Version 3.0 also adds a new editor called the Chopper. This window gives you quick access to a virtual copy of the selected loop or file (against the same grid as your current project) and lets you to slice and dice the event non-destructively to create variations. This toolset vastly simplifies an operation that was tedious in earlier versions.

The Chopper also lets you quickly define and shorten sections of longer files and use them creatively in a project. While the Chopper’s location as a tab under the Explorer window makes it easy to overlook, it provides a lot of creative potential.


In the processing department, Acid Pro 3.0 has opened up the number of effects per track over the previous versions to 32, with the potential of up to 26 different busses. Mind you, you’ll need a manly PC with a hefty processor, lots of RAM, and a speedy hard drive to get those kinds of numbers. But if you’re a production type that needs 26 busses, your PC is probably liquid-nitrogen-cooled already.

One aspect of the new processing upgrade that everyone can use is the generous new helping of plug-ins that comes stock with the program. A significant portion of Sonic Foundry’s XFX series of DirectX plugs now comes bundled with Acid Pro 3.0. The nearly twenty effects included run the gamut from gentle dynamics to whacked-out special effects.

Among the more useful effects included with Acid Pro 3.0 are a compliment of compressors and noise gates that are both effective and neutral in their sound. There’s a gaggle of delays and a reasonable reverb plug, and the time compressor is quite good. Also included is a delightful nugget called a Gapper/Snipper, which lets you generate that hackneyed stutter effect in record time, as well as a few guitar-type effects like wah and distortion.

Plug-ins can be inserted on tracks as well as on the master output, and of course, you can make use of those 26 busses for send and return setups. This lets you share plug-ins like reverbs and delays, conserving CPU resources. Note that DirectX compatibility is a feature of the Pro version only.


New file formats are also supported, including a handful of video file types. There’s now a video track, and a video viewer are built-in, for those of you who think today’s radio really needs picture.

In addition to rendering projects as MP3s, Acid Pro can now import MP3 files directly into projects. You can also now important PCA (Perfect Clarity Audio) files, AVI and Quicktime video, as well as Ogg Vorbis files. All of the above plus Real Audio and Real Video 8 files can now be exported too, making Acid Pro multimedia and Web friendly (for that outside Web-design gig we all have but never mention).

Other Internet friendly features are the toolbar icons that connect you to Sonic Foundry’s website where you’ll find Acid Pro resources, news, and tips and tricks. There’s also an option that will automatically notify you when an update is available, which is always a Good Thing. Another button links you to sites where registered users of the program can download loops that are both free of charge and royalty-free.

When you register Acid Pro on Sonic Foundry’s website, you are eligible for 60 days of free technical support and have access to free loops using the Get Media button, which is found on the button bar. Of course, while you’re in the Get Media section of their website, you’re encouraged to buy commercial loop CDs. But you don’t have to if you don’t want to, and there are plenty of freebies available there.

And speaking of loops, the Acid Pro content CD has over 600 loops taken from Sonic Foundry’s growing loop libraries. There’s enough here to keep you busy for a long time. Also included on the CD are dozens of Acid Pro projects using loops. These are entertaining and serve as tutorials on how to mangle files in creative and twisted ways.

There’s also an undocumented bonus on the Acid Pro program CD — a folder labeled 1001 Sound Clips contains a well organized, small but useful sound effects library. It’s a little treat that will come in handy, to be sure.


For those of you who use MIDI in production, Acid Pro 3.0 now has some basic MIDI play and record abilities. This means you no longer need to go through the set up hassles of syncing Acid Pro to an external sequencer or worse yet, to another program running on the same machine, to have it play MIDI tracks. Though the MIDI implementation is basic, it’s a welcome addition.

Acid Pro treats each MIDI track just is it does audio track. You can draw or paint the data into a track or use the new Chopper window to slice and dice your file data in untold creative ways. You can’t do much else other than assign voices and MIDI channels in Acid Pro 3, but this is still a big improvement.


Working with Acid Pro takes some creativity, but you don’t need composing are performing skills. If you do have musical chops, you can record your own solos are vocals and add them to the mix. There is so much possibility for variation that it’s unlikely that your loop-based music bed will sound like any other, a definite advantage over other forms of library music.

I use Acid Pro regularly in my broadcast work and it’s become an application I can’t do without. Version 3 has some significant additions and improvements, and is a worthwhile investment. Even if you do have to buy a $&^% PC to use it.

Acid Pro is available both directly from Sonic Foundry and from retailers. The packaged version on CD sells for $399.96 from the company’s Web Store, and you can save money by buying the download-only version (no CD, box, or printed manual) for $349.97. Other versions available on the Web include Acid Music at $59.97, Acid Techno and Acid DJ at $29.97, and Acid Xpress, which is free for downloading. For more information, visit www.sonic foundry.com.