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June 2013

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The DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) continues to grow and evolve, giving recording musicians more options and flexibility to create better music. In our June issue, we celebrate the new DAWs of 2013 and bring you a fascinating slate of reviews and articles on the subject of computer musicmaking.

In this issue, we offer updates on the lastest developments in five major DAW platforms: Ableton Live 9 (with a look at the new Push control surface), Cakewalk SONAR X2, MOTU Digital Performer 8, PreSonus Studio One 2.5, and Steinberg Cubase 7. Our reviewers live and work with these programs every day, and bring you a professional's perspective on what really makes the new versions worth investigating, underneath the sexy new features that dominate the marketing.

There's more to this topic than reviews, of course. Also in this issue, Devon Brent helps de-mystify the fiercely complex world of CPUs, motherboards, peripherals and more, for recording musicians who want to get the most from their audio PC systems with the least heartbreak. And sound library designer Yuval Shrem explains the myths and realities of getting virtual instruments to sound like the real thing.

And that's not all! Paul Vnuk Jr. reviews the newest Universal Audio LA-2A plug-in by comparing it to the real thing (also by Universal Audio) and teaches readers about the history and the magic of this legendary limiting amplifier. We review a handmade preamp from Ingram Engineering, the high-quality Quartet interface solution from Apogee, soundware products from Arturia, Rob Papen, Modartt, Tone2, and more.

All this plus Recording Fundamentals, our Readers' Tapes column, a look at the 2013 SXSW Festival, and more. Whether you're way into computer recording or just getting your virtual feet wet, you won't want to miss the June issue of RECORDING!

Pick it up now on the newsstand... and so you get your next issue early (and save on cost), why not hit the big red SUBSCRIBE NOW button on this page and have RECORDING delivered to your door each month?


Reviewed & Revisited: Ableton Live 9 and Push   |   Reviewed by Mike Metlay with Mark Mosher

The newest edition of Live adds remarkable workflow enhancements and some great new sounds. Also: a look at the exciting new Push instrument/controller for Live.

We've been covering Ableton Live since version 1 (way back in ......Expand

Universal Audio Teletronix LA-2A Classic Leveler Collection for UAD-2   |   Reviewed by Paul Vnuk Jr.

Three new software versions of one of history's most famed dynamics controllers... and for the curious, we provide a refresher course on the hardware version and compare it to the software!

In what has become a familiar stor......Expand

Apogee Quartet   |   Reviewed by Mike Metlay

This high-end interface provides exquisite sound and flexible controllability for your Mac... or your iPad.

Apogee has been making waves in the world of Mac-based digital audio for years. We've reviewed high-end systems base......Expand

Reviewed & Revisited: Steinberg Cubase 7   |   Reviewed by Paul Vnuk Jr.

A revamped mixing environment serves as centerpiece for an across-the-board slate of improvements.

I have been a dedicated Cubase user since the days of SX. In September of 2009 I wrote about Cubase 5, in March of 2012 I too......Expand

Reviewed & Revisited: MOTU Digital Performer 8   |   Reviewed by Jim Combs

New effects, new video support, and the beckoning world of 64-bit audio make this DAW a compelling new contender-for Mac, and now for Windows as well.

Each time I sit down to review the latest version of MOTU Digital Perform......Expand

Ingram Engineering MPA685   |   Reviewed by Scott Dorsey

This handmade 2-channel preamplifier exudes class in construction and sound.

The Ingram Engineering MPA685 preamp is one of an increasingly rare breed of preamplifier: a preamp designed to be clean and accurate while using t......Expand

Reviewed & Revisited: PreSonus Studio One 2.5   |   Reviewed by Mike Metlay

A free upgrade brings significant tweaks to tracking, comping, session organization, and more.

We've enjoyed watching the birth and growth of PreSonus's DAW Studio One. It burst onto the scene just a few years ago, offering ......Expand

Reviewed & Revisited: Cakewalk SONAR X2   |   Reviewed by Allen Goodman with Mike Metlay

The pre-eminent PC sequencer steps into the age of Windows 8 with a huge slate of refinements and intriguing new support for multitouch displays.

As a Cakewalk user since the early DOS days, I've found it an interesting jour......Expand

RECORDING's Showcase Of Sounds   |   Reviewed by Mike Metlay, Paul Vnuk Jr., Devon Brent, and Richard Shore

Arturia Spark Vintage; Tone2 Saurus; Rob Papen Blade; Modartt Pianoteq 4.5.

Released a few years ago, Arturia's Spark Creative Drum Machine is part of a new trend of hybrid percussive workstations that marry a physical USB c......Expand

For Your Bookshelf   |   Reviewed by Jim Combs and Mike Metlay

Hal Leonard offers handy DAW guides for Digital Performer and Studio One.

I often talk to musicians who are contemplating a move from their first DAW that came installed on their computer, to a more fully featured DAW like M......Expand


SXSW 2013 -- From Guerilla To Gorilla   |   Written by Marc Urselli and Greg Arens

New ways to promote your music abound at the SXSW Conference in Austin, and our intrepid reporters take you there to learn all the juicy details.

You are a recording musician and an artist, and all year round you try to find......Expand

Finding Fault   |   Written by Devon Brent

Sometimes figuring out how to make your Windows audio PC work better is as simple as truly understanding what's wrong with it. Sometimes.

In our March 2013 issue, we covered how to tweak your Windows 7 machine for optimal plug-in pe......Expand

Mock-Up Magic   |   Written by Yuval Shrem

There's an art and science to getting your virtual instruments to sound like the real thing. When it works, it's magic.

Often people ask me what makes a MIDI mock-up work. What creates that magic that turns multi-sample libr......Expand

Recording Fundamentals. Chapter 18: Headphones -- Part 1   |   Written by Eric Ferguson

Think we're done with monitoring yet? Ha! Join us as we discuss the truth and myth of what's happening between your ears.

Many years ago, while I was a student at a recording school, an instructor strictly prohibited the cla......Expand

Fade Out   |   Written by Scott Dorsey

A Compression Story.

Back in the late 1920s, an engineer working for Marconi Electronics in Chelmsford, England, came up with a really ingenious idea. Francis Money Graham Murphy was born in 1903 as the son of a clergyman, w......Expand

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