Like it or not, music in the late 20th century is all about sampling. Pop music, hip-hop, rock, techno, and even jazz, are increasingly being built around sampled sounds and bits and pieces of existing music that are cut, pasted and played repeatedly in what are called loops. The software company Sonic Foundry has built a stellar reputation among musicians, amateur and pro, with its excellent desktop sound editing tools. The latest release, Acid Pro 2.0 ($399), is an amazing piece of software that is as easy to use as it is powerful and sophisticated.
If you can drag and drop objects on your Windows PC, you can make music with Acid Pro. Your tunes are built around libraries of sound loops that come with the program, or can be purchased on separate Loops for Acid CDs ($59.95 each), and downloaded from the company's Web site (or elsewhere on the Internet). You can also record your own audio and introduce it into the program.
The interface is divided into three sections: a window showing a graphical list of your tracks; a track view showing the "audio events" you have loaded; and a multi-function area for editing tracks, navigating the library of tracks on your PC, and accessing a audio mixer and an effects generator. The manual has an excellent quick-start section that will have you cutting and pasting audio masterpieces (well, pieces, anyway) in less than an hour.
The Pro 2.0 version adds support for the insanely popular MP3 audio format, the ability to burn your tunes directly to CD, and advanced effects and mixing features. A button on the program even offers a link to ACIDplanet.com, where you can upload your tunes to a community of Acid users and download others' output, which can then be sampled, looped, edited and re-uploaded ad infinitum.
A cheaper, more limited version for casual audionauts, Acid Music 2.0, is available for $99.95.
Information: 800-577-6642 or www.sonicfoundry.com
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