It’s so fine and yet so terrible to stand in front of a blank canvas.

-Paul Cezanne

QuNeo - 1

QuNeo Music Controller
Keith McMillen Instruments
$195 to $249 online pricing

QuNeo - 4

The Keith McMillen QuNeo is a pad based controller designed for music or video creation and performance applications. The QuNeo shows input response through 251 multicolor, programmable LEDs. It communicates MIDI via USB through: 16 Pads with velocity, pressure, and x/y sensitivity; 8 pressure-sensitive touch slider; 1 long pressure-sensitive multi-touch slider; 2 pressure-sensitive rotary encoders; and 17 pressure-sensitive buttons. In short, the QuNeo is a monster of a machine.

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Vienna Symphonic Library’s MIR Pro
Company: Vienna Symphonic Library GmbH

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Serious music composed and/or played on your computer can still risk sounding squeaky, scrappy… just plain artificial.

MIDI files can be all very well; but there’s a danger that every instrument sounds like a tin bassoon!

Digital Audio Workstations (DAW’s) and notation software like Finale and Sibelius have made great progress towards realism in recent years. But they still need to reach into the real acoustic world in two long and deep ways in order to pass muster.

First, they must have credible-sounding professionally-sampled virtual instruments (VI’s). But just as importantly, there must be a sense of acoustic space: reverberation, three-dimensionality, distance from (perceived) source – and, ideally, the very essence of a venue’s “personality”.

Such sampling technologies are areas in which Vienna Symphonic Library (VSL) leads the field by a long way. The Austrian company of dedicated musicians and acoustic, technical and audio experts produces MIR Pro – recently upgraded to become, without doubt, the front-runner of a tiny clutch of similar products.

By co-incidence, the MIR Pro range is also on sale for the whole of this month, April 2013.

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About Mark Sealey

Mark Sealey is a British expatriate working and living in Southern California with his artist/writer wife, Roberta Lannes-Sealey, whom he met in 1996, when the web, she and he were much younger. Mark's interest in computers began in the the early ‘80s when his father suggested that, If we don’t understand how to control them, they’ll creep up behind us and make life unbearable. Have they? Using the venerable Acorn system until his move to the US, Mark wrote extensively about the BBC and RISC machines. He concentrated chiefly on education, music and productivity/system software; at the time Micronet and Prestel led the way for wide area networking… he published over 2,000 articles for these outlets. After graduating with a humanities degree, Mark was a teacher for 20 years until 1994 - first in Italy then the UK. Becaming increasingly attracted to the world of information technology as a major contributor to children’s learning and development, he eventually moved to editing the UK’s chief journals in the educational computing. He has always enjoyed freelance reviewing, consulting, editing and writing. When he moved to the US, he was fortunate enough to find full time employment at a major arts non-profit as a software engineer; though it’s doubtful if there’s a single skill which he was originally hired to use that’s still in daily use. Mark is also a composer of chamber and orchestral music, music critic, a published poet, photographer and environmentalist with an enthusiasm for fitness, vegan nutrition and long distance running. He is now convinced that only humans’ humility can save our planet.

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Vienna Symphonic Library Solo Strings Review

On August 15, 2011, in Audio, Review, by Mark Sealey
Solo Strings

VSL's Solo Strings

Vienna Symphonic Library Solo Strings Bundle

North American distributors:
ILIOPrice: $660

Virtual Instruments (VIs) allow you to work with lifelike sounds in sequencers and Digital Audio Workstations (DAWs) like Apple’s Logic and notation packages like Avid’s Sibelius. (Avid has just announced Sibelius 7: watch for a review here shortly.)

VIs are collections of acoustic/sampled and/or electronically synthesized sounds with varying degrees of realism and flexibility of use. Formerly hardware-based, VIs are now available almost entirely as software. They range from the cheap, barely tolerable and tinny to… well, to those produced and sold by Vienna Instruments.

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About Mark Sealey

Mark Sealey is a British expatriate working and living in Southern California with his artist/writer wife, Roberta Lannes-Sealey, whom he met in 1996, when the web, she and he were much younger. Mark's interest in computers began in the the early ‘80s when his father suggested that, If we don’t understand how to control them, they’ll creep up behind us and make life unbearable. Have they? Using the venerable Acorn system until his move to the US, Mark wrote extensively about the BBC and RISC machines. He concentrated chiefly on education, music and productivity/system software; at the time Micronet and Prestel led the way for wide area networking… he published over 2,000 articles for these outlets. After graduating with a humanities degree, Mark was a teacher for 20 years until 1994 - first in Italy then the UK. Becaming increasingly attracted to the world of information technology as a major contributor to children’s learning and development, he eventually moved to editing the UK’s chief journals in the educational computing. He has always enjoyed freelance reviewing, consulting, editing and writing. When he moved to the US, he was fortunate enough to find full time employment at a major arts non-profit as a software engineer; though it’s doubtful if there’s a single skill which he was originally hired to use that’s still in daily use. Mark is also a composer of chamber and orchestral music, music critic, a published poet, photographer and environmentalist with an enthusiasm for fitness, vegan nutrition and long distance running. He is now convinced that only humans’ humility can save our planet.

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Groove 3
http://www.groove3.com
Price: $39.99 for single users. Contact Groove 3 for groups, specials and (educational) discounts

Although Logic began as music notation software, its Score Editor has recently been overshadowed – outpaced even – by its other features; and outshone by the richer feature set of the dedicated music notation software, Sibelius. We’ve looked previously at Johannes Prischl’s excellent book covering the Score Editor. Now Groove 3 has released an equally useful, well-structured and expertly-written and presented set of nearly 60 video tutorials on the subject.

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About Mark Sealey

Mark Sealey is a British expatriate working and living in Southern California with his artist/writer wife, Roberta Lannes-Sealey, whom he met in 1996, when the web, she and he were much younger. Mark's interest in computers began in the the early ‘80s when his father suggested that, If we don’t understand how to control them, they’ll creep up behind us and make life unbearable. Have they? Using the venerable Acorn system until his move to the US, Mark wrote extensively about the BBC and RISC machines. He concentrated chiefly on education, music and productivity/system software; at the time Micronet and Prestel led the way for wide area networking… he published over 2,000 articles for these outlets. After graduating with a humanities degree, Mark was a teacher for 20 years until 1994 - first in Italy then the UK. Becaming increasingly attracted to the world of information technology as a major contributor to children’s learning and development, he eventually moved to editing the UK’s chief journals in the educational computing. He has always enjoyed freelance reviewing, consulting, editing and writing. When he moved to the US, he was fortunate enough to find full time employment at a major arts non-profit as a software engineer; though it’s doubtful if there’s a single skill which he was originally hired to use that’s still in daily use. Mark is also a composer of chamber and orchestral music, music critic, a published poet, photographer and environmentalist with an enthusiasm for fitness, vegan nutrition and long distance running. He is now convinced that only humans’ humility can save our planet.

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Logic Notation Guide
Book Review

On March 10, 2011, in Book Review, by Mark Sealey

The Logic Notation Guide
By Johannes Prischl
Price: available directly from the publisher
See the pricing page on Johannes Prischl’s site for price structure; usually approximately $50

LNG cover
Apple’s advanced Digital Audio Workstation, Logic, actually began life as software written by C-Lab, Emagic’s forerunner, to enable musicians to use the computer for conventional music notation. Indeed, it was originally called ‘Creator‘, then ‘Notator Logic‘ and now, of course, ‘Logic‘. Along with Logic‘s ‘Environment’ (an immensely powerful way to have elements in the music-making process link together), Logic‘s Score Editor is perhaps the least understood and generally most underused component of the software.

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About Mark Sealey

Mark Sealey is a British expatriate working and living in Southern California with his artist/writer wife, Roberta Lannes-Sealey, whom he met in 1996, when the web, she and he were much younger. Mark's interest in computers began in the the early ‘80s when his father suggested that, If we don’t understand how to control them, they’ll creep up behind us and make life unbearable. Have they? Using the venerable Acorn system until his move to the US, Mark wrote extensively about the BBC and RISC machines. He concentrated chiefly on education, music and productivity/system software; at the time Micronet and Prestel led the way for wide area networking… he published over 2,000 articles for these outlets. After graduating with a humanities degree, Mark was a teacher for 20 years until 1994 - first in Italy then the UK. Becaming increasingly attracted to the world of information technology as a major contributor to children’s learning and development, he eventually moved to editing the UK’s chief journals in the educational computing. He has always enjoyed freelance reviewing, consulting, editing and writing. When he moved to the US, he was fortunate enough to find full time employment at a major arts non-profit as a software engineer; though it’s doubtful if there’s a single skill which he was originally hired to use that’s still in daily use. Mark is also a composer of chamber and orchestral music, music critic, a published poet, photographer and environmentalist with an enthusiasm for fitness, vegan nutrition and long distance running. He is now convinced that only humans’ humility can save our planet.

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Resources for Apple Logic 9 Review

On December 29, 2010, in Apple, Book Review, Review, by Mark Sealey

Apple’s flagship Digital Audio Workstation (DAW), Logic 9 (in ‘Pro/Studio’ and ‘Express’ versions), comes with a comprehensive manual. It’s well indexed; it’s available to read, consult and work from electronically— as a PDF. At almost 1,300 pages, it ought to be good. That it’s much more substantial than many Apple manuals is a blessing given the complexity of Logic 9, an Apple Pro Applications product which underwent three minor revisions this fall.

Nevertheless, resources to enhance, supplement, complement and extend the Logic 9 manual are beginning to appear. There are half a dozen websites with training videos, easily as many books, and now DVDs. These were all evaluated for this survey, which presents a review of the best.

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About Mark Sealey

Mark Sealey is a British expatriate working and living in Southern California with his artist/writer wife, Roberta Lannes-Sealey, whom he met in 1996, when the web, she and he were much younger. Mark's interest in computers began in the the early ‘80s when his father suggested that, If we don’t understand how to control them, they’ll creep up behind us and make life unbearable. Have they? Using the venerable Acorn system until his move to the US, Mark wrote extensively about the BBC and RISC machines. He concentrated chiefly on education, music and productivity/system software; at the time Micronet and Prestel led the way for wide area networking… he published over 2,000 articles for these outlets. After graduating with a humanities degree, Mark was a teacher for 20 years until 1994 - first in Italy then the UK. Becaming increasingly attracted to the world of information technology as a major contributor to children’s learning and development, he eventually moved to editing the UK’s chief journals in the educational computing. He has always enjoyed freelance reviewing, consulting, editing and writing. When he moved to the US, he was fortunate enough to find full time employment at a major arts non-profit as a software engineer; though it’s doubtful if there’s a single skill which he was originally hired to use that’s still in daily use. Mark is also a composer of chamber and orchestral music, music critic, a published poet, photographer and environmentalist with an enthusiasm for fitness, vegan nutrition and long distance running. He is now convinced that only humans’ humility can save our planet.

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