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  #31 (permalink)  
Old 25th September 2008 , 09:52 AM
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1.Name of the product and current version: Cakewalk Project5 V2.5



2.When you bought the product: September 06

3.Why you bought it: Recommendation from a friend as well as it's relative price compared to other DAWs.

4.How much did it cost: £80

5.Installation: Pretty easy, though it does take a while to copy the soundbanks to your computer, which pretty standard really. It's recommended that you update to v2.5 right away which can be done through registration at Cakewalk's website.

6.What do you like about it: For the price you're paying, you're getting an apt DAW with full MIDI support, full VSTi support, several GB of good-sounding soundbanks, and a ReWire host and client. It is one of the most intuitive DAW interfaces I've ever worked with, and the included drum sampler is enough for me to rule out ever needing Battery. The virtual instruments and effects included are also versatile.

7.What don’t you like about it: It's annoying that almost nobody has heard of it, meaning that at times it can be hard to get a piece of hardware equipment working with it. Also, it has a feature which can be used for live performances, which is loop-based. This feels a bit tacked-on to be honest, and although you can use it to some effect, it's nowhere near as good as Ableton. It's also a bit of a memory hog.

8. Any improvements: Hopefully for their next update they can finetune the program so that it doesn't use up so much RAM. Also, I wish that Cakewalk would bother to advertise the program so that it isn't so low-key. Every time I look for a piece of audio equipment, I'm scared that it might not be compatible. Oh, I wish it would support side chaining.

9.How does it compare to similar products:With the exception of Fruityloops, it's the cheapest DAW on the market. Whilst it may not have the extensive audio capabilities of the more expensive sequencers, it does its job, and does it well.

10.Would you buy it again:Without a doubt.

11.Copy protection: Serial code

12.PC or MAC: PC only.

13.Format: Stand alone, or Rewire client.

14.Licence: (Not too sure to be honest, will look into this)

15.Pros and cons summary:
Pros - a lot of features for its price; full VST, ASIO, and MIDI support; intuitive interface; can act as both Rewire host and client.
Cons - Lack of knowledge of the product means hardware support can be difficult; performance mode feels a bit tacked-on; memory hog.

15. Rating: 4.2/5
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  #32 (permalink)  
Old 25th September 2008 , 04:59 PM
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Heh...nice to see you guys still wrting up those reviews. Thanks. Nice P5 one Krykos.

I also own P5. Sadly it looks like it will not be developed further though
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  #33 (permalink)  
Old 26th September 2008 , 04:37 PM
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1. Name of the product and current version: MOTU Electric Keys v1.0

2. When you bought/won the product: Sep 2008

3. Why you bought it: Prize :-p (Thanks DV and members)

4. How much does it cost: £199.00

5. Installation / Setup: Ok i found this software to be one of the hardest softwares to install, reason being:

1. Ok so i started installing as usual, first disk was installer so put it in.... browsing the manual read i have to install the sound bank first, so aborted install and proceeded to uninstall anything that was placed on my Mac

2. 3:34sec later proceeded to copy first dvd to my audio drive, now after the first DVD i decided to copy from both my drives simultaneously so proceeded to put DVD 2&3 into my drives followed by 4&5. after this installed the installer and the iLok extensions, also had to update my iLok drivers.

3. 1:31min later ran it through Logic and AU test passed so proceeded to open it and all was ok till trying to load a preset, nothing was being found and when i browsed to where i had copied the DVD's they where not being recognised, so closed it down and opened the stand alone, same problem! looked on line and found a solution:

The installation script doesn't do what it's supposed to. Here's a work around.

Install ILok software and ILock
Copy sample files to hard drive you want them
install software for EK
make aliases for the files
copy the alias files to this folder
/Library/Application Support/MOTU/ElectricKeys/Sounds
take off the "alias" at the end of the file names


and from MOTU

"Electric Keys cannot find my sounds
The recommended installation process for Electric Keys is to run the plug-in CD installer, then copy the UFS soundbank files from the DVDs to the following location:

Mac OS X
startup disk/Library/Application Support/MOTU/ElectricKeys/Sounds/

Windows
startup disk:\Program Files\MOTU\ElectricKeys\Plug-in\Sounds\

... where startup disk is the name of your system hard drive (usually "Macintosh HD" or "C").

You must place the .UFS files in this location. Alternately, you may place the .UFS files in another location - possibly on an external or second hard drive - and create an aliases (OS X) or shortcuts (Windows) to them, and place the aliases/shortcuts in this location instead. If you create aliass or shortcuts, the names must be the same as the .UFS files. If the alias/shortcut name includes "alias" or "Shortcut to" it will not work."


4. 2hrs later im playing MOTU Electric Keys

6. What do you like about it?: It has some lovely vintage emulations on it, if you use a lot of e.p's then you are really spoilt for choice and possibilities here. it has a massive 40gb library with 20,000 presets, the FX rack is a nice touch. it is also a lovely looking bit of kit. also the MIDI learn function is a lovely bonus. the overall layout is good and it has some nice skins

7. What donít you like about it?: ok im not sure if its purposely done but some of the octave ranges on the presets will only spread over 2 octaves, also imo navigating through the combi's in stand alone is a little clumsy, i found it quite easy to get lost in the browser and loading sounds takes around 30 seconds of pizza wheel. my biggest gripe is installation to be honest as there was no help in the manual "troubleshooting"

8. Any improvements: fix the install problem.

9. Comparison to similar products: compared to Logics E.P this is a hands down winner but its obvious as price dictates it in this situation

10.Would you buy it again: If i hadn't won it i don't think it would be at the top of my list, BUT now having tried it i would most definitely buy it again!

11.Licence: Pre loaded on an iLok so take it any where

12. Format (PC or MAC): Both, UB on mac VST, DXi, MAS, Audio Units and RTAS

13.Copy Protection: Pre loaded on an iLok (free iLok )

14. Pros and cons summary: Great E.P and other vintage emulations used by artists such as "the Doors, Stevie Wonder, Pink Floyd, Jean Michel Jarre and now myself" but install was more difficult than usual.

15. Rating: 4/5
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  #34 (permalink)  
Old 6th October 2008 , 05:40 PM
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Thumbs up Ozone 3

1. Name of the product and current version: Ozone 3


2. When you bought the product: About 3 years ago.

3. Why you bought it: Needed a commercial, professional grade software mastering solution.

4. How much did it cost: £129.00

5. Installation / Setup: Installation was Ok. I was not too pleased with the change from the Direct X versions serial number, to the more recent VST versions Challenge and response which does take longer to set up. Your authorisations are tracked as well. You can at least see this in a user area on their site.

6. What do you like about it?: It is an extremely tightly integrated set of top class mastering plugs, which includes Multiband flavours of Imaging, Harmonic Excitation and Compression plugins.

The GUI is brilliant. It's difficult to appreciate it by just looking at a screenshot. When you see it in action it is very intuitive and easy to navigate. Lots of visual feedback is given, which is critical when using a suite of plugs like this.

EQ


Multiband Modules


7. What donít you like about it?. A bit CPU heavy but then again you are looking at 6 mastering grade plugs.

8. Any improvements: Reduced CPU usage if possible.

9. Comparison to similar products: There are some individual Mastering plugs like Elephant e.t.c but I am not aware of a single Mastering plugin suite dedicated for Mastering, certainly not on this level of flexiblity.

10.Would you buy it again: No. I would get Ozone 4.

11.Licence:
a. Transfers allowed? Yes.

12. Format (PC or MAC): Both.

13.Copy Protection: Challenge and response.

14. Pros and cons summary: It is a superb suite of Mastering plugs. The manual is very well written and will enable you to get into the more advanced functions very quickly. The processing quality is extremely high. Some basic knowledge of EQ and Compression would certainly help although there are a number of very useful presets to start with. I would prefer a return to a simple serial no. for copy protection.

15. Rating: 4.8 out of 5.
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  #35 (permalink)  
Old 20th October 2008 , 09:50 PM
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Thumbs up Sonar 8 Producer

1. Name of the product and current version: Sonar 8 Producer



2. When you bought the product: A very generous prize from DV! (THANKS!)

3. Why you bought it: See above

4. How much did it cost: Not a penny not even for shipping

5. Installation / Setup: Pretty straight forward. Although It took longer than the usual 5 -15 minutes or so. Closer to an hour.

6. What do you like about it?: Beatscape for a start. You can throw any wave file at it and it will slice it and play it back all in real time. You can re arrange slices as well. An extremely creative tool. Sonar needed this as Cyclone is limited to Acidized files.

There are many others faeatures I like but they will be mentioned in a far more detailed user review which you can find here. A few more key aspects...though for now...

It is defintely more responsive as an application. I think the start up is quicker. If you make changes from WDM drivers to ASIO drivers you do not have to re start Sonar as you used to do before. You can now arm tracks during playback and disarm them. I have waited for this for years. You can finally build tracks without stopping the audio engine to arm another track.

You could actually do this with Cyclone to a degree but...you would be limited to ACIDised loops. The transient Shaper is brilliant, it is so easy to change the sound of a drum sound for instance. Very easy. A little goes a very long way! There are other areas of interest to me but the ones I have mentioned are probably my stand out feature favourites at this time.

I will go into much more detail in the Extended User review which will cover far more ground. This review is just to provide give a quick overview of Sonar 8.

7. What donít you like about it?. I would have liked to not have any more drop outs...similar in a way to Logics core audio messages. It seems to happen much less and I can use Sonar for quite a bit without seeing it. Also this is a 8.00 release being reviewed here so maybe Cakewalk have some more improvements on the way.

8. Any improvements: A totally gapless engine like Live or Podium (I had similar thoughts about Sonar 7).

9. Comparison to similar products: Sonar has the processors and instruments to match or better any host out there but...if Cakewalk ever get Sonars audio engine to gapless status well...that would close the door on many other options I still have like Podium and Live.

10.Would you buy it again: Yes I think I would but thankfully I did not have to this time (Cheers DV!)

11.Licence:
a. Transfers allowed? No. Cakewalk will not allow it.
b. How many, per (PC or MAC): I think you can install it one more than one PC but only one person can use it at any time on either PC.

12. Format (PC or MAC): PC Only. Bootcamp will get you up and running with Sonar on a MAC though.

13.Copy Protection: Serial no. followed by a registration. No need to re register if you uninstall. Just use the serial and registration code you have. Keep it safe!

14. Pros and cons summary:

Lovely app and extremely powerful. What will they add to the next version? There is not much to really dislike about it. A graphical refresh would be nice. Pro Tools, Cubase and Logic have had theirs, Sonar IMO could do with one. Also if only the audio engine was totally gapless. It's pretty smooth but not best in class.

Still it is a true powerhouse app that leaves little else to think of as an addition. You can see a brief overview of Sonar 8 here.

15. Rating: 4.5 out of 5.
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  #36 (permalink)  
Old 2nd February 2009 , 12:50 PM
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1. Name of the product and current version: Superior Drummer 2.0

SD2.0

2. When you bought the product: Recent

3. Why you bought it: Logical upgrade/crossgrade from EZ Drummer

4. How much did it cost: Three price structures - upgrade, crossgrade, package

5. Installation / Setup: Midi and 20GB Soundbanks. Easy to customise to drives. You do have to install the other parts manually so donít forget - Ez Player Pro and some Midi.

6. What do you like about it?: The sound. As good as any drum programme available. Nothing else really matters. You want drums to sound like a drummer on a record and youíre getting this without the madness of a real drummer.

If you have Ez Drummer then you know it has a browser and itís drag and drop etc. Ez Drummer can be used separately or inside of Superior Drummer. Itís automatically accessible as part of the SD 2.0 programme.

Superior Drummer 2.0 comes in two parts. Firstly, the engine (the drum kit), which also has a mixer and everything to do with the drums on it. There are tools to create the sound you want. A lot more than on EZ Drummer. You get the NY Avatar sessions midi file with it. Most of the tools can be found on your DAW but itís nice to have them as part of the programme. There are massive soundbank files attached.

Secondly, you have EZ Player Pro. This is like your browser in EZ Drummer but itís also an arranger. There are two very good videos by Toontrack on youtube explaining the features. A must watch so you know it all. The manual explains how to set up for well known DAWs.
Ez Player Pro holds all Ez Drummer files you may collected as well as the NY Avatar midi and some free midi and you can pull any midi files into to work on. Do make sure this all picked up by Ez Player Pro. Mine wasnít and this was confusing as I wasnít exactly sure what you were supposed to get or what was what. I still donít know for sure!!!

Layering tracks and pulling out individual parts is a great asset too. Iíve never done that before but this lends itself to doing that with ease.

A lot DAWs can do the arranger part well but itís easy to use EZ Player Pro. I find it a lot quicker and easier. The ease at which you can do complete tracks is great. Lotís will just do it through their DAW but the choice is there. Watch the videos.

Itís standalone too through Toontrack Solo and you can use the arranger to do complete tracks to jam to without going through your DAW. It can be very quick too. I like that as I always jam to drums.

Loading times are quicker too. All your Ez Drummer kits are supported through the engine.

9. Comparison to similar products: Most people think drum programmes fit certain styles/sounds/feel/use etc and thatís why many have a few. If you use drum programmes you kinda understand that, even though most are complete packages. The sensible approach is to buy EZ Drummer (some good midi with these) with free expansion pack and then crossgrade. Make the most of promotions.

10.Would you buy it again: Yes.

There should be a second expansion pack due this 1Q 2009
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  #37 (permalink)  
Old 2nd February 2009 , 06:20 PM
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Waldorf Edition Pack

Review Updated 10th Feb 2009

http://www.waldorfmusic.de/en/products/waldorf-edition



Purchased: Jan 2009

Reason for Purchase: Manufacturers reputation, reputation of the included instruments and an amazing price !

Cost: £21 (inc P&P) from ??. Despite DV not stocking this product, I won't say in this post where I got this item from.

Install & Setup: PPG 2 & Attack install as VSTi & AudioUnit. D-Pole Installs as VST & Audio Unit.
It should be noted that this package has been around awhile, and updates were needed to install.This possibly explains the pricepoint. More on this later in the review.
Oddly, the requirement for the original install cd is the only security measure in place. No dongle, challenge or registration.

What do you like about it:
This pack includes emulatons/reproductions of 2 classic piece of hardware, The D-Pole filter and the PPG synth. Best of all, the reproductions are from the people that created the original equipment featured on many classic tracks. I have a samplepack that had some patches from the PPG, but they don't even come close to representing the sounds of the synth.
The final part of the package is an analogue modelling percussive synth called 'Attack'. Capable of imitating many different classic drum sounds, and more besides.
The sound quality of all 3 elements is very good. PPG generates some nice,crisp electronic basses, Attack is a simple, but ultimately authentic and capable machine and D-Pole is nice (altho I've never heard the original hardware to compare its response)
On paper (ie £20), this package is an absolute bombshell for people into electronic music. All 3 of them together give you some serious sonic options.

What don't you like about it:
There is an issue with their update installers. You must have the original install cd present for starters. Also, when downloading the most recent update image (1.2.6) from the Waldorf website, it unpacks to say it is version 1.2.4.
Version 1.2.4 did not work on my Mac with Logic, so this got confusing. The only way to tell the updates apart, is to check the downloaded file size. 1.2.6 is slightly smaller then 1.2.4.

Secondly, the plugins have routing issues. Attack is worthy of criticism. Whilst using it in Logic 8, it appears that Attack's 6 mono out mode doesn't work properly. To get the correct outputs, you have to use it in stereo. Attack also has an odd habit of changing some kit element outputs to 2 instead of the default 1. It's not a massive thing, but seems a bit pointless since none of the kits are designed only to work in multi out modes.

Thirdly. They doesn't work when used under wrapped to work under the control of Novation's Automap software and applicable hardware. This would have been so easy to fix by building in their own patch browser system...like 99% of all software instruments do already.

Any Improvements:
In terms of sound, these are very good things to own. The PPG is a solid 'goto' option. It may sound similar to things you already have, but then you should remember the hardware version is one of the grandaddy's of synths. Chances are the other equipment you have is based on something that was trying to be similar to the original PPG.
Attack is slightly behind the times compared to other drum machines that have built in programmable step sequencers. A minor gripe is just how loud some of these patches are. Attack's preset kits love to clip the meter by +4db or more. The preset banks could've been programmed to be better balanced in terms of level.
And the point of the patch browser really has upset me. I have spoken to Waldorf about the issues with Attack and the problem when Automapped. They've said it's been passed along to the Attack developers, who will address the problems in the next update.

Comparison to Similar Products:
Attack's biggest rival for drum synthesis is Logic Ultrabeat. Ultrabeat normally runs on samples, but does have a very good sound generator (and shaping options) built inside as well. And it can step sequence, and you can drag you're sequence onto the daw track. It's generally more capable then Attack, and free within Logic 7 & 8. But for those who don't or can't use Logic, Attack offers the key drum synth tools for a fraction of the cost.

The PPG is a wavetable based synth, so it's most obvious competitors are NI Massive, Cakewalk Rapture and I think Reason's Thor may be wavetable as well (to my shame, I've not really touched Reason since getting it).

Would You Buy It Again?
Yes. Despite it's age and apparent possible routing issues. I can forgive these because they sound so nice, and the price was more then fair in comparison to newer competition. If I'd been asked to part with the original RRP (£100 or so) for these, I would have been less ok with buying and keeping them.

Formats: Mac (VST/i & AU) or PC (VST/i)

Summary:
slightly dated looking (can't really hold that against the PPG and D-pole though), but sonically excellent plugs for a silly price. Forgive the slight grumblings and differences to newer shinier plugs, and they shall serve you well. I've only just started scratching the surface with the built in patches, and I'm still finding more of them that I like and would use !

Rating: 4/5
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  #38 (permalink)  
Old 2nd February 2009 , 06:26 PM
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also watch out for D-pole it can really bug out at times
i have to say Ed excellent review i can concur with all that you have said
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  #39 (permalink)  
Old 2nd February 2009 , 08:40 PM
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I've been playing all night and not had an issue with D-Pole. Define 'bugged out' for us please Paul
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Old 2nd February 2009 , 08:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EdRyan View Post
I've been playing all night and not had an issue with D-Pole. Define 'bugged out' for us please Paul
in some sessions it simply wouldn't show, also GUI freezes from time to time
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  #41 (permalink)  
Old 3rd February 2009 , 02:28 PM
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I found something more basic wrong with them: their behaviour when wrapped under Novation's Automap software.

For some reason,the presets are lost in the menu system, and the VSTs don't have their own built in patch menu system. A pretty simple, but really frustrating problem then.
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  #42 (permalink)  
Old 17th July 2018 , 12:41 PM
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Thanks for the informations here. Any new reviews available yet?
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