Our dreams of moonlighting as DJs will likely never come to pass, but we can at least sharpen our remixing skills with Sony’s Acid Music Studio. Acid has been around for years, but this newb-friendly version of the $375 Acid Pro has delights that are sure to please any aspiring club-thumper.
Whereas programs like Ableton come with built-in synthesizers that allow you to create your own musical loops, Acid focuses on organizing preconstructed loops into songs. Ingenious users can splice these loops themselves using the program’s built-in cutting board, but typical mixmasters will likely get their sound loops through the program itself—Acid Music Studio comes with a number of preconstructed, downloadable tracks.
Acid Music Studio, though simple to use, takes a lifetime to master; fortunately, your adventures are helped along by a tutorial system that literally highlights everything you need to do. Our only complaint is that the tutorials aren’t comprehensive enough—a bit more hand-holding through the entire song-creation process would be ideal, as opposed to splitting the help into individual chunks.
Acid’s capacity for manipulating sound clips has always been the program’s main selling point—it’s as easy as dropping in a loop and dragging it for however long you want the sequence to play. The program works on a grid/measure system, although you do have the option of unsnapping clips to create some wicked off-beat grooves. Transforming the clips with audio effects is a two-click process, but again, we find Acid’s options somewhat lacking. You get all the standards—including modifications for chorus, reverb, and delay—but the absence of unique plugins dilutes Acid’s strength. Although each plugin does come with preset options, that isn’t much of a consolation.
Acid Music Studio is a good value, even though its features fall short of what’s available with more expensive software. This makes it a sound investment for those who want to get their musical feet wet; professionals, on the other hand, will undoubtedly want more.