The Tracks-window (shown above).
As you may have guessed, the Tracks-window is the most important window
of all (at least we think so). Here you can get a What You See Is What
You Hear (WYSIWYH) overview of the audio you recorded or imported (up
to DAT-level of 48000 Hz thus including Audio-CD quality at 44100 Hz,
but also the 22050 Hz level which is so typically for CD-ROM productions
like games). When importing, Deck II supports a professional range of
audio formats: SoundDesiger I and II, AIFF and WAVE. When Mixing to
Disk (a handy tool that lets you create ready-mixes on your harddisk)
Deck II supports enough ranges of formats to cover all your needs: SoundDesinger
II (SDII), AIFF, SND (the Sound Resource files for Mac), WAV (the Windows
Wave-format) and QuickTime. You can choose between all comon sampling
rates at MixDown and set mono or stereo mixing. At the left side of
the Tracks window you will find all you need for soloing, muting and
recording ("S", "M" and "R" buttons), and also here you can read about
dB-settings per track, and switch between the audioview, the panning-view
and the volume-view. The screenshot below shows the volume-mode, where
you can fully automate the volume mixdown of each track by adding edit-points
en drag these point up and down and left to right. The example below
shows an automatic fade-in at start and an automatice volume decrease
The Mixer Window (shown above)
gives you full control over your audio. Above you saw the automating-proces
of panning and volume-setting by drawing lines: in this window you can
get the same results by moving the volume- and panning-faders in this
complete virtual mixing console. As on a real mixing console, here you
also have buttons for solo, mute and record-enable. The four popups
above each chanel give access to realtime effects. In the example above,
on track 1 and 2 we have activated a Graphic Equalizer, a Chorus and
a Delay 1. We bypassed the Delay to have a "better ear" on EQ and Chorus
(the purple light was clicked grey to bypass). The settings of these
effects can be changed in the Effects Window, which looks like this:
The Effect Window gives you all
the sliders you need when you actived effect-popups in the Mixer Window.
In the example above we boosted a bit at the 60Hz level (the bass),
we dimished a bit in the midranges and pushed up the high to make "Bell"
sound more crispy and fresh. The changes can be monitored in realtime:
you do not have to wait till calculations by the Mac are done (such
as in SoundEdit): you hear directly what you are doing, just as in the
real world. Great. In the screen above we just activated the Graphic
EQ and bypassed all other effects to get a clear audio picture. Of course:
the number of effects you can apply to a track are in theory endless,
but in real time restricted to the power of your Mac (harddisk speed
and RAM). Especially the Reverb-effects need horse-power and two different
Reverb-effects on one track on a -lets say- 6100 PowerMac (the machine
we used to test Deck II for this review) will bog down this machine.
The effects are non-destructive: the original recorded audio remains
untouched. This makes that you can freely experiment with the effect
settings without damaging your original audio. You can use these effects
on playback and at MixDown, not while you are recording. In our opinion
this is the most clever way to work. Record clean, and add effects afterwards.
We already have used Deck II's earlier versions in our StableStudios and were very happy to have it on our harddisk. With this new 2.5.2-release, Bias "killed" the few minor negative aspects of earlier Decks and gave us a truetime virtual recording, editing and postproduction studio that matches all our needs. But not only in the professional studio environment Deck II is in it's place. The Mac-owner, who wants to do some real audio editing at home, will be very happy with Deck II as well. And most important of all: he/she can afford to do so: Deck II is priced very reasonable if not cheap. On every PowerMac with stereo input, you can preproduce completely your own Audio-CD. Only when it comes to the final processing you will need a professional place like a recording studio that can do the final touch for you. We do not mention streetprices here, as we really do not know what the prices in each country are. Contact Bias or your local Mac software dealer or musical instruments store for pricing information. But one thing we know: Deck II 2.5.2 brings high level audio recording and editing at an awfully cheap price. Go for it: you wont't regret it!
All reviews in AudioMac.net are written by Peter J. Bloemendaal. All rights reserved.
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