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Waves Update StudioRack Native Update To Fix Install Issue

Waves have updated their StudioRack Native installer to fix a install issue that meant some Pro Tools users were unable to install it.

In an email to customers they say “We have uploaded a new SoundGrid & Native Applications V9r2 installer which solves these difficulties. We apologize for the inconvenience.”

You can see the review video posted on this site earlier today.

The download can be found in Waves accounts.

Audio Ease Release Speakerphone 2.1 With AAX & 64 Bit Support

Post peeps and audio manglers….. the wait is finally over. There is a new, free, Speakerphone 2.1 update from Audio Ease for Mac that adds AAX and 64 bits support for Pro Tools 11, some modern speakers and Retina display support.

Speakerphone 2.1 Details

  • fully backward compatible with Speakerphone 2 (and 1), reads presets, settings and automation and sounds the same.
  • 64 bits, all available plug-in formats (AAX, AudioUnit, VST and MAS)
  • AAX (does require Pro Tools 10.3.8 or up, and of course also fully supported: Pro Tools 11)
  • New smartphone, tablet and flatscreen TV speaker IRs added !
  • New preset browser
  • Factory presets also available in host format (Pro Tools, AudioUnit, VST)
  • Retina display support 

 For Speakerphone 2.1 please however note the following: 

  • This new Speakerphone however requires an iLok 2 usb key (the black one with the blue led).
  • This version is Mac only, Windows support is in the works, but not ready yet

 To use Speakerphone 2.1 (or up) if you are an Ilok 1 user:

  • you have to run the iLok License Manager app (available at www.ilok.com) to move the Speakerphone 2 license to the newer iLok 2 key.
  • An iLok 2 usb key can be purchased at a not-for-our-profit price at the Audio Ease Store

Once you have the Speakerphone 2 license on an iLok 2 usb key you can download your Speakerphone 2.1 plug-in updater from here

As always before installing updates or changes, we strongly recommend you backup your system first - just in case (yes that includes you James!)

Now what does Led Zepplin sound like through an Ipad2 in a laundry room recorded with a U47? This is like “Audio Cluedo”! Have a manglytastic time……

 

Chris Linder - Winner Of the Sonnox Community Award For June

As we announced on this week’s podcast, the winner of our Community Member Of The Month Award sponsored by Sonnox is Chris Linder for posting comments helping others and adding constructive feedback. Chris told us…

I feel so honoured to receive the Sonnox community award and I am glad that my comments help others! Since I work a lot with field recordings, sound effects and sound design, the Sonnox TransMod will aid me very well, when I’ll bend and twist my samples. I will use it mainly, to sharpen the attack of my field recordings and to make the samples suitable for further processing. The overdrive function will surely help me, to really push the limits of my recordings. I look forward to put this gem across my tracks :) Thanks Sonnox and PTE.

Congratulations Chris - you deserve it! You too can be like Chris and can win an awesome Sonnox plug-in from their Elite Collection by making regular and positive contributions to the Pro Tools community.

Virtual Tour Of The Avid S6 Channel Strip

Our friends at RSPE Audio are at it again. They’ve already built a virtual Avid S6 builder, and now they’ve created a cool interactive walkthrough of the S6’s channel strip section.

This Virtual Channel Strip is a great way to visualize the control surface’s functionality and see how it interacts with Pro Tools 11.

The Virtual Channel Strip allows you to click and select any of the S6’s process modes: Pan, Sends, User, EQ, Dynamics, Inserts, or Input. Selecting the mode changes the color-coded rotary encoders to the proper color, shows you a Pro Tools window with what parameters can be edited and gives an explanation of the button’s main functions. 

It’s not the real thing, but it really gives you a sense of the S6’s functionality.

Check out the Virtual S6 Channel Strip for yourself.

Show And Tell Review Of Waves StudioRack 

Russ takes a look at the new Waves StudioRack plug-in chained and sees what features it has and how useful it is for both Pro Tools users and these using other DAWs.

Watch it here

Are You A New Plug-in Junkie?

I love plug-ins, I love them all, but for me there is something special with compressors. I can easily spend a whole night testing out a new plug-in and totally forget about eating and everything else.

But do we need all these plug-ins?

We really cannot skip the fact that if you got a guitar for 1000€ it would probably and hopefully sound better and be more suitable to more kinds of music then 100€ guitar. Similarly, that a more expensive microphone pre amp will sound better then the one built an the Mbox. But does a 200€ plug-in add anything more than the plug-ins that comes with your DAW?

Do we need to spend all our money on new software products?

I remember back when my interest for audio engineering started. I sat at home in my room and tried to record a Guns N Roses cover with a cheap interface and Pro Tools LE. I was told that LE stood for ‘Loser Edition’ so I always blamed my failure to make a rock cover on my ‘Loser Edition’ plug-ins that I got with Pro Tools. A friend of mine (who is a really successful songwriter now) gave me a CD with a almost 100 quality plug-ins. So I installed all of them, the temptation was too great not to. I remember I was thinking that nothing can possible stop me now from doing my kick ass Guns N Roses cover. I was wrong.

I started to do my mix, but I faced my first problem. I had to make some frequency adjustment to my kick drum. So I went to the mix-window, my plug-in folder, EQ and boom. Instead of just one EQ, there were suddenly ten EQs to choose between. I picked the first in that list and played around with it for a while, and then I tried the next one, and then the next one after that. And after spending way too much time finding the right EQ I lost interest for the track. The mix took me almost a month do to, and when I was done I was so sick of the song that I threw it away. I also removed all the plug-ins away that I got a month earlier.

Mistakes help us to learn

Hopefully we learn by our mistakes and now I am mixing for some of the biggest clients in the business with less plug-ins then I had when I started out.

I often hear people complaining that their mixes does not sound right because they cant afford the Waves Ultimate Superbundle or the UAD DSP cards. But I think if someone gave them all the best plug-ins around they may still be failing because having a different plug-in isn’t always the answer to the problem.

Spend time playing around with the plug-ins you already own, testing them out in different situations, do something unexpected to really know what your plug-in actually can do. Michael Carnes from Exponential Audio said this in a recent article “The best thing you can do is play with a piece of gear like it’s the only thing you’ve got”

A 200€ compressor won’t sound any better than compressor supplied with your DAW if you don’t understand how to use it correctly.

Don’t get me wrong I am not saying that you should stop buying plug-ins. My suggestion is to learn all your gear really well before reaching out for something new. Maybe you are not in need of the new super cool IR-Verb, maybe you could achieve the same results with a plug-in you already got? A lot of top tracks have been mixed using Dverb, stock EQ and Avid compressors.

As a suggestion when thinking about investing in extra plug-ins:

EQ:

  • One workhorse: This should be a EQ that is fast, simple, clean sounding and CPU-friendly.
  • One precision EQ: This EQ should be able to do high Q-values without any artifacts.
  • Two characteristics: You should have at least two EQs with character maybe with some nice analog warmth and color. 

Compressors:

  • One workhorse: A compressor that you really can rely on. Same principal here as for the workhorse EQ. Clean sounding and CPU-friendly. Should be able to set really fast attack and release values.
  • Two characteristic: Compressors with character. Maybe one more aggressive sounding and one that’s more soft. 

I guess my punch line is: Don’t be tempted to use cracks, they won’t solve your mix problems. Spend your money wisely on plug-ins that you need.

Sonnox Announce SuprEsser DS - AAX DSP For Avid S3L And HDX

Our friends at Sonnox have announced SuprEsser DS. As a compliment ot their already popular SuprEsser, the SuprEsser DS offers low latency monitoring for users of the Avid S3L and HDX systems, citing a sub 2ms latency.

The SuprEsser DS is AAX DSP only and features a simple ‘quick fix’ mode for those who need to get a result quickly, however it still has a complete feature set for those needing to get more detailed results.

Features:

  • Highly featured professional De-Esser
  • Linear Phase Dynamic EQ
  • Operates from 1kHz - 20kHz
  • Latency of 1.9ms (at 48kHz sample rate)
  • Supported Sample Rates: 44.1 and 48kHz
  • Transparently controls aggressive frequencies
  • Automatic Level Tracking follows energy levels (no need to automate threshold)
  • Large intuitive graphic display makes finding frequencies very easy
  • Three different ‘Listen’ modes
  • Advanced Mode for ultimate control of the Dynamic EQ
  • Many creative as well as corrective uses
  • 64-bit compliant
  • Presets giving good starting points

To download a demo and to find out more visit the Sonnox web site

Public Beta Of Apple OS X Yosemite Ships Tomorrow July 24th - Take Care

Tomorrow, July 24th Apple will ship the first public beta of their latest version of the Mac OS Yosemite.

We’ve been talking a lot about Pro Tools reliability a lot recently, not all issues with a DAW are down to the software, so as we always say please take caution when considering using a beta of any software.

Here are a few things to consider:

  • Are you in the middle of a mission critical project? If so then do not even think about using a beta.
  • Have you got all your projects and systems backed up? If not then do this before doing anything.
  • Do you have the time to deal with any bugs and crashes and incompatibilities, however minor?

It is tempting to try the latest version of something, but many professional Pro Tools users do not upgrade even on first generation releases of software, let alone beta releases. Many top studios are still running earlier versions of Pro Tools and operating systems - keeping their systems rock solid is their biggest priority.

Please take care and remember you can’t blame Avid or any other software developer if you run into trouble trying to use a beta.

Empirical Labs Distressor Plug-In Emulation For $1

Cocell Productions have created an Empirical Labs Distressor emulation plug-in which runs in VST, AU 32 and 64 bit modes and RTAS 32 bit all they request is a $1.00 donation.

It’s a fully featured offering;

  • Modelled Classic Compressor pluginBased on acclaimed 8X Compressor.
  • Gain Reduction meter.Input control (Relative threshold).
  • Threshold Controlled Circuitry(-30 to -50 dB).Ratio switch (1, 2, 4, 8, 20 and NK)
  • Attack time control (0.05 ms to 4 secs).Release time control (0.30 ms to 3 secs)
  • Distortion modes switch (Static Custom C1, Static Custom C2, Odd D1, Even D2)
  • Output control (0 to 40 dB).Side-Chain Filter modes Clean(0) HP 80Hz(D), HP 80Hz Audio(A), BE 6kHz(B)

We’ve downloaded it and tested it - if you own Bluecat MB-7 or Patchworks it runs in that for Pro Tools 11.

The $1.00 donation price tag belies it’s features and sound, so for anyone looking for something like this then check it out. Our only advice is give them more than the requested $1.00, people like this deserve our support. We gave them $5 but give what you can afford.

More here

Flux:: Release Spat v3 Room Acoustics Simulation Plug-in

Our friends at Flux Sound & Picture Devleopment have relased their last piece of their AAX jigsaw pzzle, the amazing Spat v3, a sophisticated tool for room acoustics simulation and localisation and v3 now supports 64 bit in AAX Native as well as VST and AU formats.

Flux Spat v3 Release Special Offer!

During the release period Flux are offering Spat v3 as well as the Ircam Tools bundle and a selection of bundle upgrades with a 30% discount until August 4th 2014. To find out all about the release special offer go to their online store. If you’re already a Flux:: Ircam customer then enter your iLok user account id or your Flux:: dongle serial number to find out more about your personal upgrade offers, or contact your local dealer. 

Flux Spat v3 Availability

For all current Flux customers the v3 software is a free update, simply download the corresponding v3 installer for your software and install it.

AAX Versions. If you previously own a native licence (AU/VST/RTAS) then download and install the Native installer.

Epure TDM owners. Download and install the +AAX DSP (HD-X) installer, that now in addition to the AAX DSP version also includes the AU/VST/AAX Native versions.

Eve SC205 2-Way 5" Monitor - Review

Introduction

Perhaps one of the hardest choices for anyone to make for their studio is the choice of monitoring speakers, especially if you are running a home studio. There are more and more stores appearing that offer rooms specially set up for comparing monitors, but in reality the only real way to audition monitors in in situ in the room you are going to listen to them in. The job is made even harder by the very fact that we get used to the sound of the monitors we already own and so introducing new monitors into the equation can be coloured by our existing preferences.

Monitors are also about taste and although many manufacturers will swear blind about their monitor having a flat response when you compare several pairs then you realise that either all of them are wrong, or most of them are wrong in that assertion.

My own opinion, as someone who grew up around Yamaha NS10s and Auratone 5cs, is that how flat the frequency response of a monitor is has very little to do with their suitability for their job. Thousands of hit records have been mixed on them and you would hardly call an NS10 a flat response. There’s an interesting paper on this here. Most of us simply get used to the sound of monitors and then trust a mastering engineer to make any corrections in the mastering process.

For me trying out monitors is like trying out new shoes, all of them feel weird at first, for the reasons outlined above, so you need a little time to get used to them before coming to any conclusions about them.

The Eve SC205 2-Way 5” Monitor

Rather than reinvent the wheel I’ll let Eve explain the monitor specification.

Woofer

The SC205 uses our 5” SilverCone woofer for an extended bass response. This very stiff diaphragm is honeycomb structured and glass fibre coated. Like in other models, such as the smaller SC204, the SC205 is driven by a sophisticated magnet system that uses a 1” voice coil responsible for delivering a greater linear excursion. All in all, this produces a bigger dynamic range than you would naturally assume from a speaker of these proportions. The result is an unsurpassed audio transparency that, when coupled with our proprietary AMT tweeter and PWM amplifier, will surprise you with a very powerful and precise low end.

Tweeter

Our AMT (Air Motion Transformer) tweeter is our own proprietary technology that follows the rule of not using “off-the-shelf” components when looking for the best possible results. The preciseness and detail in the high frequency, along with the general tightness of the bass and mid-range frequencies, will make the SC205 equally adequate for use on the road or in studio.

DSP

With every EVE Audio speaker, you also get high resolution DSP electronics. One push knob operation and you will have access to accurate volume control and several different filter settings that will help you tailor your monitors to the way you work.And if you always avoid digital processing, we’ve got you covered. The DSP engine is supported with a high quality A/D converter (24bit/192kHz) from Burr-Brown, which delivers a pristine signal to the DSP section. And since the PWM amplifiers are directly connected to the DSP, no additional conversion is necessary. Please visit our DSP page to learn more about our DSP philosophy.

Click to read more ...

Podcast Extra Interview On Using iZotope RX3 To Remove The Music From The Film Brief Encounter

In this very special podcast extra interview Mike Wabro explains to Mike Thornton how he was able to surgically remove the music from the mono film sound track to leave just the dialog and effects.

Removing polyphonic music from a mixed track has been the holy grail of audio manipulation. There are some solutions for taking a vocal out of a mixed stereo track with a variety of success including the new ADX Trax but this project undertaken by sound editor Mike Wabro was very different. 

The brief from the client was to produce a music free mix of the David Lean classic Brief Encounter so that the London Philharmonic Orchestra could play live in sync with the film for 3 special performances in August this year.

Before & After In iZotope RX3

Example 2 - Before & AfterExample 3 - Before & After

Removing A Note

4 Steps To Removing A Note

The Sound Examples

Mike Wabro has let us have some before and after examples which are still ‘work in progress’ he still has some work to do as there is still the odd note showing or some words still needing some work on them before the live performance. Thanks Mike for being willing to share your work whilst you are still fine tuning. There aren’t many people who would share their work whilst they are still refining it, so thanks Mike for being so open. 

The Event

At the Southbank Centre on August 15th, 22nd & 29th David Lean’s account of a romantic affair will be accompanied by live music from the London Philharmonic Orchestra and is the centrepiece of a three-week series of films screened in the Royal Festival Hall. 

David Lean’s 1945 film traces the affair of a married doctor and suburban housewife who meet on a train platform and features Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No.2 throughout its soundtrack: in fact, the film was largely responsible for bringing this epic work to fame.

If you would like to experience the event and all Mike’s hard work on the film soundtrack the you can book tickets on the South Bank Centre’s web site.  It is also hoped to be able to tour the work around the world in due course but as yet we do not have any dates for this.

Thanks and credits

We would like to thank Mike Wabro’s clients for giving us permission to describe this process in detail and for permission to enable you to listen to two clips before and after Mike has worked his magic. 

Mike’s work has been completed on behalf of ITV Studios Global Entertainment and Park Circus Films. Sound Services supplied by Nick Pocock & Mike Anscombe of Deluxe Media at Synxspeed House in Denham, with the sound editorial help of Steve Felton of The Sound Design Company & music removal restoration services of Michael Wabro from Audioinsight.

Listen on to the Pro Tools Expert Podcast on iTunes

Download the Pro Tools Expert Podcast as an MP3

Pro Tools Expert Podcast 126

Russ, Mike, Neil and James are back to bring you another show with talking points, tips, tricks and questions answered.

Groove 3 Titles We Like

Competitions 

Deals page

Sonnox Community Award

  • The winner for June is Chris Linder

Talking Points Kindly Sponsored By Universal Audio

Community Feedback Kindly Sponsored by RSPE Audio Solutions

  • Paul Sinkovich - There is a Pro Tools Shortcuts app from Xerxes Dennis called Pro Tools Hotkeys  which is available on the iOS and Android platforms
  • Jean-Michel Bocéno - Has a tip on creating auto talkback without an specialised plug-in.
  • Jason Wilson - There is a video showing track freeze in Pro Tools 12 
  • Anthony Dominello - Experience of mastering bots and client’s response.

Questions - Kindly Sponsored by Alchemea

  • Bill Metoyer Can I get a Waves Gold bundle for Pro Tools 7 LE?
  • Mark Beling - Unable to preview audio clips in Pro Tools, any ideas?
  • Jeff Denadel - Are there any problems in using Thunderbolt, Firewire 800 and Firewire 400 together? Also what about USB3 for Pro Tools 11?

Listen on to the Pro Tools Expert Podcast on iTunes

Download the Pro Tools Expert Podcast as an MP3

Don't Have An AudioSuite Version Of A Plug-in? Blue Cat Have The Answer

Our friends at Blue Cat Audio have come up with an excellent work round for situations where in Pro Tools there isn’t a version of a plug-in in the AudioSuite format, that means you are unable to render clips using that plug-in.

Select the Blue Cat Audio PatchWork plug-in from your AudioSuite menu…

Now insert a VST or AU version of the plug-in into AudioSuite version of PatchWork and away you go.

This is a very neat solution to a problem that doesn’t crop up that often but is a real pain when it does. Thanks Blue Cat.

How Reliable Is Your Pro Tools 11 System? Poll

Depending on what forum you find yourself in and the thread you are reading you could be forgiven for either thinking that Pro Tools 11 is full of bugs or conversely rock solid. 

There are some well documented issues surrounding Pro Tools 11 which Avid have acknowledged, at Pro Tools Expert we get a lot of emails from users asking us about different issues not documented, are they general bugs or specific computer issues? It can be the case that how a computer is configured can greatly affect performance, you can read our report here.

However, we thought it might be helpful to see how often users of Pro Tools 11 have their workflow interrupted by Pro Tools bugs and crashes. Reliability is an essential requirement of any professional software application, so is Pro Tools 11 meeting the mark or falling short?

So take our poll for both Mac and Windows users, of course please also let us have your comments.

Are you on cloud 9 or ready to throw the towel in?

Audio Post Production Workflows Using Pro Tools - Part 4

Last week in part 3 of this series on Audio Post Production Workflows Using Pro Tools, dialog editor Michele Woods started part 1 of her look at what a dialog editor does and how she sets up her session so when she has finished it will be in a form that works for the re-recording mixer. Michele continues….

When the session is set up, I import the QuickTime with the guide track since this is literally my guide in this process. I import the AAFs provided by the editor. I make a duplicate of these tracks to start editing and inactivate the original AAF in case I need to go back to these original tracks later on in the edit. This AAF not only contains the dialogues, but also all the sound effects and sometimes (temporary) music the picture editor and director have chosen. Once I have named my working dialogue tracks, I also create tracks for sync sound effects that will possibly work for the M&E, and new tracks with the actors/characters name for possible ADR recording notes. 

Click on this image for a full sized versionClick on this image for a full sized version

After I am all set up, I begin my first pass. This is quite an integral part of the process since this is when I choose microphones, look for alternate takes when needed, and mark up what ADR will be needed. Whilst choosing microphones, I am also searching for alternate takes for background noise, technical, level or clarity issues with the line(s). I usually colour the alternate take a different colour (usually a bright blue or pink) to the track so that the mixer can see that I have replaced a bit of audio and can always pull out to the original or find it muted on another track. If no alternate take is possible then ADR will be necessary. Notes for ADR are also added during this first pass (and often in the next few passes as well depending on how much time I have). Everything is typed into the session onto the character/actors tracks in the session using the Region Group Function. I click into this new clip which should be placed at the exact start of where the ADR line will be needed, type in the script and reason why it needs to be recorded. The ADR notes from the spotting session with the director are added in as well which are often performance issues or additional lines that are required to help the story along. I use a program called Edicue from Sounds In Sync which takes the notes I write directly onto Pro Tools and converts them into PDFs.

Click on this image for a full sized version

Finding alternate takes is a big part of dialogue editing and can often save a scene and help avoid unnecessary ADR recording. Since the actors shoot scenes take after take, you get the same pitch, projection, natural reverb and often a very similar performance over and over again. So if an actor should accidentally move off mic for a particular word or phrase, or if an extraneous noise occurs that has nothing to do with what is happening in the scene, or if for some reason there is a lack of clarity then I should hopefully be able to find an alternate take. Trying to replicate all this in ADR is very tricky since there is so much for the actor to think about when trying to replace their original dialogue such as pitch, projection, voice quality, performance and obviously getting it in sync! We’re not asking much! Of course, there are a lot of aids such as beeps, visual cues such as wipes and/or reading the lines off the screen, and hearing themselves in the headphones while recording. Even though ADR is recorded, I never remove the original audio. I actually edit and clean it to the best of my abilities since you never know - the mixer may be able to perform miracles and improve the quality of the audio. With all the plug-ins and aids available, there is always hope that the audio can be saved. 

Coming Up…

In part 3, we will look at the ADR process and the rest of the work as a dialog editor.

Previous Parts Of The Audio Post Production Workflows Series

Part 1 - Assistant Editor, preping sessions

Part 2 - Assistant Editor, preping sessions

Part 3 - Dialog Editor, setting up dialog sessions

All Pro Tools Expert Member Only Videos FREE To Watch This Weekend

This weekend only we’ve unlocked our vault of over 600 Pro Tools videos, normally only available to Pro Tools Expert members.

There’s everything from production tricks, in depth tutorials on plug-ins, virtual instruments and hundreds of Pro Tools tips and tricks.

This Pro Tools video tutorial library runs into hours of material to help you get up to speed, or learn some new stuff. Check them out here.

So spend the weekend enjoying the Pro Tools Expert video tutorials. If you like them then you may want to think about signing up for membership. In the meantime this weekend is on us!

Waves Weekend Deals - V-EQ3, Q-Clone & Dorrough Stereo Meters

3 more great plug-ins at great prices from our friends at Waves, but hurry these will finish on Sunday.

  1. Waves V-EQ3 Native plug-in $39 till Sunday - normally $150
  2. Waves Q-Clone Native plug-in $49 till Sunday - normally $400
  3. Waves Dorrough Stereo Meters Collection $129 till Sunday - normally $300

Grab them whilst you can. Also check out the Specials page too for other great deals.

Pro Tools Fundamentals - Use Of The Tab Key

The last few fundamentals articles have been high on content but probably a little dry (anyone up for some more latency? …Nobody?). Time to lighten things up. However, easy and useful often go together…

I often have conversations with people who don’t use shortcuts. Their reasoning is usually that they find it easier to stick with the mouse. Anyone who already has a few shortcuts down will know how much faster it makes things but that not as compelling an argument as you might think when trying to get a reluctant student to try something new. Pointing out that when they use the spacebar to start playback they are using a shortcut is great fun but the most convincing argument for using shortcuts is to show them something which is immediately useful and only viable using the keyboard.

So, instant crowd pleaser which relies on a single keystroke? This sounds like a job for the tab key. For me the really interesting thing about tab in Pro Tools is how many longtime users, some of them with really thorough knowledge of Pro Tools, only use tab for tab to transients. A while ago I was asked why you could switch tab to transients off? Why would you want to do that? This suggests that some people only know about tab to transients and are unaware of tab’s default behaviour. For this reason I’m going to look at the functions of the tab key in what I think of as the “wrong” order.

Tab To Transients

This is the one which gets all the attention. When engaged, tab moves the insertion point to the next transient (i.e. sharp rise in amplitude). The sensitivity of the transient detection isn’t tweakable but I’ve rarely had issues with it. The uses for this are almost limitless. In transient-rich material such as drums, bass etc. it is just so easy to navigate. Simply drop your insertion point just before the desired hit and press tab. Its worth noting that most waveforms have steep transients at their start but are usually less well defined when viewed backwards so although it is possible to tab backwards, its a good idea to tab past the desired point and come at it from the front to guarantee accuracy.

Common uses for tab to transients are selecting sections of music bar by bar when not recorded to a click (for example when tempo mapping or creating loops) or when tightening up bass parts against the kick but thats just two, the uses for this are limitless and if you don’t use it you’re really missing out.

To toggle tab to transients on and off click the button below the trim tool or press CMD+Opt+Tab/Ctrl+Alt+Tab

Tab Default Behaviour

When tab to transients is off, the tab key moves the insertion point to the next edit on the timeline, so pressing tab will move the insertion point to the head of the next clip (or the tail of the current clip, depending on which is next). This is the most efficient way to place the insertion point precisely at the beginning or end of a clip. To move back to the previous edit point, press option/alt+tab and to create a selection from the current location to the next edit point, add shift.

Tab on MIDI Tracks

If you haven’t tried tab on MIDI tracks then you really should. Tab advances the insertion point to the next note and if “play MIDI notes when editing” is enabled then as you advance to the next note it will play - Handy. If you have MIDI CC data on your track you can tab between CC breakpoints. This brings me to my biggest gripe about using tab…

No Tab To Automation Breakpoints

Considering how useful the tab key is in so many ways in Pro Tools, it has always frustrated me that you can’t tab to the next automation breakpoint, seems like an odd omission to me - Pro Tools 12 maybe?

Tab To Markers

If your insertion point is in one of your tracks then pressing tab will advance the insertion point along the timeline either by edit point or transient. If however you have clicked with the selector in the markers ruler, you have no insertion point on any track and the tab key can be used to tab to the next marker. In fact most of the non-timebase rulers can be tabbed through like this. You can tab to the next meter change in the meter ruler, interestingly you can’t tab to the next chord change on the chord ruler and although you can tab to the next tempo change, it will only do so if the graphic tempo editor is being used.

So there is more to the humble tab key than just tab to transients and returning to my original point, although you can place the insertion point anywhere you like using just the mouse, can you really be sure you are exactly on that transient/clip head/MIDI note without zooming in and checking? You can with the tab key.  

What Do You Mean By "Professional"?

Recently Russ ran a poll on the site on the use of iOS in audio. In it Russ asked people to categorise themselves as professional or enthusiast. While Russ was careful to define what he meant by professional (those making a living from music and audio) I did wonder whether Russ chose to avoid what I would think of as the opposite of professional - amateur?

I asked him and his response “I have to be careful about the words I use, if we use the word amatuer some think it’s a judgment of competence and care. Far from it, some people who don’t do this for a living have amazing skill and care about every detail, conversely some people who do make a living from it are unskilled and sloppy. However people don’t know I think that so I avoid the word. It’s a shame, both words need reclaiming for good.”

The results of the poll seemed to suggest that approximately 78% of the respondents were professionals. So where are all the non-professionals? We all know there are far more non-professionals than professionals in this community.

Is the explanation that there is an ambiguity around the terms professional and amateur? I have always taken the distinction between professional and amateur to be one of income but the word “professional” also has a connotation of competence, the assumption being that if your work is of a standard for you to make a living doing it it must be good (I’m sure we’ve all got examples where this just isn’t the case…). The problem arises when people assume that because everyone is either a or b and a is, by definition, high quality, it does not follow the b is necessarily of low quality. There are all sorts of reasons why people don’t turn professional and most of them have nothing to do with ability.

Whats Wrong With Being An Amateur?

I’d like to reclaim the word “amateur”. To many this word has connotations of incompetence: something being “amateurish” isn’t a compliment. Why? Amateur is derived from the French “amour” and and an amateur is a “lover of something” - so far so good, however the dictionary refers to amateur status, especially in sport (remember the Olympics were strictly amateur until surprisingly recently) but also to a person being “unskilled” or having only a superficial knowledge something.

Amateur Equals Unskilled? - Really?

I’d like to counter this with a couple of examples of really significant figures from technical disciplines who were self-taught amateurs who could never be accused of being unskilled or having only a superficial knowledge of their subjects.

Arthur C Clarke - Science Fiction writer who conceptually invented the geostationary satellite and changed communications forever.

Thomas Edison - Unbelievably prolific inventor to whom we all owe a debt as the man commonly credited with inventing sound recording.

Srinivasa Ramanujan - if you don’t know the story of this remarkable amateur mathematician you should take some time to look him up. No-one could have accused this man of having only a superficial knowledge of his subject.

The problem here is one of words which mean more than one thing. If I say I am “professional” when I mean “highly skilled” am I really making myself clear? I think we need to reserve these words to describe our employment status and use a different word to describe our competence - How about “expert”? What do you think?