Musicians Warned to Swerve OS X 10.11 El Capitan Update

Musicians Warned to Swerve OS X 10.11 El Capitan Update

El CapitanApple’s latest desktop operating system, OS X 10.11 (also known as El Capitan) was officially launched a couple of days ago, bringing exciting new features such as the new system-wide San Francisco font, full screen split view and Safari 9. However, us music types would be well advised to avoid upgrading for the moment, as it would appear that this particular upgrade is causing more than the usual number of compatibility issues for third-party audio plug-in developers.

Reports are flying all over the web that plug-ins from heavyweight manufacturers such as Native Instruments, Arturia, and Waves are failing validation when used with Logic Pro X on El Capitan, with Waves advising users not to upgrade until compatibility can be confirmed. Hopefully this should take days rather than weeks, but if you run any non-Apple plugins on your system, make sure you check compatibility before you take the plunge.

iPhone 5s and 5c – Specs, UK Pricing & Availability

iPhone 5s and 5c – Specs, UK Pricing & Availability

iPhone 5s Blog ShotIn a special media event from its Cupertino campus that contained few surprises, Apple unveiled two models of the new version of the iPhone last night – the flagship iPhone 5s and the, it has to be said, only marginally cheaper iPhone 5c. Here’s a rundown of what was announced…

iPhone 5c
The entire back and sides of the new iPhone 5c is made from a single part of coloured hard polycarbonate plastic incorporating an internal steel structure, while the front is a single flat, multitouch 4-inch Retina display glass surface.
Inside, the 5c has an Apple A6 processor with a slightly larger and more efficient battery than the iPhone 5 that precedes it. It has an 8 megapixel iSight camera with backside illumination and a five-element lens, that uses iOS7’s new Camera app with its live photo filters and 3X video zoom capability. On the front, there’s a new FaceTime HD camera.
The 5c comes in five standard coloursblue, white, pink, yellow and green – and there’s a range of six complementary-coloured silicone rubber cases available to accessorize with for $29 USD each.

iPhone 5c prices (on a typical US 2-year contract) are:

16GB: $99 USD
32GB: $199 USD

The iPhone 5c will be available to pre-order in 9 countries (US, UK, Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Japan, & Singapore) from 13th September, and to purchase from 20th September.

In the UK, the iPhone 5c will cost £469 for the 16GB model and £549 for the 32GB model (non-contract).

iPhone 5s
Made from high-grade aluminium with diamond-cut, chamfered edges, the iPhone 5s difinitely looks the part of a flagship product. It comes in three metallic finishes: silver, gold, and a new ‘space grey’.
The 5s runs on Apple’s new proprietary A7 64-bit processor, making it the first ever 64-bit smartphone. This takes advantage of the fact that iOS7 and all its native apps have been completely re-engineered and optimised for 64-bit processing, while maintaining compatibilty with existing 32-bit apps, so the performance gains over the previous model should be significant. The A7 chip is apparently twice as fast as previous generations, with an impressive 40X increase in CPU performance over the first generation iPhone.
It runs OpenGL 3.0, enabling the iPhone 5s to run desktop level, 64-bit graphics.
The iPhone 5s contains an additional motion co-processor called M7 that handles all of the movement-based processing such as motion sensing, accelerometer, compass and gyroscope, continuously measuring the data coming from the phone’s numerous sensors without troubling the main processor, paving the way for a new generation of health and fitness apps.
So how does this impact battery life? Standby time is up to 250 hours, with 10 hours of WiFi browsing or 3G talk time. 40 hours of music and 10 hours of video claimed.
The iPhone 5s has a newly-designed, 8 megapixel camera system centering around a five-piece lens with a larger, f/2.2 aperture and a 15% larger active sensor area. White balance and exposure are set automatically, and a new ‘true tone’ flash aims to capture better skin tones when using flash. Auto image stabilization cuts down on blur when shooting with a longer exposure, and a 10 frames-per-second burst mode automatically selects and presents the best shot for you. A new 120fps HD slo-mo video camera is also now available for action shots, and panorama shots now benefit from automatic exposure adjustment as you pan the shot.
The iPhone 5s pioneers a new security technology that Apple are calling Touch ID, which centres around a fingerprint sensor on the home button that’s used in preference to the conventional four-digit passcode traditionally used to gain access to the device. A metal sensor ring around the button means you can just touch, not even fully press, the button to unlock your phone. You can teach it more than one print, so that if you sometimes use your thumb, rather than your index finger, to wake your phone, you shouldn’t run into difficulties through using the wrong finger. Under iOS7, you can also use the fingerprint sensor to authorize iTunes purchases.

You can accessorize the iPhone 5s with leather cases that are available in five colours – yellow, brown, pink, blue and black – at $39 USD each.

iPhone 5s prices (on a typical US 2-year contract) are:

16GB: $199 USD
32GB: $299 USD
64GB: $399 USD

In the UK, the iPhone 5s will cost £549 for the 16GB model, £629 for the 32GB model and £709 for the 64GB model (non-contract).

All the major UK carriersEE (Orange and T-Mobile), Vodafone, O2 and Three – have confirmed that they will be offering the phones on a contract basis, but contract prices have not yet been announced. The 8GB version of the iPhone 4s will also continue to be available free on contract.

The iPhone 5s will be available to purchase in 9 countries (US, UK, Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Japan, & Singapore) from 20th September.

Both the 5s and 5c will be available through the Apple Online Store, Apple’s retail stores and select Apple Authorised Resellers, including Phones 4U and Carphone Warehouse.

The new phones will, of course, ship with the newest version of Apple’s mobile operating system already installed, but iOS7 will also be available as a free download to users of existing iOS devices from September 18th. iOS7 is compatible with the iPhone 4 and upwards, iPad 2 and upwards, iPad Mini and 5th-generation iPod Touch.

From today, the iOS versions of Keynote, Pages and Numbers, Apple’s mobile presentation, word-processing and spreadsheet apps, will be free to new iOS device purchasers, along with iPhoto and iMovie for iOS, instantly turning your new device into a pretty powerful creative and productive tool for zero outlay. Nice touch!

Logic Pro X Unveiled

Logic Pro X Unveiled

Logic Pro XIt looks as if the wait is finally over – Apple today unveiled the hotly-anticipated Logic Pro X, updating the Logic line of digital audio workstation software for the first time in almost exactly four years. At first glance, it looks like the app has had a major interface overhaul, with newly-designed graphics for most of the plug-in control panels as well as the main arrange, mixer and edit windows. Track Stacks appears to be a new reimagination of the folders concept, while Flex Pitch (as opposed to Flex Time) allows for the fixing of dodgy vocal tuning and repitching of instrument melodies. Smart Controls, meanwhile, allow you to manipulate multiple plug-ins and parameters with a single move.
The new Drummer plug-in adds a virtual session drummer to your production toolbox, while you can create classic 70’s and 80’s style sounds with the new Retro Synth instrument. There are also nine new MIDI plug-ins, including a sophisticated arpeggiator. There’s no news yet as to whether or not the EXS24 sampler has received some much-needed attention.
There’s also a new Logic Remote iPad app, available for free on the App Store, that allows you to use an iPad as a control surface for Logic.
Logic Pro X is available to download now on the Mac App Store for £139.99 ($199.99 USD). The 650MB download requires OS X 10.8.4 or later and runs only in 64-bit mode, so make sure you have 64-bit versions of all your favourite third-party plug-ins installed. Here at, we can’t wait to try this, so watch this space for more Logic-related news soon!

The 2013 Mac Pro – Do Creative Professionals Finally Have Something to Shout About?

The 2013 Mac Pro – Do Creative Professionals Finally Have Something to Shout About?

Mac Pro 2013 500We Apple pros could be forgiven for having felt somewhat disenfranchised of late. After all, we’ve had to sit back for six years or so and watch the spotlight being hogged by lucrative telephones and tablets while enduring a relative lack of innovation in the design of what we know and love Apple for best – computer hardware. Yes, we got the MacBook Air, but that’s just a slimmer version of the traditional laptop aimed squarely at the domestic market. And yes, they practically invented the modern tablet in the form of the iPad, but how many professional users do you know who produce their stuff solely on one of those? To people who make their living using Macs, these products, although admittedly very cool and all that, have by and large been merely shiny distractions.
Now though, it looks like we finally have something to celebrate in the all-new 2013 Mac Pro, a sneak preview of which was unveiled at yesterday’s WWDC keynote. OK, so it does look a bit like a teabag bin, and has already been labelled the ‘Trash Can’ by the Twitterati, but whatever you think about how it looks, it really should be applauded as the first major hardware redesign from Apple in years. Tiny, cylindrical and with a stonking power-to-weight ratio, it delivers expandability in spades – as long as you don’t mind shelling out for a Thunderbolt chassis to run all those external drives, interfaces and displays, that is. So it’s wonderful to see a splash of this sort of forward-thinking, mould-breaking hardware design from a company who were once so renowned for it, and Apple pros the world over can finally breathe a huge collective sigh of relief. Even though I know a few studio owners who I suspect are going to have to put up a sign next to their machine politely asking people to refrain from stubbing their cigarettes out in it.
The 2013 Mac Pro is set to make its debut later this year, which should give everyone plenty of time to save up, arrange finance, plot and execute elaborate insurance scams, sell relatives etc. to come up with the funds needed to buy one, so form an orderly queue to the left please guys.

2013 Mac Pro Specs:
Intel Xeon E5 chipset offering up to 12 cores of processing power, up to 40GB/s of PCI Express gen 3 bandwidth, and 256-bit-wide floating-point instructions.

Four-channel DDR3 ECC memory controller running at 1866MHz delivering up to 60GB/s of memory bandwidth. Memory configurations unconfirmed as yet.

Two state-of-the-art AMD FirePro workstation-class GPU’s each with up to 6GB of dedicated VRAM.

Next-generation PCIe Express storage controller – 1.25GBps flash-based storage 10 times faster than a standard 7200rpm SATA hard drive. Storage configurations unconfirmed as yet.

6 built-in Thunderbolt 2 ports, up to 6 devices per port, 20GBps throughput, backwards compatible.
4 x USB 3, 2 x Gigabit Ethernet, and 1 x HDMI 1.4 ports.

Three-stream 802.11ac WiFi
Bluetooth 4.0

Unified thermal core cooling system featuring large, multi-bladed single fan.

9.9 x 6.6 inches

Avid Announce Pro Tools 11 at NAB 2013

Avid Announce Pro Tools 11 at NAB 2013

Pro Tools 11

One of the most exciting news items to come out of the NAB show in Las Vegas this week has been Avid’s announcement of the all-new Pro Tools 11. A completely rewritten, 64-bit application with all-new code and a brand new Avid Audio Engine (bye, DAE!) under the bonnet, this audio and music production, editing and mixing powerhouse takes things up to the next level, with the promise of more processing power, more tracks, more virtual instruments, more complex instruments – just more, basically. The 64-bit architecture promises better memory management, with the ability to address as much RAM as your computer can hold, and all-round much slicker performance, particularly in complex sessions with lots of virtual instruments and effects. But, apart from being 64-bit from the ground up, what else is new? Has someone at Avid been listening? Has all the stuff that’s driven us PT users nuts for years finally been addressed? Here’s a closer look at some of the new bits and pieces to be found in Pro Tools 11.

Offline Bouncing
Offline bouncing is here at last, which will have many users literally jumping for joy. The days of watching the progress bar crawl across the screen as the computer wrestles with a real-time bounce of a complex orchestral mix or an hour-long podcast, (only to throw up an error at the last minute, requiring the whole process to be started again through a blurry veil of frustrated tears) are finally drawing to a close. Offline bouncing promises to deliver mixes at speeds up to 150 times faster, which means an hour-long program could be rendered in under one minute. This is sample-accurate offline bouncing to boot, so you always know exactly what you’ll end up with. Stem creation looks like it’s about to get a lot less painful, and it looks likely to be useful as a track freeze function too, a quick way of lightening the CPU load caused by memory-hogging virtual instrument tracks. You can also bounce a .WAV and a .mp3 version simultaneously in PT11.

Timing Tweaks
Elsewhere, Avid have sought to stamp out latency issues by implementing both an input and an output buffer, so that  delays introduced by complex processes can be compensated for at the output stage. This all happens transparently, so that by the time it reaches your ears, everything should be in perfect time. To reduce monitor latency when recording, PT 11 has domain latency switching which allows for input-enabled virtual instrument and record channels to employ a super-low, 32-sample buffer while playback tracks operate at whatever your current system buffer settings are. Clever!
Time-stamped plugin parameter automation means that now every automation move will happen exactly when it’s supposed to, rather than a few frames either side of the intended position, which can apparently happen with some current systems when a bounce is rendered.

From Meter You
Pro Tools 11 introduces a batch of new metering systems for Pro Tools HD users – a total of 17 industry-standard metering options are available in the top-end version of the software, including standard VU metering, BBC and Nordic PPM metering, and even Bob Katz’ K System. The master track meters can have their format set independently from the rest of the Mix window, and mini meters now appear on the plugin slots in the Sends view. You’ll also now find a configurable gain reduction meter for dynamics plugins on each channel in the HD version. The channel meters themselves are much higher resolution and also 30% taller than those in PT10.

Video Star
Video handling is also much improved, with Pro Tools 11 adopting the same video engine as that found in its sister app Media Composer, which was also updated this week. You can now monitor and even edit HD video directly within your Pro Tools sessions. You can add a variety of broadcast level formats (XD Cam, MXF HD, Avid DNxHD) directly to your session without transcoding, which is a real timesaver. There’s also improved support for a much wider range of video interfaces than before, including equipment from AJA and Black Magic.

Bits n Bobs
There’s a host of other tweaks and enhancements alongside the big guns. Dynamic Host Processing cleverly reallocates processor resources away from tracks when there’s nothing playing on them. There’s an updated workspace browser with a faster, improved search feature, and you can now input automation data whilst recording – great for recording live sound. This automation data can also be converted to clip gain when mixing a project.
There’s a set of new, single-handed shortcuts for bypassing inserts – great for quick before / after comparisons of channel strips with long plugin chains. You can bypass all inserts with one keystroke (Shift +A), or use different commands to bypass by placement or category. Graphically, the system now supports Apple’s Retina displays and there have been some visual tweaks to the Mix window.

Notably, PT11 only supports the AAX plugin format – RTAS & TDM plugins are no longer supported from this version onwards because they are all 32-bit code. PT11 is all 64-bit code, so older plugins may need to be sacrificed for the sake of progress, at least until AAX upgrades of those plugins become available. A tough call for UAD users. Interestingly, you can run both PT10 & PT11 on the same machine, which offers a temporary workaround to bridge the transition, but if you’re a Mac Pro user, that machine has to be newer than the March 2009 (Mac Pro 4,1) model. Pro Tools 11 requires OS X 10.8.3 or newer, and an iLok2 USB dongle is required for copy protection.

So, no new plugins or instruments then, but rather a completely overhauled application that promises to provide a smoother and faster workflow, as long as you can take the ‘no RTAS’ hit. Pro Tools 11 is expected to ship in May / June 2013, but anyone who purchases and registers a copy of PT10 between 7th April and the release date will receive a free upgrade to 11 when it ships.

Pricing will be as follows:

Pro Tools 11 software (full version)— $699 USD
Pro Tools 10 to 11 upgrade— $299 USD
Pro Tools 9 to 11 upgrade— $399 USD
Pro Tools Express to Pro Tools 11 cross grade— $499 USD
Pro Tools HD 10 to 11 upgrade— $599 USD
Pro Tools HD 9 to 11 upgrade— $999 USD

For more information, see

Novation To Unveil Launchkey Controller Range at NAMM 2013

Novation To Unveil Launchkey Controller Range at NAMM 2013

49-Launchkey-Hero 500Novation will use NAMM 2013 as a platform for taking the wraps off a slinky new range of DAW controller keyboards. Available in 25, 49 and 61-note varieties, the Launchkey series forms a compelling lineup, each consisting of a professional MIDI keyboard boasting 16 velocity-sensitive, multi-colour clip launch / drum pads, bundled with Ableton Live Lite 8, Novation Bass Station and V-Station software synths and a pack of Loopmasters samples. Hardware controls include nine faders (one fader on the 25-key model), eight mute/solo buttons, eight rotary knobs, a 3-digit LED and a dedicated DAW transport controller section.
Compatible right out of the box with all major DAW’s such as Logic, Live, Cubase, ProTools and FL Studio thanks to Novation’s new InControl integration system, the keyboards are bus-powered via your computer’s USB socket, or from an iPad by means of the optional iPad Camera Connection Kit, available for around £25 from Apple.
Each package also includes two new iPad apps, designed to work in conjunction with the keyboards. The Launchkey app is an iPad 2 & upwards-compatible performance synth, while the Launchpad app delivers drag-and-drop loop playback from the pads and real-time filter and stutter effects.

Prices are:
Launchkey 25: £99.99
LaunchKey 49: £139.99
LaunchKey 61: £159.99

The Novation Launchkey keyboards are slated to become available in the UK from March/April onwards.

Steinberg Announce Cubase 7

Steinberg Announce Cubase 7

Steinberg have unveiled their latest major update to their acclaimed Cubase DAW, barely 8 months after the previous leap to version 6.5. In what appears to be a significant overhaul, the new version gets a completely new, fully-scalable mix page, brand new composing tools, more effects, more content, support for Yamaha’s impressive new Nuage controller and countless workflow enhancements for recording, mixing and editing music.

There’s a new Chord Track that automatically detects the chords within a song, a composing assistant that can intelligently suggest new chord progressions, and a new feature called VST Connect SE that makes it easy to collaborate with other musicians online via a video hookup and a real time chat window. Elsewhere, VariAudio 2.0 gives you the freedom to follow any changes made in the chord track and create multiple harmonies from a monophonic melody, and the new Cubase Channel Strip brings you a built-in noise gate, triple-model compressor, 4-band studio EQ, envelope shaper, tape and tube saturation and brick wall limiter / maximiser on every track.
These and countless other features too numerous to list here make up a substantial leap forward for Cubase, constituting a serious production package that’s scheduled for general release on December 5th, at a suggested retail price of €599 for the full version, with a cut-down Cubase Artist 7 version available for €299. Although upgrade prices are yet to be announced, Cubase 6.5 users who purchased their software on or after October 25th 2012 are eligible to upgrade to the new version free of charge.

You never know, perhaps this might be the prod that Apple needs to stop messing about with telephones and patent infringement lawsuits and get on with releasing Logic Pro X before the end of the year. We live in hope…

Apple Take Excitement to the Macs – New Ivy Bridge iMacs, Mac Mini, 13” Retina MacBook Pro

Apple Take Excitement to the Macs – New Ivy Bridge iMacs, Mac Mini, 13” Retina MacBook Pro

Apple have unveiled a slew of new and updated products in a special media event in San Francisco. Aside from the iPad Mini and 4th-generation iPad discussed in an earlier post, most notable among the new arrivals was the new 13” Retina MacBook Pro, while the hotly-anticipated Ivy Bridge iMacs and an upgraded Mac Mini also made their debuts today. Here’s a brief rundown of what was in store.

MacBook Pro
The incredibly thin new 13” Retina MacBook Pro is now just 0.75” thick and weighs just 3.5 pounds20% thinner and 1 pound lighter than before. As with the 15” Retina model, there’s no longer room for an optical drive, but at a resolution of 2560 x 1600 pixels – four times the number of the previous generation MBP – that Retina display with 75% reduced reflection and 178 degree viewing angle makes up for a lot. Also now sporting an HDMI out and flash storage capacity of up to 768GB, the 13” Retina MacBook Pro starts from £1449 for the base 2.5GHz dual-core i5 128GB model, rising to £1699 for the 256GB version. The new 13-incher is available from today, but for those not bothered about the Retina display, the current non-Retina models are still available at the same price as before.

The new iMac closely resembles its predecessor, at least from the front, retaining as it does the much-maligned ‘chin’ beneath the display. However, the display glass now runs all the way to the edge, and from the rear, it’s a totally different shape, a bulge at the centre of the back panel gradually tapering to a 5mm thickness at the edge where it meets the display. It looks stunning in the images, and promises to be even more so in the metal. The display is fully laminated to the glass, dispensing with the 2mm air gap that formed part of the construction of the previous model. This astonishing 80% reduction in thickness means that the vertical optical drive has finally bitten the dust, as it has in the Retina laptops.
Following much speculation that the new iMac would have a Retina display, consumers may or may not be disappointed with the standard, non-Retina LED displays that the new models sport. However, with IPS technology for a wide viewing angle and a special anti-reflective coating that’s 75% less reflective than before, they should still be pretty impressive. The 21.5” model offers the same 1920 x 1080 resolution as before, as does the 27” with its 2560 x 1440 spec. A 720p Facetime HD camera, dual microphones, stereo speakers, NVIDIA Kepler graphics and 802.11a/b/g/n WiFi round out the specifications.
You can get the new iMac configured with either a 1TB or 3TB HDD or up to 768GB of flash SSD storage, but a third option is to go for Apple’s new Fusion Drive, which is essentially similar to a hybrid drive such as Seagate’s Momentus XT. A combination of a 128GB SSD and a 1 or 3TB HDD, this comes pre-configured with Mountain Lion and all Apple’s native apps on the flash partition, leaving you ample room for storage on the HD partition. This promises lightning-fast performance from the apps you use most day-to-day, coupled with the kind of storage capacity not yet achievable via an SSD alone. It’ll be interesting to see how much this sets you back as a CTO option.

Bundled, as before, with Apple’s wireless keyboard and magic mouse, the new 21.5” iMac will start at £1099 for the base 2.7GHz i5 1TB 8GB model when it ships in November, rising to £1249 for the 2.9GHz model. The base 27” 2.9GHz i5 1TB 8GB will be available in December for £1499, with the 3.2GHz i5 1TB 8GB version coming out at £1699. Quad-core i7 processors will be available as a CTO option on the higher-priced 21.5 and 27” versions.

Mac Mini
The smallest, most affordable Mac also gets a much-needed Ivy Bridge refresh, starting at £499 for the 2.5GHz dual-core i5 version, rising to £679 for the 2.3GHz quad-core i7 model. There’s also a server version available with twin 1TB hard drives for £849. All models ship with 4GB RAM and Intel HD Graphics 4000.

Apple expands iPad range with iPad Mini and 4th-generation iPad

Apple expands iPad range with iPad Mini and 4th-generation iPad

Apple have introduced the eagerly-awaited iPad Mini to its iPad product lineup, together with a revamped version of the full-size model that takes advantage of a faster processor and the new Lightning dock connector. With a diagonal screen dimension of 7.9 inches, the iPad Mini is an entirely new design, at just 7.2mm thick – 23% thinner than the revamped, 4th-generation iPad – and weighing a mere 0.68lbs – 53% lighter than the full size model. Maintaining the original iPad’s 1024 x 768 screen resolution and aspect ratio guarantees that all current iPad apps will work on the smaller device without any extra effort necessary from developers to release compatible versions of their apps.

The dinky new device has at its heart a dual-core A5 chip and boasts both a 720p Facetime HD front camera and a 5MP rear iSight camera. Featuring LTE cellular capability, 802.11 a/b/g/n WiFi and a touted 10-hour battery life, the iPad Mini will ship in black or white trim and will be available to pre-order from October 26th. WiFi models are expected to start shipping on November 2nd, with cellular models shipping 2 weeks later.
Prices start at £269 for the 16GB WiFi model, rising to £429 for the 64GB WiFi model. Cellular models will start at £369 for the 16GB, topping out at £529 for the 64GB. There’s also a range of bespoke smart covers, available in a choice of five colours (plus a product RED version), to make the teeny iPad even more dapper.

The new, 4th generation full-size iPad sports a speedy new A6X processor for double the CPU and graphics performance of its predecessor, together with the new Lightning dock connector as found on the iPhone 5. Prices for these start at £399 for the 16GB WiFi model, rising to £559 for the 64GB WiFi model. Cellular models will start at £499 for the 16GB, topping out at £659 for the 64GB.

Avid Release Pro Tools 10.3, adds OS X Mountain Lion & Thunderbolt Compatibility

Avid Release Pro Tools 10.3, adds OS X Mountain Lion & Thunderbolt Compatibility

Avid have officially released Pro Tools version 10.3, which adds support both for OS X Mountain Lion and the newly-announced HD Native Thunderbolt interfaces, discussed in the earlier post below.

From Avid’s website:
Pro Tools Version 10.3 is an officially qualified and recommended installer for:

Pro Tools systems on Mac OS X 10.6.7 – 10.8 or Windows 7 SP1
Pro Tools|HDX systems on Mac OS X 10.7 – 10.8 or Windows 7 SP1
Pro Tools|HD Native systems on Mac OS X 10.6.7 – 10.8 or Windows 7 SP1
Pro Tools|HD Native Thunderbolt systems on Mac OS X 10.7.4 – 10.8 or Windows 7 SP1
Pro Tools|HD Accel systems on Mac OS X 10.6.7 – 10.8 or Windows 7 SP1

The website also mentions that, although this version of Pro Tools is now qualified for Mountain Lion, if you own a Mac Pro, it’s only officially supported on computers with Nehalem processors onwards. In other words, if your Mac Pro dates from earlier than March 2009, you’re outta luck.
Another caveat is that Pro Tools non-HD device drivers (such as drivers for M-Audio FireWire interfaces, Mbox 2, Mbox 2 Micro, Mbox 2 Mini, Mbox 2 Pro, & Pro Tools Mbox Mini) are not yet officially supported with Mountain Lion.

Pro Tools 10.3 is available for registered users to download from here.

Apple Unveils New iPods & New iTunes

Apple Unveils New iPods & New iTunes

Alongside the announcement yesterday of the iPhone 5, Apple also revealed a refreshed iPod lineup, together with new versions of the iconic iTunes software for both iOS 6 and OS X. The iOS 6 variant of the app has been completely redesigned, with improved performance and a different layout that allows you to preview while browsing. The desktop version also gets a makeover, due late October, that will feature a dramatically simplified, grid-based user interface, with easier playlist management and DJ-friendly ‘Coming Next’ feature. There’s also iCloud integration for remembering movie positions between devices, so you can start watching a film on your Mac or Apple TV and pick up later where you left off on your iPhone or iPad.

iPod Nano
The new, 7th generation iPod Nano is 38% thinner than its predecessor at just 5.4mm thick. It resembles a miniature iPod Touch, with a home button and 2.5″ multitouch display dominating Continue reading

iPhone 5 Breaks Cover

iPhone 5 Breaks Cover

Apple announced the long-awaited iPhone 5 at its media event at the Yerba Buena centre in San Francisco earlier today. With a case made entirely of glass and aluminium, the new iPhone is lighter and 18% thinner than before, measuring just 7.6mm thick. Touted as the world’s thinnest smartphone, it weighs in at just 112 grams, 20% lighter than the iPhone 4S. Its 4″ Retina display has an 1136 x 640 pixel resolution, which gives the screen room for an extra row of app icons at the top. All the factory apps have been optimized to show more stuff on the taller screen, including the iLife and iWork apps, while non-optimised apps run letterboxed, ie with black borders either side. There’s 44% more colour saturation, and the fact that the screen is taller whilst remaining the same width as before takes the screen closer to a 16:9 aspect ratio for better widescreen movie viewing.

There’s ultrafast wireless connectivity with LTE, which has a theoretical maximum of 100MBps, Continue reading

Avid Launch ProTools HD Native Thunderbolt Interface – but who for?

Avid Launch ProTools HD Native Thunderbolt Interface – but who for?

Avid, creators of the legendary Pro Tools audio recording, editing and mixing system, last week furthered their quest to eliminate the inherent latency of typical USB and FireWire audio interfaces by announcing a pair of new Pro Tools HD Native interfaces that take advantage of the ultra high-speed Thunderbolt connection standard found on the current crop of computers.
Don’t get too excited though, because even if you were able to purchase one of the new Thunderbolt interfaces, which come in either desktop box or PCIe core card format, as a single item, you’d still need to purchase an additional Pro Tools HD I/O audio interface to hook it up to. As it is, you can only buy them as part of a bundle – the new ‘interfaces’ do not have any audio in or out connections themselves, they’re just bridging devices, a means of utilising the speed of the data throughput of the Thunderbolt port on current computers, in preference to latency-prone USB and FireWire ports. This means that the price of the cheapest available bundle, consisting of Thunderbolt interface, Pro Tools 10 software and compatible HD OMNI audio interface, comes out at a whopping $4999USD (around £3300GBP).

UK Pricing:

Pro Tools|HD Native + HD OMNI System £3,299.00 (£3,958.80 inc. VAT)
Pro Tools|HD Native + HD I/O 8x8x8 System £3,999.00 (£4,798.80 inc. VAT)
Pro Tools|HD Native + HD I/O 16×16 Analog System £4,599.00 (£5,518.80inc. VAT)
Pro Tools|HD Native + HD MADI System £4,599.00 (£5,518.80 inc. VAT)
Mbox Family / 00x to HD|Native + HD OMNI Exchange £2,599.00 (£3,118.80 inc. VAT)

For the moment at least, Avid are not offering the unit on its own to accommodate the needs of Continue reading

Sony Officially Announce Sound Forge Pro Mac 1.0

Sony Officially Announce Sound Forge Pro Mac 1.0

As mentioned in an earlier post, there has been a teaser campaign running for several weeks now at, heralding the imminent arrival of an OS X version of Sony’s Sound Forge Pro audio recording, editing and mastering software. Well, the day has arrived – Sony Creative Software officially announced today that Sound Forge Pro v1.0 for Mac will be available later this month at a suggested retail price of $299USD.

From the press release:
“People who work on audio editing platforms recognize the need for a fresh option in the marketplace, one that’s built for OS X as Continue reading

IK Multimedia Announce iRig KEYS Keyboard Controller for Mac, iPhone & iPad

IK Multimedia Announce iRig KEYS Keyboard Controller for Mac, iPhone & iPad

Just when you think they couldn’t possibly dream up any more iOS-compatible musical accessories, IK Multimedia come up with yet another in their long line of i-Prefixed goodies. This time it’s iRig KEYS, announced yesterday.
A slim, 3-octave controller keyboard for iPhone, iPad and Mac featuring 37 velocity-sensitive mini keys, proper pitch bend and mod wheels and a sustain pedal input, iRig KEYS allows connection directly to the iPhone or iPad’s 30-pin connector, obviating the need for Apple’s Camera Connection Kit accessory required by regular USB controller keyboards.
iRig KEYS is Core MIDI and USB class compliant for a true plug-and-play experience both with iOS devices or Mac/PC, so no additional app, software or drivers need to be installed to get it up and running. When hooked up to an iPhone, iPod touch or iPad, it can be powered by the device for total portability. For longer playing sessions it can be powered by the available USB port, which also powers the unit when connected to a Mac or PC.
The device works either with the included app and software or with a multitude of other MIDI-compatible DAW apps on any iOS, MacOS or Windows system. As a bonus, the package includes SampleTank Free for iOS, or SampleTank 2 L for Mac & PC, which includes over 2GB of sampled sounds. When it hits the dealers’ shelves this Autumn, iRig KEYS will be available for €74.99 (around £60 GBP).

More info available from

Sony Sound Forge Pro 10 Coming to the Mac Platform?

If a series of teaser videos viewable at is to be believed, Sony Creative Software are readying their professional-level audio recording, editing and processing software Sound Forge Pro for a Mac OS X release.

The app, which has been PC-only since its inception by Sonic Foundry in the 1990’s, has been at version 10 on the PC platform since June 2010, so it seems strange that an appearance on the Mac platform two years after the same version appeared for the PC should not be accompanied by a significant version upgrade for both platforms. However, if the shots of Sound Forge running on a MacBook Pro shown in the videos are for real, then the ranks of OS X audio editing apps are about to be joined by an accomplished, revered and versatile package that includes tools for sample-level sound design and mastering across multiple formats. It doesn’t do MIDI though, so Logic, Cubase and Pro Tools can probably sleep safe in their beds for now.

No release date has been confirmed by Sony as yet, but watch this space for more Sound Forge Pro news over the coming days.

The Excitement is Mountain – Mountain Lion Officially Released Today! *Update – Now Available For Download!

Although the developer preview version has been available for a while now, it’s been announced that Apple’s latest operating system, OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion, will be officially released to the public today for download from the Apple App Store. UK users will be able to get their hands on the latest big cat for £13.99, which is the cheapest OS X upgrade yet.

Anyone who has bought a new Mac from Apple or one of their authorised resellers since June 11th 2012 will be eligible for a free upgrade from Lion to Mountain Lion via the App Store. You get 30 days from the launch date (today) to apply for the upgrade, and I’ll be taking this route myself, so I’ll let you know how it goes.

More details at

UK users can expect to see the new OS in the App Store later today, in view of the time difference between here and the US Pacific coast. In the meantime, to find out which of your apps will be compatible ahead of the launch, why not check out the fully up-to-date compatibility list at


*Update: As of 2pm GMT, Mountain Lion is available for download from the Mac App Store.  The above-mentioned link for free upgrades for qualifying recent Mac purchasers is also now active. Go get it! Rowr!!

WaveMachine Labs Bring 48-Track Digital Multitrack to the iPad with Auria

Could this be the iOS answer to ProTools?

This week marked a pioneering iOS app release in the shape of Auria from WaveMachine Labs. For what I’m led to believe is an introductory price of £34.99, this astonishing app will transform your iPad into a fully professional digital multitrack recorder and mixer, complete with effect plug-ins. iPad 2 or 3 owners can benefit from an incredible 48 tracks of audio playback, while iPad 1 users are limited to 24, which is still not to be sniffed at.

Auria’s list of professional-friendly features is impressive: 48 tracks of simultaneous mono or stereo playback, up to 24 tracks of simultaneous recording (when used with a suitable interface), 96kHz sample rate support, 8 assignable subgroups, 2 aux sends, waveform editing, full automation, full delay compensation and Dropbox and Soundcloud integration. A vintage-inspired PSPAudioware ChannelStrip on every channel includes built-in Expander, Multiband EQ and Compressor effects.

In addition, AAF import & export promises the transfer of complete projects to and from other Continue reading

Apple’s Acquisition of Redmatica – What Does This Mean for the Future of Logic Pro?

It’s been reported this week that Apple has successfully acquired Italian software company Redmatica, creators of KeyMap Pro, EXSManager, GBSampleManager, ProManager and AutoSampler, software solutions that enabled the creation and management of large sample and sampler instrument libraries on the Mac. These apps have built up a solid reputation as serious time-savers for professional Logic users. News of this acquisition provoked an interested raise of a single eyebrow (I’m getting better at this) on my part, as I’m always on the lookout for any hint of a development that might indicate an update to Apple’s ageing Logic 9 DAW any time soon. It begs the question, why would Apple assimilate a company that makes software products that enhance the user experience of the now-very-creaky EXS24 sampler, if there was not a major rewrite in progress of the DAW of which it forms a major component?

It has been hinted that the takeover is telegraphing a boost to GarageBand’s feature set, and while the long hiatus between iLife updates means that this may also be the case, GarageBand users as a demographic are far less likely to possess the kind of large sample libraries that Redmatica’s software was designed to complement. The most logical assumption is that there’s a new version of Logic in the pipeline, and that the functionality of Redmatica’s highly-regarded products is being integrated into it. Almost three years after Logic 9 was announced, this kind of development is one of the surest signs yet that some exciting changes are finally on the horizon for Logic users.
Whatever the reason, Redmatica founder Andrea Gozzi has now closed down the company, posting a rather terse message at to that effect, hinting that no further support or updates will be available from that source after June 12th. Could this be another clue to its imminent reappearance as part of the much-anticipated Logic Pro X / Logic 10? Exciting stuff for Logic users.

WWDC 2012 Highlights – New MacBooks, Mountain Lion, iOS 6 – UK Prices

Unlike last year, where I missed almost the entire thing due to deadline pressures, this time around I was fully poised with live weblogs engaged as the 6.00pm keynote hour for Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference approached. Here’s a rundown of what was announced at the Moscone Centre in San Francisco earlier this evening.

Updated MacBook Pro and MacBook Air

The MacBook Air gets the new Intel Ivy Bridge processor, up to 2GHz dual-core i7, with up to 8GHz of 1600MHz RAM and 60% faster graphics. 512GB of flash storage, USB 3, and a 720p FaceTime camera. Display wise, the 11″ model sports a 1366 x 768 display, with a 1440 x 900 resolution on the 13″ . The 2012 MacBook Air ships today, with prices ranging from £849 – £1249.

The MacBook Pro also gets Ivy Bridge processors, up to 2.9GHz quad-core i7, (turbo boostable to 3.6GHz), 8GB of 1600MHz RAM and 60% faster graphics. The 13″ model gets the same integrated graphics chip as the new MacBook Air, while the 15″ gets the Kepler GeForce GT 650M graphics card with up to 1GB of video RAM. Both models get USB 3 ports. The 13″ version starts at £999 for the 2.5GHz variant, rising to £1249 for the 2.9GHz i7. The 15″ model starts at £1499 for the 2.3GHz, going up to Continue reading