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14 February 2012

TOONTRACK EZMIX 2 | £115 (€139)

REVIEW
It seems like only 18 weeks ago that I was banging on about Toontrack’s preset-toting, multiFX plug-in EZmix. I could reiterate, but in keeping with the ‘get results quick’ nature of this OS X 10.5+ PPC/Intel and Windows XP-to-7 friendly, VST/RTAS/AU, 32/64-bit instant-fairydust tool, I’ll point you to last October’s MuzoBlog post on the original EZmix. Welcome back. Now let us concentrate on the new in version 2. Most obviously, it looks rather different.

The sliders are no more and instead we’ve two small and two medium-sized knobs to play with. The small ones are for controlling input and output levels, while the larger knobs’ assignations change depending on the preset loaded via a revamped menu system. And what a groovy system it is, in that it can be interrogated in a number of ways. Menus are arranged by instrument-group, instrument, effect, type and genre, as well as by any of the Toontrack preset packs, including the Producer editions on which MuzoBlog will be reporting soon.

Owners of v1 should note that existing presets, plus self-authored and saved configurations, show up in v2. So you can whittle down the burgeoning collection of presets by category type, or by key-word in the text-entry box above the menus. And so to the right-hand side of EZmix 2’s interface for the most obviously obvious change: Some neat graphics showing which bits of studio kit are active when a preset is loaded. They’re completely unnecessary, but make the plug much more fun. If visual appeal is high on your priority list, let’s get our multimedia mojo engaged and make with a walkthrough video. And excuse MuzoBlog-sponsored artist Doktor Fell's inline advert - he's just exceedingly chuffed to have arrived at #1 in the ReverbNation UK Rock Chart. Ah, the power of MuzoBlog promo. Give him a listen and sign up as a fan, when you've a moment...

13 February 2012

GROOVE 3 REASON 6 EXPLAINED | $39.99*
MUSIC PRODUCTION WITH REASON & RECORD | $24.99

REVIEW
Being a father, I’ve been browbeaten into the harsh reality of multitasking. The art of doing something while doing something else that's a bit different, but no less necessary, does not come easily. However, you do end up getting things achieved in less time. Can you see where this is leading? Look at the title again and see if you can guess (for non-women and non-fathers, I'll spell it out). I'm reviewing two Groove3 video tutorials about Propellerhead Software's Reason; tutorials that come from different angles. I aim to see if they complement each other, thus offering you the potential to get more done, or whether I've just repeated a few hours of my life for no good... Ahem... Reason.

General opinion seems to be that Reason 6 heralds the 10-year-old DAW's coming of age. The 'wot? No plug-ins?' gripe seems like a small grumble in the face of fully integrated audio support. Sure, there are three more effects units, plus some tweaks to the interface, but v6 seems like a solid and consolidated base from which to build future versions. However, back in the day, v1 induced head-scratching, what with all those wires and with trying to figure out what a unison thang was and why you’d use it. The back-in-the-day bit is my way of saying that Reason is not new to me, so Reason 6 Explained by Sedric Pieretti could well wind up telling me a lot of what I already know, but with a few new things along the way. Well, let's see about that...