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Enhanced Replacement Skin for Aria

The Aria software that is bundled with the EWI USB is certainly useful enough, but in a lot of ways it felt... unfinished to me. Elements that I personally would like quick access to at the same time (transpose and pan at the same time, transpose from ANY sub-tab) are spread out over several separate pages... and some controls you cannot "see at the same time" for each patch.

More of a concern is that the software is written to only work as a fixed resolution, and at over 900x520 by the time you figure in window chrome and the menu, the program barely fits the screen of a 1024x600 10" netbook, and does NOT fit the 800x480 screen of your first gen netbooks. Netbooks are ideal for taking the EWI on the road with their long battery life, and any of the intel Atom powered units have proven quite up to the task, but the software itself leaves much to be desired in that regard.

One of the biggest 'wastes' in the software is that almost a quarter of the application width is chewed up by an ugly dithered graphic with the garritan and Akai logo's slapped over it. I'm not using the application to look at those, so those should NOT be the most prominent feature. The situation is further exacerbated by round 'knobs' that feel (to me at least) somewhat counterintuitive, and tons of white space and graphics instead of decent use of the available space.

Fixing these issues is actually quite simple because Aria's skins are written in XML and built with PNG images... So I've done that. I have redone most of the graphics, switched it to use a image that looks like a slider instead of a knob, and re-arranged everything.

So be sure to download it now and try it out. As always if you have any suggestions or improvements, please use our Contact Form.

Replacement Skin Features

  • Smaller window is 800x480 netbook friendly
  • Sliders instead of knobs to use screen real-estate more effectively
  • Transpose now shown for each patch individually and can be accessed regardless of the subsection tab in use
  • Breath CC2 moved from 'controls' page to Mixing
  • Effects page (formerly 'controls') shows Modulation and Equalizer Gain all the time, while not supported by all the available sound patches for Aria they do no harm having them present.

Version 1.1 - 13 September 2009

  • Fixed some layout bugs like the disappearing volume slider

Installation Instructions

Windows

  1. Make sure Aria is not running.
  2. Rename the existing 'GUI' directory in the Aria program directory to something like "GUI Backup"
  3. Unpack the contents of the archive to the Aria program directory.
  4. Start Aria, Enjoy!

The program directory is typically at "C:\Program Files\Akai\EWI USB" on all 32 bit Versions of Windows and the 64 bit versions of Vista and Windows 7. 64 bit versions of XP and Windows Server 2003 will typically place the directory at "C:\Program Files (x86)\Akai\EWI USB".

Apple OS X

There is no reason this file should not work on the Mac version of Aria, however I have not tested it or come up with installation instructions for that. If you are able to clearly write up how to do so, please contact me with those instructions so I can add them to the website and the installSkin.txt file inside the archive.

Uninstall

Just delete the new GUI directory, and rename the "GUI Backup" one back to GUI.

Disclaimer

I take no responsability for damage done to your installation of the Aria software through attempting to install this skin. While there really is nothing here which would result in corruption, don't blame me if you screw it up.


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