-ins, Pro Tools and Lion Support; Ampex Lives

Universal Audio has a big set of updates to their DSP software out today. It seems worth sharing in part because I find the (faked) look of that Ampex reel-to-reel does give me a warm and fuzzy feeling, even if it mainly makes me want to get in a studio and hear the whir of the actual gear. Here’s what’s in the update: For Pro Tools users, there’s vastly-expanded support, including native RTAS plug-ins (instead of the VST-to-RTAS adapter), control surface support, proper automatable parameters, and correct naming and sorting, plus a quicker installation and workflow. I’m embarrassed to say, …

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Pro Tools 9 on a Mobile Tablet, on Indamixx Pro and Windows 7

The jury’s still out about how many music producers will want to run desktop OSes on tablets. But here’s one thing that’s not in doubt: alongside dedicated mobile OSes like Android and iOS, you can expect to see tablets in 2011 that do the things your laptop does now. They’ll have standard ports (like USB), they’ll run full-blown desktop OSes (Linux and Windows), and you’ll be able to run traditional software on them. Don’t get me wrong: I think dedicated software design for tablets is a good thing, and the iPad isn’t going anywhere. But the imminent availability of Windows …

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Audio Podcast: Talking Music Tech News with Wire to the Ear, CDM

Vintage radio equipment, ca 1957, (CC-BY) the Seattle Municipal Archives. Oliver Chesler and his Wire to the Ear blog have long been among my favorite reading on the Web. It turns out he and I have both been pondering the idea of doing an audio podcast to talk about trends in music and technology. After we did a panel together, the idea was irresistible. Sure, podcasts have exactly none of the hype they once did, but both of us listen to spoken word content voraciously. So, here’s the first experiment. We get a chance to speak, uncensored and off the …

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