Pro Tools Minus the Hardware? Mackie Says New Mixers Support M-Powered; Q&A

It’s a Mackie mixer! It’s an audio interface! It’s both – and now it works with Pro Tools, despite the presence of an M-Audio or Digidesign logo anywhere on the case? The Mackie Onyx-i (note that it still has a hefty bulge below the back of the mixer). It’s been one of the few constants in music technology. To use Pro Tools software, you need Pro Tools hardware – that means M-Audio interfaces for M-Powered (and now Essentials) and Digidesign interfaces for LE and HD. Without M-Audio or Digidesign hardware actively plugged in, the software refuses to run. And there’s …

READ MORE →

Pro Tools Bundles: $99-129, Hardware for Vocals, Recording, Keys

For people looking to get into music recording and production on a computer, for the first time, there’s a bundle that says “Pro Tools” on the box that costs correction: as little as just $99. It really is Pro Tools software; it’s certainly streamlined (some basic track limits, no multitrack recording), but still with a serious complement of recording, mixing, and effects, and even some nice virtual instruments. Beyond that, your choice is which hardware you’d like in your “value meal”: For vocalists: The Vocal Studio has a cardoid condenser mic – that’s a USB mic you can connect directly …

READ MORE →

Pro Tools Essentials and the Big Picture

A young, aspiring musician walks into a consumer electronics store. (Let’s call it Big Buy, and imagine people wearing… red polo shirts.) They wander into the game aisle and muse at the latest music games in the video game section – $60-100 in price. But there’s an endcap with something else: a box of Pro Tools that’ll run on their computer, plus a ready-to-use audio interface, for $99-129. Instead of Guitar Hero, they leave with Pro Tools – a name they already knew. See full details of the new lineup, with photos. This idea is nothing new – for many …

READ MORE →

Kontakt, Battery: Enhanced, More Compatible, 64-bit Memory

Even on Mac, the new Kontakt can use the memory you’ve got installed. On Windows 64-bit, Kontakt (and Battery, too) can use memory beyond … well, what you’d even imagine installing. Native Instruments has updated its sampling engine, releasing beta versions 3.0.5 for its Battery drum sampler and 3.5.0 final for the flagship Kontakt sampler. Both are free upgrades. (For anyone who thought that somehow Maschine was replacing Battery, it isn’t: the former is a drum machine, whereas the latter is more like a high-end drum sampler.) There are a number of significant enhancements, but perhaps the most interesting is …

READ MORE →

The New Avid: M-Audio, Sibelius, Digidesign Subsumed into Avid Branding?

Avid, the parent company of music product makers Digidesign, M-Audio, and Sibelius, has decided to assert the brand of its mothership more aggressively. As near as I can tell, that means you won’t see the M-Audio, Digidesign, or Sibelius brand names any more – along with video maker Pinnacle. You’ll see, presumably, Avid Pro Tools? (Right now, you see the Digi site with an Avid banner across the top that says “Digidesign is Avid.” But that was true before, so I don’t really know what this exactly means.) Avid has also unveiled a new logo made, cleverly, to look like …

READ MORE →

M-Audio Axiom Pro Offers Novation Automap Rival – If You’ve Got the Right DAW

While Novation was refreshing their Automap software for NAMM, M-Audio was unveiling their own dynamic controller technology, called HyperControl. M-Audio has one (big) edge on Novation: their controller technology can access ASCII keystrokes – something I’d love to have in all keyboard control editors. And HyperControl sounds like it has some promise, at least on paper – especially with the absurd number of controls M-Audio has packed onto the layout. There are just two catches. One, there’s the (ahem) styling on the Axiom Pro keyboard. To put it diplomatically, it’s not terribly … subtle. Two, you get support for some …

READ MORE →

Now Shipping: Pro Tools 8, All Versions

I know some people were wondering about this – it’s now official. Digidesign reports Pro Tools 8 is actually shipping now, with the integrated MIDI edit window, score notation editor (via recently-acquired Sibelius) right in the DAW, bundled instruments and synths, some amp simulation, “Elastic Pitch,” and additional insert slots. None of this is huge news to users of competitive products, with the notable exception of Sibelius notation integration. I’m very keen to hear how people actually use that, because the score facilities in tools like Logic aren’t competitive with favored tools like Sibelius and Finale, in my experience. On …

READ MORE →

AutoTune: The Song, a $99 Version (Hide!), and Some History

AutoTune, easily the most famous software plug-in in history – one even the general public has heard of – continues to reach mainstream, viral audiences. But the surprise is, originally its number crunching powers were applied to geology, oil, and pipelines, not bad vocalists. (Sadly, the latter are a more renewable resource.) This week, the Web is buzzing over the music video of AutoTune, the (parody) song. Sadly, this video could have been so much more – not even so much as a Cher reference, really? (Cher’s producers: AutoTuning way before Kanye West, and then lying about it! Brilliant!) For …

READ MORE →

Pro Tools 8 Announced: New UI, More MIDI, Elastic Pitch, Bundled Instruments and Effects, Integrated Sibelius Notation

Pro Tools 8 is up on Digidesign’s website. Rather than copy and paste their features, I’ll let you read. This may not shake you from your music making tool of choice, but it looks like it could be, at long last, the substantial refresh for Pro Tools users of that platform have been waiting for. I can quickly sum up the strategy (“strategies” and “tactics” being on the American political mind lately): Get all the instruments and effects in the box: Apple’s Logic Studio set the bar for this by first bundling lots of soundmakers,then cutting the price. Digidesign has …

READ MORE →

Pro Tools Controller for iPhone, iPod Touch Available; More DAWs Coming

It’s cheaper than dedicated Digidesign hardware or automation surfaces – and it’s pricier than all the other iPhone / iPod Touch music apps we’ve seen. But Alex le Lievre has made his iPhone Pro Tools controller software, a story we broke on CDM in December, available on Apple’s store. And it’s the most like a pro … tool of any app we’ve seen yet. The idea, as we originally saw, is fully duplicating your Pro Tools onscreen interface in a touchable interface on your iPod Touch or iPhone, complete with interactive feedback on channel settings, audio levels, and the like. …

READ MORE →