Autotonic is an invaluable tool for creating, composing and finding ideas you would otherwise never think of. As a non-pianist with some pretty fast fingers, it helps me play things that even pro pianist would struggle with thanks to its scale mapping technology but, more importantly as a composer and producer, it helps me experiment with ideas and scale/chord sounds that I might find too daunting or not interesting enough as well as come up with the results I aim for. Autotonic has given me the means to write in-key musical solos without the hassle of learning all fingering, especially when I am not going to be the one to record that solo in the studio. So I would definitely recommend this tool to anyone serious in theory and composition because it definitely grows up on you.
So is Autotonic worth it? Yes.
Is it perfect? Still no, but there is no other program that has the potential to take things further than Autotonic at the moment.
"AutoTonic ...goes far beyond, acting like a 'new instrument' ..."
Ok, that's the advertisement - now what does it do ?
Essentially it is a MIDI mapper and ... errr ... that's it! It's a MIDI mapper.
So what is the difference between the $179,- AutoTonic and the free Cales or the $50,- Autotheory?
The one thing you can't do with the others is mapping non-diatonic scales to the white keys of your keyboard w/o having "empty" keys in between octaves.
Meaning 3 things:
1) you can play every white key you want and it will always output a sound that belongs to your scale (...which is good ?!?)
2) it's the only program that can assign >7-note scales to the keyboard (...which is unique)
3) apart from the 1st root key on the middle c you don't have the slightest idea on which white key the rest of your scales root notes (the octaves) have ended up and most of your playing is just random. You can of course get that info by checking the display but if you change keys from - let's say - a pentatonic (5 notes) to a 6-tone scale everything on the keyboard changes again and you have to re-learn the keyboard again to play at least a bit fluently.
So ... does it work as advertised? - Yes. And that is what my rating is based on (just in case you wondered ;-)).
Which would be the end of the review IF it wouldn't have the $180,- price tag on it.
Seriously, you take the MIDI value coming from the input, change it to a MIDI value you have stored in a data base, send the new MIDI value to the output, add a fancy GUI to change the values in the database and that's it.
Charging 180,- for it and not even providing the (Windows) customer with a virtual MIDI driver that is essential (!!!) to make your program work is ridiculous.
And to then tell your paying customer to go to Google and search for a free virtual MIDI driver on the net to make YOUR software - that the customer has PAYED 180,- for - work so that you don't have to spend either time to develop a driver or pay the developer of the driver for using it is just plain shameless.
If you need more-than-7-note-scales mapped to your keyboard (and you don't want to program them by yourself in your DAW) go and spend the 180,- on AutoTonic - there is no alternative (that I know of) out there.
And may I suggest: Send the developer of the needed virtual MIDI driver some money as well ;-).
Just to clarify: On Mac there is already a virtual MIDI port (AutoTonic MIDI In/AutoTonic MIDI Out) available in AutoTonic, so there is no such workaround required. But the reason why there is not yet any Windows MIDI Driver implemented is: I was asked to pay over US $3.500,- for this implementation. I am really sorry but at the end of the development process I just didn't had this money left. I wished I could have done that as well, but I were not able to afford this anymore at that time. But as soon as I'll have a budget for this (due to new users), it will be included in an update of course (-->Full Version includes lifetime membership/updates)...