Color7 Music Editor is an audio-visual editing and recording software solution, which supports many advanced operations with audio data. Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.
MAGIX Music Maker 17 Silver is a free version of the original MAGIX Music maker, which is a commercial software. The MAGIX Music Maker as always been a hit ever since it came out in 1994 and is commercially very successful throughout Europe. Multiple inputs and software-based mixers allow both audio and MIDI signals to travel some convoluted routes inside the PC. When MIDI sequencing was in its infancy, a single MIDI Out supporting up to 16 different simultaneous sounds was considered absolute luxury.
This also made housekeeping easier, since it also avoided having to select a unique MIDI channel number for each track - if you wanted to run one different instrument on each of eight MIDI synths by selecting channel 1 on each of your eight MIDI Outs, that was up to you.
When computers became powerful enough to add audio recording and playback facilities to MIDI sequencers, many more signals started to be routed through single systems. A single PC may be called on to simultaneously run software sampling, software synthesis, MIDI sequencing, and audio recording and playback.
If you are using a real-time software synth or software sampler, the routing may be even more complex, since these are mainly MIDI-controlled. Despite the many advantages to the user, there are still few MIDI drivers that have multi-client capability.
There is a multitude of possible options when configuring multi-client overlays, depending primarily on whether you merely want to tweak the sounds during playback, or whether you want to record the real-time movements made in the synth editor using your sequencer.
Complications can arise if both your MIDI + Audio sequencer and the software synth want to access the same soundcard output. When it comes to soundcards that feature onboard digital mixers and effects, the possibilities can multiply even more alarmingly. As long as you are only running a single music application, operation should be relatively straightforward (especially if the user interface has been well designed). You can in many cases switch between several applications when you need to tweak a sound or effect, and in this instance it is comparatively easy to understand what is happening - you start playback in the sequencer, switch to the synth editor or softsynth, adjust some onscreen controls or load in a new sound from your hard drive, and then return to the sequencer.
When it comes to routing your music signals between multiple applications, a much bigger leap of understanding may be required.
However, before we talk of the mixing possibilities, it is important to understand the distinction between real and virtual tracks.
Although many sequencers claim 'up to 256 virtual tracks' and 'up to 256 MIDI tracks' this is rather academic, since although the developers may have written their software to cope with these maximum figures it is highly unlikely that anyone will ever be able (or even want) to achieve them. Many people find it initially confusing when they upgrade to a soundcard with multiple outputs, expecting to find a drop-down list of these outputs when they select an audio channel for playback. Another advantage of virtual tracks is that you don't have to record a separate instrument on each one - you could have several different takes of the same instrument on different virtual sequencer tracks, but route them all to the same hardware output. If you are careful you can also record several tracks during the course of a song using the same virtual track, as long as the individual sections don't overlap. Most software synths will install a virtual MIDI port, so that you can treat them just like any other MIDI module. All PC MIDI interfaces need driver software, and Windows provides a standard way to let any music application access them. When you install a software synth or virtual sampler - in fact any piece of software that provides MIDI control of a software generated signal - the same situation applies. Some software synths can also generate MIDI data, or modify existing data being passed to it.
The main complication with this type of software is that apart from its internal MIDI connections, it is also carrying out all the calculations (or reading and manipulating existing sample data) to generate audio waveforms, and so must normally be routed to a soundcard before it can be heard. Attempting to run a software synth simultaneously with a MIDI + Audio sequencer by sharing the same soundcard is trickier to do. When it comes to hard disk audio recording and playback, the routing possibilities instantly become more complex, largely because of real-time plug-ins. Sometimes manufacturers provide tight integration between their soundcard and a particular sequencer - a good example of this is the Lexicon Studio system, where the twin PCM90 reverbs simply appear as VST-compatible plug-ins. So far, the typical audio signal path is very similar to that of an analogue mixer, but the situation gets more complicated when you have a soundcard that features its own all-singing, all-dancing digital mixer. One of the big potential problems if you decide to base the bulk of your studio in the virtual environment of a PC is the huge number of controls that have to be accessed using a mouse. However, there are various things that the software developer can do to streamline the onscreen experience. Here you may be faced with a multitude of choices, since you could for instance use the sequencer EQ and effects, the soundcard EQ and effects, or a combination of both.
Even more flexible are products such as the Creamware Pulsar and Soundscape Mixtreme, since you can also choose which plug-ins to run in the DSP chips. Whatever combination of sequencer and soundcard mixing, EQ, and effects you choose, you will still need to route your audio signals through both.
A typical example (and one that I use myself) is the combination of Cubase VST and the Yamaha SW1000XG soundcard. To route the VST tracks individually to the SW1k, you need to arrange the signal routing so that each separate VST Monitor mixer channel is sent to one (and only one) soundcard mixer channel. Now, starting at the left-hand side of the VST Monitor mixer, you change the output routing of the channels in pairs - one pair to each stereo buss. For a more complete picture of your audio environment, a graphical approach is probably the most effective.
It gets more complicated if you want to have a full picture of your system, as you would have to tell the application just what is connected. Having done this, the output from each VST playback channel will now appear on a single channel inside the soundcard digital mixer. Many soundcards like the ones mentioned above provide plenty of internal facilities, so that the majority of users may never need to send audio signals back into the outside world.
Exactly as before, you enable any required additional output busses, and then route your Monitor Mix channels in stereo pairs with hard left and right Pan positions. Steinberg have already announced that the next PC release of Cubase VST (version 3.7) will feature a much more integrated approach to adding software synths. As I discussed in April's PC Notes, Cakewalk's AudioX is a driver specification that should also allow soundcard manufacturers to get many of their special soundcard features more integrated into the sequencer itself, rather than run from separate utility programs. It only remains for MIDI interface and soundcard manufacturers to realise the importance of multi-client drivers, and for multi-channel audio drivers to be more accessible to multiple applications, and we should find the problems of routing far less daunting. Registered Office: Media House, Trafalgar Way, Bar Hill, Cambridge, CB23 8SQ, United Kingdom.
The contents of this article are subject to worldwide copyright protection and reproduction in whole or part, whether mechanical or electronic, is expressly forbidden without the prior written consent of the Publishers. So easy to use ANYONE can make music, yet so powerful it is used by professional musicians - UK number 1 hits were produced with this software!
This new editor not only can help you display a waveform image of an audio file, filter, apply various audio effects, format conversion but also can help you synthesize speech, extract CD track, do batch converter and burn new CD. The features in the software originate from MAGIX‘s own musical workstation known as Samplitude.
But, there is a small problem with that, most music creation software are meant to deal with even the frequencies, amplitudes, and speed and many other complicated things that revolve around Music.
The basic features of the Music Maker includes Mixing tracks, Importing Sound files, Sound Pool, Sound effects, Virtual instrumental effects and microscope mode.
The minimum requirement to run the software is 3 GB of Hard disk space, 512 MB of RAM and a 1.4 GHz processor.
Martin Walker untangles his virtual cables to explain how best to get them out at the other end.
Most of us started with this configuration, and wondered why on earth anyone would ever need to use more than 16 different instruments - indeed, for many musicians this is still quite sufficient. However, this did make the signal path potentially more confusing - more often than not if nothing was emerging from the MIDI Outs it was because the data was being sent to another port by mistake! The latest MIDI + Audio sequencers can handle 32, 64, or even 96 audio channels, while simultaneously juggling hundreds of possible MIDI channels.


Apart from the strain put on the processor and hard drive, this also creates a huge number of possible routes for music signals to pass through the system. The output from a sequencer MIDI track will then need to be routed internally to the input of this additional real-time application, with the audio output of the real-time application either routed to a soundcard hardware output socket (so that you can mix the signals externally using an analogue mixer) or internally to your sequencer (so that you can use its own mixing and effects engine). When you want to connect both your sequencer and a synth editor to the same MIDI output, so that you can play back while tweaking the sounds, both applications have to access the same MIDI port simultaneously.
Various helpful developers have written small freeware or shareware utilities that 'sit on top' of the MIDI driver, intercept multiple streams of MIDI data, merge them together, and then pass on a single stream to the original driver. Thankfully the authors of such utilities know all the options, and one example of a web site showing many of the possible options is that of Gary Gregson, developer of the popular XGedit (see screenshot, below). At best you may get a polite error message from one or other application, but even with a multi-output soundcard you won't always get the option to allocate some of the outputs to one application and the remainder to the other. Some soundcards have many hardware inputs and outputs; others have only a single stereo input and output, but many internal audio channels that provide extra DSP features. All of the functions can be accessed from a single set of drop-down menus, and the internal routing of signals will soon become familiar. For instance, if your soundcard has an onboard digital mixer as well as your sequencer, do you use them side by side, or do they have to be used one after the other? For instance, most hard-disk recording software allows you to record far more discrete audio tracks than you have hardware audio output sockets. In the case of MIDI, 256 tracks means using 16 separate MIDI Outs, and this is certainly feasible, but there is still a big difference between supporting a large number of MIDI Outs and transmitting 16 instruments on each and every one. Although it would be possible for a hard disk recorder to have each playback track hardwired (directly routed) to a hardware output, you would immediately lose the advantages of virtual tracks. This allows you to piece together the perfect performance without having to worry about having it all in one long recording, and there are no problems even if some areas overlap, as long as each is played back using a different virtual track. This has the advantage that your hard drive won't be working quite so hard, since each virtual track is a single stream of audio from your hard drive.
The MME (MultiMedia Extensions) allow any physical MIDI device to have one or more entries that appear in the Multimedia section of your PC's Control Panel (although only the MIDI Outs are listed).
Extra entries may appear in both the MIDI Input and Output list, but in this case they will be 'virtual' MIDI ports, since they don't physically exist as sockets.
Native Instruments' Generator is one such, and its 'Generator internal Midiport' therefore appears as an extra port in the Input side of your sequencer. The easiest option is to have a separate soundcard used solely for this purpose, and either mix its analogue output with the rest of the music using an external mixing desk, or connect its digital output (if available) to the digital input of a second soundcard, and then use the first card to provide the master clock (see the Deck of Cards PC Musician feature in the February '99 issue for more details on this latter approach). ASIO soundcard drivers can only be accessed by a single application in most cases, which rules out this approach.
This lets you work entirely within a single application, which certainly makes the routing a lot simpler to understand. In addition, there are up to eight effect sends provided for each hard disk playback channel.
However, such integration is rare between different products, and this is where the routing becomes more complex. With complex hardware DSP-based digital mixers and effects, you are often faced with routing your audio first through the 'in-house' mixer provided by the MIDI + Audio sequencer, and then routing your audio through multiple output channels into a second mixing utility that controls the DSP-based routines running on the soundcard itself.
It's hardly surprising that so many hardware control surfaces are appearing - these provide a much better hands-on interface, as well as making it far easier to alter a variety of different controls in a short space of time.
In my opinion one of the most effective is the Adaptive mixer, as used by both Emagic in Logic Audio and Cakewalk in their sequencer range. When you really do need to get 20 software mixer channels displayed side by side, but only 16 will fit across your monitor screen in the current resolution, the only alternative is to change the resolution. I suspect that most people use a combination of both, since most soundcard manufacturers provide a fixed set of effect options that run inside the DSP chips on the soundcard, and you can supplement these with a selection of more exotic third party plug-ins.
There are many combinations of sequencer and soundcard, and of course some of them provide specific support for each other. There are five effect busses available on the 'SW1k', and 12 internal audio channels available through the standard Windows MME drivers as six stereo pairs. To make sure that only a mono signal is sent to each of the 12 soundcard channels, you also need to set the Monitor mix Pan positions alternately hard left and hard right. It does have the disadvantage of requiring extra memory, but there is nothing to stop developers launching it on demand as a stand-alone utility as and when required (although it would take several seconds to appear). From this moment on you could forget about the VST mixer, and instead adjust EQ, effect sends, and overall levels using the soundcard mixer. You could set each VST monitor channel fader to 0dB and do all the mixing on the soundcard, or you could use the VST fader automation and leave all the soundcard faders at similar nominal positions. Although the setup procedure is initially a bit fiddly, you don't ever have to launch the VST mixer again if not required - you can mix entirely within the third-party application if you prefer. However, many musicians still have plenty of expensive and irreplaceable outboard gear, or want to route multitrack recordings to another recorder such as an ADAT. The only difference is that rather than appearing as another channel inside an internal soundcard mixer, the audio signal will emerge from the hardware output socket in question, where it can be connected to whatever external gear you need. Great care has been taken to ensure accuracy in the preparation of this article but neither Sound On Sound Limited nor the publishers can be held responsible for its contents.The views expressed are those of the contributors and not necessarily those of the publishers. For newbie, more humanistic settings are set up, and then newbie can deal with the multifunctional editor in few steps.
However, only a few of these features are available in the Silver edition and also the available features are limited. Overall, users can do most of the things that users need to for creating music as the option to import sound files is enabled. The problems started when musicians began to use multiple MIDI modules, since it was often difficult to make sure that data sent on one channel only resulted in sounds from one module. A further complication is that there are real and 'virtual' tracks - the differences between these two can initially be a great cause of confusion (see later). Apart from the performance data that the PC may be receiving from MIDI and Audio inputs, and the previously recorded MIDI sequence tracks that are now being sent to multiple MIDI outputs, and the multiple audio streams being read from the disk drive, other software applications may also be generating audio data in real time that needs incorporating into the final mix. With a multi-client driver you simply select the same MIDI port in each application and get on with some creative work. It's a bit of a fiddle to have to use these, but they do make life an awful lot simpler in the long run. Sometimes getting any audio to emerge from your monitor speakers at all is a pleasant surprise.
However, more and more musicians are finding that they need to run several applications so that they can access every aspect of their system. What happens to your audio signals is now determined by the combination of two applications, and you have to consider them both simultaneously. This is because modern processors have sufficient power to add together all of the data from dozens of tracks in real-time, reducing them (at the simplest level) to a single stereo output signal which then gets routed to your soundcard stereo output.
When it comes to audio, few people will venture beyond 64 audio tracks, and most will be more than happy with 32 or fewer. For many musicians, the most important of these is that you can record and playback far more tracks than you have physical output sockets - in this respect the hard disk recorder is very unlike a hardware-based audio recorder like an ADAT, where each input is permanently connected to its own track. If there are any overlaps, your sequencer will have to choose which audio stream to continue with where the two coincide.
We now enter the world of virtual routing, where software applications talk to each other without the aid of physical cables. With basic applications like the Windows Media Player that can only access a single MIDI interface, it is the highlighted output that is used during playback.
However, they act in exactly the same way: if you want to hear a sound from a software synth, you need to send note information to the appropriate MIDI port. You can use this to receive any MIDI data emerging from Generator, so that you can record it in your sequencer. However, both MME and DirectSound drivers normally allow you to allocate multi-channel soundcard ports in stereo pairs, and so you can send the output of a software synth to one stereo pair of outputs, and still use the remaining outputs to replay hard disk audio tracks.
These are normally set up to be totally wet, and are then combined with the dry amount set by the channel fader position. Rather than showing a huge number of mixer channels on screen, only the ones used by a particular song are displayed.


The Echo Console utility supplied with the Event soundcards is an example of a mixer that can be resized at will - the disadvantage of this approach is that it never looks as elegant, and it is harder to implement. For instance, nearly all music needs at least one decent reverb (even if you are going for an upfront 'dry' mix, you will still need some ambience to add depth).
Using those of the soundcard will minimise the processor overhead, since they use the DSP power of the soundcard itself.
However, the most complex example is when you have two completely separate mixers to configure - if you understand this then the other possibilities are comparatively easy to follow. Although you can use as many virtual tracks as you like from your hard drive, only 12 mono (or six stereo) channels can be sent individually to the SW1k. First you need to enable the extra output busses, by clicking on the relevant 'Active' buttons on the Master channel. This ensures that each playback channel only gets routed to a single mono channel in the soundcard mixer. A point-and-click graphical interface such as that provided by Creamware with their Pulsar system (see screenshot, left) really does make it far easier to see at a glance just what is connected to what. Its Environment page is extremely comprehensive, and once new users have battled through its intricacies the first time, they are rewarded with a MIDI + Audio application that knows all about every hardware component connected to the user's system. In this case I have shown the 'analogue' mixer from XGedit, which provides access to every aspect of the SW1k.
Since in the case of the SW1k its faders can also be automated using MIDI controllers, there is also an argument for taking this approach - this would certainly allow you to use some sort of hardware controller more easily.
There are also many hardware control surfaces appearing, and while these don't affect routing, it will mean that there is more pressure on sequencer manufacturers to make their mixer EQ and faders accessible using MIDI controllers. This is a fully featured, award winning music creation program - an entire recording studio INSIDE YOUR COMPUTER!
Add effects like reverberation, chorus, and echo, and burn it to a CD, post it on the internet, or e-mail it. Users may record any type of effect from the real world and insert it into the music maker, or can create an effect or track which they have downloaded from the internet.
Separate MIDI Outs started to be dedicated to particular keyboards or modules to avoid these problems. Moreover, over the last year or two the equation has become even more complicated, with the arrival of audio plug-ins, hardware DSP-based plug-ins, software sampling, and real-time synthesis. If the driver doesn't have this capability you will get an error message when you attempt to open the second application, along the lines 'Device already allocated!'. One of the best known is Hubis Loopback, and I use this myself with my SW1000XG, to run both Cubase VST and XGedit95.
Let's break everything down into more manageable chunks, and see how it all connects together. Modern soundcards with onboard digital mixing often need a secondary utility to access their full range of features, and of course special-purpose applications such as software sampling and synthesis will also need their own application running - even if you are not editing or loading sounds, the application will still need to be running in the background to continue to create the audio streams.
Even with a cheap stereo consumer soundcard you can still work with dozens of virtual tracks, and it is up to the musician to decide how many discrete tracks should be played back simultaneously. Normally the 'most recent' recording will be used, so for instance if you start your song with piano, and then later on introduce a guitar solo using the same virtual track number, the guitar solo will override any remaining piano part. To do this you simply select the new virtual port from inside your sequencer and treat it just like an external MIDI keyboard or module.
This avoids constantly having to resize multiple windows and arrange them side by side to show the whole mixer - when you launch the Mixer (or Console view in Cakewalk) the entire mixer appears in a single window, making it far quicker to use. Far easier to produce, and a system that some developers are starting to use, is to provide small, medium, and large display options for the mixer that can be switched at any time.
Reverb is one of the most processor-intensive of all effects, and if you have the option to use one based in DSP chips then go for it. However, you don't need to buy another soundcard to have more tracks in your songs - you could create submixes to one or more stereo pairs if desired.
When the stereo Master and the five additional busses are active, you will find all six stereo busses available when you click on the Output routing buttons found at the bottom of each monitor mix channel.
For instance, VST channel one would be set to hard left and routed to Master, channel two to hard right and Master, channel three hard left and Wave 2 (Buss 2), channel four hard right and Wave 2 (Buss 2), and so on. Most ADAT owners will prefer to use a card with 8-channel optical connectors for this purpose, but whatever the type of output, the principles of routing remain the same.
This should help with integration, by allowing you to access more features from within a single software package. Open, create, and save audio files in any of the supported formats (you can also save any portion of a loaded file to a disk as a new file). And if users have used them then they would understand the simplicity of the MAGIX music maker. So, the possibilities of first-class music creation, with this free version of the software, are endless. The maximum possible number largely depends on the speed of your hard drive (see the Easy Access PC Musician feature in the December '98 issue for more details on this). Even if the two tracks show up as different horizontal strips on your Arrange page, it is the virtual audio channel number that counts.
These sends can also be used to set up several different monitor mixes that could each be routed to an individual hardware output if you use a soundcard that provides multiple outputs (more details on this in a moment). Some studio owners may want to display a hundred virtual mixer channels to impress their clients, but most of us would I'm sure much prefer only to see the active mixer channels for the current song. Even better would be a zoom feature like those in some graphic packages, where you could click the zoom tool at the section of the mixer that you need to view more closely, and the entire mixer would expand around this point, so that your mouse is still sitting on the same (but now larger) control ready for tweaking. Because their DSP resources are not shared with other functions, on-card effects can also afford to splash out more DSP power on a single effect than can the designers of software plug-ins, so you can sometimes get a significant improvement in audio quality.
You might for instance use the VST mixer to add EQ and DirectShow or VST-compatible effects to a group of playback channels, and then route this entire submix to a single pair of SW1k hardware channels, leaving the remaining ten free to have individual hardware effects added. It may help to name these busses - apart from the Master buss, all the others can be renamed, and in the screenshot I've changed them to Wave2 through to Wave6 so that they relate directly to the soundcard mixer names.
Here is the official description for ACID Music Studio: If you're serious about making music, Acid Music Studio is the perfect tool for original song creation, audio recording, MIDI production, studio-quality mixing, and effects processing. Finally, the Master Channels also have up to eight Insert effects, for global changes to the overall mix. Edit audio files visually: cut, copy, delete selection, delete silence, paste, paste from file, mix, and mix from file. Share your songs any way you want – burn CDs, upload to the Web, or export to MP3 for portable devices such as the PSP® or iPod®. Apply various effects: amplify, compress, delay, equalize, fade in and fade out, flanger, invert, normalize, phaser, reverberate, reverse, silence, shrink, stretch, vibrato, etc.
With built-in tutorials to guide you, you'll be composing, remixing, and mastering like a pro in no time. Capture one track at a time or the whole band at once with each instrument on a different track. Add and edit extra information to your audio files: album, artist, comments, copyright, genre, title, and year. Add studio-quality effects Spice up your music using effects such as EQ, reverb, delay, chorus, and distortion. ACID Music Studio 8 includes Studio Devil™ British Valve Custom guitar amp and TruePianos™ Amber Lite piano plug-in – a set of powerful studio-quality software packages. Capture one track at a time or the whole band at once with each instrument on a different track.More about recording and import Add studio-quality effects Spice up your music using effects such as EQ, reverb, delay, chorus, and distortion. ACID Music Studio 8 includes Studio Devil™ British Valve Custom guitar amp and TruePianos™ Amber Lite piano plug-in – a set of powerful studio-quality software packages.More about mixing and editing Create new music with MIDI Perform complete MIDI editing, recording, and sequencing. Manipulate MIDI data directly on the ACID Music Studio timeline with a piano roll or a drum grid interface.




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