Audio Heaven: Spark, Peak hit OS X, free SampleTank for OS 9

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Date: Tuesday, November 20th, 2001, 09:20
Category: Archive

What a week for pro audio on the Mac: Peak DV for digital video mavens doing pro audio work ships for OS X (and 9!), SparkME for OS X offers a free downloadable version of this pro audio package, and the SampleTank Free for VST and MAS back on OS 9 gives us, among other things, a free high quality piano multisample. Fire up those broadband connections, and forget the Macy’s parade — spend Thursday playing with Mac audio!

What a week for pro audio on the Mac: Peak DV for digital video mavens doing pro audio work ships for OS X (and 9!), SparkME for OS X offers a free downloadable version of this pro audio package, and the SampleTank Free for VST and MAS back on OS 9 gives us, among other things, a free high quality piano multisample. Fire up those broadband connections, and forget the Macy’s parade — spend Thursday playing with Mac audio!

First off, both of the Mac’s two most popular stereo audio editors are appearing native for Mac OS X, with full support for Apple CoreAudio, the high performance audio engine I talked about yesterday in my OS X Audio series. Neither of them is appearing in their full version; for that you’ll have to wait for TCWorks to ship its flagship Spark XL and LE, and Bias to ship Peak 3.0.

TC Works’ free download SparkME is a core version of SPARK, the realtime audio editing and processing application, and inherits its bigger sibling’s integrated database/playlist and powerful processing features. This is no crippled version: ME still has unlimited undo, sample-accurate waveform display, VST plug-in support (meaning, presumably, you can in fact use VST plug-ins within Apple’s CoreAudio and not just plug-ins written specifically for X), and playlist capabilities with realtime crossfade and Toast export. QuickTime movie support offers frame accurate and stutter-free movie playback for media production. File format support includes all QuickTime-imported formats, AIFF, WAV, SDII, and sample rates up to 32 bit / 192 kHz for DVD support (and beyond!) with realtime sample rate conversion so you can monitor such files even without the hardware to do it.

BIAS Inc.’s Peak DV was previously only available to users of Apple Final Cut Pro, but for the first time it’s available to anyone for retail purchase (list US$199) — and it’s on X. Peak DV tailors this leading audio editor for digital video creators, with support up to 16 bit / 48 kHz sample, VST audio plug-ins, QuickTime movie support with full chase lock – even during audio selection, advanced marker and region implementation, batch file processing, unlimited undo/redo with complete edit histories, built-in DSP processing including a high-quality time compress/expand algorithm, gain envelope, and multiple simultaneous audio document display rates. And DV includes a free version of BIAS Freq Paragraphic EQ for “sweetening” DV projects. There’s OS 9 / ASIO support, too, so you won’t be without Peak DV when you boot back into 9.

IK Multimedia’s SampleTank Free brings this fantastic virtual sampler to those of us whose wallets are hurting. (And existing SampleTank users will want to listen up for more downloadable sounds!) SampleTank FREE is a fully working freeware version of SampleTank 1.1 offering all the advantage of the full version (including 16 channels multitimbrality, up to 128 notes polyphony, 4 effects per voice selectable from amongst 20 DSP effects, and G4 optimization with multiprocessor support. It has the ability to play special free downloadable samples published monthly on their website. Check it out for yourself — two piano multisamples, bongos, a drum set; hey, you can never have too many sounds! Demos of samples from the full version will help you decide if you do want to take out that wallet (mine is now openly weeping and screaming so I think maybe it’s best if I leave it alone for a while). No OS X support yet, incidentally.

So that should keep you folks busy while I work on part II of the OS X audio story . . . e-mail me if you have some other software news to point out. Happy Thanksgiving, and happy audio making!

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