Cakewalk Home Studio XL

Well high five from "Johnny 5", itís time for another music software review. Man I tell you I never get tired of looking at these programs. They just seem to get better as we go. This month I would like to take a look at Cakewalk's Home Studio XL. With this program, you can record an unlimited amount of MIDI and other audio tracks. You can mix your own music and create song loops easily.

      To borrow a line from the user's manual for Home Studio XL; the program is a "tool for creating sound and music on your desktop computer." It has several MIDI composition elements. You can compose MIDI tracks using the Piano Roll interface. Or use the main interface Track Window to compose and edit your music. If you are really into composing, the program will allow you to set up and print your own sheet music. It comes with a set of loop based composition tools and has some built in DXI software synthesizers. You will be able to overdub video clips with your creations. The program also comes bundled with Fruityloops Express, which is a scaled down version of the Fruityloops loop producing program from Image-Line Software.

      If you want to compose some music but haven't a clue how to begin, the user's manual provides eight tutorials. From the first one, The Basics, through Recording MIDI and Using Groove Clips, the tutorials will give the basic framework to begin using Home Studio XL to compose some music. When you are done composing, save it as a project or as a MIDI file. The file can be saved as a MIDI format O or 1 or as a RIFF MIDI format 0 or 1. You can also save the music as a template or a Cakewalk bundle which contains all of your MIDI and audio data along with the projects settings.

Additional Tools and Loops in Home Studio XL


Cakewalk Audio FX-1 Dynamics Processing - A series of essential plug-ins for mixing and mastering:


Compressor/Gate - Tighten up your mix, bring out the vocals, add punch to tracks, and smooth out performances with a wide dynamic range.


Limiter - Avoid distortion by keeping audio signals from exceeding a set threshold.


Expander/Gate - Increase the dynamic range of your recordings. It makes loud parts louder and quiet parts quieter.


Dynamics Processor - Is an all-in-one effect that combines all three effects above for more control over your mix.


FXpansion Audio DR-008 SE Drum Sampler/Synthesizer - Get the drum sounds you need with this drum sampler/synthesizer. User-friendly and powerful, the DR-008 SE features analog modeling; pattern-based sequencing; 32-bit sampling; support for WAV and AIFF files, and LM-4, DR-005 drum kits. The features include a variety of modules to get you in the groove, including vintage 808 and 809 sounds.


Cakewalk Loops CD - Includes a full CD of ACID-format audio loops by leading producers including Power FX, Smart Loops, and X-Mix. Many styles included: Rock, Pop, Hip Hop, Dance, and more. Itís perfect for creating new songs or adding textures to your existing songs.


Centralized audio and MIDI recording

Home Studio is designed to let you concentrate on creating music, instead of getting bogged down with confusing software. It's all laid out in an intuitive Track window that lets you quickly record, edit, arrange, and mix your music.


It doesn't matter what you want to record: guitars, keyboards, vocals, live turntable scratches, CD samples, or any other sound source. Home Studio puts it all together seamlessly.


Loop-based composition tools

Now you can easily create and layer loop-based music tracks along with live recordings. Create entire compositions or add new sonic layers to your existing songs. The Loop Explorer helps you find the right samples fast. Browse the included Cakewalk Loops sample library created by leading producers, or thousands of available sample collections.


Preview multiple loops while your project is playing back in tempo and in key with your song. Then just click and drag to paint your canvas of sound. Even make your own loops out of any MP3 or WAV file. Opens and reads ACID-format audio loops.


Perform with built-in software synthesizers

Add hundreds of high quality instrument sounds to your studio with the included DXI soft synths.


EDIROL Virtual Sound Canvas DXI

A software synthesizer, modeled after the famous Roland synth of the same name. Over 990 sounds and drum sets to choose from.


Audio Simulation DreamStation DXI

A vintage analog-style synthesizer reproduced as a DXI plug-in. It combines physical models of analog circuits together with mathematical models of analog oscillators. Works just like a vintage hardware synthesizer worth thousands of dollars today.


Mix tracks with DirectX audio effects

Sweeten your mix with Amp Sim Lite, Chorus, Reverb, EQ, Delay, Flange and other professional audio effects, or even add hundreds of other available DirectX-compatible audio plug-ins.


Cakewalk MIDI FX

Apply real-time effects to your MIDI tracks, just like audio effects. Use effects in real-time on input and during playback, or apply them as off-line edits. MIDI FX include Arpeggiator, Quantize, Delay/echo, Change Velocity, MIDI event filter, Session Drummer, NTONYX Style Enhancer Micro 2.0 Lite, and MusicLab VeloMaster Lite.


Compose and print sheet music

When it comes to composing and printing sheet music, Home Studio is up to the task. You can record and transcribe any performance using any MIDI instrument, and watch your notes appear on the screen as you play. You can also just point and click to add and move notes in the Staff view.


Notation features

# Edit and print multiple MIDI tracks as high-quality notation

# Notes appear on-screen as you record from a MIDI instrument

# Zoom-in or out the Staff view to display notation at any size

# Assign any number of tracks to individual staves

# Standard and single-line percussion clef notation, guitar chord grids, expression text, dynamic markings, pedal markings, composer name and title

# Variable fonts for expression text and lyrics

# Print up to 24 staves per page


Graphical editing tools

Compose and edit MIDI tracks using the Piano Roll view. Point and click to insert, copy, move, delete or modify MIDI notes and Controller data. View multiple tracks or just one at a time.


Graphical mixing

Draw lines and curves on top of your audio and MIDI to accurately change mix parameters like volume, pan, MIDI Controller data and aux sends. Creating a mix has never been more intuitive.


Create video soundtracks

Home Studio provides a fast and effective way to create, edit and dub soundtracks for any digital video file. Just import and sync any Windows AVI file to your Home Studio project! Then export your finished project to AVI - perfect for enhancing home movies and multimedia presentations.


Feature Highlights

# Record and play back unlimited tracks of audio and MIDI.

# Real-time mixing console.

# Loop-based song construction tools.

# Import WAV, ACID-format WAV, and MP3 files.

# Complete library of ACID-format audio loops.

# Support for DXI third-party soft synth plug-ins.

# Includes Virtual Sound Canvas DXI and Dreamstation DXI soft synths.

# Real-time DirectX audio effects: Amp Sim Lite, Reverb, Chorus, Delay, Flange, EQ

# Support for hundreds of available third-party DirectX audio plug-ins.

# Edit and print notation, along with chord symbols, guitar chord grids, lyrics, dynamic markings.

# Unlimited number of Edit Undoes.

# Fruityloops Express loop generator.

# 24-bit and 16-bit audio support.

# Multitrack Piano Roll view.

# Import and synchronize AVI video to music projects.

# Non-destructive slip-editing of audio and MIDI clips.

# Playback meters per track.

# Burn CDs and create MP3s with Pyro (trial version).


System Requirements 

Windows 98, 98 SE, 2000 or Windows XP (not compatible with Windows 95 or NT)

300 MHz processor PC


100 MB Free hard drive space

800x600 screen resolution w/ 256 colors

CD-ROM drive

MIDI interface and / or Windows compatible sound card


    Home Studio XL is probably the best software suite available in its price range for creating and editing music compositions. It has several tools that take some time to learn how to use properly. But when you have gotten the basics of each program element figured out, there will be no stopping you from composing great music.

    Home Studio XL has a list price of $219 U.S. and I will leave a link to were you can order it online.


Till next month enjoy playing music even if you donít record and Stay Alive With Johnny 5.


To Purchase Home Studio XL at the Cakewalk Store Click The Link Below

Home Studio XL


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