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Local Company Creates Award-Winning Music Software

OAKHURST – A leading manufacturer of innovative music production and multi-track recording software announces that its flagship product has won an industry award.

Mixcraft 6, from Acoustica, Inc., received the 2013 Electronic Musicians Editors’ Choice Award in the Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) category, at the winter National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) convention in Anaheim, California.

Acoustica was founded in 1998 by Ahwahnee resident Joseph Clarke. Clarke is married to Bass Lake Unified School District Board member Ronda Bird Clarke; they have two children.According to the company’s website, Acoustica‘s mission is “to create high quality, intuitive and powerful software.” Their motto: “Software Should Be Easy To Use!”

National Association of Music Merchants Convention 2013The Electronic Musicians Editors’ Choice Award recognizes exceptional products in the field of digital audio recording and production. Mixcraft 6 can record unlimited tracks, arrange loops, remix tracks, and compose with Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI) and virtual instruments. The award-winning software enables users to add effects, score and edit video, and mix and master tracks to create “polished, professional compositions.” It includes more than 6,000 pro loops and sound effects, 11 virtual instruments and 25 high-quality effects.

Electronic Musicians magazine staff editors noted Mixcraft 6 (pretty affordable at less than $100) gives users “fast, smooth workflow” and “tons of content.”

Clarke began designing his own Acoustica software after a Silicon Valley layoff, and the company has since grown into a full-time business, beyond Clarke’s “wildest dreams.” He answered some questions about the product, and offers some advice for other electronically-inclined big dreamers out there.

Q: So, your company philosophy is “software should be easy to use.” Mixcraft 6: how easy is it?

Joseph Clarke of Acoustica Inc.A: Our software is fun and truly easy to use. We take pride in making it work for the budding musician who just wants to lay down tracks, and at the same time, keeping the more advanced features out of the way unless you want them. Mixcraft appeals to the musician who isn’t an engineer or doesn’t want to have to be an engineer. The creative process is oriented around the music.

For example, to record your guitar or vocals, you literally start the software, click the Arm button on a track, and press Record. Mixcraft 6 comes with over 6,000 prerecorded loops that adjust to whatever tempo you are recording at. These allow you to create a foundation song that you can then sing over, or whip out a guitar solo.

For those who have MIDI keyboards, the software comes with 11 virtual software instruments from vintage synth reproductions to orchestral instruments. We have many pro level features such as output tracks, send tracks and control surfaces that are there for the more advanced users.

Q: What kind of music can you make?

A: You can make any kind of music that you want. You can make dub step, record blues riffs, classic rock, jazz or orchestral film scores. Mixcraft is a virtual recording studio in a box. You can record any audio from a microphone or array of mics and you can expand with plugin virtual instruments from 3rd party companies.

The built-in library has loop kit styles including Rock, Punk, Country, Rhythm & Blues, Metal, 80’s, Chachacha, Bossa Nova, Hawaiian and many more. It also has 1,600 sound effects allowing you to add sound effects to videos or radio spots. Of course, you can always import or record your own loop libraries, as well.

Q: How did you get into designing software?

A: I started writing software on an Apple II+ when I was a teenager. My first software programs were messy and were coded like one big if/else statement… but I loved it. Then, I found out about function routines at a summer program.

One of my first projects was a recipe program for my mom, and she used it, too! At the time, hardly anyone had computers and they were certainly in the nerd domain. Her friends would ask her if they could borrow a recipe and she’d say, “Yeah, no problem,” and just print it out, which amazed them at the time.

I went to Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo and studied Computer Science. My senior project was called “TeleMIDI” which allowed two musicians to connect directly through modems and allow for remote music collaborations.

Q: Are you more into music or programming?

A: I always loved music and computers and I told myself that I would somehow find a way to do both. I didn’t know how it would happen, but I made it a goal in my mind. In my early days, I used Dr. T’s MIDI sequencer on my AppleII+ and experimented with really early voice recognition and speech synthesis.

In college, I took a number of electronic music recording technology classes, which really was influential. After college, I went to work at the Imagination Network in Oakhurst, for a position where I was sound programmer and sound designer. Then I built the foundations of Mixcraft in my spare time at night.

Q: What kind of music do you like?

A: I like film scores. One of my current favorites is Michael Giacchino, who was the composer for “Lost,” “Call of Duty,” “Super 8” and the new “Star Trek,” among others. However, I like almost everything else from electronic variations to blues and rock.

Q: Any tips for geeks with aspirations?

A: It’s an interesting time for young software designers. There are so many options out there, from tools such as Unity which make it incredibly easy to develop 3D games for any platform, to various instructional video tutorials on how to code.

My suggestion is to download a free software package such as Unity, and go through video tutorials on how to make games. Unity lets you get started with minimal coding and is pretty powerful. You can download Unity for free at http://www.unity3d.com.

Be organized, know the basics and create design documents which detail how the program will look and function, as detailed as you can get. Most importantly, have fun and make something awesome!


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