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Topic: ACID 6 released

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  1. #1

    ACID 6 released

    Sony Digital Media has released ACID 6, including a 30-day free demo.

    Two things will interest people here: improved MIDI support, and an integrated Kompakt player with a bunch of built-in instruments. ACID Pro now supports MIDI, VST and Rewire. (Note that the Known Issues section describes a few Rewire problems though.) Another new feature is "sections", where you can quickly rearrange chorus, verse1, verse1, bridge, solo, etc sections. You can set video hit points and have the tempo map automatically conform. The program has quantizing and groove features as well.

    The bottom line is that ACID can finally be considered a true MIDI sequencer.

    I have a couple of simple, short projects ahead. I'll give the demo a try, and see how it goes...

    I already prefer ACID/Vegas for tracking, loops and audio mixing. On first look, the latest version has at least 80-90% of what I'm looking for regarding MIDI. There are some things I haven't found, but I've just scratched the surface.

    ***Bruce - I believe that you got your hands on this a while ago. Are there any aspects of ACID's MIDI features that you feel that they really nailed, or where they improved the state of the art?

    -JF

  2. #2

    Re: ACID 6 released

    I bought the upgrade yesterday.

    I still don't consider it to be a true midi sequencer like Cubase or Sonar. There's no staff view in Acid.

    It's still the best user friendly app for loops.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Bruce A. Richardson's Avatar
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    Re: ACID 6 released

    I agree with Kitecrazy, in that ACID is not yet fully up to the feature set of sequencers that have been around for a while.

    However (and I think most would agree), ACID 6 is a huge, huge upgrade. The new features and methods work really well.

    Cool things:

    WAY WAY WAY COOL THING: Note the new keyframe types for sending various MIDI messages. The KeyFrames are searched back. They can be darn near anything, including notes. So, no more keyswitches hidden in your tracks. Assign them to KeyFrames instead, and you can move them about at will, copy/paste, etc., with nothing showing up in the track except the notes you're playing.

    So, consider what that means in terms of setting up templates. You can have things much more ready to rock.

    THE WORKFLOW. It's ACID meets Vegas plus MIDI, with an emphasis on finding ways to accomplish MIDI without breaking the basic ACID model. That's probably the major reason they've limited the feature set where it is.

    TRACKING: Now ACID records and slips/crossfades audio just like Vegas, which is one of the best tracking UI's in the universe. Say you're recording vocal tracks. If you create the event container the length of the desired track first, and then draw a loop around your event to include pre/post roll, you can just open up record, and ACID will stack the takes up in the single event.

    Say you did three passes. You just pick the best one, then slice the track wherever you want to try another take. Once you've sliced out the area, you just select the alternate takes from the right click menu.

    And if none of the alternates works, and you want to punch in, you just select that slice, draw your pre/post roll around it, and go. The area will continue to loop and stack until you know you've gotten your punch. Then you do the same thing as before, just right click and pick the take you want.

    There's no beating it for tracking. It's really excellent.

    VIDEO SUPPORT: Not an editor, of course, but excellent video amenities for reading, writing, and tracking.

    DATABASE: It has a nice database, continually improving and very usable.

    THE LOOPING: Pretty much as good as it gets from a UI standpoint, and of course, ACID's stretching has its own sound at extremes, which is extremely musical and interesting to use.

    Where it is currently lacking: Tempo mapping is extremely rudimentary. It's known, they just want to do it right and it's way more than can could be done while getting all this other stuff in. MIDI event merging is rudimentary. The Piano Roll is pretty darn nice, and should come around as things mature. However, it lacks an "all tracks on one screen" mode, which is also a known shortcoming but a tricky bit of work that simply wasn't going to happen. Quantizing and other offline processes are all in various stages of rudimentary, but there are ways to do most things.

    So, from a production perspective:

    It works really nicely with soft-synths. The tracking is nice. If you're doing work that does not need major tempo mapping, you will probably LOVE the simplicity and straightforwardness of ACID 6. If, for ACID 7, Sony can create tempo-mapping that exceeds the current state of the art, and just fluff up a few existing areas, they'll be a contender alongside anything else. They have, hands down, the best workflow concept around.

  4. #4

    Re: ACID 6 released

    I am currently computer-less (well, for the most part... otherwise I wouldn't be writing this), but the point is... I may not be able to try out ACID 6 for awhile.

    I do have Acid 5 and love it... but I use it less and less these days in favor of eXT, which I feel is much more powerful for the way I work.

    Bruce - or anybody for that matter - I have a billion questions, but rather than annoy you all I'll just ask one (personal) biggy:

    Can you copy and paste MIDI CC events in Acid 6? You can't do it in version 5, which sucks... especially with libraries like GPO where you'll want, say, the mod wheel data to be similar across different members of an ensemble, and can paste in the "master" modwheel data from the clipboard and use it as a "guideline" for tweaking the data and creating "close, but not quite identical" dynamic lines.

    That's just one super obvious use for this capability, and I wish Acid had it... most of the sequencers I've used can't do it (only eXT to date, which is why I use it). Probably some of the bigger apps can do it, but they're beyond my reach at the moment.

    It's a simple question, I know, but for some reason when I mentioned it on the ACID forums, everybody thought this wouldn't be or shouldn't be a particularly important feature... which is ludicrous, I think. Thus I must always defend myself when bringing it up. It's so damn simple... copying and pasting MIDI CC events from track to track... yeesh...

    -Tom

  5. #5
    Senior Member Styxx's Avatar
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    Re: ACID 6 released

    I still have Acid 4 and 5. 4 gives me no problems but 5 is buggy. I'll wait a bit to see how 6 progresses.
    Styxx

  6. #6

    Re: ACID 6 released

    I installed ACID 6 on my Giga machine, and it plays well with Giga! I didn't do anything intensive, but I was able to connect to a few channels, pass thru MIDI, record into ACID and playback the results.

    That said, I went back to Sonar for my project. I'm not far up the learning curve enough to do MIDI things quickly in ACID - yet.

    *** Bruce - great review! The keyframe feature seems really nice. You say that they can be cut/copied/pasted. If the keyframes can handle continuous data, then Tom may well have the solution for pasting CC data to various tracks.

    I definitely need to spend more time learning how to effectively track in ACID/Vegas. I wonder... Can the same tracking workflow be applied to MIDI recording? It would be cool to record the MIDI and the audio from Giga at the same time. If you get a perfect take, there's no need to capture to wave. And if you get the almost perfect take, or want to double it with other articulations, you have the MIDI in the bag.

    I think the biggest shortcoming is the lack of multiple tracks in one view. A close second is MIDI merging. I'll have to dive into the tempo map to see how deep/shallow it is.

    One thing that made no sense to me (yet) is the way to setup and control midi-thru. In Sonar you turn it on or off in the track view, much as one would mute or solo a track. In ACID it seems to be buried in the MIDI setup. It's almost like ACID wants you to control the MIDI from the MIDI controller, rather than from the software - just have the software pass everything through, and then point the ivories at the channel that you want to hear.

    Anyway, there were too many little things to figure out before I will be fast in ACID, so I went back to Sonar for the evening. I'll figure it out though. The best news is, it plays well with Giga. Yay!

    -JF

  7. #7
    Senior Member Bruce A. Richardson's Avatar
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    Re: ACID 6 released

    Quote Originally Posted by Tomdini
    I am currently computer-less (well, for the most part... otherwise I wouldn't be writing this), but the point is... I may not be able to try out ACID 6 for awhile.

    I do have Acid 5 and love it... but I use it less and less these days in favor of eXT, which I feel is much more powerful for the way I work.

    Bruce - or anybody for that matter - I have a billion questions, but rather than annoy you all I'll just ask one (personal) biggy:

    Can you copy and paste MIDI CC events in Acid 6? You can't do it in version 5, which sucks... especially with libraries like GPO where you'll want, say, the mod wheel data to be similar across different members of an ensemble, and can paste in the "master" modwheel data from the clipboard and use it as a "guideline" for tweaking the data and creating "close, but not quite identical" dynamic lines.

    That's just one super obvious use for this capability, and I wish Acid had it... most of the sequencers I've used can't do it (only eXT to date, which is why I use it). Probably some of the bigger apps can do it, but they're beyond my reach at the moment.

    It's a simple question, I know, but for some reason when I mentioned it on the ACID forums, everybody thought this wouldn't be or shouldn't be a particularly important feature... which is ludicrous, I think. Thus I must always defend myself when bringing it up. It's so damn simple... copying and pasting MIDI CC events from track to track... yeesh...

    -Tom
    Hey Tom,

    I know you can at least copy the entire track and delete the unwanted data, leaving the automation envelopes. I am not in el studio right now, so I can't confirm any other way. If the demo is up, it should be worth your while to check out.

    Thanks for directing my attention to EnergyXT. That looks cool, and I've never checked it out. Is it stable? Is it interesting as a performance environment?

  8. #8

    Re: ACID 6 released

    My God...!!!

    Bruce, I am indeed honored to be the first to unveil energy-XT to you! Or at least provide some halfway-decent (however excitable and biased) firsthand impressions.

    It is, by far, the best DAW I've ever used for the way I like to work... and I've used them all (though I actually only own a select few). It's rock freakin' solid - this thing doesn't break, EVER. It's always sketchy VST's and dodgy ASIO drivers that will cause it to crash... but that's no different than any other music app worth its salt.

    It's a very small file - the standalone app is maybe 2 megs in size (don't quote me on that... but I do fondly remember the KVR forum thread when the .exe finally broke 1 meg... everybody was really mournful, hehe). It has an EXTREMELY small CPU overhead, allowing for all your memory and proc cycles to get sucked up by the really important stuff, like convo verbs and gigantic sample libs.

    Yet, for its miniscule size, the program is maybe the most versatile music production environment out there. Totally modular, with infinite routing possibilities (not to mention a VSTi and VST version which allow you to expand any other host's virtual instrument and effects capabilities, respectively)... plus you can open up eXT within itself, into infinity - allowing for even more insane and inspirational virtual connections.

    I could go on and on... the MIDI editing is swift as lightning and exceptionally powerful. My orchestral scores have never been produced so quickly using just the mouse (I find I can actually draw in my ideal take quicker than it would take me to properly play it, and my chops are very good). Audio recording's nice and straightforward, although this aspect of the app is still in its infancy.

    The whole program is still a rather new, "budding" tool in the electronic composer's arsenal, although with a few helpful VST's here and there, I've managed to plug up some of eXT's holes (like using MungRack to give eXT the ability to edit channel aftertouch... to date, you can RECORD aftertouch but you can't edit it afterwards, for some weird reason).

    There is also a "live" version which allows you to change banks, shift between different virtual wiring setups, and trigger audio and MIDI sequences as well as automation envelopes (and pretty much anything else) using a wide variety of recognized stimuli (midi CC, MIDI notes, even QWERTY keys).

    I play in a jamband for fun (think Grateful Dead, sort of, but closer to Phish or Sound Tribe Sector 9) and use eXT for live gigs all the time. It works really, really well... I never fear to take eXT on stage with me!

    Enough rambling... hopefully you can tell I'm excited, but you're a more than competent musician and you'll be able to figure out for yourself whether it's any good (even techies can find the interface daunting because it's so ridiculously open-ended... and the extant documentation isn't great or complete, but it is helpful). Demo's fully operational, you can even save your projects... you just can't re-open them until you buy it. And for 50 bucks, you might as well just buy it anyway - it WILL open up new doors for you in SOME fashion.

    For me, I ditched Cubase, Acid, and Orion in favor of eXT as my sole DAW. I have much faith in it.

    And eXT 2 - a free upgrade to existing owners - shall be imminently released by Jorgen, the sole coder for the app. He releases betas and bugfixes like crazy - sometimes new builds will be up on the site 2 or even 3 times in a week!

    As you have (indirectly, through my lurking on this forum) taught me so much about the craft of digital musicmaking and the importance of community, hopefully I can bring a little more joy to your setup through a most hearty recommendation that you pick up eXT and give it a go... it's the most insanely hidden precious gem of the digital musician scene today, in my less-than-humble opinion.

    -Tom

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