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Sonic Foundry Acid Pro 3.0 8/10

Acid has been used by most amateur computer musicians everywhere. However, with the advent of Acid Pro 3.0, even pro musicians should start using it. Essentially Acid comes bundled with loads of samples. My download only version did not come with any samples, but having owned earlier versions, I can say that generally the samples are reasonable but I would try and make your own using Fruityloops 3. The main problem is that with everyone owning Acid, everyone uses the same samples!

Esssentially Acid is like a multitrack audio scrubboard. You make tracks and drag samples on to them. Acid loads up the samples into memory, so you can instantly apply effects, change key and even change the tempo on the fly! The main new feature in Acid Pro 3.0 is the Beatmapper, which helps you find the BPM of a song so it can be easily remixed. Dance music can be easily remixed since Acid will detect all the bars properly. However, for ordinary music, you will need to point out the start of virtually every bar, since Beatmapper can't do it adequetely for you. Basically you have to manually quantise the track. This takes about twenty minutes for a three minute song. Also new is the chopper feature which lets you cut up samples into tiny chunks and reorder them for cool effects. It is a good feature, but for good sounding effects you'll need to spend a while reordering the chunks till you get something funky! I think that the main use for Acid will be either to make dance remixes or dance mix CDs, since it makes the job so easy. Sonic Foundry regularly have remix competitions on their website, so if you own Acid Pro 3.0 it will fun to take part, since the loops available for download are usually "Acidized" to make them integrate easily into Acid. I recently got hold of a copy of Sonar XL, made by Cakewalk. Even this has special "Acid" features to make it integrate with Acid. You can edit loops from within Sonar XL. It shows how Acid is so widespread, even rival software companies are jumping on the bandwagon.

The range of plugins available in Acid Pro 3.0 is huge. There are plugins to add flanger, EQ, basically any effect you can think of. On top of that you also can use DirectX plugins installed earlier. You can choose to apply the plugins to all the tracks or just specific ones. It also integrates with Sonic Foundry's Sound Forge to make precise editting of samples. At $99 (special offer at the moment) Acid Pro makes a good tool for computer musicians. There is also a feature so you can add MIDI data, just like Cubase. Once you have finished your track, Acid Pro 3.0 will export it to a WAV ready to be mastered and burnt onto CD.