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New DAWs at NAMM

Crossgrades and upgrades, from Logic Pro 7.2 to ACID Pro 6 By Frank Moldstad

Logic Pro 7 demo at Apple's NAMM booth
Significant upgrades for several leading DAW applications were announced at NAMM, including Apple’s Logic Pro 7.2, MOTU’s Digital Performer 5 and Sony’s ACID Pro 6. Incremental upgrades were also announced for Mackie’s Tracktion and Ableton’s LIVE.

Apple’s announcement coincides with the introduction of its Intel-based Macs. Logic Pro 7.2 is a Universal Crossgrade that will run natively on both PowerPCs and the new Intel-Macs. It also includes improved support for a variety of third-party products. MOTU’s Digital Performer 5 is a major upgrade from version 4.6, delivering six new virtual instruments and a host of new features. Sony’s ACID Pro 6, meanwhile, has been transformed from a loop-arranging platform to a full DAW workstation with multitrack audio and MIDI recording capabilities..

Logic Pro 7.2
Shipping in February 2006, Apple’s Logic Pro 7.2 is a Universal Crossgrade that will run natively on both PowerPC and Intel-based Macs. The crossgrade is scheduled to ship in February, and current users of Logic Pro 7 or 7.1 (or those who buy it now) can purchase the crossgrade from Apple’s web site for $49 beginning Feb. 1. New iMacs with Intel Core Duo chips at up to 2.0 GHz are already available on Apple’s web site, and Apple said at MacWorld that a new line of MacBook Pro laptops with Intel Core Duo chips is due to ship in February. All Apple hardware will be migrated to Intel chips by the end of 2006.

Apogee Control Panel in Logic Pro 7.2
Logic Pro 7.2 also includes native support for Apogee’s new Ensemble hardware interface via a new Apogee Control Panel in Logic Pro 7.2. An external rackmountable unit, Ensemble offers eight channels of 24-bit/192k AD/DA conversion and four digitally controlled mic pres. The Logic Pro 7.2 crossgrade also supports all features in the recently released Pro Tools HD 7.1 DAE, including ESB and EXS24TDM. Users need to download and install the updated Digidesign Stream Manager framework library file from Digidesign’s web site. Those who work with Pro Tools 6.9 or previous versions need to use Logic Pro 7.1 or earlier.

Other features in Logic Pro 7.2 include Enhanced Control Surfaces support, adding compatibility with the iControl from M-Audio. And for control surfaces such as the iControl that do not provide visual feedback, a vertical bar in version 7.2 Arrange window indicates which tracks are displayed on the control surface  There are also enhancements for ReWire, including support for stereo Rewire objects. Plus, the source applications for incoming ReWire streams are now clearly labelled. And Rewire objects can now be added directly from the Create Multiple option in the Arrange window.

Logic Pro 7.2 has also added compatibility with Serato Pitch ‘n’ Time, thanks to a specially released AU-compatible version of the pitch shifting plugin that can be purchased from Serato. Previously only available for Pro Tools, Pitch ‘n’ Time enables time compression and expansion from 1/8 speed to 8x speed, independent of pitch. Access to the Pitch ‘n’ Time algorithms will be available directly from Logic Pro’s Time and Pitch Machine or from the audio time stretch options. (For more information, look here.)

Those who need more tracks for virtual instruments will be happy to discover that Logic Pro 7.2 boosts output capacity up to 32 mono channels for multi-channel Audio Units instruments.

Finally, Logic Pro 7.2 also includes compatibility with Garageband 3 sessions, allowing direct playback of AAC and Apple Lossless files without conversion. It also adds the Ducker plugin for audio ducking functionality on Output or Bus tracks, and the Speech Enhancer plugin for cleaning up recordings made with the built-in microphones.

MOTU's NAMM booth
Digital Performer 5
MOTU’s Digital Performer 5 ships in the first quarter of the year for Mac OS X  The list price is $795, with upgrade pricing for users of previous versions. A second Intel-Mac compatible version of Digital Performer 5 will ship in the second quarter of 2006.

There are six new virtual instrument plug-ins in Digital Performer 5, and a host of new features, including track folders, a flexible Meter Bridge, and clip-based volume automation. There are also new features for film scoring, audio editing and input monitoring.
The new instruments are:

  • BassLine, a mono analog bass synth with saw and square waves;
  • PolySynth, which has adjustable de-tune, triangle wave, sawtooth, square wave, sub-oscillators and noise;
  • Modulo, a subtractive synth with two oscillators and noise;
  • Nanosynth, a sampler that permits drag and drop of any sample with controls to manipulate it;
  • Model 12, a 12-part drum module with hundreds of supplied drum sounds;
  • Proton, a two-operator programmable FM synth.

New instruments in Digital Performer 5

Among the more significant functional tools in Digital Perfomer 5 are the Track Folders, the Meter Bridge and four new audio editing tools. With the Track Folders, users can now organize track lists into folders and subfolders that can be expanded or collapsed by clicking a disclosure triangle. This feature is available in all windows that display tracks, and has a  structure similar to the list view in the OS X Finder. All folders can be expanded or collapsed at different hierarchy levels using enclosed nested folders, and they can be color-coded with Digital Performer’s track color management features. 

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Related Keywords:DAW, NAMM, Logic Pro 7.2, crossgrade, Apple, MOTU, Digital Performer 5, ACID Pro 6, Sony, Tracktion, Live

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