In this article and accompanying video for Production Expert, Paul Maunder takes a look at some new features in the recent updates to Audio Design Desk version 1.7.
Version 1.7 introduces Spot Mode, a powerful feature that enables subscribers to use these 30,000 royalty-free sounds and music cues, providing instant drag and drop functionality. Version 1.7 also introduces transient detection for creating elements out of stems and advances on its DAWSync capabilities for controlling a DAW from Audio Design Desk and vice versa.
Expanded MTC Functionality
MIDI timecode functionality was added in to Audio Design Desk earlier this year, allowing users to link it to Pro Tools or Logic Pro and control playback from their DAW. One slight downside to this initial release was the fact that the communication was essentially one way. The DAW could control Audio Design Desk but not the other way around. This meant that playback had to always be initiated from the DAW. With version 1.7 the MTC link has both an In and an Out from Audio Design Desk, meaning that it can now trigger playback of your connected DAW. Testing this with Logic Pro, I found it to work very smoothly. In Pro Tools, it took a second or so for Pro Tools to sync and start playback. Not a major issue but something worth mentioning.
Another new feature for version 1.7 is the Element Detector. When importing sound effects such as footsteps, which have multiple sounds within one file, the Element Detector allows for quick identification of the elements (individual footsteps) within the file. Using a set of controls not dissimilar to Beat Detective in Pro Tools, it’s now possible to easily identify and export the separate elements within the audio file. These can then be assigned to triggers within ADD and activated from your keyboard. Of course, the 40,000 or so sounds supplied with the software are already identified as elements but this feature is useful for sounds you’ve recorded yourself or downloaded from another library.
One thing which I’ve found slightly annoying in previous versions of Audio Design Desk is the process of exporting sounds for use in other software. For example, previously when I wanted to use a couple of sound effects from ADD in Pro Tools, I’d have to drop them onto the timeline in Audio Design Desk and then export them in an AAF file or using Bounce Mix to then import into Pro Tools. Now it’s possible to just drag them from ADD to another application while holding down the Command key. The sound is copied into the destination software. I tested this with Pro Tools, Logic Pro and Adobe Premiere Pro and all worked without any problems. Only one sound can be dragged at a time but it’s a very useful, albeit simple function which I’m happy to see added as a feature.
Other New Additions
In addition to these key features, some new Soundpacks have been added, including a music production kit called Hollows. The clips within this pack are split into parts. All clips from any given part will work with each other. If you use a bass line, a beat, a chord, a line and a lead, from part 1 for example, they will all work together perfectly. These can be activated from the trigger pad, making this a quick process. If any particular element isn’t to your liking, it’s quick to replace it using Command R.
I’ve been impressed with the rate of development of the Audio Design Desk since first seeing it last year. These new features make interoperability between Audio Design Desk and other software easier and it’s interesting to see the expansion of the music production aspect of the software. I think this has some good potential for quick scoring of quick turnaround film projects. Coupled with the sound design aspect, Audio Design Desk is becoming an increasingly more compelling tool for post-production sound.
Pricing and Availability
Audio Design Desk is available now at three product tiers: Produce at $15 per month, Professional at $30 per month, and Perpetual for a one-time purchase price of $399. To learn more about each tier and download a free 30-day trial, visit Audio Design Desk’s website.