Live 9.1 Preview: Dual Monitors, More Push Sequencing, High-Quality Sample Rate Conversion

In the midst of a pop-up week of events held with Köln’s Kompakt Records, Ableton has offered a surprise peek into what’s coming soon to Live. 9.1 is a free update for all users, adding some widely-requested features. There’s no release date yet – we’re awaiting a more formal announcement with details soon – but we have gotten a look at what’s in store. Ableton’s Dennis DeSantis gave attendees a demo of three upcoming features: 1. Dual-monitor support, finally allowing you to see Arrangement and Session Views side by side 2. More functionality in Push, including step sequencing of melodies …

READ MORE →

TouchAble 2, iPad Control of Ableton, Nears Release, Kind of Does Everything; Conductr This Week

Ableton could someday make their own iPad app for controlling Live. But it’s getting increasingly tough to imagine how to outdo what third parties have already created. TouchAble 2, the anticipated update to one of the most popular iOS control apps, is nearing release. (“A few weeks” is the timeframe.) The developers have always made the app that was the most extensive in regards to Ableton’s desktop functionality. But TouchAble 2 goes further: this update packs almost everything you could wish for. While the experience of using physical hardware is radically different from that of using the iPad – each …

READ MORE →

Serato Updates Add iPad Control App, More Hardware Support

Serato’s marketing now pushes the notion of flexibility with a variety of different controllers and DJ methods. But it’s taken some time for their hardware support to catch up with their current generation of software. Today’s Serato DJ 1.2.1 and Scratch Live 2.5 updates continue to close that gap, however, and both now boast an iPad app for controlling DJ performances. Music apps on the iPad have tended to fall in one of two categories: either new apps that put the whole functionality of the tool on the iPad (as with Native Instruments’ Traktor DJ for iPad and iPhone or …

READ MORE →
Upgradeable, yes. But the cost of the machine itself is very high - and GPU and CPU upgrade options often aren't the best buys for a Mac tower, either. Photo (CC-BY) Glenn Batuyong.

As Mac Pro Debates Rage On, Time for Some Reality Checks

For all this debate over the new Mac Pro, you really need to know only two things: 1. The current Mac Pro is not a good value at the moment. 2. We have no idea how much the new Mac Pro will cost. And so, everything else (minis, iMacs, MacBooks, and yes, even PCs) rule the roost. That’s good for music, because (as a couple of commenters observed), they’re all working just fine. The Mac Pro I thought was newsworthy last week in that it demonstrated that more internal horsepower is coming to high-end desktops, and that those machines can …

READ MORE →

Tracktion, Elegant, Modern $60 DAW, Now Does Linux, Too

Properly configured, a Linux system can breathe life into old hardware or finely-tune performance on new gear. The problem has often been not the OS, but having a comfortable tool for production when you load it. And so that means Linux fans – or would-be fans – will likely be pleased to see the image above. It’s Tracktion, the lovely but oft-overlooked, bargain-priced DAW, running on Linux. (I highly recommend the just-released Ubuntu Studio. The update includes loads of fixes that solve the kinds of audio configuration problems that have kept many people from Linux, and the compatibility of that …

READ MORE →

A Live 9 That Works Better, and Better in the Dark, Finally Here [Plus More Skins]

Community service announcement! If you play or care about the guitar, skip past this story to the one immediately thereafter, using scrolling! (suggested by readership feedback) A new Live 9 with bug fixes, improvements, and a Disco skin ideal for use in low-light situations. No, not like that other time when we said it was and then it was promptly pulled. This time, for real – as in, I just downloaded it. What you can’t see is what matters: badly-needed reliability fixes should address performance and stability complaints we were hearing from Live 9 users. There’s no way to picture …

READ MORE →

Reason 7 Arrives: Slicing, External MIDI, More – And All Rack Extensions Work [Details, Videos]

Reason 7 is available now, in the full version, upgrades, and entry-level Essentials editions. You can download the new release right away – including, intelligently enough, as a torrent for downloads even if Reason users get overexcited. (Cough, Ableton. Hope you’re paying attention.) There are lots of improvements, but the banner features are clearly integrated slicing and external MIDI sequencing. Those features have been a long time coming. The ability to sequence external MIDI gear seems a no-brainer for a tool with so many great sequencing tools and robust MIDI input control support. And integrated audio slicing is, oddly enough, …

READ MORE →

Live 9 Update Fixes Bugs, Addresses Indexing Issues

One of the tough things about reviewing software is that your own experience is intensely personal. So, I’ve regularly reviewed software and gotten an angry response from someone who didn’t understand why I didn’t comment on a particular stability experience they had found. Those readers are right to be frustrated, but I can tell you that it software experiences are highly variable. So, I do know that some people found some issues with Live 9’s newest features. None of it is so out of the ordinary for this kind of upgrade. A big culprit: the new smart browser indexing features. …

READ MORE →

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. …

READ MORE →

When Reason Met MIDI Out: How MIDI, Virtual CV Work in the New Reason 7 [Pictures, Details]

It’s been a long time coming, to say the least. But you can be sure that even when Propellerhead do something as basic as MIDI output, they’ll do it in, well, a Reason way. So, it was intriguing to hear Reason was adding MIDI out precisely because in Reason it’s integrated with virtual patch cords and connections that make it work differently than in other hosts. And that means we wanted details. Propellerhead’s Leo Nathorst-Böös answers some of our questions, as CDM awaits the beta version. Most helpfully, we have some new images, so you can see better what’s going …

READ MORE →