Mixman StudioPro 4.0
For years, Mixman Studio has been the standard in remix software. Beatnik, Inc., acquired Mixman Technologies in 1999, and the latest version of the software, StudioPro 4.0, gives the user even more options for creating and disseminating their mixes.
Installing the PC-based software is simple, but can be time consuming if the user loads all of the sample files. By default, the program opens in the Control Room, where users can select from four different studios to create and tweak their mixes. This multi-studio dimension is what sets the StudioPro software apart from the Mixman Studio software. The Remixing Studio is the heart of the system and the most likely choice for creating the mix; the Recording Studio allows users to record new sounds to use in their mixes; the FX studio provides tools to alter the characteristics of the sounds; the Editing Studio enables users to fine-tune their mixes to create a professional sounding finished product. The mouse or keyboard controls the commands and processes of each studio.
Unlike MIDI sequences, which can be created one track at a time in step-time, Mixman mixes are created by combining up to 16 tracks of audio files in real-time. In the Remixing Studio, each track is assigned a position on one of two virtual turntables and can be turned on or off by selecting or unselecting its position [End Page 107] on the turntable. When loading each sound, the software uses a series of algorithms to match the tempo of the new track to the tempo of the mix, either by altering the time or pitch of the track, depending on the user?s preference. Up to eight macros can be created to activate or deactivate multiple tracks at the same time. Controls on the virtual turntable adjust the panning, pitch, and volume of each track, as well as the tempo and balance of the mix. The Remixing Studio also features a Wideband Audio Real-time Processor (W.A.R.P.) control that allows the user to add special effects to the mix while recording, such as flanges, delays, phasing, and other distortions.
Because mixes are created in realtime, users will likely want to use the Editing Studio to adjust their mixes. This studio helps users make precise adjustments by adding, removing, and moving track data. Pitch, volume, and panning effects can be edited, and data can be quantized from whole note to 128th-note for uniformity.
StudioPro 4.0 has a number of options for saving and distributing completed mixes. Files can be converted to popular formats, such as WAV, MP3, WMA, and RealAudio, as well as the proprietary TRK and RMF formats. Mixman mixes can also be exported to the Soundfont 2.0 format to be used with Sound Blaster and other Soundfont-compatible sound cards.
The latest version of StudioPro gives two options for Internet mix sharing. The first, My Mixzone, is a customizable Web page at www.mixman.com that allows users to share either a RealAudio preview of the mix or a remixable file. The other option is Mixman Radio, which broadcasts mixes to other Internet users who can listen to and rate the mixes.
DM2 Digital Music Mixer
Although it is possible and enjoyable to create these mixes using the computer keyboard and mouse, some users might want a more tactile approach to the process. For that, Beatnik has created the DM2 Digital Music Mixer. This is a USB controller which allows users to take a more "hands on" approach to creating their mixes. The controller looks like a pair of turntables with a few buttons, a 360-degree joystick for W.A.R.P. effects, and a crossfader. The installation of the software is simple, but the hardware can be tricky. If the controller is plugged into the USB port before the...