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 daveclews.com, we can’t wait to try this, so watch this space for more Logic-related news soon!

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 http://apps.avid.com/protools11

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…

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

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 www.finallyonthemac.com, 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