CAE - Crystal Audio Engine
Hello to all of those Johnny5 fans out there. Johnny is taking a long overdue vacation, so I am filling in this month. (Depends on how much I like this….ha ha ha…I might do a second month and make him sit it out…ha ha ha). Moving right along…
Here is a little blast from the past. It’s an oldie but a goodie from the vault. Crystal Audio Engine has a few limitations such as it is only records two tracks or stereo, but if you just want to record straight from the mix at the board or mix a couple of your favorite tracks together to make a sampler demo then this little gem could be just what you were looking for. One more funny note, it seems that every musician I have talked to didn’t even know it existed. Which makes me wonder if this is the best kept secret on the net today? I run XP on my desktop machine and it works wonderfully with it, however, I have an associate that has XP on his laptop and for some unknown reason it wouldn’t even initialize. We are working on finding out the cause of this. We believe it is in conflict with one of the other programs he is running. The problem is that it isn’t telling if it is. Anyway, let us move on. Get yourself a patch cable with your favorite end on it that corresponds with your equipment, ie 1/4 inch jack or RCA on one end. If you would like to plug your electric guitar in you will need the female counterpart. The other end has to fit into the MIC or LINE input on your sound card, so you will need it to be a 1/8” jack. Install the program, it is really simple you just click on the exe file just like any other program and follow the directions. Plug in the equipment of your choice and read some of the help file and Voila! You’re in business!
I could go into the set up at this time, but that would take away some of the fun. I have found it a lot more gratifying to read up and make it work myself before asking for help. Either way it is simple to use and has some nice features. It has 4 built in effects – 9band EQ, Distortion, Reverb, and Echo. I have used them all except the Distortion and found that they are reliable and give a good quality to the effect that I needed. When recording from a Sound Board the EQ and either the Reverb or the Echo adds a nice effect. With the Echo you can add you can give it that doubler sound and turn a mono recording into a simulated stereo sound. It adds a lot of spice to vocals and what it does for the rest of the band is phenomenal. It comes with its own 4 channel mixer, a spectral graph on the output, which has 4 different settings depending on what you like and to top it off you can run two different effects on each of the 4 channels not to mention 2 on the master mix.
Now at this point I was telling myself that this is a sweet little program, but it gets even better. I did about 4 different recordings and was about to use Cakewalk to mix em into a 4 song demo of about a verse and chorus of each when I found out it came with two players also. After loading the players and one of the songs in each player, I started to record again only this time instead of using the line in I used the players as the input. I started the song in player 1 and let it play till I had enough of it recorded then started player 2 and went to the mixer. I figured I’d fade em from one to the other, but they thought of that too. There is an Auto Fade feature on the mixer, so with just one click it faded em for me with no muss or fuss. So while it was recording from player 2 I simply reloaded player 1 with the third cut I wanted to use and repeated the process, then did the same with cut number 4. Of course, I could have put more effects on the final mix if I needed to, it will add the effect to any track being run through the mixer, but mixing effects are another story for another day. When I was finished I had a nice little demo that showcased 4 different songs with some sweet simple effects on board and a good solid sound. Not weak like so many programs record today.
So, if you are looking to mix a demo, just record a work track from the mixer, or put down a simple track so you don’t forget your ideas. Crystal Audio Engine is the program for you. I saved the best part for last; did I mention that it is Freeware? That’s right, it’s Free, but don’t take my word for it. Click on the link below and you can download a copy of it to try out. What have you got to loose? The price is definitely right.
CAE - Crystal Audio Engine
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