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.
The gang over at uber fantistic sound creation company e-insturment are giving away a copy of Session Horns every week until April 3rd 2014.
The Session Horns Prize Draw
More About Session Horns
Session Horns is the versatile and playable horn section that will instantly perk up your productions. The trombone, tenor sax and two trumpets have been sampled to perfection and deliver a rich, authentic sound, playable by anyone.
Session Horns features a unique Smart Voice Split function for creating authentic horn arrangements on the fly. Or get inspired with theAnimator – a harmonically flexible riff generator. Inject any production with a dynamite sound that will blow you away.
Mac or PC, requires Kontalk Player or Kontakt
Unlike a lot of post production users, Mike Aiton has made the jump to Pro Tools 11 and as we discussed on the Avid stand at BVE recently the Avid Video Engine in Pro Tools 11 is far from being a bed of roses. Mike has been working on a documentary this week and we asked him to log his experiences together with what works and what doesn’t work. Over to you Mike…
My Video Setup
I am using Blackmagic Design DeckLink Studio hardware card with the video reference set to 25 frames per second PAL from my Nanosyncs and my Sync HD unit. I am using the Blackmagic Design v10 driver, using the onboard SD hardware down mix from the Blackmagic card of the HD pictures to feed my SD screens.
Today I started sound editing in Pro Tools 11.
Audio - I imported the OMF from the video edit and re-arranged everything to correct tracks etc for splits.
Video - I tried using Pro Res Proxy file (14GB for 47 min) which works out at about the same size-ish of file as DV PAL.
I had three crashes with the Wait Play bug.
I had the orange video media once in the timeline with “video with no known codec” bug which I was able to clear with a reboot.
Have you ever sat in a session with a Pro Tools engineer going through a piece of audio meticulously to make changes? This may be to the timing, tuning, de-breathing, or trying to change the audio becuase the Eq was recorded wrong and they now need to go through and notch their way through the performance.
Sometimes it is necessary, so here is the case for and against.
Russ takes a look at the Blue Cat Patchworks plug-in. It offers the chance to host multiple VSTs, parallel processing, channel strip saving and multi synth hosting in two different formats. Find out how it works and what he thinks.
Find out from Avid more of what went into the sound production for Gravity that meant it cleaned up both sound related Oscars. Director Alfonso Cuarón wanted to leverage sound and picture to create an immersive experience for moviegoers. In this exclusive interview, the Gravity audio post team explain how using Avid workflows they were able to transport the audience to a heightened reality.
Loudness is an issue I have been going on about for a couple of years not as I believe it will bring real benefits to the consumer. It would be great not to have to dive for the remote every time the ads or other audio between programmes comes on. Recently I covered it in my piece about the Sound Matters series that are being held round the UK and we discussed it some more towards the end of Podcast 106.
Jake Knott describes himself is a Manchester based television sound supervisor, recordist, boom operator and gram op with 29 years of broadcast experience. He builds shows, mixes them as loud as you want them, and makes things work. Jake is no armchair expert, he has been been doing the right thing and trying to mix the programmes he works on, to the new standards and finding it hard. He has just posted a comment piece on his blog and with his permission we post it here too, over to you Jake…
The Problems With R128
First off, a statement: I have no problem with the principle of mixing to a constant loudness, because it’s how I was trained at Evesham 30 years ago and it’s how I’ve mixed shows for 20 years. The idea is not new, but in recent years due to lack of training it’s fallen out of practice and people have become slaves to the PPM without using their ears,
Second statement: I do not consider myself to be the greatest mixer in the world. I could be wrong about all this. But I DO mix 10+ hours of network TV every week, and I have lots of chances to measure and experiment. There are some major problems I have found, and nobody has yet been able to answer them; there are many “Heads of Technology” who are quoting me chapter and verse on R128, but few craft mixers who have actually done it.
I’ll start on the small bits and then work up.
It seems that I’m not the only person who is driven mad by Apple’s desire to try and turn OS X into a giant iPhone and one feature in particular, notifications.
It seems that no matter what you do they keep coming back like the Black Knight in Monty Python’s Holy Grail. “I’ll bite your bloody ankles” however is funnier than the Apple nags that appear mid record, mid mix, mid anything.
However here are three ways to stop them some for Mountain Goat Lion and also for Mavericks, two free and one paid.
How To Stop Annoying Mac Notifications In Mountain Lion - FREE
If you still have Mountain Lion as your OS, then this way is free and permanent, its the code equivalent of bleach and the one I used.
Open Terminal and type;
launchctl unload -w /System/Library/LaunchAgents/com.apple.notificationcenterui.plist
Then close terminal, you will now see that any trace of the Notificaiton Center has gone.
How To Stop Annoying Mac Notifications In Mavericks - FREE
Hidden in the Preferences Feature in OS X Mavericks in the Do Not Disturb option that allows you to set a time when notifications will not bother you.
Simply go to this setting and start it at midnight and end it at 23:59.
How To Stop Annoying Mac Notifications In Mountain Lion - Paid
Community member Shane Felton has also created this video showing how you can use the App Cocktail to kill notifications in Mavericks for good.
Perhaps I have OCD, but as far as I’m concerned anything to distract a creative is bad news, it’s hard to keep our mind on the ball most of the time, so stopping our OS from constantly telling us we have mail or that a there’s a cool movie on Facebook has to be a good thing. If you have nothing to do right now and you want to see a video to make you spit your tea then watch this one. The punch line is ace!
We recently ran a sweepstakes with our friends from RSPE Audio, who donated a full set of Avid Pro Series plug-ins. We are pleased to announce that Will Durno from Fort McMurray, Canada is the winner of that prize. Will writes…
“Thank you for everything. You have made me a very happy man! Wishing you greatness … rock on!”
Congratulations Will and enjoy your prize.
Can you assemble flat pack furniture? Do you like watching Mama Mia on re-repeat play? Have you got a really big beard, (that question is also for the men reading this too)?
Then you may be the person to join the Softube team in Sweden, not only are their beards, but Softube is growing rapidly, and they need a Quality Assurance Manager to join the team. Apply now if you think you have got what it takes—see the entire job and profile description below.
When dialogue editing do you use playlists at all for alternate takes, cues, ADR or do you only use work and junk tracks?
There seems to be a real debate about whether to use playlists in the post workflow. In music sessions especially in vocals playlist are used a lot with the vocal comping feature we have in Pro Tools. This feature should work well for dialog editing or ADR editing where we need to check and compare alternate takes to produce a master track, but how many dialog editors are using this feature? We have a poll here and do add your thoughts too into the comments section.
I’m pretty confident that like me, the overwhelming majority of visitors to this site spend an unhealthy amount of time ogling gear. Much has been said of the importance of getting to know the equipment you already have rather than being distracted by shiny new toys. We all know that the most important studio equipment we have is our ears but how many of us actually try to develop our listening skills?
Upgrade Your Ears With How To Listen Software
How to Listen is a desktop software application for Mac and PC, developed by the Harman International R&D group for the purpose of training and selecting listeners used in audio product research, development, and testing. By auditioning audio and having to select the EQ curve being applied by A/Bing against a flat version it is possible to genuinely blind test your perception of frequency content. You can find the free download Here
Usefully it is reasonably straightforward to upload you own audio rather than rely on the supplied examples using the practice session and selecting choose. It doesn’t seem to play AAC files but is happy with WAVs and Mp3s and comes supplied with a selection of 48 and 96KHz WAV files to use. The user has control over the type and amount of filtering applied, cuts, boosts, cuts and boosts, high pass or low pass and there are options for incorporating unwanted artefacts such as noise though I haven’t tried them myself.
This software is quite addictive, with a task like this which requires such close attention it is surprising just how tiring it is and how your results are affected by fatigue. Proof if it were needed that taking regular breaks can make your mixes better. I thoroughly recommend this software, just a word of warning, you might find you’re not as good as you think you are.
I don’t know if it is just me but most of the plug-ins I go for in a post workflow are for corrective work rather than for creative use and this is reflected in my list.
10 Plug-ins & Tools I Reach For In Post Production Work - iZotope RX3 Advanced
RX2 and now RX3 are tools I go to every day to resolve problems with audio. If you haven’t looked at RX3 Adavnced yet then I do commend it very highly. I have been able to save the lives, projects and money of many of my clients with this suite of tools. The new modules in Advanced like De-reverb and especially the Dialog De-noiser are quick and easy to use and work really well too. If you do have RX3 or RX3 Advanced and you aren’t sure if you are getting the most out of it then my video tutorial series from Groove 3 - RX3 Explained is 4.5 hours of video tutorials looking at each part of RX3 and RX3 Advanced.
10 Plug-ins & Tools I Reach For In Post Production Work - Exponential Audio Phoenixverb and R2 Reverbs
Ever since I cam across these they have become my firm favourites. I thought I would prefer the more neutral sounding Phoenixverb but in practice I find myself using R2 more. Check my video above, from a while back, where I demonstarte these gresat reverb plug-ins. Exponential have recently changed the GUI on both reverbs and if you work in surround then there are surrond versions of them both too.
10 Plug-ins & Tools I Reach For In Post Production Work - Avid EQ III
Yes I know there are loads of EQ plug-ins including the Maag EQ4 but for me the Avid EQ III is a very versatile tool that has all the options I need especially for corrective work which is what I end up doing mostly with EQ. Again it is quick and easy to use to get the results I need.
OK after Part 1 of 10 Things You Should Do Before Sending Your Mix To A Mastering Engineer your mixes are definitely ready, now in part 2.
I’ll discuss 5 final things to do that will make for a smooth mastering process with no last minute screw ups and enable you to get the best results and therefore value for your mastering money.
10 Things You Should Do Before Sending Your Mix To A Mastering Engineer 6 - Check
Double check all bounced tracks are OK before delivering to the Mastering Engineer. Seems obvious right? You would be surprised how easy it is to forget to unmute that percussion you just muted to check something or to do a faster than real time bounce on your DAW software and not realise something went wrong and you’ve got digital distortions. It’s that simple a mistake to make and could be costly.
10 Things You Should Do Before Sending Your Mix To A Mastering Engineer 7 - Compression
If you’ve used a mix bus compressor consider sending a version without it as well as one with. This really is about your level of experience. A lot of experienced Mix Engineers have a buss compressor on the mix bus from the start and mix into it, it becomes part of the sound Andy Wallace, Cenzo Townsend, CLA, being prime examples and of course they would just deliver the finished mix with it included as it’s an integral part of their sound. Less experienced mixers though should beware, they often add a buss compressor plug in as an afterthought or have it working far too hard, the Mastering Engineer may also simply have better quality compressors that may sound better, so play it safe, if in doubt send with and without versions. It may well be “with” is best and you’ve nailed it, but better safe than sorry.
10 Things You Should Do Before Sending Your Mix To A Mastering Engineer 8 - Less Excitement
Also be wary of “Warmerizers/Exciters” if you have used a soft saturation type plug in on your mix bus such as PSP Vintage Warmer, Sonnox Inflator, Slate VTM etc, just double check that you haven’t overdone them. A lot of these effectively soft limit your tracks and whilst not as obvious as hard Peak Limiters can cause similar issues at Mastering. A B with and without and make sure you have made the right choice. If in doubt back off the settings a little. I use these Plug Ins myself and they are awesome in getting some of that virtual analogue warmth, but I tend to always be very careful when deploying them on mix busses. If still in doubt bounce one mix with and one without.
10 Things You Should Do Before Sending Your Mix To A Mastering Engineer 9 - No Limits
If you have used a peak Limiter on your mix buss please remove it and re bounce making sure that now the Limiter has been removed there is no digital clipping. If the track has been smashed by a limiter there is very little dynamic range left and this makes it very hard to bring out sounds with the Mastering EQ or add further Mastering dynamic processing. Limiting should always be the last stage of Mastering before dithering down to 16bit.
10 Things You Should Do Before Sending Your Mix To A Mastering Engineer 10 - Sample Rates
Export the finished mixes at whatever sample rate and bit depth your “parent” session was i.e. if your session is 24 bit 44.1Khz send your mix file at that, if it was done at 32bit 96Khz bounce the mix in that format. Too often people are careless at this point and send 16 bit versions or may have unintentionally done an unnecessary sample rate conversion process that can affect the quality. Any Mastering Engineer can easily convert all files to the destination format at the highest quality so just don’t worry or think you need to do it yourself.
A Final note. If you’re on a label but you’re sending the files to the Mastering Engineer make sure you get your ISRC codes from the label too and send them to the Mastering Engineer along with 100% accurate final song names, artist name and, project title. If you want adding sequential numbers as the first part of each of the song name e.g. 01 before what will be track 1, 02, 03, etc would be super awesome!
ISRCs are usually only for large scale commercial releases and are supplied by your record label you can read about those here http://www.ifpi.org.
Neil Pickles is an award winning mastering engineer and Pro Tools Certified Expert instructor at Alchemea College.
Alchemea are currently offering 30% discount off their weekend recording, mixing and mastering courses for people who mention PTE when booking (offer ends midnight April 30th).
Audiotech Digital Ltd has announced today the release of the new Penteo 4 Pro plug-in that discretely converts stereo to 5.1, offering exacting control over sound image placement to create high-quality, sonic-free and natural-sounding surround.
Check out Mike’s detailed Show & Tell Video Review and find out why he likes this so much and Penteo 4 Pro Surround is his ‘go to’ upmxing plug-in and why he has awarded it Editors Choice. We aso can announce that we are offering this plug-in on our Deals page at 33% dicount for £399. Go and snap it up whilst you have the chance.
Penteo 4 Pro is 100-percent ITU down-mix compatible to the original stereo. The plug-in features an intuitive visual interface modeled after vintage gear, and offers six automated preset modes as well as advanced manual controls for fine- tuning.
Native AAX64 Support For Pro Tools 11
Penteo 4 Pro now natively supports Avid Audio eXtension (AAX) for true 64 bit processing. As a result, Penteo 4 Pro AAX64 uses 52% less CPU processing power thereby allowing a sound designer more flexibility to simultaneously use more tracks in a mix than ever before.
- Touch Screen Controls – In addition to mouse operated controls, Penteo 4 Pro is the first up-mixer to support multi-touch controls. Mixing is not a linear, sequential process — Penteo’s unique multi-touch interface allows a sound designer to control more than one Penteo feature at once, thereby creating a natural mixing experience through simple hand contact. Penteo 4 Pro is the world’s first multi-touch plug-in designed for use with the Raven MTX Surround console.
- Pro Tools Automation Keyboard Shortcuts for all parameters - Quickly add and select parameters for automation using standard control/alt/cmd shortcuts.
- Usage Preferences – With choice of circular or vertical knob drag usage options, a sound designer can select the most natural feeling knob movement for mouse or multi-touch.
- New bypass channel routing - Stereo bypass channels now routes to the ProTools channel output standard.
Russ, Mike & James bring you another packed show of talking points, tips, tricks and questions answered.
- Win a Elysia 500 series X-Filter 500 module on Facebook
- New prize draw - Win A Copy Of BFD3 From FXpansion
- Blue Cat Audio PatchWork £32 - 33% Discount
- TAL-Bassline-101 Monophonic Bass Synthesizer £27 - 25% Discount
- G-Force Oddity Analog Synthesizer £55 - 33% Discount
- EdiPrompt From Sound In Sync For Your ADR Sessions £345 - 20% Discount
- Exclusive Announcement - ADL Penteo 4 Pro Surround Upmixing Plug-in £399 - 33% Discount
- Sonnet Qualified by Avid - great range of chassis very quiet - will be getting review models
- Avid’s results
- Old and new Mac Pro - choosing the best old style Mac Pro
- The Plug-ins I Reach For When Mixing In Pro Tools - What Are Yours? Poll
- Catchin’ Sync - to sync check your system
- How To Record Virtual Instruments Via Hardware Effects
- Softube Console 1 Review
- D F Tweedie - Problems with the Pro Tools Expert’s Android App.
- David Stockden - Thanks for a great show and good to meet Jivey at The Guitar Show
- Flavio Buonerba Thanks for all you do and you have inspired me to start my own blog
- Ken Burk - Thanks for the stormtrooper iLok and a tip about fixed price repair from Apple
- Chris Linder - Are you coming to Muiskmesse?
- Maschine 2.0 now won’t see my Abbey Road Libraries, what should I do?
- Just installed Pro Tools 10 on a PC. Pro tools won’t run reports it can’t find the hardware, what should I do?
- Which Mbox should I get for am iMac with 10.7.5?
- What options do I have to upgrade Pro Tools Express to Pro Tools 10 or 11?
- Do I need hardware to run Pro Tools and would a Focusrite Liquid Saffire 56 interface work with Pro Tools.
- James, what is your chain when you record guitars for your videos?
- How can connect a Durrough 40A level meter to Pro Tools with a Control 24?
Show & Tell Review Of Waves Metafilter Plug-in On Bass Synth
Russ shows the extent to which the Wavesmetafilter can mash up a bass sound using some of the built in features.
Show & Tell Review Of Waves Metafilter Plug-in On Drums
In the second example he shows how automation can be used in a DAW to change the filter in Waves Metafilter.
Show & Tell Review Of Waves Metafilter Plug-in On Hi-Hats
In this final example Russ uses the Follower function in the Metafilter to change how hi-hats sound.
Is this a filter on steroids? Watch this review and decide.
Our friends at Universal Audio are having a sale offering $50 off the top selling plug-ins of 2013.
The plug-ins include;
- Fairchild Tube Limiter Plug-In Collection
- API Vision Channel Strip Plug-In
- Lexicon® 224 Digital Reverb Plug-In
- Ampex® ATR-102 Mastering Tape Recorder Plug-In
- FATSO™ Jr./Sr. Tape Sim. & Compressor Plug-In
There’s also some other hot offers with a ton of cash off, check out the UA site for more info.
Catchin’ Sync is an iOS app that will work on iPhone or iPads allowing you to capture and determine any sync errors in your playback system. These usually occur when video and audio go throughout separate devices like the Audio passing through a receiver or more commonly the video through and LCD screen or worse still a Projector etc.
Catchin’ Sync has been around for over a year now and has been steadily improving. The latest version - 1.0.7 has really brought Catchin’ Sync into the frame, because it now uses the high frame speed video recording that Apple introduces in the iPhone 5 and 5s. This has to be a ‘must have’ for anyone who works with video with a DAW like Pro Tools, which is why we have awarded it The Editors Choice Award.
You can use a range of iOS devices and there are a range of compensation settings for the older Apple devices on the Catchin’ Sync web site. But with the high frame rate and that there is no need to add an offset the iPhone 5 and especially the 5S are the best devices to use with Catchin’ Sync. People have asked if there will be an Android version of Catchin’ Sync but unfortunately not, we understand they won’t because there are so many hardware variations between Android devices. With Apple there are only a handful of devices to measure the delays from the cameras, but to provide the same service with Android, they’d have to test every device and calculate the offsets.
We asked Neil Pickles, Mastering Engineer and Director of Short Courses at our training partner’s Alchemea, to give some advice for those thinking of sending their mixes to a mastering engineer. His advice is comprehensive so it is in two parts so you have chance to grab a second coffee!
In part 1 I’m going to talk about 5 things that can be useful in checking your mixes to make sure that they are good enough to send for mastering. A good mix equals a good master; a bad mix cannot be made great with the best Mastering Engineer in the world, so it all should start with the mix.
In Part 2 I’ll discuss 5 final recommendations once you’re confident you have the mixes ready to go, that will make for a smooth mastering process with no last minute screw ups and get the best results and therefore value for your mastering money.
The following are 5 simple recommendations based on my experiences and anecdotal discussions with other Mastering Engineers. That can help you decide that your tracks are ready to go to mastering.
10 Things You Should Do Before Sending Your Mix To A Mastering Engineer 1 - Quality
Stop worrying about volume and worry about the quality of your mix instead. It’s my personal experience that a well arranged song, with a good mix in terms of balance and EQ, can be made as loud as any other regardless of whether it comes to me at .1dB or -8dBfs from 0dBfs. In fact a mix that has clearly had a lot of unintentional internal clipping in a fight to make it seem as loud as a master at the mixing point often doesn’t scrub up so well.
Focus on a good mix and a good song arrangement, not some imaginary battle with volume. If it doesn’t sound as loud as a mastered track don’t worry they’ve been pumped up in volume, just turn up your volume knob, focus on the quality of your song, it’s arrangement, your choice of sounds/instruments and your mix.
10 Things You Should Do Before Sending Your Mix To A Mastering Engineer 2 - Check
Check your balance. Balance is the relative volume differences between the different instruments. A good balance is fundamental to a good mix and a good mix equals a good master! A bass guitar that is 6dB too loud and drowning out the bass drum cannot be fixed in Mastering as well as, if at all, as simply correcting it at the mix does. Always listen to your mixes on as many different systems as possible and at a variety of volumes. If you suspect your snare or vocal is too loud or too quiet check it out at the lowest possible volume. Did you know that our hearing sensitivity changes at different volumes and if the snare sticks way out at low volumes it’s too loud? (If you want to know more about this read up on the Fletcher-Munson Curves).
Designed around a multimode filter with extensive modulation options and powered by Waves’ Virtual Voltage technology first found in the Waves Synth Element synth, Waves MetaFilter is described as having everything you need in a sound-shaping filter plugin.
MetaFilter lets you individually modulate the filter’s cutoff, resonance and delay time using three separate modulators – a 16-step sequencer, an LFO, and an envelope follower with a sidechaining option – making it easy to achieve effects such as filter sweeping, tremolo, auto wah, rhythmic gating, ducking, and hypnotic modulating delays with saturation buildups.
- Three separate modulators:
- 16-step sequencer,
- LFO, and envelope follower with sidechaining option
- Fat analog sound quality
- Intuitive MIDI Learn
- Fully modulatable analog delay
- Powered by Virtual Voltage technology