MacDirectory Magazine

Fall-Winter 2010 (#43)

MacDirectory magazine is the premiere creative lifestyle magazine for Apple enthusiasts featuring interviews, in-depth tech reviews, Apple news, insights, latest Apple patents, apps, market analysis, entertainment and more.

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REVIEW MacDirectory 101 PROPELLERHEAD RECORD WORDS BY TREY YANCY Fans of the highly popular Reason virtual studio rack have longed for the ability to record live audio. In response the makers of Reason have introduced a companion application, Propellerhead Record. Available as a solo product or as part of a Reason bundle, Record provides a lot of power in a package that is easy for beginners yet powerful enough for seasoned pros and that capitalizes on the features of Reason. Unlike many popular audio workstation applications, Record was designed for musicians and not for audio engineers. It combines audio and MIDI recording, high quality effects (including Line 6 modeling), mastering tools, and an advanced mixer, and offers a working environment that is both intuitive and expansive. While Record operates quite well on its own, if you have a copy of Reason installed, it automatically captures all of Reason's instruments, devices and effects, makes them available within Record. You can then take any Reason device (synth, processor, sequencer, etc.) and drag it right into Record's virtual rack. This automatically creates a new ready-to-go track. Record's interface consists of three flexible and highly navigable sections: a sequencer (tracks and track editor), a multicolumn rack for mixer inputs, instruments and devices, and a first-rate mixer. A fourth element is a floating tool window for managing devices, accessing tools and designing grooves. All elements can be detached for multi-monior systems. The 64 bit mixer, which is based on Solid State Logic's 9000k, is far more capable and flexible than Reason's mixer. In addition to providing far better control (including inserts, a ton of sends and remote control of signal processors), you are free to display only the desired sections. The only thing missing is the 9000k's support for surround sound; although it is possible to jury-rig a surround system with clever patching. Record's rack offers substantial improvements over Reason, including unlimited columns and a scrolling navigation panel. When you create a track Record inserts a device into the rack and generates a new mixer channel. Audio tracks are also represented in the rack in the form of a mixer input with a dedicated processor sub rack and a combinator-style programmer section that is automatically patched into the mixer. If you own a copy of Reason, all of Reason's instruments, processors and other components are available in the tool palette and can be instantly added to the rack. Hands-On Record can be as simple or as complex as you wish. You do not have to bother with behind-the-desk virtual wiring, but you are free to flip the rack and make your own custom connections. Record senses your MIDI devices (including the integration of effects from external Line 6 modules) and automatically connects your MIDI keyboard when you create an instrument track. To record audio, simply create a channel, select the device's input channel, set the gain and you are ready to go. Multiple takes can be automatically recorded via the loop function and can be easily comped together with crossfades via mouse or keyboard. To save on the processor load you can bounce any combination of audio and MIDI tracks to a new audio track or to an external file (including tempo data) while muting the source tracks, making it easy to change arrangements at any point. Record's time stretch feature makes it easy to change tempo while keeping everything in tune. While copy protection may elicit some groans from the pirates among us, Record handles this necessity with grace. It comes with a USB "ignition key," but if can dispense with this by activating the software on launch via the Internet, or you can simply run in demo mode, which allows you to work and save, but not open songs. Record is an excellent application that is great for novices and professionals alike. It is easy to use but offers many advanced features and can be tweaked to create some very elaborate setups. It does an excellent job on its own, while its ability to integrate with Reason makes it a no- brainer for Reason users and a great enticement for those who are looking for a serious audio/MIDI bundle. Product Record Made by Propellerhead Software Price Stand-alone: $299, Reason 4 upgrade bundle: $149, Reason Duo Bundle: $629 Pros Easy, powerful, Reason integration Cons No surround support, minor idiosyncrasies Rating ★★★★★

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