Sony Acid Music Studio 9 review
The Acid Pro was a revelation when it first appeared in 1998. It rejected the virtual hardware concept that dominated music-production software at the time, and presented a set of tools that played to software's strengths. It automatically matched the tempo and key of samples, letting users throw arrangements together at breakneck speed. Tracks to record appeared automatically as soon as you hit record, and mixer controls were integrated into the track headers.
Acid Pro 7 is still an accomplished application, but after a gradual cross-pollination of ideas, it has more similarities than differences to Cubase and Sonar. However, the cut-price Acid Music Studio is closer in spirit to the original release. It has also expanded in scope but its fast, intuitive operation is especially welcome in a low-cost package.
This update removes the 16-bit, 48kHz limitation that made previous versions unable to exploit the full potential of high-quality audio interfaces. Recordings are now made up to 24-bit and 192kHz, audio hardware permitting. It took us a while to find these options, though, as they're undocumented in the Help section and tucked away behind a tab in the Project Properties. By default, the software still runs at 16-bit and 41kHz.
Another major development is automation for VST effects and virtual instruments. Previous versions supported envelopes for the volume and pan on each channel, but it's now possible to draw envelopes with the mouse for virtually any parameter. Oddly, the bundled Acid FX plugin doesn't support automation, so you'll need to install VST equivalents to use the feature.
Automation isn't in keeping with the immediacy for which Acid is known. It must be enabled for each parameter in a pop-up window that casual users may never find. It isn't possible to add automation simply by recording fader and knob movements - you have to draw them as envelopes. Confusingly, it's possible to adjust the controls for parameters that have been automated, but they jump back to the automated values when playback is resumed.
New Folder Tracks are used to pack tracks into folders and sub-folders to tidy up the arrange panel. These folders can still be moved around but their behaviour is unwieldy and could cause problems.
An easier way to move large chunks of music around is by using the new Sections feature. A Section is a vertical stack of audio and MIDI objects, which is given a name, and can be dragged left and right to perform quick rearrangements. Other parts of the project shuffle along to close gaps or make space, similar to ripple editing in video-editing software. It feels a little strange in this context but it has its uses.
- Google buys Oxford University AI startups
- Microsoft Kinect SDK 2 brings apps to Windows Store
- Raspberry Pi unveils DIY tablet kit
- Windows 10: two-factor authentication coming to every device
- What is Google Inbox?
- 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 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