Acoustica Mixcraft 6 review
A surprisingly well-featured and usable digital audio workstation at an attractive price
Review Date: 10 Sep 2012
Reviewed By: Darien Graham-Smith
Price when reviewed: £42 (£50 inc VAT)
Features & Design
Value for Money
Ease of Use
Acoustica’s Mixcraft is one of the most affordable digital audio workstations on the market. The standard edition costs a reasonable $75 to download (around £50), with the premium Pro Studio edition coming in at $150. You can install the software on as many machines as you like, so long as you’re the main user – and, unlike some other DAWs, the standard edition isn’t crippled in any way; it supports as many tracks, plugins, sends and buses as you care to create.
The difference between the two packages is which plugins you get. Mixcraft comes with 25 very usable effects, including EQ, delay, reverb and chorus, plus a multiband compressor. Pro Studio adds more professional tools, including harmonic exciters, a tape simulator and iZotope’s Mastering Essentials.
Similarly, Mixcraft comes with 11 instruments, including drums, organs, a good spread of sampled sounds and the Alien 303 bass synthesiser – and you’re free to install additional third-party VST 2 and DirectX effects and instruments too. Pro Studio adds the powerful ME80 and Memorymoon synthesisers, along with the Pianissimo grand piano, which on its own sells for $69.
The experience of making music with Mixcraft is a strangely inconsistent one. The timeline and transport controls are slick and colourful, as is the mixer; elsewhere you run into boxy buttons and drab dropdowns that hark back to Windows 3. The bundled Acoustica effects look cheap too: it can feel like you’re using a shareware tool rather than a pro audio workstation.
Still, the important thing is how everything sounds, and here we’ve no complaints. Several of the included instruments are inspirationally sumptuous. The creative workflow is clear and straightforward, too, with arming a track for recording a matter of a few clicks, and chopping and arranging takes a breeze. Every audio and instrument clip on the timeline has a convenient preview, mute and loop button, its own volume envelope and a title bar for easy dragging. The buttons and dropdowns in the mixer and track controls are clearly labelled, with the mouse pointer helpfully changing shape as it passes over sliders and knobs. A simple tabbed interface at the bottom makes it easy to get around.
I manage to drive my TX7 by just selecting the appropriate MIDI out, this has worked in all the versions of Mixcraft I've used and continues to work in 6.
By Ip_pete4646e21a2 on 13 Sep 2012
TX7, good lord thats nearly 30 years old!?
By dg2puk on 13 Sep 2012
I have a Casio CZ too, I am a child of the 80s...
Kawai K1, Roland D50, pride of place on my a-frame.
I have moved from my old sampler to Emulator X though.
My 'music' is all cr*p but I have fun :-)
By Ip_pete4646e21a2 on 14 Sep 2012
- What's on this week's PC Pro podcast?
- Apple patent reveals iPhone car control system
- Windows 10 release date, features and how to get the Technical Preview
- Microsoft updates Windows 10 tech preview
- End of an era: Nokia Lumia to become Microsoft Lumia
- Google boosts secure logins with USB Security Key
- Nominations now open for UK Cloud Awards 2015
- Lenovo rumoured to be acquiring BlackBerry
- Apple releases iOS 8.1 with Apple Pay
- Microsoft offers cloud access to help fight Ebola
- Google Glass: mugger bait, pub problem and other lessons learned from two dangerous weeks
- Twitter, please don't fiddle with my feed
- How Satya Nadella can get some pay-raise karma
- Windows 10: a step back to go forward
- Michael Dell: Cloud infrastructure is the roads, bridges and highways of the 21st century
- How to check your identity hasn’t been sold to the hackers
- Tim Cook: this is how much TV has changed since the 70s
- Westminster wins the .London battle
- 20 years of PC Pro: from deep pan pizza to virtualisation
- Five reasons why the Apple Watch leaves me cold
- iPad Air 2 vs Nexus 9: Apple and Google's latest high-end tablets compared
- Five things that are actually new in the iPad Air 2
- Bendgate, Antennagate, and why Apple doesn’t care about bad news
- iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 release date, specs and UK price rumours
- Office Online vs Google Docs: which free online office suite is best?
- iPhone 6 Plus vs iPhone 6 design comparison
- How to speed up an Android smartphone
- Nexus 6 release date, specs, UK price and leaked images
- iPhone 6 vs iPhone 6 Plus screen comparison
- Mac OS X Yosemite release date, price and new features
- How to sell more ebooks on Amazon
- 10 ways to make your business more secure
- Top five VoIP mistakes
- How to add in-app purchasing to an iPhone, Android or Windows app
- Remote-control ransomware: TeamViewer and software hardball
- Why laptops with serial ports matter to the Internet of Things
- Make your mobile battery last longer
- Small steps into handling Big Data
- Nexus 5: does it really run stock Android?
- How to get broadband to a garden office