One of the most essential items in a DJs armoury is a Digital Audio Workstation. In a world where everyone is trying to be individual, the only true way is to create remixes and edits yourself and the best (and most logical) way to do this is with a piece of software that is loop-based.
Recently Magix acquired the rights to Acid Pro, which is now in its 8th incarnation. I have been a user from way back in its second version and it is very fair to say that over the years a lot has changed in the look, feel and performance of the software. As it stands, V8 is the first update since 2009 and it’s a fair question to ask if it is still relevant in today’s market. I’m pleased to say that it is.
The first thing to hit upon startup is the cosmetic difference; to be honest, it had looked very dated with only minimal changes made over the previous versions but once you get past the “look”, you will find that everything is where it used to be, but Version 8 isn’t really about what is the same, it is about what has improved.
It is clear to see that the whole program has been made more efficient. Although I wouldn’t ever advise not using autosave, it is obvious that it is now more stable than it ever was in the past. You want to throw heavy reverbs across multiple tracks? Yup, it will handle it. Multiple VSTis? No problem. Want 64bit architecture and 24bit/192kHz multi tracking? You got it! But if you’re a DJ reading this with no desire to foray into the world of production, you might be asking what is there here for you?
As mentioned above, Acid Pro’s primary function was as a loop-based workstation and over the nine years since its last update, loops have become more and more essential to our craft. Not only that, but we are now at a stage where vinyl DJing is definitely the exception to the rule. One of the biggest bug bears when DJing was playing old records with fluctuating tempos; a drummers’ timing is human and was never supposed to be perfect. This gave you two options: chop mix or create 2 bar loops in your DJ software… Those loooong riding mixes that the house boys do? nah they’re not for us! BUT actually, they are.. we just have to work a bit. When Acid introduced their Elastique algorithm in version 6, it was an absolute godsend. It improved with 7 and it has taken a massive leap in 8, so much so that I regularly put old school breaks through it to improve the clock timing without affecting the “funk” and I am safe in the knowledge that if throw it through a big system, all the frequencies will be there (anyone who has read any of my previous rantings will know how much I despise low quality files).
But here’s the thing; I don’t just use Acid Pro for “tidying up” tempos or creating extended intros or “Acapella Out” edits. I also use it to create high quality mixtapes. For those, it has proved to be an invaluable tool. It isn’t always about cutting, scratching or even being live, sometimes (especially when doing promos or “cut and paste” mixes) you want polish. Acid is a workstation that can help you with this.
So, what comes in the package? Well first off there are 9gb of “Acidized” samples. These amazing little beasties are fantastic for adding spice to your edits and because they are “Acidized”, you can adjust the quantise of a 4 bar loop at the click of a switch ensuring that the funk of the sample can be manipulated to the feel that you want. It also comes with the Vandal Guitar Processor (if I’m honest, I really don’t go near this as guitars are not really part of my remit), the Vita 2 Sampler and the DN-e1 Virtual Synth, which is great for adding “fatness” to your edits.
So how much is it? well it now retails for £119 (but there’s currently an offer on to get it for £109 and you can get a monthly subscription for £7.49) in comparison to previous versions that were closer to £350ish. In all fairness, Magix could probably ask that for the VSTis and sample pack by themselves. It is right now where I need to point something out: Acid is only available in the Windows environment, but here’s the thing, I am running it on a Core Duo Extreme 2.8ghz laptop and it is as stable as any other software that I run on it. That alone has to give it a big thumbs up.
NB: I was sent a free license to review Acid Pro 8. I paid for all previous versions and was not paid a fee for this independent review.