Fig. 3. Within this Spartan interface, Independence Free allows for a great deal of editing options— and there are several other pages, too.
Independence 2.5 comes in four versions, from Free to Pro Software Suite, for Mac OS X and Windows XP/Vista/7 (32- or 64-bit). Check their website for details; we’ll cover Free—it’s a full version, except it can’t import more than 25 audio files.
Free features the same engine as all other versions, including 12 individual stereo outputs, the ability to load third-party VST effects, and VST/AU/RTAS/standalone compatibility; the only catch is in the amount of content—the 2.5GB library seems substantial until you realize the Pro version has a whopping 70GB (with 3,000 instruments). Even the effects (including convolution reverb) are comprehensive. You don’t need an authorization key, but the Free version can work with one if you want to load non-free accessory libraries or instruments without buying the full version of Independence. Frankly, it’s a steal— even if you’re on dial-up, and have to tie up your phone lines for three days while you download it (although the library itself is broken up into eight files to make downloading easier).
Yellow Tools offers a variety of individual instruments compatible with Free, starting at 19 Euros (about $30). However, if you like what you hear with Free, you’ll probably opt for the Pro version ($499 street), as the cost of individual instruments adds up fast, and they’re all included in Pro. But don’t get the wrong idea; the library included with Free doesn’t skimp—it has really useful, representative sounds.
There are multiple views, including a particularly useful Quick Edit screen that gathers together a preset’s crucial parameters into one place, Mixer, “Module” page for deep editing (Figure 3), a page for more performance-oriented standalone options, and a whole lot more.
So really, what’s the point of a review? Fire up your broadband connection, get the download, and discover for yourself just how cool this is. Yes, it really is free. Really.