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Sonic Foundry ACID Pro 3
Advanced music creation and sample looping application.

By Jon Deragon, Visca Consulting
Tuesday, November 6, 2003; 3:00pm EST

Without a strong musical background, anyone interested in composing their own music were basically left stuck being unable to create music. That is, until Sonic Foundry produced ACID Pro 3. ACID Pro enables the user to create professional quality music with the ease of using a paint brush. No musical background? No problem! This application lets you focus on the sound of the music rather than the rules and complexities of music creation.

How does it work? Opening the program and creating a new music file presents you a screen with blank "tracks", and a window giving access to directories full of high quality "wave files" that are instrument and sound samples referred to as "Loops" in ACID Pro. You browse your collection of Loops as you would regular files in a standard directory structure. The program includes hundreds of loyalty-free (meaning you do not have to pay Sonic Foundry for royalties if your composition generates money) Loops with the ability to add thousands more through their Loop expansion packs, or by creating your own wave files easily with a wave editor. ACID Pro features CD ripping so you can create Loops directly off sounds from your own CDs as yet another way to create your own loops.

Once you have browsed through the sounds, listened to them through the auto preview feature, you can simply drag and drop them into the blank tracks of your song. Each Loop has its own track - allowing you to paint at what times you want the Loop to be played in your composition. For example, bring a drum Loop into track 1, bongo drums into track 2, a singing voice sample into track 3 and guitar into 4. You can then selectively place each instruments execution time along a timeline that forms professional quality music! But it definitely doesn't stop there. Increase or decrease tempo, pitch, track volume, and a host of equalization effects that you can apply. Amazingly there is an unlimited number of tracks you can add, making the complexity of your music limitless. While creating your masterpiece, you can preview it on the fly, even make changes to the song as it plays! Even use its full MIDI support to play and record music through a MIDI device.
Once you are happy with your production, or want to come back to working on it later you can save it in its proprietary ACID Pro format. Alternatively, you can export your music into almost any of the most popular media formats including WAV, WMA, MP3, AIF, RM and PCA. Allowing you to burn your music to CD, stream it through your web site, take it with you in your MP3 player or do just about anything you want with your new music creation.

The value of this $399.96US is exceptional. Not only do you get a full blown recording studio in your home or office with the ACID Pro application, but it also includes Sound Forge XP 5, a highly comprehensive wave file editing tool. Edit any aspect of your wave files but cutting, pasting, adding effects and changing just about any aspect of the audio in your waves files you want! Finally, Vegas Audio LE a full featured video / multi-channel audio mixer and editor. Allowing you to create full blown videos on your desktop! All of these applications have the theme of attractive and intuitively designed interfaces, an abundance of features and an ease of use unheard of until now in the music creation category of software. You are also given access to a number of Internet based services such as Get Media (provides free Loop and media downloads monthly) and a members area of ACIDPlanet (community of ACID Pro users you can share your music creations with and more).

Sonic Foundry has always had a winner with the ACID Pro product, and Version 3 is no exception. So if you are interested in composing truly top notch music with ease and simplicity - look no further than ACID Pro 3. ACID Pro requires Windows 98SE / Me / 2000 with 300MHz processor, 128MB recommended memory and approximately 60 megs of drive space. Supports multi-processor systems and dual monitor display. Available through the Sonic Foundry web site either as a download or sent express delivery on CD with a manual, or at numerous resellers nation wide.

About The Author
Jon Deragon is president and founder of Visca Consulting, a firm specializing in web design, development and usability for businesses of all sizes. His many years in the technology industry has enabled him to write quality, in-depth product reviews to assist businesses make more informed technology purchases. He welcomes any questions or comments you may have regarding his company's services, this review or interest in having your company's products reviewed.

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