SAC Updated to Version 2.6

There is BIG news in the SAC community. Last evening it was announced on the SAW/SAC Forum that Version 2.6 is available as a free update. As usual there are some new features added to the software and some bug fixes.

The major visual difference is that the shades system is now fully implemented. This was in the plan for SAC from the beginning, but the developer held off on activating the shade system until he was fairly sure that graphical changes to the UI will not be needed. It was possible to use shades on earlier versions by replacing the default graphics file with another file using the same file name. With the shades system fully activated shades can be switched on the fly while the engine is live.

Another very nice feature that has been introduced with 2.6 is the ability to color code the channel strips. There are 16 colors available. These line the sides of the label area. You could use this feature to highlight important channels or to color code groups of channels that are related.

There are some additional operational features that will improve the usability of the software. There is now an indicator on the channel number if a channel is disabled. Disabling unused channels saves CPU cycles, but you needed to hold the fact in memory if you had disabled some channels and then wanted to add channels to a mix.

The biggest operational enhancement from my stand point is that pop-up long throw faders have been added to adjust the compressor and gate thresholds. The original small faders were hard for a shaky old guy like me to deal with. The pop-up faders will make setting thresholds much faster and easier. There are now pop-up faders in other areas where before there were horizontal bars with a + above and a – below. These were always difficult to set precisely. There is a pop-up chart available and I often made adjustments by popping up the chart and selecting the value that I wanted. I will be using the charts a lot less now.

Another very good operational feature that has been added with 2.6 is an auto-save function. This will save the mix session every so often. This would have avoided one of my most embarrassing moments with SAC. There was a power failure. I did not realize that there was a problem before the system shut down (I run a UPS, but did not know that the breaker had blown and the amps were on other circuits). I had neglected to save the session before this, so I had to remix house and monitors on the fly. The monitor set-up was the biggest problem.

3M has come out with a multi-touch screen. Added with this release is the capability to do 10 finger control on a touch screen monitor. (I won’t be doing that anytime soon unless wads of money start falling from heaven!)

There is a list of bug fixes and some new traps to keep people out of trouble. These are listed in the release notes for the update. I am looking forward to using Version 2.6 this weekend.

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