Archive for October, 2013

New Mac Pro vs iMac

Posted: October 28, 2013 in Apple
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By selecting a custom built 21.5′ iMac though the Apple Store (quad Core i5  2.9Ghz, 16GB ram, 256 GB SSD) we get it only EUR 1000 cheaper than the new entry-level Mac Pro, that provides a quad Xeon 3.7 Ghz (also 10 MB cache vs 6MB for the i5), a faster memory bus (1866Mhz vs 1600 Mhz for the imac), two AMD FirePro D300 with 2 GB VRAM each (Nvidia GeForce GT 750M with 1GB VRAM for the imac) . Moreover the Mac Pro’s graphics cards can be upgraded (also it provides more extensions/ports) and it runs more silent and is likely more reliable.

Apple then does not provide true choice between the mac mini and Mac Pro (iMac processors and graphics cards are mobile versions, that are less powerfull than desktop’s ones).

Bioshock Infinite’s Burial at Sea – Episode one DLC will be available this November, 12 on mac and PC. It will allow exploring Rapture submarine world before first chapters’s events. That is all we thought about when played the original game. This DLC may provide even better recreation of this world thank to the use of Unreal Engine 3 (Bioshock 1 used Unreal Engine 2 with cutomized water rendering).

Cyan Obduction

Posted: October 25, 2013 in Games
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Cyan started a new project, Obduction, through kickstarter. They reached mid $1.1M goal in a week, while there is still 3 weeks remaining. The game design keeps Myst principles, while providing a larger world to explore, and using the latest Unreal 4 engine, that now allows same quality as pre-rendered graphics (Myst V however also used a full 3D modeling technique, and ended as looking less convincing as previous Myst IV – that used an hybrid approach). The game is due late 2015.

Following 5,29 GB download, OSX Mavericks’s installer stated 34 minutes total installation time, and while the volume was an SSD, it didn’t install faster than announced (was closer to 45 minutes). Moreover it took more than 5 minutes to complete the installation while stating one minute remaining (we could check it wasn’t stalling by looking at the log file through the menu). When restarting it added a 7 minutes remaining step, however this one completed in 2 minutes.

In fact the installer kept all previous user files and custom system/library components (audio plugins and applications specific libraries and settings) and preferences (even mysql and apache document root), then providing a fully working upgraded system (no backup required).

The new Apple Maps applications is stunning, with perspective varying when looking from top, and even allows full exploring/navigation mode (from sides with various depths). Details and experience are far more better than with Google’s solution.

Finder windows list view use lighter gray for files informations (as to focus on files names) and sort columns labels. It feels even more responsive than Mountain Lion (that was faster than previous versions). Rendered icons in grid view look sharper, that may come from either optimizing or use of a darker background. Also icons in Preferences panel are redesigned and larger.

The new activity monitor shows more usefull informations, and we now see that non running/front applications use minimal resources after a while (including the activity monitor).

Using benchs show huge performance increase in FFT (on par with Snow Leopard – was way slower in Mountain Lion), that may be interesting for audio applcations. The new OpenGL is 44 percent faster than Mountain Lion’s one (was slower than Snow Leopard). User interface tests results were even greater (50 percent increase) than with Mountain Lion.

UPDATE :  php module hase to be activated again (uncomment loadModule in  /etc/apache2/httpd.conf) and php.ini has to be created and edited for mysql socket (sudo cp /private/etc/php.ini.default /private/etc/php.ini,  then sudo vi /private/etc/php.ini and set  mysql.default_socket = /tmp/mysql.sock in [MySql] part). Finally in phpMyAdmin has to edited to add $cfg[‘Servers’][$i][‘user’], $cfg[‘Servers’][$i][‘password’] and set $cfg[‘Servers’][$i][‘host’] to (socket problem if localhost).


MacBook Pro Intel Iris /Nvidia 750M/320M

Posted: October 23, 2013 in Apple

New MacPro’s Intel Iris video chipset is three times faster than 3 years old NVidia 320M one (and only 20 percent faster that previous Intel HD5000 chipset). Higher end 15″ MacBook Pro models fitted with Nvidia GeForce GT 750M dedicated grahics card provide more than two times better framerate than the Intel Iris chipset.

Bioshock Infinite is available at discounted price (EUR 25.99) at While not officially supported on Nvidia 320M chipset, it seems working well. Moreover using new Mavericks free OSX update, performance may be even better (then we may not need the new $2999 mac pro and keep the old mid-2010 mac mini – very silent and power efficient with an Intel SSD).

Aspyr reported Bioshock Infinite’s performance problems on Mavericks when using Nvidia graphics cards with high settings.

UPDATE : the game indeed runs fine on a mac mini mid 2010 (8GB ram, 320M, Intel SSD) with default low settings (sets textures to very low) at 1280×800 resolution, and still looks good (providing you don’t look close to some textures – it however keeps nice lightning effects). Using custom mid settings (medium textures level) we get more detailed textures while keeping a playable game, however the framerate stutters (pauses) regularly, which may be due to the Mavericks/Nvidia bug.

8Dio : 8W epic orchestra

Posted: October 15, 2013 in Audio
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8Dio announced 8W (aka The Eighth Wonder), a large epic orchestra samples library that features :

  • 8 Microphone Positions (Black Edition*).
  • 2 Microphone Positions (Silver Edition).
  • 100 Strings.
  • 60 Brasses.
  • 60 Woodwinds.
  • 20 Percussionists.
  • Hybrid Sound Design*.
  • Massive Synth Ensembles*.

Audio demos are available here.

Best Services presents Shevannai, a vocal Kontakt samples libraries (3,6 GB) that provides 5 different true legatos (a,e,i o,u), 33 words, 27 staccatos, 113 phrases in different keys (A,Bb, C, D, E, Eb, F and G), 52 phrases in Elven Language reciting some Elven poems, 57 whispered phrases, 110 different whispers, and also 20 complementary synth soundscapes. Audio demos are available and it is priced 149 euros.

Aurora : Kontakt samples based synth

Posted: October 15, 2013 in Audio
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Aurora is a new Kontakt 4 based synth plugin, that uses samples waveforms (4.2 GB, 150 multisamples) and a new engine : up to 5 sound sources layers, arppegiator mode, 13 modulators, 18 convolution IRs. It will be available this October, 20, at 125 euros/$169 starting price.

Amp Vision

Posted: October 15, 2013 in Audio

Aegean Music presents Amp Vision, a new guitar amp plugin targeted to metal guitar. It provides 28 amps, 12 effects pedals, 64 bits and stereo processing, no added latency. Moreover it is priced $28 only and a demo version is provided.

Novation and Beat magazine provide two samples packs (sounds and loops, 400 MB each) from Novation’s Bass Station II : bass sounds, lead sounds, FX, arps and drum kits. These can be downloaded by becoming Novation and Beat fans on Facebook.

Echo| collective provides free experimental instruments for Kontakt 5 :

  • Camera : series of samples that come from recordings of the Canon 7D camera.
  • Shrieking Dulcimer : based on the bows, scratches and dissonant impacts of an old dulcimer.
  • Malfunktion : a series of recordings from various software synths.
  • Micro Magnetic : comes from a pair of magnets that are shaped like eggs and sound like rattlesnakes.

These are available for download here (also some interesting libraries there).