Sony Acid Pro 7 - a Review
A little about Sony Acid Pro 7
Before I start, let me admit that I'm a long-time Acid user. I've used Sony's loop-sequecing program for quite some time, as well.
Get it? Ok, sorry...
But seriously, I still have a shortcut to Acid Pro 5 on my desktop. It's done everything that I've asked of a sequencing program, and it's done it quickly and effectively. With the release of Acid Pro 7, though, Sony Creative Software (SCS) has upped the ante and created a fully functional DAW. Along with sequencing pre-recorded audio, Acid now has the ability to record multiple channels at once and a genuine mixer to smush it all together.
Now, I know I said "up the ante." Maybe I should have said "anted up." Virtually every other useful software audio-editing tool has had a proper mixer for quite some time. SCS just decided Acid Pro 7 should be the version to finally reach par, I guess. But all bitching aside, the mixer is pretty nice. The meters are big and easy to read. Busses and sends are given ample space to strut their stuff. And all the views are configurable so, if there's a fader you don't need, you can make it disappear.
The arranger view is same-old Acid Pro, and that's a good thing. For a Windows user, the GUI feels like an extension of the soul (or the mouse, if you're feeling less melodramatic). I still think drawing, painting, and erasing loops is the most efficient way to work, and SCS has left that functionality untouched in this version of Acid. Something new (to me, at least) is the availability of the piano roll inside the arranger. Editing midi tracks no longer requires me to open a new window for the piano roll. Lining midi up with audio is a breeze.
The major gripe I have with Acid (and I've had it for a long while) is that there's no option to control how the window scrolls while audio is playing. I often find myself tweaking the lengths or fades of loops at extreme zoom levels while the beat is playing, and as soon as I try to do some sensitive task, the arranger scrolls my perfectly placed cursor out of view. It's the cause of much cussin' whenever I have Acid open.
I won't say the bundled compressors are the best I've heard, but they sound like they've been improved from previous versions of Acid. I was able to get some punchy sounds out of bass and acoustic guitar tracks without them sounding overly squashed. The GUIs still need some work, though, if Acid users are to lose their synonymity with third-party-plugin purchasers. Oh, and the reverbs are still crap.
Bundled instruments are the standard affair. Some are decent, others are unusable. The drums, in particular, sound ok but need to be expanded. Most of the kits are just different combinations of the same sounds.
Some have described Acid's addition of a mixer and multi-track recording as "too little, too late." To me, they're the final touches on the best loop sequencer around. I don't think anyone should expect Acid to compete with Cubase. It's a professional tool for arranging audio, not recording it. When a beat needs to be composed quickly, Acid is my choice.