Category: Software

Thank You, Kush Audio, For The Best EULA Ever


Native Instruments Dialog Fail MkII

Cool! Thanks for the advice, Battery! I will do that!


Sibelius Outcasts Up The Ante

Didn’t see this twist coming:

Our mission is simple: to create a next-generation application that meets the needs of today’s composers, arrangers, engravers, copyists, publishers, teachers and students. We know we have a big mountain to climb: we’re starting work on a new professional-level application for Windows and Mac (and hopefully mobile devices later on) and looking to bring it into a crowded market that already has two very capable and mature competitors, not to mention an explosion of new products that exploit mobile devices and the web.

(Via Peter Kirn.)

It’s The Little Things In Life

I spend most of my days in Pro Tools, but more and more often I’ve been firing up Ableton Live when a project calls for the kind of compositional workflow that it inspires.

Ableton Live External Audio EffectI recently fired up the External Audio Effect device for the first time in a long time, and was kindly reminded why I love Ableton: Even though they often throw in the kitchen sink features-wise, it rarely feels that way. Compared to a plain jane, zero-options hardware insert in Pro Tools, Ableton’s implementation literally has infinitely more features, yet because of the logical and minimalist UI, it never feels bloated or overkill.

Separate ins and outs, built-in peak values, phase invert, hardware latency compensation, dry/wet control, pre- and post-insert gain—all in one small, simple package. Avid: I don’t know much about AAX development, but this seems like the kind of thing you could whip up in a day (after all, it’s basically a mash-up of Trim and Time Adjuster, plus a dry/wet knob), and I guarantee your users would love it.

All Buttons In

Chris Randall on the limits of skuemorphism:

My opinion on the matter is that when you are first presented with a piece of software, if that software’s user interface follows some real-world gear, you concentrate on the things it can’t do, or the reasons it doesn’t sound like the “real thing.” If, on the other hand, it is unique to the software, you spend your time figuring out what it can do, while you learn how to use it.

‘Lergic to Logic

Today I needed to do a couple very basic session-prep tasks in Logic Pro: consolidate a few tracks of edited audio, and convert a stereo audio file to mono. Turns out, both of those functions are impossible to do (at least in a simple, straightforward way) in Logic. I swear it took me a half hour to get through what would have taken me literally one minute to do in Pro Tools or Ableton Live. Even now that I know how to do perform those tasks, it’d still take me five times as long. In one of many Google searches I performed in my struggles, I found this gem:

i swear, put the logic developers in a room with people who actually cut records for a living for a day with a notepad and a whole lot of coffee and logic would be without a doubt the coolest goddamn thing ever invented in audio. its so close to perfection, but they always seem to aim too high on new features and wind up neglecting the basic functionality/fixing bugs.

Sounds about right.

Native Instruments Installation Fail MkII

Hey Native Instruments: Is this really the best way to handle software upgrades? I’m gonna say no. Bye-bye, afternoon.

Native Instruments Installation Fail: Exhibit A

Just purchased Komplete 8 Ultimate (see previous post) and found this gem (as well as several others) in the obligatory installation readme.txt:

In case you don’t see a Komplete 8 Ultimate entry in the Service Center’s Activate tab, re-start the Service Center, but not from any of the Native Instrument applications: find the Service Center executable in the Finder (on Mac OS X) or the Explorer (on Windows) and start it directly via double-click.

Don’t know about you, but if I was a software developer, this kind of caveat would keep me up at night. They might as well have simply written, “Hey users! We know you haven’t actually used our software yet, but just a heads up that it’s half baked. You know, bugs and workarounds and stuff. But have fun.”

That said—and forgetting the fact the name “Komplete Ultimate” sounds like the spendiest option at a full service car wash—once you get it all rolling, my experience with NI products has been pretty smooth sailing and great sounding. And it’s still a helluva bargain.

Dashboard: More Than Just an Orange Calculator

While there are a number of music related Dashboard widgets that range from somewhat useful (and apparently now MIA) to not at all, I’ve recently taken to making a few of my own “web clip” widgets for tasks that I found myself repeatedly opening the black hole commonly known as a web browser to accomplish in the past. (Seriously, show me the front page of Wikipedia and you might not see me for a week—not the greatest for productivity.) Best of all, they can be whatever you want, take two seconds to make, and you never need to be updated. Some favorites:

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Is Native Instruments the Adobe of Music Software?

I just spent over three hours installing and re-installing various components of Native Instrument’s Komplete, simply to get inexplicably missing factory presets to show up in Massive and FM8. (I’m all for building sounds from scratch, but with a tool as, well, massive as Massive, you gotta start somewhere.)

Which begs the question: Is Komplete becoming the music industry’s version of Adobe Creative Suite? A bloated, sprawling mess of overlapping applications; overly complicated, unnecessarily proprietary, and complete (or should I say “komplete”) with an installation process from hell?

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