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Music, Audio, and Podcasting Do you use your Mac to create music? This is the place for discussions on creating and editing music on the Mac!

Summary of all the Audio Apps available for OSX


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robduckyworth

 
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So, a lot of musicians are moving to the Mac for their production needs. Whether you are a guitarist, drummer, singer/songwriter, Synth or MIDI enthusiast, engineer, or you just like to have a little bit of a jam now and again, there is an app for you.

DAW = Digital audio Workstation
Plug in = an virtual instrument or effect, that can be added to the program
MIDI = Musical Instrument Digital Interface
DSP = Digital Signal Processing
"ReWire" = Propellerhead's Software for integrating two DAWs (usually Reason into Pro Tools, Logic or Ableton) so that you can play the "slave's" instruments in the "host's" interface, and manipulate and so on.

DAW's

Garageband


Apple - GarageBand - Learn about Flex Time and other new features.

This comes free with any new Mac. It's a powerful production tool: you can record MIDI and Audio, through use of the Mac's in-built sound card, or through one of many third party interfaces available on the market. It comes with a large variety of virtual instruments, including piano, synths, guitars and so on, along with a lot of free effects plug-ins, including EQ and compression.

Can be expanded with "jam packs", essentially extra Loops and instruments.

Plug in format: AU (Audio Unit)

Price: Free (with any new Mac purchase, £8.99 on Mac App Store)

Ardour
ardour - the digital audio workstation



Completely open source: so it's completely free! works with any Core Audio Hardware, and is a pretty powerful free tool. MIDI support, Automatic Delay compensation, among a whole host of other features.

Plug in format: AU, LADSPA, LV2

Price: Free

Traverso
Home — Traverso DAW

Another open source choice. Powerful Recording and Editing facilities. takes a "lightweight" approach to the interface.

Plug in format: LV2

Price: Free

The Two "Big Guns":

Avid Pro Tools HD/LE
Avid | Pro Tools




Industry standard in recording studios. Great Hardware and software. Good range of included plug ins, good work flow, support for most formats. Slightly let down by the less common plug-in architectures, as freeware third party plugs are rare, and a lot of commercial ones can be expensive. (RTAS) MIDI is not as good as other DAWs, but does include a decent Piano Roll, Score Editor and automation.

HD systems use DSP PCI-E cards: taking the load off the computer, effectively running all the Signal Processing off the Pro tools Hardware. Makes for a very stable system. Unfortunately means you cannot run PT HD on iMacs, or Macbook, or Macbook Pros. There is however, a Pro Tools HD Native product line, which combines with an audio interface.

Pro Tools LE can be ran natively on the whole mac range, and as of PT 9 supports most third party interfaces.

Plug in format: RTAS (LE/HD) TDM (HD only)

Price:
£101/$163 for Pro Tools 8 M-Powered
£249/$402 for the Mbox mini/PT9 combo
HD systems vary, around £1600/$2587+ - there are alot of options, most beyond most people's needs.

Logic Express/Studio 9
Apple - Logic Studio - Logic Pro 9



A Great step up from anyone used to Garageband, but wants more features. Support for all interfaces, and in particular, has massive MIDI potential. comes with a great range of bundled synths and FX. The Piano Roll and Score Editor are great, Automation is extensive, good tool menu. Editing Audio is easy, and exporting to samplers takes two clicks.

The upgrade to Studio (Logic Pro) includes surround support, and includes a few more features, also including around 40GB of royalty free Apple Loops, aswell as extra Applications for burning CDs, and performing live (Mainstage.)

Logic is compatible with Garageband Jam Packs.

Plug-in Format: AU

Price: £160/$199 (express) £298/$499 (studio) Student discounts available.

Other options:

Cubase
Home*Welcome to Steinberg*|*http://www.steinberg.net/


Just as powerful as Pro tools or Logic. good for Audio or MIDI. Uses a more common format for plug ins, meaning plug ins are easier to come by, so more instruments and FX.

Plug in format: VST

Price: various versions available, starting at £126/$203 for "Essential 5". comes bundled with many interfaces.

Ableton Live
Ableton - Ableton Live Home



Ableton is an interesting app for production. It has a non linear workflow based on "clips", or sections of audio or MIDI that you arrange into a track. can be used in live performance situations, or for creating tracks, or DJ mixing.

This app is great for MIDI enthusiasts, but lacks great audio functionality.

It's a really interesting app for those who don't like to "work in a straight line".

There is a free demo "Lite" version available.

Can be used as a ReWire slave and host. This is the only app that can do this.

Plug-in formats: VST, AU

Price: "lite" version bundled with many interfaces. Full Live 8: $449 (various other versions available)

Reason/Record



Propellerhead Software

Great MIDI production suite. Has some powerful synths, sampling and drum machines. can be "Rewired" (effectively "plugged in" to another DAW, such as Logic, or Cubase, to use the included instruments and FX inside that host DAW.) Record adds a whole host of Audio capabilities.

Plug in format: none.

Price: £299/$449 (Reason/Record Duo).

DJ Apps

Native Instruments Traktor
NATIVE INSTRUMENTS : HOME | HARDWARE AND SOFTWARE FOR MUSICIANS, PRODUCERS, DJS, GUITAR AND BASS PLAYERS

Popular commercial app & hardware. Used by a lot of professional DJs.

price: Various hardware bundles; around £159/$257

Virtual DJ
VIRTUAL DJ SOFTWARE - Download VirtualDJ Home FREE

Another popular commercial app. A free "Home" version has just been released on the Mac App Store.

price: Free (Home) $329 (Full)

Mixxx
http://www.mixxx.org/

Open source DJ app, that is compatible with a variety of controllers.

price: Free

DJay
http://www.algoriddim.com/djay-mac

Easy to use DJ application. integration with iTunes and multi-touch gesture support. $49.95

System Audio Recording/Podcasting

Audio Hijack Pro



Rogue Amoeba | Audio Hijack Pro: Record Any Audio On Mac OS X

Great for recording system audio, or specific applications, or podcasting. Can use a wide variety of effects. ID3 tag editing, supports most file formats, including AIFF, MP3 in multiple bit rates and so on. Can be automated to record at certain intervals.

Plug in format: AU, VST

Price: Single license: $32, 5 licenses: $59

Audacity



Audacity: Mac OS X

Free alternative to Audio Hi-Jack Pro: completely open source. Uses FFMpeg and LAME encoder libraries, powerful options for audio editing. Edits Ogg Vorbis, MP3, WAV or AIFF sound files. Full feature list here:

Audacity: Features

Plug-in format: LADSPA

Price: Free

CD Spin Doctor

Roxio CD Spin Doctor 6 - Overview

Uses Gracenote for automatic tagging: analyses waveforms. Also good for recording LPs or other analog sources.

Plug-in format: none

Price: Free with Toast Titanium 10/11

Converters

Max
Max from sbooth.org

multiformat CD ripper. for those that love obscure Music file formats: MP3, Ogg Vorbis, FLAC, AAC, Apple Lossless, Monkey's Audio, WavPack, Speex, AIFF, and WAVE.

XLD
Download X Lossless Decoder for Mac - Encode, transcode, and play various music file formats. MacUpdate.com
similar to Max.

(Ogg) FLAC (.flac/.ogg)
Monkey's Audio (.ape)
Wavpack (.wv)
TTA (.tta)
Apple Lossless (.m4a)
AIFF, WAV

NCH Switch
Audio Sound File Converter Software. Convert wav, mp3, dvd, midi, dvf etc.

Convert between a variety of formats. Requires Flip4mac for Windows formats (A little bit buggy, i recommend EasyWMA over this)

Price: various versions, starting at $12.49

EasyWMA
EasyWMA

In my opinion, the best way to convert Windows formats.

Price: $12.99

All2MP3
Download All2MP3 for Mac - Convert APE, MPC, FLAC, WV, AIFF, WAV music files to MP3. MacUpdate.com

Simple, easy to use drag 'n' drop MP3 encoder.

Misc

Soundflower
Soundflower – Cycling 74

Great app for routing Audio around your system. Comes up as an Audio device in System preferences.

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Last edited by robduckyworth; 03-20-2011 at 05:38 PM. Reason: added more Apps
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robduckyworth

 
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Misc - Cont.

ReCycle
- Products - ReCycle


Creates Rex Loops for use with Reason's "Dr REX" sample player. Rex Loops are a special kind of loop where tempo can be changed without affecting pitch. Rex loops are also compatible with all the commercial DAW's above.

Price: $249

Reaper
REAPER | Download

Can't believe i forgot this one. This an amazingly powerful, extremely cheap DAW. Great Audio & MIDI functions. becoming more and more popular everyday. Starting to become recognised in the industry (Soundonsound coverage, among others).

Has an unlimited demo, try for as long as you want, however you should buy a license after 30 days.

Price: Personal use: $40. Commercial: $150

Clipping Detector
Clipping Detector on the Mac App Store

Find out how many clipped samples your currently playing song has.

Price: Free

EZDrummer
www.toontrack.com/ezdrummer.asp

create realistic sounding drum tracks.

Notation Software

Avid Sibelius
Sibelius - the leading music composition and notation software

Powerful Score Editor for professional Composers and songwriters. Includes guitar tab view and piano view.

Price: £449/$615 (Full version)

MuseScore
MuseScore | Free music composition & notation software

Open Source alternative to Sibelius. Isn't as polished and doesn't have as many functions, but perfectly good for a lot of Users.

Price: Free

Guitar Pro 6
Guitar Pro 6 - Tablature software for guitar, bass, and other fretted instruments

Great tab editor, reads .gp tab files (common on "Ultimate-Guitar.com"). plays back in real time. recently released an iOS version too.

Price: $59

Tablatures
Download Tablatures for Mac - Guitar/bass tablature editor. MacUpdate.com

The only decent free alternative i have found; although technically it is shareware. compatible with Powertab files, and Guitar Pro 3 to 5.

Price: Free (With Limitations) $55 (Full)

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Last edited by robduckyworth; 03-20-2011 at 07:51 PM.
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Nice post Rob!
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Quote:
Originally Posted by McYukon View Post
Nice post Rob!
Virtual ++ as I'm out of real ones
Ditto
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robduckyworth

 
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Haha thanks alot guys. hopefully it helps out some people wanting to start creating music.

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Don't overlook Audacity.
It can be quite useful for filtering out noise.

http://audacity.sourceforge.net/download/beta_mac

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Nice Rob, useful stuff.
I would like to add in Audio Hijack Pro too, as it's probably my fave for quick, but versatile recording to my Mac. They have a whole suite of decent stuff as it goes.

Rogue Amoeba | Audio Hijack Pro: Record Any Audio On Mac OS X

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okay guys, added to the main list. also added prices.

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Cool. Not sure if it applies, as it's a ripper for CD's etc, but as it's multi format might be worth adding. Have a look and decide Rob.

http://sbooth.org/Max/

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Last edited by Kevriano; 03-20-2011 at 07:29 AM.
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yep, I will add a section for Rippers. i quite like Max, i beleive you can rip to FLAC etc, and it can use LAME libraries.

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Yes, Max is awesome, all formats including Monkeys Audio, so universal really.
While your at it, add XLD too then

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevriano View Post
Yes, Max is awesome, all formats including Monkeys Audio, so universal really.
While your at it, add XLD too then
haha already there

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Switch, Easy WMA?

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevriano View Post
Switch, Easy WMA?
Phwoar you are getting demanding! hang on

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Lol, just adding my thoughts, I'm sure your on top of it though.
Great idea for a thread though.

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