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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.

IK Multimedia EQ 73 and EQ 81 Review

No sooner had we posted the news about the new IK Multimedia EQ 73 and EQ 81 than Eli over at Logic Pro Expert has a complete review of the new Neve 1073 and 1081 Eq models from IK Multimedia.

His complete review gives audio examples as well as suggested applications for these new plug-ins from the IK Multimedia team.

IK Multimedia EQ 73 and EQ 81 Features

As we said in our earlier news item, IK Multimedia have gone further than simply modelling the EQs, these version include pre-amp modelling and MS processing too. Other features include;

  • Fully compatible with Mac OS X (Universal Binary), and Windows (XP / Vista / 7 / 8)
  • Supported plug-in formats: VST, RTAS, AAX, and Audio Units
  • Works within the T-RackS CS Standalone application
  • High-quality oversampling
  • High-precision and high-transparency digital processors
  • Accurately analog-modeled vintage classic devices
  • Full-latency compensation support

IK Multimedia EQ 73 and EQ 81 Review

Head over to Logic Pro Expert for the extensive review of the new IK Multimedia EQ 73 and EQ 81 plug-ins.

IK Multimedia EQ 73 and EQ 81 Review

IK Multimedia Release EQ73 And EQ81 EQs For The 'Neve' Sound 

IK Multimedia have released two new EQs the EQ73 and EQ81 based on, in their words, ‘classic British EQs’, which in other words means the Neve 1073 and 1081.

IK Multimedia EQ73 And EQ81 Modelling

IK Mulitmedia claim that what sets these units apart is “The EQ 73 and EQ 81 are the only two digital models featuring the full preamp circuitry on top of the most musical sounding EQ section”.

So even if you’ve already got versions of these classic British gems you may want to check the sound out on the new IK Multimedia EQ73 And EQ81. 

IK Multimedia EQ73 And EQ81 Specifications

  • Fully compatible with Mac OS X (Universal Binary), and Windows (XP / Vista / 7 / 8)
  • Supported plug-in formats: VST, RTAS, AAX, and Audio Units
  • Works within the T-RackS CS Standalone application
  • High-quality oversampling
  • High-precision and high-transparency digital processors
  • Accurately analog-modeled vintage classic devices
  • Full-latency compensation support
  • Supports sampling rates up to 192 kHz
  • DSM™ and SCC™ proprietary IK technologies for extremely accurate digital models of analog hardware devices
  • Native compatibility with 64-bit applications and operating systems

More Informations and price

Review of the Chandler GAV19T for UAD-2 

In this video James takes a look at the new GAV19T guitar amp plugin.

He shows you around the amp and shows how real this thing sounds.

Watch the UAD Chandler GAV19T review

Rob Papen Concept Design For USB Controller For His Synths

Rob Papen has been discussing a concept design for an RP-Control. The idea is to make a usb controller for their synth products (BLUE-II, Predator, SubBoomBass, Blade). 

In the current design Rob says it will be 43cm (17inch) x 23cm (9inch) and the layout is based on what he believes is essential to have under your fingers when using synthesisers.  As it is now, it is pretty well laid out.  The only thing to consider is whether to have is a vector stick, instead of the X and Y control dials. One thing is for sure, it will not have endless rotary dials as he feels that only the waveform dial needs to be endless.

Their synths already have ‘capture mode’ as feature in their back panel. This means, if you turn a dial at a hardware controllers it starts changing once it hits the value of the preset. This avoids jumps in sounds and makes it very useful for live performance. However it won’t be bi-directional as that will make it much more expensive as each control would have to be motorised. So to make the price accessible it would only work one way, adjust a control and it would update the plug-in and not the other way.

In the plan, as it is now, inside the host or sequencer you need to select the instance of the instrument that you like to edit. For example, if you have a song with BLUE-II, Blade, and Predator, then to edit the instrument and use the controller, you need to select the instrument. Otherwise it feeels it is going to be much more complex and so expensive.  

Godd news if you own another vst/au/aax plug-in that can latch midi, you would be able to use this controller for those as well as long as the ‘host’ or sequencer is able to merge midi ports because you need to connect the keyboard and the controller to the instrument at the same time, but as most do already, this shouldn’t be too much of a problem. 

It is an interesting concept design, which he still hasn’t decided if he will make yet. But the idea of crowd sourcing the ideas, and even possibly looking at crowd source funding too, is interesting. What do you think of this design? Do you think that taking the idea to the user is a good idea or could it suffer from having too many cooks? Do let us know….

Get Up And Running With Transfuser In 5 Minutes

This video tutorial is aimed at those who want to get up and running fast.

In around 5 minutes Russ shows you the basics of AIR Transfuser, it’s enough to get you up and running leaving you time to create great music until you have time to explore deeper later.

Join now and watch over 700 Pro Tools tutorials videos for just £20 a year.

Pro Tools Fundamentals - Pro Tools Session Structure

One of the most common mistakes I come across with new users of Pro Tools is confusion around the difference between the Pro Tools session file and the Pro Tools project folder. People who misunderstand the role of the Pro Tools session file (.ptx file) will at some point open a session and be presented with a missing files dialogue and ultimately a session with no audio present, just grey blocks showing where your audio would have been if it were available.
The Pro Tools session structure uses an “edit decision list” which references assets elsewhere on the system. However if you’re making the mistake described above that explanation probably isn’t helping so a different approach might be more helpful.

Where are the assets?

Most people are familiar with Word documents (other word processors are available…). There is a document file on your computer and if you want to backup, move or share that document you just locate it and take it with you. This works because a word document is monolithic - i.e. everything in that document is stored in that single .docx file. If the document is all text then this is all very unsurprising but what if you import an image? For the sake of this description think of the image as an asset (i.e. a thing which belongs to that document) does the image file get mixed together with the body of the text in this one .docx file? In this example it does, and the advantage of this is that file management is straightforward. The downside of this monolithic way of doing things is that if you wish to make an alternative version of your document with different text but the same image, you will end up making a second copy of the image with that second version although the two images are identical.

This duplication of assets is not a problem if you are working with jpegs which are a few kilobytes in size but the bigger your assets are the greater the benefit of referencing your assets. Referencing assets is an approach where instead of including the asset in the file the file contains a reference or link to the file to be used. An advantage of this approach is that multiple references can be made to the same asset from many different files without any additional copies being made. With modern cheap, large hard drives you could argue that for the majority of users a monolithic file structure which bundles up the assets with the file would be better but the Pro Tools file structure has been around since a time when storage was expensive and for large projects and collaborative workflows this referenced system is still the most effective.

The image above shows the Pro Tools project structure. There are lots of useful things in there, if your file management is at all in question you should definitely investigate the session file backups folder. The only really important parts for this discussion are the project folder itself (in this case “PT File Structure Demo”), the Pro Tools session file (the .ptx file) and the Audio Files folder. The really important thing is that your Pro Tools project is the whole session folder, not just the session file. The .ptx file is just a list of references to the files in the audio files folder (as well as, amongst other things, mixer and plug-in settings and any midi your session contains).

Things you need to know to stay out of trouble with Pro Tools file management:

  1. Don’t move or copy a .ptx file on its own unless you understand exactly why it is OK to do this (there are lots of times it is fine but if you don’t know when they are just leave it in the project folder).
  2. If you want to copy or move a Pro Tools session move the project folder, not the session file.
  3. Don’t make any changes to the contents of the audio files folder from Finder. If you want to remove files it should be done from the clips list in Pro Tools.
  4. If you want to back up or move your session to another computer then save a copy from the file menu and tick the include all audio files checkbox and move the copy not the original

XLN Addictive Drums 2 To Ship May 13th 2014

XLN Audio have announced that Addictive Drums 2 will ship on May 13th 2014.

Addiictive Drums is a highly popular, great sounding a feature reach drum virtual instrument from XLN Audio.

Addictive Drums 2 Features

The new version will offer new features such as Flexi-slots, Grid Search and Transform Tab;

  • New sound-shaping and customisation features. 
  • New search tools for finding and transforming beats. 
  • An option to only include the content you need
  • Co-install alongside Addictive Drums on the same machine
  • Open and exchange projects between Addictive Drums and Addictive Drums 2
  • A mystery ADPak

Addictive Drums 2 And Pro Tools Compatibilty

Addictive Drums 2 will be availbel in AAX 32 and 64 bit versions, RTAS will no longer be supported.

Upgrade Cost of Addictive Drums 2

  • The upgrade cost for Addictive Drums 2 will be $79.
  • If you purchased Addictive Drums on or after March 1st 2014, you will get a FREE upgrade to AD2. 
  • If you purchased Addictive Drums in January or February of 2014, you will get a 50% discount for the upgrade.  
Addictive Drums was one of the VIs featured in the top 5 drum virtual instruments article.
Pro Tools Expert will have a review of Addictive Drums 2 soon.

See Who Is Using The Great Plug-Ins From FabFilter 

To their endorsed artists and of course all our customers worldwide our friends at FabFilter say

No… thank YOU! for your support!” 

Check out their great plug-ins, my favourites are the Pro-Q EQ and the Pro-DS de-esser.  Keep them coming guys.

More On Blue Cat Audio's PatchWork v1.2 To Be Released Next Week

Our friends at Blue Cat Audio have been very busy improving their VST Hosting plug-in PatchWork, adding even more features and we gave you an exclusive sneak peek yesterday.

We can now reveal that PatchWork 1.2 is due to be released next week, bringing the promised MIDI routing capabilities and many more enhancements. Existing owners can already download it as a preview using their current license

The team at Blue Cat have been very busy and they tell us that the preview version has been extensively tested, but may not be the final version. If you do try the review, then they do ask you to report back to tell them if it works fine for you (or not).

Blue Cat Audio PatchWork v.2 - New Features:

  • MIDI Routing: custom MIDI routes can be created to connect plug-ins together and with the host application to send and receive MIDI.
  • Plug-in instance renaming: it is now possible to give a name to each instances of a plug-in.
  • Mono to stereo processing: the plug-in can now be used as a mono to stereo plug-in and process mono tracks with stereo effects in hosts that support it.

Blue Cat Audio PatchWork v.2 - Improvements:

  • Improved performance of undo tracking when loading presets for plug-ins with many parameters.
  • The “Parameters Map” menu item is now checked when a parameter is mapped.
  • Improved performance when changing the size of the plug-in user interface.
  • Fixes and compatibility improvements:
  • Fixed keyboard stealing issue in many host applications when sub plug-ins editors are opened (except 32-bit applications on Mac).
  • Fixed compatibility issue with Pro Tools 9 on Mac (random crashes).
  • Fixing crashes with some plug-ins requesting information while being opened.

Win A Copy Of Penteo 4 Pro Stereo To Surround Upmixer Plug-in

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.

A New Professional Group For Those Working In 3D Audio

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!

One Day Only - Pro Tools Expert Friday Freebie - All Videos Free To Watch!

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.

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!

Waves Kramer Master Tape - $29 TODAY ONLY

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.

Get it now

Exclusive: Blue Cat Patchworks To Bring Complex MIDI Routing

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.

Free Organ Sample Library

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.

Excellent Customer Support From Sound Radix On Auto-Align

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:

  1. Track
  2. Clean up session
  3. Insert an instance of Auto-Align on the tracks that require it
  4. Group tracks
  5. Phase align using Auto-Align
  6. Beat align or use Elastic Audio
  7. Mix….. 

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.

Plug-ins I Reach For When Using Pro Tools

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.

McDSP F202

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.

Click to read more ...

Drumbank's Top 5 Drum Virtual Instruments

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.  

Since then I have found the strength and motivation to set up a new community dedicated to drum programming and virtual drumming software. Drumbank will offer the community everything to know about drum programming, specially authentic realistic drum programming from tutorials, tips and  tricks to software news, events, tailored midi drum packs and in the not so distant future, other exciting ventures which will be announced soon.”
We were thrilled to read this email and want to do everything we can to see El Sidius’ idea flourish as he seems to pay it forward. So we asked him to share his Top 5 Drum Viritual Instruments. Here’s the response.

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. 

Click to read more ...

Julian Rodgers Joins Pro Tools Expert Team

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. 

A Pro Tools user since 2001 Julian has a background in live sound. He has been working in education since 2006, during which time he has introduced many new users to Pro Tools.

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.
We know how well received Julian’s contributions have been received so far, we look forward to what he will add to the team. Welcome!

Show And Tell Review Of Plug-in Boutique Big Kick

Russ checks out a new plug-in from Plug-in Boutique, Big Kick that offers the chance to create huge kick sounds by mixing samples and synth kick drums to create synth kick parts or enhance existing performances.
Russ takes a look to see if this new plug-in from new developers Plug-in Boutique is enough to get them noticed and even more importantly good enough to add to your music production toolbox.
Find out what he things and listen to the samples in this full show and tell review.