I’ve been meaning to post what’s below for about a week. I suppose it’s only going up now because at this moment I’m in the waiting room at the doctor’s office; took a bad spill down some stairs yesterday and everyone keeps telling me to go in and get checked out.

I don’t quote Dr. Farnsworth just any day: Mac users will be pleased to note that Snow Leopard 10.6.2 fixes almost all compatibility issues with Maya. And the graph editor no longer corrupts! So if you were waiting on Maya before upgrading, your wait is over. I haven’t tried 2010 (haven’t upgraded since there’s nothing new in it) but 2009 now works better than it did under Leopard. I think Dimos tried 2010, though, and dubbed it good.

But today I want to talk about music. Specifically: I finally bought an Axiom 49.

I bought one of M-Audio’s Oxygen 25-key keyboards years back. It was a solid piece of hardware despite being the entry-level unit, and traveled with me to and from Japan. I recently gave it to a friend who wants to start producing her own music with Garage Band. I’d like to say it was for wholly selfless reasons, but the truth is I wanted an excuse to get a keyboard with more octaves.

The Axiom 49 doesn’t disappoint. It’s not a keyboard you want to lug to a gig; it’s heavy as sin. However, it’s well-constructed and sturdy. I feel like I could fight off a zombie with it and still play a round of lounge jazz afterwards. Also, I dig how the drum pads feel and control. They’re pressure sensitive like the piano keys, and they’re lovely for hammering out tom hits or even for a quick lead pattern.

The best part is that it came with Ableton Live Lite 6, which was upgradeable to Live Lite 8 for free with their current ten-year promotion. I’d been thinking of getting the recently-released Intro version of Live 8, but this was close enough to help me decide if I needed the full version or not, saving me a hundred bucks.

I think that a lot of people out there would be fine with Live Lite. The one feature that I found a dealbreaker is that a single song can only have up to 6 effects in total across all instruments. (In Live Intro it’s 12.) The way I design my sounds, I hit that limit playing around on a single loop a few nights ago. It wouldn’t be a problem if I could freeze tracks or if the limit were for simultaneous effects in use, but even effects on tracks currently producing no sound count.

So I’ll be picking up the full version of Live pretty soon. I had a look at the Studio package but I’m dithering on whether pay the extra cost for a lot of samples I might not need at the moment, and I’m only interested in two of their custom software instruments.

The bonus of using Live: PureMagnetik has really cheap sample packs, and their guitar rig kits sound fricken’ awesome. I also can’t wait to use Sampler to make kits from sounds around town.

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