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In-depth Feature:  Cakewalk Project5 V2
Simon Power writes: .

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Summing up
The Competition
Ableton Live 4 realtime sonic surgery. $399

Propellerheads Reason The original and digital. $699.95

Cubase SX/SL sequencing VST environ. $595

SoundForge for all your audio editing needs. $399.95

ACID looping and sequencing (acee-eed! Acee-eed!). $225.95

Unsurprisingly, Project 5 is not the only contender for the virtual sound design crown. The already established Ableton Live 4 offers many of the same features. It too has been described as an exciting and highly intuitive performance based programme and is a favoured tool with the DJ fraternity.

Then, of course, there's Propellerheads Reason, the original studio-in-a-box (no, really, it is!) and Cakewalk have been careful to include cross compatibility with all these other products. Alternatively, you can of course create your own soft studio using a variety of software and hardware that is your own design and is not dictated to or governed by any one specific corporation. (Hmm…now there's a thought!)

Project 5 V2 is an entire performance based software system. This new wave of programming aims to revolutionize the live performance market with instant on-the-fly editing and sequencing for real-time recording, Dj-ing, simulcasts or straight to media enterprises. But it's just as much at home in a pro studio set up, condensing hardware needs to virtually zero and offering unprecedented amounts of flexibility and integration with existing set ups.

With its real-time functionality, intuitive usability and open architecture, Project 5 V2 comes in on an equal footing with its closest competitors. Infact, its adaptability means that it actively encourages integration with other similar systems to expand your PC's ability to perform complex exercises and ultimately create better results.

Any downsides? Well, not everyone would want all their tools tied to one program. This complete package may mean that some of your old favourites may get consigned to software heaven or simply left to do menial tasks - unless of course they are ReWire savvy and then you can run them from inside P5 V2. But nevertheless, your results could wind up having a similar feel and sound quality. Great if that's what you want, but more creative freedom may come from combining Project 5 with your other more familiar tools and programmes.

All in all it's a stunning piece of kit for the price and if you already have version 1 you can upgrade to version 2 for very little. All in all, it's hard to imagine what else you could need in a live or studio environment. But I'm sure that if there is more, Cakewalk are developing it right now.

In the end it may all come down to a price battle or a who-can-bundle-the-most-samples-and-extra-features-all-out-war. But whatever happens, the future looks good for musicians, DJ's, sound engineers, live performers and bedroom mixers looking for performance related solutions. Is Cakewalk's Project 5 Version 2 a 'Studio-in-a-box'? Gosh darn it, it's the closest yet.

Project5 V2 $289 (PC only folks)

By the way, Senator John Kerry was the Democratic candidate in the 2004 Presidential election. Er…George Bush won, for those who were too busy decimating their bits at the time.

Simon Power has over 60 published works on the Champion, Sony and Tidy Trax labels and has recently composed the music for the audio release of Doctor Who and the Daleks.

Project5 V2 Presented at MESSE 05
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More Resources              Articles - full listing
  • Project 5 official WWW
  • Project5 V2 from
  • Project 5 PDF brochure
  • Project 5 web Demo

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