Laptop Studio — Music software reviews, news and info for computer music

Same Day Music

27 October 2005

Digidesign Mbox 2 review — Future Music

Filed under: Hardware at 6:57 am (6 comments)
mbox-2

Future Music magazine reviews the Mbox 2 USB audio interface from Digidesign. They like this piece of equipment, though it’s the funky-looking handle that grabs the attention first up. They note that the handle can be removed for those who prefer their boxes sleek and streamlined, though I quite like it just as it is. They say that “overall the box is neat and solid,” though they worry that the all-plastic construction might not be robust enough for portable use. (more…)

24 October 2005

Minimonsta review — Computer Music

Filed under: Music software at 8:43 pm (no comments)
minimonsta

GForce‘s Minimonsta, another clone of the much-loved Minimoog portable synth, has been reviewed by Computer Music magazine. They give it special awards for both Performance and Innovation and generally think it’s a pretty great piece of software. If you’ve ever used a real Minimoog, you’ll be right at home, since the Minimonsta is laid out pretty much the same as the original. The reviewers approve of the layout of the Minimonsta window and think some of the details are very nice. They single out the “flying faders”, which you can use to smoothly adjust knobs and faders with a simple mouse gesture: “Little touches like this make the software great fun to use.” (more…)

13 October 2005

SONAR 5

Filed under: Music software at 7:32 pm (1 comment)
sonar-5

Cakewalk are now shipping SONAR 5, the latest and greatest version of their music production suite. Cakewalk say that version 5 adds an arsenal of responsive instruments, more effects, and powerful editing tools including Roland V-Vocal VariPhrase technology. These features are complemented by a double precision floating point engine that delivers dramatic increases in dynamic range. SONAR’s pristine 64-bit audio engine, seamless and accessible even on 32-bit computers, sets new standards for digital mixing. In addition, SONAR 5 introduces ground-breaking advances in RAM and native processing power on systems running Windows XP x64 Edition. Even in SONAR’s 64-bit environment, their BitBridge technology enables 32-bit VST effects and instruments. (more…)

Tascam HD-P2 portable recorder

Filed under: Hardware at 12:05 am (4 comments)
hd-p2

Tascam’s HD-P2 portable recorder is a new high-resolution stereo recorder. It’s all digital — it records direct to CompactFlash cards, and also has a FireWire port for getting that performance into your laptop as fast as possible. It records in 24 bits at 192kHz to WAV files, and can also take a timecode input to allow you to synchronise your recordings with external video, for example. (more…)

12 October 2005

Guitar Rig 2

Filed under: Hardware andMusic software at 12:53 am (1 comment)
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Native Instruments have unveiled Guitar Rig 2, the latest version of their package for guitar and bass production. It’s a hardware/software combination that includes a foot controller with two inputs and six switches, and an audio software package that simulates several different amps, speakers and microphones and includes 40 effects. There’s also a fascinating module called the Loop Machine for creating and playing back loops on the fly: “Layer different leads, riffs and rhythms on top of one another and gradually build up entire guitar sections. Tools such as the Crossover and Split offer unique potential while the Modifiers’ ability to modulate any of the parameters in real-time far exceed the realms of conventional set-ups.” I saw a fantastic bass player called Eberhard Weber do something like this last year at a Jan Garbarek gig. I don’t know what he was using but the effect was amazing. (more…)

10 October 2005

Stylus RMX 1.5 released

Filed under: Music software at 11:31 pm (no comments)
stylus-rmx

Spectrasonics Stylus RMX has been updated — Stylus RMX 1.5 is now available. It’s the same price as previous versions, or free to registered users of the previous version. Major new features include a completely redesigned and expanded patch library, support for many more hardware controllers, and a Chaos Designer “Buzz” feature. The “Buzz” allows many interesting effects including “unusual tonal buzzing noises” to add that little bit of glitchy fun to your next laptop gig. (more…)

Purity software workstation

Filed under: Music software at 2:30 pm (no comments)
purity

Purity, from Korean outfit Luxonix (“for Youth, Ambition, and Love of Music”), is an all-in-one music workstation in software. It runs as a standalone synth, or as a VST or AU plug-in. It’s a 16-part multi-instrument with 24 built-in effects, and an integrated mixer and sequencer. There’s also a patch editor and preset browser, Luxonix are the makers of the Ravity software ROMpler, so if you liked that then Purity looks to be worth considering. (more…)

E-Mu 1616M audio interface review — Computer Music

Filed under: Hardware at 12:42 am (no comments)
1616m

Computer Music reviewed the E-Mu 1616M audio interface and thought it was fantastic. The sound quality is not just good — it’s “astounding”. Before you even plug it in though, you can see how flexible it is: the laptop card connects to the breakout box with an Ethernet cable, making it easy to use cheap Ethernet cables to place the box wherever you like. The inputs on the box are extensive too, with two phantom power inputs amongst many others — there’s even a RIAA turntable input so you can finally get all your old 78s into Ableton Live. (more…)

7 October 2005

MusicXPC M3 music laptop

Filed under: Hardware at 3:05 pm (1 comment)
m3

The most important part of your laptop studio is, of course, your laptop. MusicXPC (“The world’s finest music production computers”) have released their latest laptop model, the Professional M3. Apart from the obvious things like a decent hard drive, it has a multitude of tweaks that make it good for music production. Not only is it engineered to be very quiet in operation, but the OS has been customised to ensure maximum processing power is devoted to music making. (more…)

5 October 2005

E-MU Xboard keyboard controller review — Keyboard

Filed under: Hardware at 10:35 am (no comments)
xboard-49

Keyboard magazine reviews the E-Mu Xboard 25- and 49-key USB/MIDI controllers. They praise the “impressive keyboard action”, which they say is “surprisingly solid and satisfying, especially given the lightness of the controllers.” They also say its editing software is easy to use. Unfortunately, they think the buttons aren’t so good — in fact the word they use it “cheesy”. (more…)