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Full user review
"Awesome as ever! It's open source and not spyware."
Node base VST module linking makes this an incredibly powerful music creation tool. (This is the main reason I'm giving it so many stars. Truly awesome once you understand it.)
Intelligently laid out pattern and sequence editor that can be intimidating if you don't understand how the studio section works. See my summery for a basic tutorial.
No native support for the .mid file format, but can save and load it's own midi sequences. Also there are work arounds to get .mid format data into Darkwave. (which is why it's not more than half a star deduction to me)
The documentation is a little on the sparse side. Not much more than what my mini tutorial below is.
The spyware people seem to think is associated with this program is actually the Cnet down-loader which Cnet only seem to add to some free/open source software as "protection." I've been annoyed by this since they implemented it, to get around the Cnet down-loader (spyware?) click the direct download link below the big green download button, or download it from the experimental science web site. As this app installs it does offer to install real-player as an option, but so long as you are not click happy, you can skip installing that. Lastly, on the spywaqre front, this is Open source... Why would an open source developer include spyware when some one could easily download the source and deliver a version with out it??? Anyhow, the source code can be found at the experimental science website by doing a web search for Darkwave studio.
Now for my actual summery/ tutorial. I've been using this software for about three to four years now, and at first I underestimated it's capabilities. This program is a virtual music studio that uses Steinberg VST (Virtual Studio Technology) Modules. It includes several VST's by default, but literally hundreds of thousands of VST can be found for free, and used to expand Darkwaves capabilities. This application treats each VST module as a node that you ultimately link to the master output node in the studio tab. You add new nodes in the studio tab by right clicking. To link a module you click and hold it's "out" and then drag the "line" over an "in" on another module .
Once you have something like a polyphonic bass-head linked to the master output node, you switch to the pattern editor tab. In the first drop-down you pick the instrument VST module you want a pattern for and you hit the "+" button to add a new sequence pattern. It'll be 16 quarter beats by default. Now you can just add blocks for the notes you want pressed. to hear ti press the play pattern button. Once you are happy with your pattern, you can either add more patterns, or switch to the sequence editor.
The sequence editor shows all the instrument VST's in a list. Click a module that you've made patterns for, and the drop-down shows a list of the patterns. Pick a pattern, and place it on the time line. The patterns can be placed as many times as your sequence length allows. Once you are happy with your mix you can output it as a song by adding an HD recorder module in the studio tab.
The HD recorder modules need to be linked to the outputs of the VST's that are currently linked to the master out. You can reroute the modules linked to the master out through the HD Recorder if you want to hear what is going to be recorded. Anyhow, I'm sure you get the idea at this point.
My only gripe at this point is that you have to either make your midi sequences using Darkwave or pipe midi data from another midi sequencer into/out of Darkwave studio. There is no built in system for using standard midi files made with the .mid format. It's a tad cumbersome, but at least it does have can be done. The main advantage to Darkwave over other free VST midi solutions is that Darkwaves node system allows near infinite combinations of VST modules so long as your system has the memory and Darkwave can load them.