Tag Archives: Software

Apple Logic Studio

Today, Apple announced it’s Logic Studio. Not only did they pack a ton of features into an already feature rich product, they dropped the price to $499. Amazing. There are new features such as mainstage, five Apple Jam Packs, more software instruments, and thousands of other sounds. Plus, you get Soundtrack 2, which is an excellent sound editor (at least that is what I hear from my Final Cut nerd friends).

I think I might have found where that $100 Apple Store credit is going now….Wonder what the next version of Digital Performer is going to do to match this….

UPDATE: 09/12/07 by E: A couple of other sites have some first impressions about Logic Studio.

Will post more links as I find them.

SmartMusic 10.1

One of my favorite whipping boys is SmartMusic. This program could be so great, and yet, MakeMusic seems not to want to put that little extra polish on it. Case in point, the latest “update” to SmartMusic is a large download, some 95 Megabytes. Took some time to download. Here is what is listed as being “new”

  • Compatibility with SmartMusic accompaniments created in Finale® 2008.
  • Support for Windows Vista.
  • Improved Clarinet assessment.

I emailed MakeMusic’s tech support about the first thing a while ago, when Finale 2008 came out. Never heard back. Figures. Well, at least they didn’t wait nearly a year to update SmartMusic to read the SmartMusic files generated from the latest version of Finale (last time, it was August 2006 when Finale 2007 came out, and not until April 2007 when SmartMusic could read the SmartMusic files generated by Finale 2007).

Ok, new stuff. Continue reading SmartMusic 10.1

Band In A Box 2007

There are a couple of programs I always update when a new version comes out. Finale, Digital Performer, anything from Apple, and, of course, Band in a Box. Yes campers, a new version of Band in a Box is out for PC. 2007. The Mac version, sadly, is still languishing in limbo at version 12. Though there was a message from PG Music about this in their forums and they said a new Mac version was “A high priority”. Yeah.

Moving on. Band in a Box (BinaB) is an incredible program and a great musical tool. It has been for years. The new 2007 version has some interesting features, and well, does leave me wondering about the future of the program…

First off, when you have a program such as BinaB, it has had just about everything one could want since, um, 2004’s version. Version 2007 is billed as having 50 new features. Let’s list them: Continue reading Band In A Box 2007

DEVONThink

I tend to gather stuff while online. Pictures, articles, PDFs, this, that, the other thing. It’s really hard to keep track of stuff. Perhaps it was a website where you read this great article about taking care of your reeds. Or maybe it was that PDF of a solo you downloaded, but what was the file name again? Mac OS X’s Spotlight can only help so much in finding stuff. And on Windows…..you’ll have to wait for Vista for anything like Spotlight.

Fear not. There are a number of solutions for this information overload, and the one I picked was DEVONThink Pro. It’s a great program that can keep track of all the STUFF you gather. All the PDFs I’ve collected. Articles out of FluteTalk, or the Double Reed Society. Or out of Downbeat. I have something like 16 gigabytes in DEVONThink right now. PDFs of songs. I can organize them. Categorize them. Type in some good descriptions. Plus, if I want to find a Beach Boys song, but I don’t remember the title…..I can search on it….instantly.

I don’t really know of anything like this for Windows, but if you have a Mac, you should check it out.

Garritan Personal Orchestra

I recently bought the Garritan Personal Orchestra as part of a group buy. If you haven’t heard this program, listen to the demos. Good stuff.

Anyhow, I’ve played with it a while, and I feel I can write a review now of it.

First off, you need a LOT of processing power. The requirements in the manual list this:

  • Mac OS 10.2.6 or higher G4 733Mhz
  • Windows Pentium 4/Athlon 2.8 Ghz or better.

Ok, so, knowing this, my 933Mhz G4 was NOT going to run this program. I already knew this from the get go. I prepared my Athlon 2.5 Gigahertz PC to run it (though it is under specs). Defragged the drives, added more memory, and got a M-Audio card. So, the system has 1 gig of ram, a fast 80 Gig hard drive, and Windows XP service Pack 2.

I decided to try a couple of things with it. I loaded up Kontakt player, and loaded up some patches. I chose a string section consisting of the “wet” versions of Violin 1, Violas, and Cellos on channels 1, 2 and 3. I then loaded up a Trombone Section patch, a French Horn patch, and a Trumpet patch. Not a lot of stuff I thought. I played back an arrangement I was working on.

Sound wise, these patches sound great. The strings are awesome. When I layer them with the Strings on my Roland XV2020 and SC8820, it sounds great. The trumpets sound a LOT better than either module’s trumpet patch. The french horns, layered with the other two modules, sound great, as do the trombones. I was in midi-heaven.

Then, I hit a section where, by my counting, I asked the Garritan program to do something I did not have enough processing power for. 3 notes sounding in the Trombones, 3 in the French Horns, 1 in the Trumpet, and 6 notes total in the strings (2 for each, in octaves). It pretty much brought the processor load to 100%, and effective killed the sound generation until I did a ALL MIDI NOTES OFF command.

What does this mean? It means that I need a faster PC to use this program effective. Pentium 4, 3.6Gigahertz or faster. Dual maybe. Dedicated to JUST sound. No virus crap, nada. Just Windows, and a blank, defragmented drive.

My only gripe is that if you use the Kontakt player as a STAND-ALONE, you can’t save all the instruments you loaded. Hopefully an update will fix this.

This program is great, but you need the power to use it. Horsepower. Don’t try it with a G4. G5 might work great, I don’t have one (yet 😉 ). But if you are looking to augment your setup. To take it to another level, get this. Go to Fry’s or something, throw together a FAST PC, get an M-Audio 4096 or something, and enjoy!

9.5 out of 10. .5 deducted for the stupid stand-alone Kontakt player

Pro Tools M-Powered

I came across this yesterday. You can now get Protools if you have M-Audio‘s line of interfaces. This is totally cool. 32 Audio tracks, and it ships with 30 plugins. Wow!Downside, it’s $350. Upside, cheapest M-Audio interface is about $99. Still, for the power of the software, this is a huge value. I’d still like to see Digidesign just offer the software for sale to use with any interface. There are so many excellent interfaces out there, including Mackie, MOTU, and Tascam. I think if Digidesign knocked the price of Protools LE down to $299 and have it work with any interface, they could have something going.