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Product Review: Page (1) of 1 - 02/18/09 Email this story to a friend. email article Print this page (Article printing at MyDmn.com).print page

Sony ACID Pro 7 If you're serious about music creation, take a good look at Sony ACID Pro 7 By Heath McKnight

The seventh version of Sony's ACID Pro is a great update to the software. Sony's famous DAW (digital audio workstation) gives users even more control over their musical and sound creations. Combined with an extensive loops and MIDI library, along with multi-track recording and mixing, this version is worth getting.

Since Windows isn't my primary system, I used a rig at Digital Cut (www.digitalcut.biz), which is configured for video editing. I also talked to several colleagues who work with ACID Pro 7 nearly every day, and their consensus is this is great software.

New Features



  • Better Processor Optimization: This helps out with everything from recording to mixing, even playback. If you're using a multicore system, ACID Pro 7 will absolutely "sing" on your system.
  • Audio and MIDI Mixing Console: Easily monitor and work with tracks and busses, which means more control.
  • Input Busses: Perfect if you're using external devices with effects, according to Sony, in real-time. This feature allows more control over what you're bringing in, giving you more options during mixing and editing.
  • Real-Time Rendering: This allows you to mix and edit faster while recording (during and after) and/or creating music.
  • Audio, MIDI, and Bus Track Meters: Real-time monitoring so you can edit on the fly. This is a great feature and I haven't seen it much in other music creation software apps that colleagues of mine use.
  • External Control Surface Channel Tracking: Organization is key, and this helps keep your files correlated. While using control surface, you can monitor which channels are under external control.
  • Tempo Curves: You can control the tempo in a beat with more flexibility, along with fades.
  • Metronome Countoff: More accurate than a standard metronome, which musicians use to count off.
  • MIDI Track Freeze: A good way to save wear and tear on your computer, this feature allows you to "freeze" MIDI tracks, which can then be played back as a simple audio file. Smaller in size, less strain on your system.

Multitrack Recording and Mixing
It's easy to do multitrack recording in ACID Pro 7 (24-bit, 192 kHz sound quality), both with audio (say, a bunch of instruments miked into your system) and MIDI, all at the same time. Mixing is easier, in my opinion, thanks to the Audio and MIDI Mixing Console I talked about above. The one thing that can get on my nerves quickly is a non-intuitive GUI within a software app. If I have to think too much about that while working, I don't like the app.


5.1 Surround Mixing along with a Film-Style Surround Panner gives filmmakers and videographers an edge when mixing sound. I was able to get some pretty impressive sound mixes with one of my films. Granted, it's just a drama and not a crazy action film, but I liked the results when I outputted to DVD and checked it out on a friend's 5.1 surround-sound system.

MIDI
ACID Pro 7 allows you to record, edit, and sequence MIDI (musical instrument digital interface) easier than before. There's also inline MIDI editing, MIDI track envelopes and key framing, and more. ACID Pro 7 already comes with more than 1,000 MIDI files to get started with. There are plenty more features, especially for those who are creating or working with drum patterns: you can use Drum Grid Mode to do so directly on the timeline.

Loops
ACID Pro is known for its extensive loops library (over 3,000 are included), and you can easily create your own music with these loops. You can change the pitch and tempo without any problem, to create your own personalized sound. THAT's impressive!

I spent more time with these, as I don't have much access to instruments, other than a keyboard. Unfortunately, all my music sounds like something from the 1970s (not-so-great funk), but if I spend more time, maybe I can create my own OK Computer or Revolver, or at least my own Pet Sounds!
Want more loops? Check out http://www.acidplanet.com and http://www.sonycreativesoftware.com/acidpro/getmedia for free loops.
Check out my review of Sony's Loops here. They're even compatible with Mac software, like Final Cut Pro, Soundtrack Pro, and GarageBand.

Conclusion
If you're serious about music creation, take a good look at Sony ACID Pro 7. This is a powerful DAW that every musician, sound engineer, etc., needs in his or her toolbox. Have a Mac? Use Apple's Boot Camp to load Windows and get started with ACID Pro!
The price is $299.95 for a download, $314.95 for the package. Upgrading? It's only $134.95 from an older version, or $214.95 if you're upgrading from ACID Music Pro. Visit http://www.sonycreativesoftware.com/acidpro for more details, and don't forget to check out http://www.acidplanet.com and http://www.sonycreativesoftware.com/acidpro/getmedia for free loops. One more thing, if you're like me, you often want to see if it's worth upgrading (I think it is, having tried ACID Pro 7 out). Do a comparison between versions 6 and 7 at http://www.sonycreativesoftware.com/acidpro/compareversions.


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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.


Keywords:Sony acid pro, DAW, audio editing, audio production, digital audio workstation
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