Some time ago, I did a review
on Acid Music 3, a smaller brother of the Acid Pro 3. Smaller meaning
somewhat less features and a smaller number of effects possible, but
yet a powerful tool for audio production. Recently, Sonic Foundry came
up with Acid Pro 4. Just as we started testing, a letter came in announcing
version 4a, to be downloaded from the web site. So we did and we tested
that version. We did so by producing some files for my Dutch web log,
of which the URL is only of interest for Dutch language users. (http://pbdoetmee.blogspot.com).
The productions were also used in a classroom of the Conservatory at
Novosibirsk (Russia), where production techniques and concepts as provided
by Acid Pro 4 are not very well known yet, and where software like Acid
Pro can be of great help as an educational tool, but still is something
to dream about due to low funding possibilities.
* Acid Pro 4 main interface.
The main interface basically not changed. It is still very complete
and easy to use. Even complete new bees will find there way in the interface
very quickly. It is very intuitive, which is very important for musicians
who do not want to struggle with long learning curves.
Acid Pro 4 comes with a few new Sonic Foundry effects, such as Resonant
Filters, Track EQ, and Flange/Wah Wah/Phase. Acid Pro 4 also includes
20 Direct-X audio plug ins. This collection gives you a complete base
for effects production, and the quality of the effects is good enough
to get you started with even real professional productions. Maybe, after
some time when your demands become more serious, you want to buy some
extra effects stuff from Sonic Foundry or other suppliers to get an
even more better result. This basic package will save you the money
for quite dome time, that's for sure.
* Automated effects. You can chain the effects in one window, click
the desired effect box, and alter the settings, all in just a few mouse
Acid Pro 4 is capable of "importing" VST Instruments. This
means that you can activate any VSTi compatible sampler or soft synthesizer
from within Acid Pro, thus opening a huge range of possibilities for
* Acid Pro 4 supports the use of VSTi, virtual instruments under VST,
like the emulation of a Hammond organ in the screen shot above.
Acid Pro 4 contains a professional piano roll midi editor, that is very
well equipped and comparable to midi sequencing editors you find in
the more expensive range of software. The big advantage of midi integration
into Acid Pro 4 is that you can treat the midi tracks the very same
way you do with audio tracks. They can be stretched perfectly to any
tempo, thus making the match between midi and digital audio a very easy
job to do. And isn't that what musicians like most? Furthermore, midi
tracks can be rendered with effects just like the audio tracks. A very
nice way integration solution. Acid Pro 4 now supports the Yamaha Open
Plug-In Technology (OPT) as well.
* A full piano roll midi editor enables you to combine digital audio
and midi (external instruments of those compatible with VSTi) for a
maximum of flexibility.
If you have any Surround aspirations, Acid Pro 4 will even help you
out in this case. It supports Surround version 5.1, a standard widely
use in e.g. DVD productions. Provided you have a surround audio set
in your (home)studio, you can make instruments running' around your
head if you like. With the orange dot in the interface below, you can
pinpoint position the placement of any instrument (per track, be it
audio or midi). This is -as far as I know- the very first software on
Win tel that makes using Surround so easy.
* Yeah! Surround support!
Time signatures is maybe one of the most creative parts of Acid Pro
4. It allows you to select time signatures anywhere from 2/4 to 9/8,
or even create completely customized time settings from 1/1 to 99/32.
This may sound a bit confusing, but after some experimenting with this
feature in the file Sixteen (see list of productions below) we found
this a very easy to use and creative part of the package. Very challenging!
* Alternate time signature so you can easily "glue" differently
timed audio files into the right rhythm.
Looping the loops.
Loop cloning is a new feature, that makes it incredible easy to distill
new loops out of existing loops. You can select the new to be loop and
past it directly into a new track, thus making all hassle of saving
and importing no longer existing. The saving is done automatically.
* Loop cloning. The is a very handy feature when producing dance stuff
and the like. It provides you with an easy way to expand your arsenal
With the Beatmapper, you provide imported loops or audio files with
extra info. Using this info, Acid Pro 4 will be able to stretch and
pitch the file. An absolute must if you want to adjust external files
into an existing production.
* The Beatmapper. Enhance samples or complete audio files with extra
Beatmapper information, so Acid Pro can handle it in terms of pitch
change and time change.
Ripping a CD or burning a CD from within Acid Pro 4 application is a
job easy to do. Provided you have a CD-R of course, you can directly
burn your productions to an audio CD and let the world know about your
work. Very handy.
* Acid Pro 4 lets you rip and burn CD's.
If you're in for clip production, version 4 now offers import
of Windows Media Audio and Video (.WMA and .WMV). It provides you with
some basic features to match audio and video, but if you really want
to go all the way in this field, you will need Vegas
Video, reviewed earlier in this site.
* Video scoring, an interesting feature that enables you to put
your music and a video clip together.
Maybe the most important enhancement in version 4 is deeply hidden:
Acid Pro now supports low latency ASIO drivers, providing professional
users with faster results. ASIO is well know for it's high quality and
low latency, resolving one of the biggest problems in digital audio
production on computers.
Info on all new features.
If I was to describe all new features here,
it would take me a complete weekend to do the job. But why do extra
work when Sonic Foundry already made a very informative sub web where
all the features are explained in an excellent way, including screen
shots of most of them. So, being lazy this time and having some production
work to do, I give you here the URL to this sub web so you can absorb
the huge amount if info there for yourself. It gives you a very detailed
idea of what you get when you by Acid Pro 4:
If this info is not enough for you yet, you will find a comparison chart
between version 3 and 4 at following URL:
We did a several productions with Acid Pro 4, all published on my Dutch
web log. The files (MP3) are not streamed, so you have to download them
as a whole. Most samples are from the CD full of ready to use samples
you get with Acid Pro 4. Some are downloaded from the free stuff you
can get at Sonic Foundry's Acid web site:
, 3,4 MB .
We rated version 3 differently: an 8.5 for average use, and a 10 for
Dance use. But: the 3 we tested was more limited (the Music edition,
not the Pro), and this 4 we tested was the Pro. Our affection to Sonic
Foundry has become a bit bigger again with this new version, as it is
very, very complete, has easy to use tight integration of digital audio
and midi, and tons of features that makes music production life easy.
A very fat 9+ is well deserved,
as far as we are concerned. You get tons of value for a very reasonable
price. If you're serious about your music production and want to do
it the easy yet professional way we say: go for it! Trying is believing,
and says more then a thousand words here. You can download
a trial version at Sonic Foundry's web site to see for yourself
why we are so enthusiastic about Acid Pro 4.
Nothing to complain about? Yes of course: why is this software not available
on Mac under OS X 10.2? Would be a huge hit, I can tell you guys at
Sonic Foundry. Come on, start the coding today!
As you may know by now, AudioMac.net
tends not to mention pricing in the online reviews, so you'd better
have a quick look at www.sonicfoundry.com
for pricing info.
All reviews in AudioMac.net are written by Peter
J. Bloemendaal. All rights reserved.
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