Live 9.2 Answers Your Warp, Automation, Tuner, and Pad Wishes

It’s nice to get what you ask for. More than any recent release I can recall, Ableton Live 9.2 feels like it’s ticking off a task list of user requests. The software enters (a very stable, in my experience) public beta this week. There’s nothing earth-shaking, but I know CDM has enough Ableton users that this will matter. To get there, though, be forewarned: Ableton is dropping support for some older Mac and Windows operating systems. (10.6 and earlier / Vista and earlier, respectively.) If you make the cut, though, you’ll likely find some welcome changes in this free update …

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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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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 …

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Bug Squash: AlexP on MacBook Vista Audio Problems, Other Wifi Adapters and DPCs?

I love the sound bugs make when you squish them under a solution. AlexP, whose blog is also a great source for multitouch and the Sony PS3 Eye Camera and Windows drivers we used in the recent hackday, has been diagnosing his MacBook under Windows Vista. Hardware problems are often the source of sound blips on computers. I’ve talked previously about using the DPC Latency Checker to find this issue. The good news: Alexander has found the problem (the Broadcom Wireless Adapter in some Apple MacBooks) and a solution (switching off Windows’ automatic wireless network search when you don’t need …

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A New Cubase: V5 Emphasizes Add-ons, Performance, and Steinberg Goes iPhone

Cubase 5 includes under-the-hood improvements to performance, but many of the new features – like the unusual LoopMash loop masher upper instrument – come in the form of instrumental add-ons. LoopMash is interesting, but it’s more a bundled instrument than a truly integrated feature. The big traditional DAW announcement at this NAMM show was Steinberg’s Cubase 5. Cubase as a music software brand is now older than some people who read this blog, but never mind: Cubase 5 certainly doesn’t want for new stuff. And Cubase still claims to be the world’s most popular computer DAW. Computer Music Magazine has …

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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 …

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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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Teaser: Synplant, a Genetic, Morphing Soft Synth from Magnus Lidström

I’ve had the weekend to begin working with Sonic Charge Synplant, a wonderful new synth creation from Magnus Lidström. Lidström is a Propellerhead veteran best known for creating Reason’s Malström synth. But while Lidström has made a name in sound, I have to say, Synplant is something very, very different. Partly because of the user interface, partly because of the strange and mysterious sounds that emerge, Synplant makes you feel like you’re on an episode of Star Trek – like you’ve smuggled some alien vegetation after shore leave and are squeezing its leafy bits so it makes odd sounds. (Watch …

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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 …

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