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Digidesign Pro Tools 8

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Digidesign Pro Tools 8 The latest version of Pro Tools, considered the "de facto" DAW standard for music production, adds so many improvements and new features, I immediately felt enabled to do a higher level of workflow quality and speed than my ver 7.4 HD 3 Accel rig--an already powerful system. At first glance I noticed the modernized GUI with an improved color palette and the auto-update feature for keeping up to date with the latest fixes etc. Session templates can be made and saved and sessions open and close much faster now.

Editing has always been PT's strongest suit and version 8 adds the new Universe view (an complete overview window of all session audio and MIDI data) now embedded within the Edit window, a new MIDI Editor window, and more choices for waveform viewing. The new Score Editor does real-time transcription of MIDI and will print out scores and separate parts as shown. I liked that the Score Editor window shows MIDI and Instrument tracks independent of both the Edit window and MIDI Editor. The editor shows treble, alto, tenor and bass clefs, key signature and meter changes, and you can display and edit chord symbols and then export it all as Sibelius files.

A lot of the version 8's improvements are 'under the hood' and I have started to become aware of them mostly through mixing music. You can now have up to ten effect inserts per channel, create and save plug-in maps (if you use an Icon), there is improved Automatic Delay Compensation for overdubbing, and you can edit track automation and MIDI controller data without changing track views.

One of the most talked about cool additions are the new track compositing (all "takes" are automatically splayed out without taking up tracks or voices--"promoting" any take to the master track is easier), loop recording with automatic playlist creation (every new take gets play listed while in loop recording) and ver 7's Elastic Time feature now has the same manipulative power over Pitch. In my world, these abilities alone make upgrading a necessity. Throw in the included six virtual instruments and 28 plug-ins including five new ones and the decision is undeniable!

Pro Tools HD 8 Upgrade is $249 MSRP while Pro Tools LE/M-Powered Upgrade is $149 and the Pro Tools M-Powered Full Version is $299. Way more than I could ever cover in this column is all at: www.digidesign.com



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