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Software Tools For Producers

May 17, 2008
In the studio, there;s a lot of different software which may be in use. They all have slightly different capabilities and there is more than one way to get that perfect sound. If you are up on these different programs and what they can offer to the producer, you will have an easier time deciding which to use to get that "just right" sound for your recordings. Read on for a brief rundown on some of the most popular options:

1) MIDI - Standing for Musical Instrument Digital Interface, this is an older technology and as such has some limitations when it comes to editing in stereo. There are however a lot of prebuilt MIDI patches available and MIDI offers a broad palette which should not be dismissed out of hand because of its age; indeed, MIDI is still in use in just about every studio.

2) Adobe Audition - This is a very easy to use software package which can provide even the home user with professional sounding mixing and mastering capabilities; again, it has some limitations, but its ease of use and its versatility make it a favorite of many.

3) Band in a Box - This is a piece of software for Mac systems that is ideal for smaller scale recordings and is designed largely for the novice. This software can help you build arrangements and as such is used by some as a sort of sketch pad for recordings. This by no means implies that you cannot use Band in a Box to make your recordings, however.

4) Cakewalk - At one time available only for Mac, this is now an option for Windows based systems as well. This is a MIDI based program which also offers some mixing and mastering capabilities.

5) Fruity Loops - This is more effective as a tool for creating and mixing loops than as a recording suite per se, although it can be used for both. A favorite of DJs and minimalists.

6) Vegas - Like Adobe Audition, Vegas is a multitracking solution which can also provide mixing and mastering capabilities. Individual tracks can be EQ'd just as in Adobe Audition.

7) Cubase - A larger and more complex program, Cubase offers a lot of versatility to the user. Unlimited numbers of patches (called VSTs) may be used on a single track for a full sound. Cubase also has a host of plugins and add-ons available for it which expand its capabilities. A great piece of software with a little bit of a learning curve.

8) Studio Vision - A higher end option for Mac systems, Studio Vision offers a lot of control over your tracks and is a top choice of professionals who use Mac systems in the studio.

9) Reason - Somewhat similar to fruity Loops, this is another suite which has found a large audience among DJs, hip hop producers and others who work with loops and rhythms. It can do more than this, but looping is its specialty.

10) Pro Tools - This is the industry standard software and one of the best known tools in the recording field. There are a lot of options for the use of VSTs and complete control over tracks. ProTools takes some learning to get the most out of, but its versatility makes it well worth the effort.

Each of these software options has different capabilities for producers and some programs will work well for some while not suiting the needs of others. If you know about all of these programs, you will be able to choose and effectively use their capabilities for your recordings.
About the Author
Kevin Sinclair is the publisher and editor of MusicianHome.com, a site that provides information and articles for musicians at all stages of their development.
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