To the joy of audiophiles, there is a definite audio vibe at Macworld San Francisco 2006. The noise of the show floor is impossible not to notice, and besides the regular crowd hullabaloo, a plethora of companies are demoing new audio hardware, software, and gizmos. The Mac Observer has found the hot pro-audio products introduced at Macworld or new this past year.
If you ever used a computer music notation software, itis always a disappointment listening back to the MIDI quality score. Notion from VirtuosoWorks (Booth 327) uses sampling from the London Symphony Orchestra for the playback engine.
With more accurate playback, itis possible to place dynamics more accurately thus cutting down the number of revisions needed after listening to it from a real orchestra. Notion also features real-time performance control allowing you to test out rubatos, vamps, and other speed controls.
Notion will be available February 15th, 2006 and will retail for US$599.
The next audio program comes dressed in art. Techne Mediais Pixsound Jam Studio (Booth 2207) takes the RGB color information in pictures and converts them into audio frequencies. Jam Studio offers another opportunity for audio and video or graphic designers to collaborate.
You can either mouse around a picture to conduct the music, or crop a selection to autoplay the music. You can control the instrument and tempo the frequencies play through and choose different scale modes and underlying beat tracks.
Jam Studio retails for $99 and is available today. For MIDI support, a pro MIDI license is bundled in for $249. A demo is available from Teche Mediais Web site.
Sonoma Wire Works
New to the Mac from Sonoma Wire Works (Booth 307) is a guitar recording program called RiffWorks. To start recording, simply choose a tempo, number of bars to riff on, and a pre-recorded drum track and youire ready to find the perfect lick. After recording, play back the recording or add it to the looping track to layer onto it.
Once you have a few riffs saved, itis drag and drop to string them together into a song. In GarageBand, you often have to play double duty as musician and recording engineer putting down base tracks and tweaking effects layers. Much of the engineering aspect is managed by RiffWorks allowing the user to focus on the music. RiffWorks, currently in beta, will be available in March. It retails for $189 bundled with GuitarPort USB hardware or $99 alone.
Again for the home or small studio is the TASCAM FW-1082 10 channel FireWire Audio/MIDI control surface. The FW-1082 control surface works as a Hardware User Interface (HUI) through the nine touch-sensitive faders that allow you to control faders in programs such as Logic, Cubase, ProTools (Cubase LE is bundled with the FW-1082). It features 10 inputs, 4 outputs, and 2 MIDI inputs and output.
The FW-1082 retails for $999.