Sony Acid Pro Version 7 DAW Review

Nov 1, 2009 12:00 PM, By David Weiss

UPGRADED MIXING, ENHANCED PLUG-IN HANDLING, TEMPO BENDING

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Plug It In, Plug It In

Once a project is being mixed, the ability to get to plug-ins is critical. Limited in previous versions, Acid Pro's plug-in manager offers improved implementation of, and access to, VST plug-ins; DirectX and ReWire plug-ins are registered with Windows and are detected automatically.

Now that Acid is outfitted with a dedicated Plug-In Manager window, you will have a much easier path toward adding and using plug-ins. Previously, Acid only allowed you to specify up to six VST host folders (three each for effects and instruments); now you can add an unlimited amount of folders by clicking the new Configure VST icon. This paid off when I wanted to add new bundles of VST effects to my collection without having to wait through the long (and often torturous) rescan of every pre-existing plug-in, as was the case with Acid's old system.

Acid will automatically scan for newly added VST plug-ins on startup, and this usually works smoothly. However, if a newly installed VST synth does not make it into your system after the initial scan (due perhaps to the inaccurate entry of an authorization code), instructing Acid to scan the folder again will not necessarily cause it to stop at the now-missing plug-in — it shoots right past it and pronounces the folder scanned, but your desired plug-in still isn't listed in the Plug-In Manager. In this case, my workaround was to create a new folder, reinstall the plug-in and do another scan. Typically, this solved the problem.

In spite of this, Acid Pro 7's ability to manage more CPU-hungry plug-ins efficiently seems much improved. I could run many more instantiations of intensive plug-ins such as PSP's MasterComp and Kjaerhus' Golden Audio Channel without choking my system. An effective MIDI Track Freeze function for projects with multiple soft synths contributes to CPU efficiency even further. Again, for fast-moving composers who may have gotten used to arranging in Acid and finishing elsewhere, these workflow boosts may help to change their game radically.

Timing Is Everything

The magic of Acid was founded in its ability to manipulate the time and tempo of audio easily. A logical next step is the new Tempo Curves function, which lets you gradually transition from one tempo to another over the duration of an Acid project. Enhanced beat-mapping for tracks with tempo changes is a boon for DJs and remixers who have to work with songs that have multiple tempos.

Recording into Acid was improved dramatically in V. 6, and with V. 7 my options increase further. Input buses let you record from external devices with effects, use external effects processors with tracks and buses, and more. Meanwhile, Real-Time Rendering makes it easier to route audio to external hardware and render Acid projects with external effects embedded in them.

It's Getting Better All the Time

In total, Sony lists 18 significant new features in Acid Pro 7, and depending on how you work and what you do, some or all of them are bound to make a positive difference for you. With this latest version, Acid is closer than ever to being the full-fledged studio HQ that it can be.


David Weiss is Mix's New York editor.

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