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Sony Music and Sound FX Loops

You can easily create some great music that fits any mood By Heath McKnight

What`s really great about the many loops available from Sony Creative Software is that they`re able to be used in other Sony Creative Software apps, along with other Windows and Mac (yes, Mac!) applications.
Sony Creative Software`s Loops Library is expansive, fits pretty much any music genre available, and provides loops to create different types of music. Visit http://www.sonycreativesoftware.com/loop_libraries/default.asp to begin browsing the collections; you can also search by genre or artist.

I had a chance to work with numerous loops in ACID Pro 6, along with some Apple pro and consumer apps, including Final Cut Pro, Garageband and Soundtrack Pro. I was amazed at the quality of the music loops. The sound is crisp and clear, and easy-to-edit and manipulate.

Within minutes, I had a couple of songs with guitar, keyboard, drums and bass, and they sounded better than my cheesy 1970s-style music I seem to come up with in Garageband.


Virtually every music genre is represented here, including rock, blues, classical, hip hop/rap, country, easy listening and more. Can`t afford to get John Williams or Danny Elfman to compose music for your project? No problem; there are many loops collections to help create some professional, orchestra-style soundtracks.
   There are two bundles (Volumes 1-5 and 6-10) of Sony Pictures Sound Effects, so you can begin putting together sound design for a film, TV or video projects. If you want to save some money, buy the big bundle, which has all 10 volumes.


   You`ve heard of wine-of-the-month clubs, I`m sure, but how about the Sony Creative Software Loop Year Subscription Program? You get a new library set of loops every month for a year, totaling 12, of course, for only $349. I added up the totals of a bunch of loop libraries, and the price is double that. No brainer; check out the Loop Year Subscription Program at http://www.sonycreativesoftware.com/loop_libraries/showloop.asp?spid=499.

Working With Sony Loops In Apple Software Applications
Of course, I want to be able to use the Loops within Apple software applications, like Garageband. It`s easier than I thought to get the loops in: simply drag the loops you want directly onto the Garageband Interface/timeline, which will create a new track with the loop. This is the best way to preserve the sound and fidelity of the loop.

I also copied some Sony Loops into my iTunes folder and pulled it up under the Media Browser without a problem. Though I didn`t notice any differences in sound, if you try to import the Loops via the iTunes application (versus copying them directly into the iTunes folder), it will convert the loops and change the sound and fidelity slightly.

A look at Acid Pro 6
Sony Creative Software`s ACID Pro 6 is the most advanced music and sound creation and editing software I`ve used. The interface is easy-to-use, powerful and doesn`t get in the way of user`s creativity. The loops are also the best I`ve worked with, and can help create some great music, in addition to soundtracks for movies, TV shows, etc. I`m not as musically inclined as I was in high school during my garage band days, but I was able to create some music in the app.
Briefly, the interface in ACID Pro 6 is similar to other audio programs from Sony and others, like Apple`s Soundtrack Pro, Garageband, etc. If you`re not familiar with it, there are tutorials that can get you up to speed fairly quickly.

Working with ACID Pro 6
Like I said in the Interface section, the GUI is familiar and was easy for me to get up-to-speed with the app. You have several options of creating music in ACID, including working with the loops (see "Loops" for more), or hook up a microphone and/or guitar, bass, and/or keyboard, and start writing your own music via the MIDI. You can then mix down your masterpiece, no matter how it was composed. Combine your original guitar shredding with some drum and bass loops, and you have a full-fledged "band!" I understand you can record a studio full of musicians onto individual tracks, but I only know one local guitarist, so I couldn`t try that out.

It records up to 24-bit, 196Khz quality, so you can throw out that old analogue four-track that`s been holding your door open and collecting dust. KOMPAKT is included, which provides over 120 virtual instruments, so you can compose directly in ACID Pro 6.

One feature I enjoyed using is controlling the speed and pitch. I laid down guitar, bass and drums, then sped up or slowed down the tempo. It actually sounded like a band was deciding to play its song faster or slower, instead of something "electronic," ie, like it came from a computer. I easily went from "polka" to "rock" to "punk" to all-out "thrash metal" (my personal favorite), speed-wise, all in real-time.

Because mixing and editing (multitrack) is non-destructive, you don`t have to worry about quality loss as you edit and mix your musical masterpiece. If you`re working in film, TV, or Video, there are some professional tools that will help you out, such as the mixing in 5.1 surround, or surround panner, which gives you control over which speaker the sound will come out of. With frame accurate scoring, I set up specific markers, which helped change the music`s tone when specific cues happened, such as the murderer`s identity being revealed. Too much fun.

I`ve had some experience with Pro Tools, and ACID Pro 6 is a little more enjoyable to work with. Every musician should check out ACID Pro 6 and see if it`s worth adding to his or her arsenal.

Conclusion
Sony`s Loops are some of the best I`ve used, and the fact that these loops can be used in other, non-Sony Creative Software is icing on the cake. You can easily create some great music that fits any mood, and can be used in any media you`re working with, be it TV, movies and so on. I highly recommend the Loop Year Subscription Program. I also really dig Acid Pro 6, which was easy for me to get into and work with. Find out more at www.sonycreativesoftware.com plus check out www.acidplanet.com.


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Heath McKnight is a filmmaker and author who has produced and directed several independent feature and short films, including Hellevator, 9:04 AM and December. He is currently web content manager for doddleNEWS. Heath was also a contributor to VASST's best-selling book, "The FullHD," and has written for TopTenREVIEWS and Videomaker.


Related Keywords:sony loops, digital audio production, sound effects, loops,

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