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Friday, May 15, 2009

Look out Logic Studio, Propellerheads Record is coming

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Update: 17th of May - No Propellerheads, snappy readers are not buying your argument that this is not a DAW and your "don't call it a DAW" tantrum will be just that... a tantrum. Of course, I'm willing to say "oh dear, I'm affraid they were right, it is not a daw... " when it comes out and it proves to be something completely different.


Hi,

You know Propellerheads that Swedish company that created Reason and ReWire right?
They are now cooking their own DAW and it's bound to be quite something, after all they claim the following:

  • They've modeled the mixing console after the legendary SSL 9000k analogue mixing desk.
  • They've implemented real-time time stretch.
  • It will include Virtual Pod from Line 6
  • Also Bass amp and speaker modeling by Line 6
  • Logic-style comping.
and some other features...

What is all the fuzz about? As I've said before I love to have products competing against Logic Studio so that Apple programmers are forced to innovate.

With Propellerheads Record probably some musicians already using Reason will want to take Logic out of the picture since apparently Record will have some impressive matching features, and with the ability to incorporate Reason natively that will make it a complete DAW solution for composing/recording/mixing.

The question is, how well will it compare to Logic Studio?
Well, they are both aimed at mostly composers/performers aren't they? most people would say Logic cannot be compared with say, ProTools because that's for post-prod engineers, but no, it CAN be compared to ProTools in many ways, why not, they have similar features.
If you told me the same thing about Logic-Ableton Live then, I would agree, they are very different and they cater to different audiences.

Surely Propellerheads Record will have features we can compare to Logic, bear in mind however, that I will use a songwritter/composers perspective for the following VERY PERSONAL opinion on how the game will score, OK? here we go:

Propellerheads Record-Reason vs. Logic Studio by modules or plug-ins.
A very quick comparison of features sounds and user interfaces.


Hideous, yet important notes in UPPER CASE!!!!
  • THIS IS BASED ON WHAT WE ALREADY HAVE ON PROPELLERHEADS REASON!!!
  • WE KNOW RECORD IS NOT A FULLY RELEASED PRODUCT, IT'S ON BETA!!!
  • APPARENTLY THE TIME STRETCH FEATURE WILL ROCK!!! (click here to listen to examples)
  • NO NEED TO COMPARE THE DYNAMIC EFFECTS AND AMP SIMULATION BECAUSE THEY WILL BE ITERATIONS OF THIRD PARTY COMPANIES LIKE LINE 6 AND SSL AND WE KNOW THEY ALREADY ARE VERY SERIOUS GOURMET SH*T

Synths

Thor Polysonic Synthesizer vs. ES1 + ES2 + EFM1 + ES E/M/P
The winner is Thor, wait, what? againts all of them?

Why:
1. Frankly the ES E, ES M and ES P are the same synth in just different modes: Ensemble, Mono and Poly, seriously Apple? they could have been built in the same interface, they sound just OK
2. Thor is ALL the synths, has 6 forms of synthesis: analog, wavetable, phase modulation, FM pair and noise
3. It's modular
4. It has a killer user interface (that actually looks like a modular synth)
5. Has its own purty step sequencer ;)
6. Arturia-worthy analogue oscillators and filters (I'd say arbitrarily it sounds 98% like the real deal)
7. While ES2 doesn't sound that bad it's really not there yet, and its user interface is a counter intuitive nightmare.

Subtractor vs. ES1
Winner is: ES1

Why:
Now, this is a more likely comparison since these two are the first attempts by both companies at analogue synth simulation.
While the Subtractor synth has a great user interface and all, it doesn't really sound that analogue does it? and neither does the ES1 by the way, but it comes closer.

Malström vs. ??
The winner by default is: Malström

Why:
There is no Graintable synth in Logic for the moment.

ID8 vs. EXS24 as multi-instruments
The winner is: ???

Why:
We haven't heard how ID8 sounds, we'll have to wait on that one.

Samplers

NN-XT vs. EXS24
The winner is: match

Why:
Let's face it, none of them is ideal when it comes to interfaces, I feel like I'm filling out my tax forms with the EXS Editor and you have no way to assign a filter to every individual sample.
On the NN-XT side, I'm not the greatest fan of its non-rezisable editing screen nor the scroll bars it boasts, you can't use the arrow keys when editing its parameters so you are limited to the mouse. Each time I have to heavily edit any patch I just prepare for the eventual tendinitis that is going to cause me.
Soundwise, there is no obvious advantage of one over the other.

Drum machines

ReDrum vs. Ultrabeat
The winner is: Ultrabeat

Why:
1. Ultrabeat is a not just some sampler it's also a very feature-packed state-of-the-art synth.
You could build your entire analogue kit on it
2. It has it's own sequencer
3. You can accomodate a large number of drums vs. ReDrums 10.

Arpeggiators

RPG8 Monophonic Arpeggiator vs. Logic Arpeggiator
The winner is: RPG8

Why:
1. RPG8 HAS a decent properly-skinned user interface, a box or something perceptible as a machine rather than some obscure "environment object".
2. Implementing the Logic arpeggiator is no walk in the park, of course it's not rocket science either (I've said it many times) but anything that is implemented by a single right-click menu wins.
3. RPG8 gives you the ability to regulate the rate on Hz, and easily AUTOMATE all its values, (try that with Logic's arp, good luck).

Reverbs

RV7000 Advance Reverb vs. Space Designer
The winner is Space Designer

Why:
1. Space designer uses convolution reverb technology
2. It's fully customizable, the number of parameters is impressive
3. You can use any impulse response you'd like

Vocoders


BV512 Digital Vocoder vs. Logic Vocoder
The winner is: BV512

Why:
1. BV512 is way snappier
2. Ability to change the carrier input (so you can use any instrument as the carrier Logic's cannot do that)

I will stop there, sure there are more things to compare like EQs, compressors and amp simulation but you know Propellerheads are going to try to recreate both Line 6 and SSL gear so the game will be completely different.

Also I would love to compare the sequencers but as we all know the Reason sequencer is one thing that might not be there in Record, it will probably be something much different so it will be hard to compare for the moment.

Watch the promotion video of Record



See it in action-ish


Happy weekend.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Apple repairs my 2 old Macs free of charge - I love you

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Oh man, I just had the greatest customer service experience.
Big deal you might say - but hey I live in France where usually the policy is "The client is NEVER right" and the now internationally famous "The customer is NOT king".

I called Apple, explained my woes and they gave me 2 exception case numbers to use with any agreed Apple service provider.

Here's how the story goes:
I got myself a case of the terrible yellow line (yeah they even made a blog about it) on my iMac and on the other hand a terrible case of MacBook casing cracking EXACTLY like this one.

The person on the phone just took my serial numbers and swiftly handled the case by providing me with what we know as "exception codes". Which means they will cover the repair fees exceptionally -it's beyond the guarantee, mind you.

If there are such many cases then I imagine this does not come cheap for Apple, if I am not mistaken, in the case of the iMac's yellow lines (according to some) the cause might be that the graphics chip is doomed and it needs replacement, some say it would mean the whole motherboard.

On the other hand for the MacBook it would be a case of just replacing a much less expensive part but hey, someone's got to pay the technician right? Apple will.

What's the big deal? you may ask again, well, for the most part, I do not intend to sell or replace my toys. Back when I was a Windows user I just could not care less, upgrading or replacing a computer would never be a problem for me, -Yes I can still buy my parts and build my own system I do that for friends who would want a cheap Windows computer.

But when you have a working relation with a Mac (musician stuff meaning not just for email, browsing and chat) I'm talking about the kind of relationship where your gear is always there, working, stable, ready you can't help but thinking or feeling that your material has a life of its own, like say, a musical instrument.

If you think I'm saying crazy stuff, believe me, I know how you feel.
I used to ridicule and completely dismiss any such relationship a Mac owner would have with its machine as complete baloney.

To be honest I know some of you might not have rosy Apple customer care stories like mine, come here and share them, good and bad.

Cheers.