MuTools has released MuLab 8, a major update of its budget-friendly DAW software. The latest version comes with many new features, including audio sequences and creative time stretching. It looks like MuTools has implemented some very good ideas, making MuLab an interesting alternative for budget-minded producers.
In what is certainly the biggest improvement over previous versions (and some other, more expensive DAWs, for that matter!), MuLab 8 introduces Audio Sequences. Judging by the video below, these look like a really nifty way to get creative with audio. Any sample can be opened in the audio sequence editor, which provides 16 “lanes” for arranging audio. At first glance, part of the workflow looks similar to Logic’s flex time, for example, but it appears that MuLab’s audio sequences can do more. You can time stretch, time compress, transpose, rearrange, and layer audio events, working with samples or slices of samples. It’s like working with a sampler, but directly on the audio track, without the need for an additional plug-in. Audio sequences also output MIDI notes, so you can use them to trigger other things elsewhere, for example an envelope effect downstream that processes the audio. And from what I can tell so far, MuLab’s time stretching algorithm sounds very nice.
Many other improvements
In addition to the audio sequence editor, MuTools MuLab 8 comes with many other improvements. The change log at MuTools’ website lists no less than 50 items. The layout of the MuDrum editor has been updated and the PolySynth now provides 64 voices of polyphony instead of 48. There are also many small fixes and workflow improvements, like more undoable actions, better handling of sample markers and loops, and new contextual menu items.
Compatibility and price
MuTools MuLab 8 runs on Windows (XP or higher) and Mac (OS X 10.6.8 or higher). Considering its features, it’s surprisingly affordable. A new license for MuLab 8 costs 69 Euros. Upgrading from a previous version will set you back 25 Euros.