DAWs for Pro Audio Applications

Sep 22, 2010 12:43 PM, By George Petersen



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Mix is gearing up to present its longstanding annual Audio Education Guide in its November 2014 issue. Want to have your school listed in the directory, or do you need to update your current directory listing? Add an image, program description, or a logo to your listing! Get your school in the Mix Education Guide 2014.

Image Line’s new FL Studio Signature Bundle ($279, direct download) combines the FL Studio Producer Edition software with a plug-in suite containing Sytrus, DirectWave Full Sampler, Soundfont player, VideoPlayer, the Maximus maximizer and the Hardcore Guitar effects, in addition to 40-plus other effects such as maximization, dynamics, delay, distortion, EQ (graphic and parametric), filtering, phasing, flanging, chorus, vocoding and reverb. This Windows-based bundle offers all of the sequencing and audio recording/editing/mixing capabilities of FL Studio Producer 9, along with AudioTracks, Full Mixer, ASIO recording and WAV editor. It also supports plug-in instrument standards including VSTi (1/2), DXi (1/2), Buzz and ReWire.

LMMS is a cross-platform (Linux and Windows) free/donation-ware DAW program that’s available for download at lmms.sourceforge.net. The new V. 0.4.8 officially supports modern Windows 64-bit CPUs with improved floating-point math. In addition to audio sample/MIDI sequencing/editing within an updated GUI, LMMS provides a mixer with 64 FX, a selection of instrument and effects plug-ins, and track-based automation.

With a GUI designed for fast production, Mackie’s Tracktion 3 supports Mac OS 10.4.8 or higher and Windows XP on the PC side, and is offered in three bundles—Basic, Project and Ultimate—depending on which plug-ins or virtual instruments are included. Speaking of bundles, Tracktion 3 is also included with Mackie’s new Onyx Blackjack (2x2 USB) and Blackbird (16x16 FireWire) recording interfaces. The software supports up to 24-bit/192kHz recording (full 192 kHz with Mackie’s Onyx 1200F and Onyx 400F interfaces), with 64-bit math mixing for improved headroom and reduced distortion in the summing bus. On the third-party side, Mackie has released drivers that allow its Onyx-i FireWire consoles to provide front-end support and interfacing for Pro Tools M-Powered-8 software. The Onyx-i mixers are also bundled with Tracktion 3.

Samplitude 11 Pro from Magix offers up to 999 tracks with a maximum of 256 simultaneous inputs. In a single project, a maximum of up to 64 submix and 64 aux buses may be added simultaneously. Recent additions for this PC-based program include the Vandal SE guitar/bass amp modeling, the essentialFX (dynamics, modulation and other commonly used sound-processing functions), new drums, Revolta 2 “analog” processing, Harmony Agent, Elastic Audio and full Windows 7 support.

The company’s Sequoia 11 takes the power of Samplitude 11 Pro to the next step, adding advanced functionality such as DDP support for no-compromise CD master transfers, crossfade editing, and a four-point editing feature that combines the source/destination aspects of both linear and nonlinear editing styles. One strength of Sequoia is its proficiency in the area of broadcasting, integration and multitrack editing, and projects can be mixed in surround formats with up to 12 channels.

MOTU has been shipping its Digital Performer 7.2 for several months, and it adds some slick tricks to the rock-solid DP7 Macintosh platform. Most noticeable are the customizable UI themes, which change the look of Digital Performer with a single click to load presets such as Carbon Fiber, Zen, Plasma and Producer (among others); users can also tweak settings to create their own variations. Perhaps more practical is MOTU’s release of Digital Performer Control, a free app that allows Digital Performer 7.2 users to control Digital Performer functions, name tracks, enter data, etc., over a WiFi network using their iPad, iPhone or third-generation iPod Touch. The app supports both portrait (perfect for auto-location duties) and landscape modes (great for mixing and using both hands to move faders). All communication between the Digital Performer project and DP Control app updates instantaneously between the two displays. It’s a free download from the Apple App store.

MU.LAB 3 from MU Tools is a software DAW for Mac OS 10.4 or higher and for Windows (NT/2K/XP/Vista/7) designed with a simplified GUI that’s intended to not overwhelm the user with a complex feature set. This audio/MIDI system offers full-on recording/editing/routing with integrated high-quality synths, samplers and effects, with VST effects and instrument plug-in support. The program is compact enough to reside on a USB stick, and is offered in three versions—MU.LAB 3 Free, MU.LAB 3 XT ($32) and MU.LAB UL ($96)—each having a progressively expanded feature set, with the UL version offering 32x32 I/O channel support.

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