Recording - April 2016 - 49

the right tool for massively layered or heavily tweaked sample content, it proved more
fun than a whoopee cushion.
The Omni sampler is a bit different, but
is equally fun for creating sample content.
In the case of the Omni, we have a grid
of samples, each with its own pitch, filter,
envelope and level settings. It is eerily similar to the Ableton Live Drum Rack system,
where each note receives its own grid.
However, unlike the complexity embedded
into Ableton's Drum Rack, each of the
Omni note-slots just gets a sample and
runs from there. Add a global modulator
and global volume control, and you have
a device that can create a serious drum or
sound effect matrix in minutes.
Glass Viper: Where the samplers do precisely what they say on the package, the
Glass Viper (developed by QuikQuak) is
somewhat under-defined. What is a Glass
Viper anyway? In practice, it turns out to be
an unabashed digital synth, sharing a lot of
heritage with software synths like Native
Instruments Massive or Absynth, or older
digital synths like the Korg DW8000 and
Prophecy. The sounds are in-your-face, and
wouldn't be out of place in a modern dubstep or hype-pop track. But I also found that
its unique method of waveform and voice
design allowed me to make all sorts of
entertaining and interesting sounds-all of
a distinctly 'artificial' nature.
This is also a synthesizer that really
responds to the effects that come with
Mixcraft. Taking the hyper-present, ultradigital sound and pumping it through a
sideband-controlled compressor, multiband distortion, or warbling filter/delay
rewards you with an amazingly rich
palette of sound. Good stuff!
Fusion Field Reverb: My friends know me
as a bit of a reverb fiend, and Mixcraft
Studio Pro 7 includes a new reverb that has
me entranced. The Fusion Field Reverb -
also made by QuikQuak - is a convolutionbased reverb that provides extensive control
over the sound and quality of the effect. It
also provides a display that combines both
frequency- and time-domain information displayed as a 'cloud' formation. While this
might sound like a difficult visualization, in
practice it couldn't be clearer. I mean,
what's more cloud-like than a reverb?
Behind the controls and the visuals,
though, is a sweet-sounding reverb that
can do smallish rooms or huge canyons
with ease. It was especially useful in creating large pads out of almost any source
material, and was so easy to edit that I
found myself perfecting reverb sounds
immediately. This is a very effective way
to work with natural-sounding spaces, and
is now part of my Arsenal Of Favorite
Reverbs.
A new user's viewpoint
As a new Mixcraft user, I got to experience the entire introductory process:

downloading, installing and learning. My
initial installation caused me a little grief:
for some reason, the sample content for
the default instrument was not properly
loaded, so I wasn't able to hear anything
when I'd follow the Quick Start instructions. But the online support for Mixcraft is
pretty amazing, and I quickly got the hint
that a reinstall was in order. Normally, I
might not mention this in a review-but in
this case, the resulting interaction with the
online community was so helpful (and
easy to access at 2 AM!) that it actually
ended up being a positive experience.
Learning the software was especially
easy due to a couple of things: the wonderful documentation and the videos available
through the Mixcraft 7 University. I received
the printed manual (along with the electronic text available through the application),
and browsed it to get a sense of the application and some basic concepts behind
how it works. I quickly found myself becoming comfortable with the basics (it aligns
well with most of the DAW concepts you'd
find in other software), some of the details
(video editing in an audio DAW at this

combination for self-education is so effective,
it should serve as a model for every other
recording software package!
In general, my experience joining the
Mixcraft party was entirely enjoyable.
Working with the Performance Panel as a
front-end to track creation, then using the
extensive number of plug-ins (and accessing my favorite third-party plug-ins), made
the system both efficient and just plain
fun. I personally found the mechanism for
selecting plug-ins to be a bit painful-it
could easily have been reduced to something more efficient than the current multistep selection system-but once I had my
plug-ins selected, the editing, mixing and
production environment all combine to
make a fun and productive musical environment.
And that plug-in collection is amazing.
For new DAW users, I can imagine the
plug-in set will provide virtually every sort of
sound one can imagine making, and a
whole lot more. Once you are interested in
custom sound design, the Alpha and Omni
samplers provide an easy way to do that
as well, opening even more creative doors.

price point-really?!) and especially the
deep set of included instruments and
effects. In addition to detailed information
about the entire application, the manual
also includes some extremely helpful sidebars that, in a breezy style, provide hints to
improve your efficiency or provide insight
into working with the software.
When it came time to get producin', it
was the online Mixcraft 7 University that
came to the rescue. This set of video documents, numbering over 60, begins with a
Quick Start guide describing the interface,
and moves through details like using the
sampling devices or working with the MIDI
editors. They are in-depth, super-informative,
yet quick-to-view tutorials on the software,
and prove very helpful and inspirational.
Every time that I found myself wanting to
know more about the software, I inevitably
found a video that would jump-start me on
my path, and a section of the manual that
would provide in-depth explanations. This

Conclusion
In previous reviews, John Rossi III called
Mixcraft a sequencer "for the rest of us". I
think that, if you look closely, you'll see that
this is actually quite true: these modestlypriced packages are constantly improving,
becoming as full-featured as any DAW
while maintaining an accessible interface.
Mixcraft Pro Studio 7 is a strong player
in this area, providing a Windows-based
platform for a variety of users: beginners,
educators and budget-conscious
recordists/songwriters. By providing a
multitude of ways to approach the software-as well as a start-of-the-art learning
portal-Acoustica has taken this package
and made it a potential player for almost
any DAW need.
Prices: Mixcraft 7, $89.95; Mixcraft Pro
Studio 7 (as reviewed), $164.95
More from: Acoustica, www.acoustica.com
RECORDING April 2016

49


http://www.acoustica.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Recording - April 2016

Contents
Recording - April 2016 - Intro
Recording - April 2016 - Cover1
Recording - April 2016 - Cover2
Recording - April 2016 - 1
Recording - April 2016 - 2
Recording - April 2016 - 3
Recording - April 2016 - 4
Recording - April 2016 - 5
Recording - April 2016 - Contents
Recording - April 2016 - 7
Recording - April 2016 - 8
Recording - April 2016 - 9
Recording - April 2016 - 10
Recording - April 2016 - 11
Recording - April 2016 - 12
Recording - April 2016 - 13
Recording - April 2016 - 14
Recording - April 2016 - 15
Recording - April 2016 - 16
Recording - April 2016 - 17
Recording - April 2016 - 18
Recording - April 2016 - 19
Recording - April 2016 - 20
Recording - April 2016 - 21
Recording - April 2016 - 22
Recording - April 2016 - 23
Recording - April 2016 - 24
Recording - April 2016 - 25
Recording - April 2016 - 26
Recording - April 2016 - 27
Recording - April 2016 - 28
Recording - April 2016 - 29
Recording - April 2016 - 30
Recording - April 2016 - 31
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Recording - April 2016 - 33
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Recording - April 2016 - Cover3
Recording - April 2016 - Cover4
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