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The Berlin-based company zenAud.io released this a new DAW/Looper music software for Mac. Looks interesting and if you are in the world of looping, this could be something for you.
zenAud.io ALK is the world’s first sequenceable live looper/DAW. It allows an arbitrary of number of tracks and MIDI or audio clips to be looped in a live performance. Its design breaks the traditional loop pedal operation (in which the musician simultaneously performs the loops and controls the looper’s operation) across two distinct phases: planning and performance.
In the first phase, you plan your song using a refinement of the pencil tools available in all standard DAWs. Using so-called “record” and “play” pencils, you can create a musical arrangement designed to be performed live. Record loops, drawn with the record pencil and which have a red outline, are placeholders for material the musician will perform onstage. Play loops, which have a green outline, in turn refer to specific record loops, completing the traditional looping operation.
Once you’ve created an arrangement, you hit “Record” on stage which triggers the zenAud.io’s performance mode. In this mode, ALK takes over both monitoring and the record/play operation of the loopers on each of the tracks in the arrangement. As a result, you are free to focus exclusively on your performance, allowing you to realize rich arrangements with the rhythmic tightness and sonic polish reminiscent of electronic music styles.
Familiar, web browser-style tabbed interface, allowing multiple documents to be open at once. Tear off tabs into their own windows, rearrange and toggle between – if you can use a web browser, you can navigate ALK with ease.
ALK’s loop sequence view lets you take in your entire arrangement at a glance. Break away from endlessly layered loops and create structures: verses, choruses, b-sections and soloes.
MIDI looping is supported out of the box, giving you the ability to create loops using your entire array of software synths and beat machines. Adjust the tightness of your groove on the fly using ALK’s elastic quantize feature, simply by turning a dial.
Symmetric Routing is ALK’s answer to traditional mixer channels and effects sends/returns. Any track (audio or MIDI) can act as a mixer or group, and an effect send simply becomes a regular output.
ALK supports VST/AudioUnit effects and instruments. Best of all, plugin editors open front and center in the current tab, and a single swipe takes you back to the loop sequencer view.
ALK’s Magnetic Note Repeat automatically smooths out notes triggered off-grid, easing them gradually into lockstep. Perfect for laying out a four-on-the-floor kick drum or eighth-note hi-hat pattern on the fly.
Draw accurate automation using intuitive trackpad gestures. Using a combination of mouse position, horizontal and vertical swipe gestures, and rotation gestures, you can control the shape of your curve. Adding control points for more precision is as easy as clicking within the region.
ALK’s approach to performed automation, like filter or reverb sweeps, is to treat the knob, pad, or pedal as an instrument in its own right: on its own track. Routings are dynamic and can be changed over a song or set, so a single knob could control a filter sweep in one song, and a reverb sweep in the next.
With ALK’s panic features, you don’t need to worry about making the occasional mistake. Through a click of a pedal, you can either get another shot at the loop, or have a perfectly played reference version of the loop replace it – useful for when you absolutely need the song to progress.
With hover auditioning, changing sounds is as easy as hovering the mouse over the track in question. However, it’s still possible to leave monitoring on or off by switching to manual auditioning in the track’s context menu.
zenAud.io is available now for purchase by direct download from the zenAud.io online store at the introductory price of €59 (regular price: 119€), which includes one year of free updates. Due to its use of Apple’s GPU-accelerated Metal API, zenAud.io requires macOS Sierra on any Mac since 2012.