Avid Pro Tools review: This studio-style software will appeal to home creators too

Since its inception, Pro Tools’s outstanding mixing board mimicry has made it the pro's choice for upscale audio recording and manipulation—the recording industry’s DAW, as it were. That’s its bread and butter and it’s very intuitive for traditional studio engineers. For artists? Enh. However, over the years, Pro Tools has acquired MIDI and sequencing abilities, as well as notation, so it’s a more than competent tool for creative purposes. In fact, the program’s in-line editing (editing done right on the track rather than a separate window) makes it a favorite of many.

Avid’s brave new world

Pro Tools fell behind in the home creative audio market not so much because of creative lacks, but restrictive marketing practices. Prior to version 9, you needed an M-Powered consumer audio interface that was limited to 48kHz, or expensive, proprietary hardware if you wanted to record at bit rates beyond that. Avid still markets the high-end hardware which is quite nice-sounding, but it’s no longer joined at the hip with the software.

To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Continue reading »

Presonus Studio One review: Take your music production to the limit

When PreSonus dipped its toes into the high-end digital audio workstation (DAW) market a few years ago, it was a bit of a surprise. The market was thought saturated, nothing major had appeared in years, yet the company’s Studio One 1.0 proved almost immediately popular. Introducing the more efficient paned interface and drag-and-drop that industry mainstays Cubase, Logic, Sonar, and Pro Tools lacked proved enticing. It also didn’t hurt that Presonus bundled Studio One with its top-rated audio interfaces. 

Powerful but...

Over the last five years, the competition has remedied most of their interface issues, while Studio One, now on version 3.2, has caught up with them in terms of features. It’s now as powerful as they come, but adding features has exacerbated what was always a problem--visual overload and ambiguity. That’s partly because of the sheer number of features, but also because of the way they are presented. There’s a lot to take in, and even once you know Studio One, it can be tricky on the eye.

To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Continue reading »

Ableton Live review: This digital audio workstation does it all

As a track-based DAW (Digital Audio Workstation, i.e. a MIDI and audio recorder/editor) guy, my first look at Ableton Live elicited from me a rather long-winded “huh?” It was familiar-looking, but at the same time not. However, befuddlement soon gave way to stark admiration for the program’s interface and abilities.

I wrote the above paragraph five years ago. But while I admired Ableton, I kept going back to the DAWs with workflows I was familiar with such as Studio One, Cubase, Sonar, and even Mulab, even though they all irritated me in one way or another. I could just never get over the hump of Ableton’s unfamiliarity. A real shame, because now that I’m fully on board, for the first time in my recording life I’m free of DAW-envy. While I have a few nits with Ableton, I’m no longer tempted by others. At least for the creative stage.

To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Continue reading »

Windows 10 review: It’s familiar, it’s powerful, but the Edge browser falls short

(Editor's Note: As promised, we've revisited the review with the "release" version of Windows 10, which Microsoft began pushing to PCs on July 29. Minor updates are scattered throughout, with emphasis on the Windows Hello and Edge sections and bugs that were present in earlier code.)

We may as well refer to Windows 10 as a date, or an hour, as much as an operating system. It’s a moment in time. A month from now, it will have changed, evolved, improved. But right now? Microsoft has shipped an operating system that was meticulously planned and executed with panache, but whose coat of fresh paint hides some sticks and baling wire.

To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Continue reading »