Professional Sound - June 2017 - Page 24

PRODUCT TESTS Apple MacBook Pro with Touch Bar By Dajaun Martineau T he 2016 MacBook Pro boasts a sleek, light design, plenty of processing power, and some cool new features – so how does it stack up in the studio? sends, and tremolo controls to compression or EQ options. It even lets you cycle through presets. The sliders, while basic in nature, are Getting Started The first thing that I noticed when I began using this com- puter is its power. I’ve been mixing records on Mac Pro tow- ers with Avid HD3 Accel systems for over a decade and they don’t even come close to the plug-in count and responsiveness of this computer. The MBP changes the game when it comes to digital mix- ing. DSP enhancers may soon be a thing of the past. The newly redesigned audio system is louder, clearer, and better than anything I would expect out of such a small system; unfortunately, being an audio professional, the amount of times I used the built-in speakers can be counted on one hand. The laptop still sports one piece of 19 th century technology: a 3.5 mm phone jack, to the joy of many users. In Use I’m sure by now you’re all begging the question: What about the Touch Bar?! My first instinct was to think of the Touch Bar as more of a gimmick than a feature, but as I worked with it more and more, I’ve found it incredibly useful. The Touch Bar is entirely context sensitive and almost predictive in nature. Not only does it change the available functions as you switch from application to application, but also based on what you are doing. If I open a PDF, it gives me some basic rotation options, but as soon as I make a selection, a highlighter display appears with different colours or strikethrough options. Apple’s DAW, Logic Pro X, had a bit of a head start developing for the MacBook’s new Touch Bar and has really done a fantastic job of integrating it. The new functionality is perfectly in line with Apple’s notoriously intuitive design. Once I got into using it with Logic Pro, I recognized the potential for this as a musical tool. When you click on any instrument track, the Touch Bar automatically offers you Smart Controls for everything from level, reverb 24 PROFESSIONAL SOUND incredibly responsive and feel very natural. Actually, using the Touch Bar is very reminis- cent of using a real fader on a console. Some software allows you to customize which op- tions are displayed by default on the Touch Bar, but that’s not an option in Logic yet. There are three other modes you can flip the Touch Bar into while using logic. The first is a Timeline Overview that provides an overview of your entire session and lets you zoom around quickly. The Touch Bar is too small to provide any real usefulness here but it is still a good effort in trying new naviga- tion options. The next is Key Command mode, which offers customizable banks of keyboard shortcut buttons. The last is Instrument and Track Con- trols, offering a virtual keyboard, drum kits, or audio track settings. Despite being tiny, the keyboard and drum pad are incredibly powerful. The keyboard allows you to set it to key specific patterns so that there is no such thing as a wrong note as long as you have a basic grasp of music theory. The drum pad offers a velocity slider and a note repeater, making it feel a lot like using an MPC. Unfortunately, Avid’s Pro Tools and Able- t 1ٕٔeЁɽЁ䁙չѥ)ȁѡQՍ ȁЁЁ$)ɕ䁱݅ɐѼݡ)ѡЁѽѡȁ͔$)͕ѡ́ɵѥٔ)ɕѥٔѽ5䁑ɕɕՕ)́ȁͽѼɕє)ѡЁݽձ܁Ѽͥ)ɽɅ䁽ݸչѥ́Ѽ)ѡQՍ ȸ)Ḿٔټ)ЁѡЁٕͥ䁽)ѡ́ͼӊéٔQ)5́ݥѠȁQչɉ(̀UM ̸QչɉЀ)́ձ䁽ЁѼձѡ)UM ́݅ɑ́д)ѼUMāȰɕ]ɔ)QչɉЀāȰа)!5$ͼ́ݕ)ɝ=UM )ݼ́ЀѬɕͽѥ̸)5䁡ٔѡ)ԁٔѼ䁅ѕ́ɑ)ѼЁͽɕЁ٥̰)ݡ́ՔЁԁ)Ѽѡȁɔݡɔ٥)ɔUM ѡ׊eѥєѡ)䁽䁹)%ЁݽeЁѕȁ׊eɔѥ)ɐɥٔյȁՑѕə)A %ͥ́ѡЁх́ѥɔ٥)!́ѕѼոݡՑ׊e)$ѡ$Ё剔)ȁѕ́ѼЁٕѡѕ)%Mյ)'eɱ䁥ɕ͕ѡ́ѕȁ)$ѡѡЁєѡɝɥхӊe)ݽѠٕ丁QЁͥٔ)ѡѡѕȁ́ѡA %͕͠)䁅ݡԁͥȁݡЁ׊eɔ)ѥ́ȁ́́ȁє)Ʌѥ$ѡЁ́ѥɕݽѠи)ѕȁͥѡ́ѕȁȁݡ$)ٔѼͅѡ́䁉ѡЃqɿt5) Aɼи)ո5ѥԁ́ɽՍȽȼ)ɥѕȁ͕ЁQɽѼ=8ݡ)ѡѕȁЁ́MȁMх)ȁЁA͔=MՑ́ɔ)ɕȁ́ձ͍Ʌ䁅ɔ)ɵѥ٥ͥЁܹո