Archive for January, 2015

Native Instruments presents Strummed Acoustic, a 8.5GB acoustic guitar libray that provides strumming patterns (as was Kontakt 2’s Akkord guitar) . It is priced EUR99. Audio demos are available.

Avid ProTools First

Posted: January 23, 2015 in Audio
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Avid announced ProTools First, a free version that includes most ProTools features : XPand2 synth plugin, Midi editor, Elastic pitch and time, 16 tracks recording, 20 effects (including D-Verb) that can be extended through the in-app marketplace, 3 free cloud projects.

Also ProTools 12 was presented, that will include collaborative cloud-based work.

Omnisphere 2

Posted: January 23, 2015 in Audio
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Spectrasonics presented Omnisphere 2, that adds 400 new waveforms, wavetable morphing synthesis, granular synthesis, new filters, 3000 new patches, a new interface and new effects. It is priced $499.

New audio interfaces were announced during winter NAMM :


Also Apogee presented Apogee Groove, a portable USB DAC (asynchronous, ESS Sabre DAC, 4 DACs per channel)

A few days after having replaced an Intel 320 160GB SSD with a Crucial M500 480 GB into my mac mini (mid 2010), the fan was going to run at maximum speed (that is 5500 rpm) time to time, wihtout any reason (the computer was cold, also reported by sensors). Using free MacFans control the HD termal sensor indeed seemed to work fine (SSD temperature ranges from 27°C to 40 °C), or it may be that the software also uses Smart informations (that is temperature reported from SSD internal sensor).

The SMC reset (unplung the mac mini for 15s, then plug it, wait 5s and finally power it up) didn’t helped. It seemed that playing games under Windows 7 (through Bootcamp) leader to more and more fan overuns. It was the same under Mavericks, then not Yosemite related.

I also noticed that the PSU (power unit) temperature was somewhat high (58 to 65°C) – didn’t remember that before -, however some reported even higher values for other mac models.

I finally ended using MacFan Controls (added to launch items), set to manage fan speed based on CPU temperature sensor, with 65°C as start for speed increase and 85°C for max allowed temperature (that is max fan speed). I may however change these values to 70/90°C as the mac is colder than before with these settings when playing games (I also uses the Windows version of MacFan controls).

OSX Yosemite slowdown fix

Posted: January 5, 2015 in Apple
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Yosemite’s UI slowdown seems partly due to too many interrputs coming from ACPI kernel driver.

sudo powermetrics -s interrupts

These news were reported by VMWare and Parallels :

It seems running OSX in debug mode (does not have any hit on performance) allows retrieving some speed (despite not at a Mavericks level) :

sudo nvram boot-args=”debug=0x10″

Also OSX Lion leaded to slow UI performance (same 10 times slower than previous Snow Leopard), that was fixed  by Mountain Lion. We wonder then whether we will have to wait for OSX 10.11 to retrieve acceptable performance or Apple is preparing a fix for next Yosemite update.

Update : there weren’t many interrupts per second (1 to 20) on mac mini (mid-2010) and adding the boot args didn’t helped (only 10 percent performance more in Quartz and OpenGL, no improvement in UI speed results). To remove the boot options, use this command :

sudo nvram boot-args=””

After removing these options some of the slight improvements were still present, however I ended with installing Mavericks back on another drive (as its UI is 10 times faster and OpenGL is 50 percent faster – I also now play games under Windows 7 through Bootcamp).

As expected, Roland released free FA EXP-09 (samples from SRX10 Complete Piano) and EXP-10 (samples from SRX06 Complete Orchestra).

Now they should provide new samples, as these are very old (strings sounds from SRX04 were released back in 2001, and weren’t really greater than the ones from 1999’s SRJV-12 Orchestral II, that I’m still using/layering with VSL and Hollywood Strings).

Also 2005’s piano samples from SRX10 still seem to be the basis for supernatural piano sounds (FP7-F one only improves their dynamic and resonance – some interpolation algorithms to model notes decrease from short samples data and smooth sample/layer switch, while managing equalizing differently in low end and providing better converters). Since JV80 Roland had the best samples compression technology and interpolation algorithm, however they now need new sample materials (or they will have to stay on synth like emulations and Z3TA like sounds).

It then seems we have reached a step in quality (no really new piano nor orchestral library these last 3 years – VSL Dimension Strings went towards more modelling/additive synthesis however the base samples weren’t improved, as these are used as partials).

This is time for custom stacked/layered sounds (I succeded in producing were nice Strings layers using SO, VSL, Strings Essentials, HL Strings and samples Roland SRJV12 stereo strings, also an impressive church organ by layering two famous D50 patchs with a free Kontakt based library). Electric guitars still rely on Amplitube.