Welcome to Pro Tools Expert a huge community for users of Avid Pro Tools for both music and post production. With over 3 million visits a year, we’ve grown to be the place to come for training, resources, tips tricks and news. We offer advice for users of all versions of Pro Tools both current and legacy formats. We’re independent and are not affiliated with Avid or their associated companies.
If you missed the deal to buy the new Penteo 4 Pro stereo to surround upmixer then now you have the chance to win a copy. Enter the competition and one lucky person will win a copy of Penteo 4 Pro stereo to surround upmixer.
Check out Mike’s review on our Video Reviews page of the Penteo 4 Pro and why he gave it the Pro Tools Expert Editors Choice Award.
Michael Carnes from Exponential Audio has set up a new professional networking group on Linkedin for those involved in 3D mixing and sound design formats like Dolby Atmos and Auro 3D. Michael told us…
There doesn’t really seem to be a central place for folks working with these exciting new formats, so I thought I might create one. Obviously as a provider of software, I might have a few things to show you from time to time. But I’m mainly going to stand back and learn from you: the people doing these great new mixes. I hope you see this as a good place to share tips and best practices.
If you are a Linkedin member, then click the link to join the 3D Mixing And Sound Designers Group. It’s a closed group to protect us all from spam, so it may take a day or so to approve your membership. There some big names already in this group, see you there!
So you were wondering what to do today? Well cancel whatever you are doing because for today only we’ve opened up all our member only video access for free, that’s nearly 700 tips and tricks videos for you to watch for free.
- Pro Tools Production Tricks
- Instrument Expansion Pack Video Tutorials
- Pro Tools Guitar Video Tutorials
- Pro Tools Effects Video Tutorials
- BOOM Video Tutorials
- DB33 Video Tutorials
- HYBRID Video Tutorials
- MASCHINE Video Tutorials
- MINI GRAND Video Tutorials
- STRIKE Video Tutorials
- STRUCTURE Video Tutorials
- TRANSFUSER Video Tutorials
- VACUUM Video Tutorials
- VELVET Video Tutorials
- Windows System Tricks Video Tutorials
- XPAND2 Video Tutorials
So settle down and start watching Pro Tools video tutorials free. TODAY ONLY!
If you like what you see then sign up as a Pro Tools Expert member - just £20 a year, all you can eat!
Our friends at Waves are offering Kramer Master Tape for $29 instead of $200 today only.
Developed in association with Eddie Kramer, the Kramer Master Tape plugin is modeled on a rare vintage 1/4” reel-to-reel machine. With adjustable tape speed, bias, flux, wow & flutter, and noise parameters, the Kramer Master Tape provides comprehensive control over the contours of your sound. And to top it off, we’ve added a flexible slap & feedback delay, ideal for rock, dance, dub, you name it. For recording, mixing, mastering, and more, bring the richness and warmth of real tape saturation to your DAW with the Kramer Master Tape plugin. It’s the reel deal.
Blue Cat Audio will soon be releasing an update to Patchworks that will enable complex MIDI routing in one plug-in, allowing one slot to host complex synth and arpegiattor parts.
In a Facebook post they write;
New MIDI Routing capabilities will let you create crazy chains! Soon on www.bluecataudio.com!
Patchworks already offers users the chance to save plug-in chains and route in complex ways.
The latest update looks exciting.
The gang over at Samplephonics are giving away a library of an organ from Leeds Town Hall.
The story behind it is as follows;
The picture speaks for itself. Within the beatifully decorated town hall of the city of Leeds in England lies this spectacular organ, towering high into the music hall and silencing the sounds of the city with its earth shuddering, rich, harmonic tones.
This project was part of a new chapter for Samplephonics known as Sonas, who will be unveiling some spectacular virtual instruments over the coming year. More on that soon!
We spent some time with organist Dr Simon Lindley who told us all about how the instrument works, it’s history and even a guided tour up in to the inside of the organ itself!
Find out more and to download the free organ library.
We are currently running a deal to get the Sound Radix Auto-Align plug-in for £59 which is a 33% discount on the normal price. Customer service and support is so important and so when Community member George Pinto told us about his experiences with the team at Sound Radix, we wanted to share it wider so over to you George….
I love this plug-in. Because I’m so impatient I asked for help from Sound Radix. Their Customer Service is incredible. I thought I would share the Q&A that took place during two email exchanges. In the first, I emailed Sound Radix customer support and asked a series of questions…
1. Once you auto align your tracks, is it recommended that the track be printed? Sound Radix replied…
Although you can do it, It’s not necessary. Auto-Align uses very little CPU once the alignment detection in completed.
2. How much latency does the plug in add? I’ll be on PT10 so Auto delay Comp will be on.
Auto-Align introduces a latency of 20ms, which is equivalent to 882 samples when the session is set to a sample rate of 44.1kHz and is well within the delay compensation limits of PT10.
3. Do you have a recommended guide on how to auto align the drums? in which order? If I align the snare top and bottom, can I align the overheads and then align the overheads with the snare, kick, room? any tips?.
You got it just right. In fact, this is exactly how we recommend using Auto-Align for drums alignment. Bottom to top snare first, then overheads to the top snare, then toms and hat to the overheads. The room mics can be aligned to the snare or overheads, source dependent. Another way some of our users go about it, is to send all the close mice to a bus, then use that bus as a reference to the distant mics.
4. Is an Ilok required?
No iLok is required.
5. If/when I do purchase it, can I download it?
Absolutely. Upon a purchase, you will automatically receive a redeem code from us to activate your license here.
Having purchased it and starting to use Auto-Align, I had a couple of further questions….
1. My 3rd track is a DI input. How do I align the two 2 LR tracks with the DI track?
Since the L/R guitar are already aligned, you can align the DI to any one of them. A single Auto-Align instance can simultaneously send and receive audio via its internal bus.
2. How do I align my overheads to the top snare if I already have Auto-Align on top and bottom snare?
You can use the same SEND bus of the top snare as a RECV bus for the overheads. Cheers, - Nir
I’m now using Auto-Align on every session as required. It saves so much time. My work flow is as follows:
- Clean up session
- Insert an instance of Auto-Align on the tracks that require it
- Group tracks
- Phase align using Auto-Align
- Beat align or use Elastic Audio
George, thanks for sharing your experiences. This is how customer service and support should be, helpful advice, which led to a sale, and then more excellent advice to help the user get even more out of Auto-Align.
Its great to see the man himself, Nir Averbuch respond to George’s questions. If you would like to hear more about Nir and Sound Radix then you can find Mike’s interview with Nir here, or it will be in the Podcast Archive as well.
Russ’s article The Plug-Ins I reach For When Mixing In Pro Tools and Mike’s follow up 10 Plug-Ins I Reach For In Post Production Work prompted responses from other members of the team. Like many I compiled a list, mine is an excellent illustration if one were needed that different users have different priorities and there is no such thing as “best” only “best for me”.
It is in the nature of my work that I use many different Pro Tools systems. When selecting a plug-in I usually have in mind the possibility that I may want to open this session on another system and as a result unless there is a really good reason to favour a third party plug-in I’ll usually stick with choices from Avid. 90% of the time the advantage of compatibility outweighs the sonic differences between plug-ins. That being said some plug-ins are just plain awesome and I have to deal with that. Here are my 10.
I really like McDSP stuff and of the FilterBank plug-ins the F202 is the one I use more than any other. The reason is that I find I use a high pass filter with a little boost just above the corner frequency incredibly frequently. Effectively this is a resonant high pass filter but with most EQ plug-ins you need to set up the high pass and the boost on separate bands which makes it difficult to adjust both the cut and the boost together. The peak control on F202 solves this neatly.
Avid EQIII 7 band
I still come back to EQIII using it in preference to FilterBank for general EQ duties. The reason is the band-pass mode accessible using cntrl+shift and a frequency or Q control. I find this indispensable when finding problem frequencies and definitely preferable to sweeping a narrow boost in other EQs. I also find the lack of 6dB/Oct filters in EQs like Channel Strip a real oversight as it is a slope I use regularly (thankfully F202 also has 6dB filters).
Avid Pro Limiter
Pro Limiter is now my go to look-ahead limiter. I tend to be as gentle as I can with limiting so I don’t want to hear a “sound” and with this I don’t. However the really interesting parts for me are the AudioSuite loudness analyser, the metering and the use of the R128 standard. This plug-in prompted me to learn about LUFS and that has to be a good thing.
If you missed Podcast 112 then you would have not heard us talking about this email from community member El Sidius.
“Thanks for inspiring me over the last 2 years in getting more deeply in love with what I already love and that is music production. Without you I would have never finished my degree in audio technology.
Drumbank’s Top 5 Drum Virtual Instruments
It’s every bands dream to have a reliable, hardworking and committed drummer who doesn’t turn up late to every rehearsal session usually hungover and stinking of whiskey and cigarettes. While this is a very broad stereotype, in some cases it’s not far from the truth. Add to the fact that hiring one to play for you is even more of a pain in the backside, let alone recording one. “What’s a condenser?…Who’s Glyn John?…Why does his snare sound like a tin cat?”
Fortunately, If you really cant be bothered to find the answers to these questions, help is at hand by means of drum sampling software instruments. Sampling drums is nothing new. In fact if you listen to the song ‘Amen Brother’ by The Winstons and fast forward to about 1:26 you’ll instantly recognise the “famous loop” used on hundreds of early hip hop, drum-and-bass and Jungle music that inspired a youthful generation for decades to come. So what am I actually going on about I hear you ask? Fast forward about twenty years and you will see that it’s all in the software.
At it’s heart, drum samplers are powered by the individual sampled sounds of the drum and cymbal hits mostly at different velocities. It’s these velocities that adds realism to your beats. A real drummer would never hit the same drum at the same force, power and attack more than once. While this is the basis of any drum sampling software instrument, they also offer the songwriter and producer the ability to “go in deep” and shape/contour the sound suitable for your mix. Modern drum samplers offer monolithic mixing options. Anything from controlling the room /ambient microphones to even mixing in/out the “bleed” and spill on each individual drum, like you would in a real drum recording session.
Naturally, it’s these artefacts that make the overall drums sound more realistic and organic. Add these to your drum programming ability and humanization skills and you’ve got yourself a “real” drummer in your music without any actual human contact. Of course, extensive sample libraries exist that can be used with sampler plug-ins like Kontakt and others sample players but they do not offer an all in one solution like dedicated drum virtual instruments offer. While these features are expected by today’s top producers and professional songwriters, software manufacturers are quite forgiving to most of us bedroom musicians by offering presets and templates for us to quickly load up without losing focus on the actual song we’re writing. The recorded samples in most drum samplers come pretty much pre-mixed and sometimes you don’t even have to do a lot to have yourself a decent sounding drum kit. While these features are a given, CPU power isn’t and most samplers are very RAM hungry, so the way this is overcome is by software manufactures offering RAM saving features that help your computer deal with all the sample stress without having to upgrade to the latest tech. Although most modern DAW’s include a drum sampler built-in, it never feels as satisfying to use as a dedicated third party drum sampler. In this article, we run down five of our favourite Drum VI’s. They are in no particular order as each one is different and suited to a particular user.
We are delighted to announced that Pro Tools Expert contributor Julian Rodgers has now joined the Pro Tools Expert team as a full time member.
He is a Certified Pro Tools Trainer and is very familiar with the mistakes and misconceptions common to new users. He plays piano, bass and guitar equally badly and is an keen collector of microphones and keyboard shortcuts.
Here is our very own “Mr RX It” showing in another free video tutorial, courtesy of iZotope, how to use the Declip plug-in module in iZotope RX3.
In self shot documentaries the sound is often the thing that suffers, as the crew have too many other things to think about. In this example we suspect the camera operator was concentrating on the pictures and missed the meters warning that the audio was going into the red. See how Mike was able to improve it using the RX3 Declip plug-in and also when a problem needs more forensic treatment, how to export the clip from Pro Tools, work on it in the standalone RX3 application and then import the fixed version back into Pro Tools.
Waves Audio Manny Marroquin Signatute Series Special Offer
Waves Audio CLA Signatute Series Special Offer
Created in association with GRAMMY Award®-winning mixing engineer Chris Lord-Alge (Green Day, Bruce Springsteen, My Chemical Romance) these six application-specific plugins deliver the sound of the Lord of the Mix himself.
Waves Audio Tony Maserati Signatute Series Special Offer
Last week I did my Audient ASP880 review class A 8 channel pre-amp, I then went and bought it. As an Omni user who wants more I/O but doesn’t want to buy more Avid hardware it was a no brainer.
Some have asked why I selected the ASP880, so here’s how I’m using it.
Here’s my set-up to show you what I now have in terms of flexibility. This set-up requires this recipe;
- Avid Omni
- Audient ASP880
- Patchbay and cables
- 3 x DB25 to jack 8 way looms
- 2 x ADAT optical cables
- Optional, but recommended - 8 way XLR/Jack/Combo stage box
- Hardware to taste
ASP880 And Avid Omni Workflow Tracking
I now have 8 XLR/Combo connectors when tracking through my Class A Audient ASP880 class A pre-amps. Also included are variable filters for cleaning up the signal from 25Hz to 250Hz.
The audient AD also alllows me to use 8 insert points on record, so I can really start to use the hardware in the rack on all channels. This is simply a case of 2 of the DB25-jack loops out to the patchbay then I can put any of my hardware across any of the 8 channels.
ASP880 And Avid Omni Workflow Mixing
When it comes to mixing the flexibilty remains, using a DB25-jack into the patchbay I can then use hardware effects on up to 8 channels, sending them out of the Omni and then back into the ASP880 via the AD inputs.
ASP880 And Avid Omni Workflow - Using Pro Tools For Input Switching
I also own an Avid Eleven Rack so if I want to use that to track guitars then that is coming into Pro Tools via the AES/EBU connection on the back of the Avid Omni and then it is simply a case of swapping over the inputs on the hardware settings in Pro Tools.
ASP880 And Avid Omni Workflow - Why This Set-up?
There are other solutions when it comes to haging something off the Omni via ADAT but for me the ASP880 with it’s Class A pre-amps, variable filters and inputs via the AD gives me the quality and flexibilty I have been looking for.
Did Audient pay me to write this? No, I paid them!
Ciaran Robinson responded to our shout out last week asking for people to contribute to the site to help make the community a fuller and rounder place, enabling you to hear from more than just the team. Over to you Ciaran….
I’ve had a series of sessions recently, where the clients have come in utterly unprepared - ranging from a score written in entirely the wrong clef and with impossible note ranges for the instrument, to not having decided on even the basic song structure or tempo.
This approach may be fine for home recording, but when you’re paying for a day in a studio, you will want to spend your time more productively. This is where session planning and preparation become absolutely essential.
On the other side of the spectrum, I ran a session recently where there were more than 15 musicians, all playing on a song they were unfamiliar with. As I was involved in the project at the earliest stages, I’d had the chance to prepare everything well in advance. As a result, we were able to finish the session over an hour early. So here’s a few of the things I like to have prepared for before I get to the studio:
Be Prepared With 6 Tips For Planning Your Session - Referencing
I always try and sit down with the client, boot up Spotify, and get an idea of the production style they’re looking for. I’m rarely trying to clone the exact sound of an album, but obviously I’ll approach the recording totally differently if the band want to sound like Slayer than if they want to sound like Led Zeppelin.
I’ll want be be able to quickly access this reference material during the session, so I’ll import a few songs to my Pro Tools project, and put them on hidden, inactive tracks.
To avoid any master fader levels etc. affecting my reference tracks, I also make sure that they’re on a discrete bus, and route this to the same output as my main stereo mix.
Be Prepared With 6 Tips For Planning Your Session - Live Room setup, Mic and Studio Routing
I’ll pencil out a plan of how I’d like the live room set up, and show which mics I’ll be using on each instrument, along with the way I’m intending to get the signal into Pro Tools.
This is more for my assistant than anything else - I can pass this to him a day or so before the session, so I can get on with the meet & greet and coffees that start most days, while he does all the hard work setting everything up.
Things are still likely to change on the day (and it’s usually far from complete), but at least I have a starting point to work from. I’ll then create all my tracks, and put my mic choices into the comments boxes.
I don’t do all my I/O routing yet though, as my home Pro Tools setup doesn’t have much in the way of inputs.
Be Prepared With 6 Tips For Planning Your Session - Song structure and Memory Locations
There are few things that show lack of experience in a studio more than not knowing your way round a song - if the producer asks you to play them the third chorus, you need to be able to jump straight to it, not hunt through the track, asking “is this it?” until you find what you’re looking for.
Memory Locations are the key to this, and the earlier I can set these, the better.
If the band can’t provide the song structure breakdown, I’ll either analyse the structure from a demo version of the song, or I’ll make a very rough recording at a band rehearsal and use that instead (iPhone recordings are usually good enough for this, but I usually bring along my Tascam DR-40 portable recorder).
As you can see from the screenshot, I use a numbering system for my locates - verses are 11 to 19, and choruses are 21 to 29. This way if I need to get to the second chorus, there’s no need to refer to the Memory Locates window - it’ll always be locate 22.
In part 2 we will conclude this look at best practice for planning your sessions in the studio.
A few weeks ago veteran Hollywood mixer, Gary Lux, did an Avid S6 video tutorial on how to use VCA groups on the S6. There were some questions as to how he sets up his Pro Tools session with those VCA groups, and how they work in relation to edit groups.
Well in this new tutorial, Gary shows you step-by-step how he sets up the VCA groups in his sessions and how they translate over to the Avid S6.
Our friends at Softube are offering 40% off their Dynamics plug-ins until May 13th.
The deal includes some classic compression and limiting on the following Softube plug-ins;
40% Off Softube Summit Audio TLA-100A
Dynamic control with mild authority.
40% Off Softube
FET Compressor Classic for a reason.
40% Off Softube Tube-Tech CL 1B
The compressor with that opto sound.
40% Off Softube Valley People Dyna-mite
Compressor, gate, expander—a Swiss army knife with an attitude.
Click here for more information on the Softube Dynamics sale
UAD v7.6 Software - New Chandler GAV19T, Brainworx bx_saturator V2 And Brainworx bx_refinement Plug-In
Universal Audio has just announced UAD v7.6 software which includes 3 new plug-ins, one guitar, one mix and one mastering plug-in.
The software is free to all UAD users and includes UAD-2 and Apollo Interface driver improvements (Mac).
With the UAD v7.6 software release 3 new plug-ins have been announced;
Chandler Limited GAV19T Amplifier Plug-In
Universal Audio say “Developed by the amp modeling gurus at Brainworx, the Chandler Limited GAV19T Amplifier plug-in is an exacting emulation of this ultra-responsive, dual EL84-powered boutique guitar amp. Inspired by British classics such as Vox and Marshall — and lesser-known gems from Watkins and Selmer — the Chandler Limited GAV19T Amplifier plug-in goes from supple clean textures, grinding blues tones, and rowdy distortions that gush with character.”
Brainworx bx_saturator V2 Plug-In
Universal Audio say “A powerful multi-band M/S (Mid/Side) processor that allows you to add saturation, drive, and distortion exactly where you want it, the Brainworx bx_saturator V2 plug-in for UAD-2 DSP Accelerators and Apollo-equipped workstations goes from subtle to twisted. Not only can you mangle signals beyond recognition, you can dial-in analog warmth and overdrive on individual tracks, put it across the stereo bus to thicken an entire mix, and bring out delicate nuances of vocals, acoustic guitars, and percussion”
Brainworx bx_refinement Plug-In
Universal Audio say “Tastefully remove the harsh, hard edges of your tracks without dramatically altering the character and tone of your source material with the Brainworx bx_refinement plug-in. An exceptional mastering tool that will impart a tube-like analog smoothness, the bx_refinement for UAD-2 DSP Accelerators and Apollo-equipped DAWs is also a boon for mix engineers looking to tame unpleasant digital hardness on individual tracks.”
Click here for more information visit and to download the UAD v7.6 software.
In the first part of my series on running your own creative business I talked about the intrinsic link between who you are, what you need and your business.
I remember sitting in a business class years ago and one of the attendees said ‘I need to write a business plan for the bank manager” without blinking the tutor retorted “you first person you need to write the business plan for is you.”
So in this session I want to talk about the plan.
So What Are You Going To Do?
Do you have an answer to this question? I don’t have that answer for you, no one else does either, I would go as far as saying that if you need someone to come up with an idea for you to turn into a business then you’re probably not the right kind of person to start a business – a self starter.
Only you know what your skills are and how you can go about using them to create a living and build a business. The grand term for this is vision – what’s the vision for your business? Vision is an overused word in business seminars and on the golf courses as CEOs wheel their trollies around – often turned into verbose sessions of boardroom bullshit. However just because it has been hijacked by those who prefer words to action it doesn’t make the idea of having a vision a bad one.
You need to sit down and think about what you are going to do, who your customers will be, and what will make people want to buy from you instead of someone else?
Originality Is Sometimes Overrated
It does not have to be a new idea; sometimes it’s a new way of thinking about an old idea – a better way.
Several years ago Nokia owned the phone market, they made phones, lots of different phones – what could anyone do with a mobile phone that Nokia hadn’t already done? Nokia were the kings of the phone market, they had a long history and millions of customers, and they were invincible. Then a computer company decided to think differently about the phone – that company was Apple and the product was the iPhone, the rest, as they say, is history. Irrespective of whether you think the iPhone is any good, enough people bought them to kick the feet from under Nokia and then the rest of the industry followed Apple.
Apple was late to the party, but they did an old thing in a new way.
No one is expecting you to reinvent recording, simply doing it better may be enough to help you build a successful business.
Write It Down
You need to be able to write down your vision, your plan and how you intend to make it happen. You need to have an internal message that makes sense to you and one you can write down. Your plan doesn’t have to be the size of War and Peace, it can be a sheet of paper, as long as it makes sense and answers all the questions that matter.
Three Questions You Need To Answer
So you want to run your own business, to work for yourself? Answer these simple questions;
- What you are going to do?
- Who are your customers going to be?
- Why will people want to buy from you instead of someone else?
Until you’ve answered these fundamental questions then don’t even think about it.
Russ, Mike & James bring you another bumper show with talking points, tips, tricks and questions answered.
- ADL Penteo 4 Pro Surround Upmixing Plug-in £399 - 33% Discount
- Omar Hakim Drums From Loop Loft With Exclusive Pro Tools Sessions £32 - 33% Discount
- PlugIn Alliance Maag EQ4 Plug-in $149 - 35% Discount
- Sound Radix Auto-Align Plug-in £59 - 33% Discount
- Sound In Sync Now Offers Applications For Rental - 30% Discount
- Pro Tools Cloud Collaboration - 2 videos
- Moving An Entire Pro Tools Session To Another DAW
- Show And Tell Review Of Waves Vitamin Plug-in
- 10 Free Pro Tools Plug-ins For Bass Distortion
- Audient ASP880 8 Channel Microphone Preamplifier and ADC - Review
- One Thing You Should Hear Before You Die
- Ableton Live Expert Launches
- Pro Tools Expert Sonnox Community Award - Hall Of Fame So Far
- Jeffrey Lober - We sound like The Young Ones to his American ears
- Sid Naghdi Known to us as El Sidius following our example and setting up Drumbank for the drum programming and virtue drumming community.
- Grant Hall - Update to the old Mac Pro to New Mac Pro comparison story.
- Tony Molica - Confession to buying too much gear and a resolution to learn to use what he has first.
- Steve Nolte Thank you for all you do.
- Kris Lawrenson - Can I download your videos?
- Why do I get AAE Error -6101 intermittently on small and large sessions?
- Which plug-ins should I use when mixing vocals On - From Groove 3 Mixing with Free Plug-ins or Mix School 101
- How do I prove to Avid that I am eligible for the Student version of Pro Tools - PTE FAQ page
- Is it possible to feed the sends post inserts on tracks?
- Problems with Faders move between recording and mixing in Pro Tools. What’s happening?
- Can I put my Pro tools 10 license that came with Pro Tools 10 onto a 1st generation iLok?
- Why do I get AAE Error -6101 intermittently on small and large sessions?
- Which plug-ins should I use when mixing vocals Mixing with Free Plug-ins Mix School 101?
- How do I prove to Avid that I am eligible for the Student version of Pro Tools?
- Is it possible to feed the sends post inserts on tracks?
- Problems with Faders move between recording and mixing in Pro Tools. What’s happening?
- How can I get the click to be included in offline stem mixes?
- Can I put my Pro Tools 10 license that came with Pro Tools 10 onto a 1st generation iLok