In this part of our series on Digital Audio Workstations (DAWs) we will discuss Samplitude Producer, which is a more advanced music software than Music Maker. It contains a lot of the same features but with more functionality within them. It is also multi-track recorder, meaning you can record multiple signals simultaneously onto different tracks. For this reason it will suit bands and ensembles where you can record a live performance, rehearsal, or use it in a recording studio as it has all the functions found in a professional music studio DAW. Like Music Maker it has a MIDI editor, mixer, audio editor, software instruments, and professional effects to help you develop your songs. Compared with Music Maker each of these sections is enhanced allowing more detailed editing and transforming of data. While all this expanded functionality is great, a powerful feature with the software is to be able to customize how the program appears. This way you can stay focused on the task at hand and not get distracted by all the “bells and whistles.” I will now expand on some of these areas as well introduce some features exclusive to Samplitude Producer.
Audio Mixing, Effects and Instruments
The mixer in Samplitude Producer is similar to a hardware mixer found in a professional recording studio. Compared with the mixer in Music Maker it has more slots for insert effects, more auxiliary sends and more routing options. What this means is that the mixer becomes like an instrument allowing you to sculpt the sounds in a creative and intuitive way and gives you more control over every aspect of your mix. You have more scope for processing your sounds with better plug-ins(effects) and it is easier to manage large numbers of tracks, important in larger productions. The plug-ins included are studio quality, not that the ones in Music Maker aren’t, but they allow more precise control in particular of EQ and dynamics. Some of the off-line processes available in Music Maker are available as real-time processes here. These include Elastic Audio and re-sampling/time-stretching, including practical wizards for harmony recognition and beat mapping. Having them as real-time process increases their creative use and allows you to continue to refine their settings as the composition develops. There are additional virtual instruments included also worth mentioning; Jazz Drums, Century Keys, and Saxophonia. Using these,especially for the solo performer, can enrich a performance with ultra-realistic sounds to complement the performances you may be adding yourself. Finally the mixer features mastering tools, not a technique for the beginner to tackle but it completes the recording and production process and prepares your music for release.
Solo Jam Session
If you are just a solo performer there are additional tools to help with your compositions. Solo Jam Session is an automatic accompaniment tool that adds the perfect accompaniment to any music project with just a few clicks. The idea is comparable to working with a loop pedal or another performer. It lets you create complete songs single-evenhandedly. Begin with a simple idea, a small riff, or a chord progression. This is then recorded and put straight into an endless loop after the recording. Then, you can record a melody on a different track. For accompaniment there are many ways to record a song. Record everything by yourself. Here, the loop that was recorded first is set as a measure for the speed of the song in BPM (beats per minute). The buttons 1-8 function as mute or solo buttons depending on their set modes. You can also choose from one of the accompaniments provided, which come in numerous styles. The speed of the accompaniment can be divided in half or quartered, allowing you to play complicated MIDI parts or just for practicing. The other important thing about this tool is that its great fun! Recording in this way you can come up with ideas you might not of otherwise thought of, and of course there’s those accidents that turn into composition gold!
The Round Up
Other areas include a detailed wave editor for precision editing of audio, and more advanced automation control. I could go on, but hopefully you get the idea. While this software might be more advanced and hence difficult to initially operate, it does allow for more scope to develop your skills as a sound engineer and producer if that’s what your after. While for some Music Maker will provide all the tools they need for others the extra functionality included in Samplitude Producer will make it a must. In the next article I will discuss the ultimate DAW, Samplitude Pro X.