So in Part 1 I got the computer set up and had started the Pro Tools installation.
Check your plug-ins
Before considering running Pro Tools I wanted to check that all my plug-ins were up to date, although the Avid site is getting better for providing this information there are so many plug-ins to keep track of it still isn’t an exhaustive list. So yet again I turned to a little application called Plug Tools, which I looked at back in August 2010 in Sound on Sound. This application, built by Mark Trombino, compares the plug-ins in your plug-in folder with an online database, that can be updated by users, as Mark has wisely used crowd sourcing to help keep the database bang up to date. Even so when I did me install the database was thrown by a number of v10 plug-ins that it considered out of date. I will be updating the online database with my findings to contribute to the accuracy of the data.
Once I was happy everything Pro Tools wise was up to date, and the I only needed to deal with a handful of plug-ins, I was ready to run Pro Tools 10 HD for the first time. The first boot up took a long time as it went through my Plug-ins folder and also Pro Tools wanted to do a firmware update of my HDX card but eventually it came up and all was well. I opened some existing sessions and Pro Tools converted my TDM plugins to Native and where appropriate changed other plug-ins to Native to optimize voice usage as I would have had AAX DSP plugins and DPM Native plug-ins on the same track which would have used up voices going back and forth, so all the sessions I tried opened, my only problems were plug-ins which are TDM only which in my case is only a handful but do include my favourite pitch correcting plug-in Pitch Doctor from Sound Toys.
However on my next Pro Tools boot up I noticed that it took for ever when it got to setting the audio outputs, in fact the first time it took so long I thought Pro Tools had crashed and used Force Quit and restarted the computer. When it did it again I started to investigate what was happening or not happening. I have found a friend in the Console application, which you will find in the Utilities folder in the Applications folder on your Mac boot drive. Although I am not a Console expert, the messages that it posts have helped me on a good number of occasions to direct me to the source of the problem sometimes with the additional support of Google searches. In this case I was getting repeated error messages that the computer was unable to run the MIDI server, as there were problems with some of the MIDI plug-ins. I then tried to run the OS X Audio MIDI Setup application and it wouldn’t boot either. So I then removed the plug-ins from the MIDI Drivers folder and then it would run.
I cleaned out my MIDI setup and it was happy. Now when I booted Pro Tools it zipped through the start up and was much happier.
One of the problem MIDI plug-ins was a Euphonix one which prompted me to check for a later version of the Euphonix MC Control application which once installed has given me all the phase 2 integration features for my MC Control.
AAX plug-in format
One of the new features of Pro tools 10 is the new AAX plug-in format, which offers a format that makes it a lot easier to write plug-ins for both the Native and DSP versions. Previously the RTAS and TDM formats were completely different under the hood, which made it very difficult to make the RTAS and TDM versions sound the same. The AAX format aims to do away with that, but there will be still two types of AAX plug-ins, Native which will run on the computer’s processor chips like RTAS does and DSP which will run on the new chips on the HDX card like the TDM plug-ins did. There is an excellent article on the details of the transition to AAX written by Frank Filipanits from Cool Stuff Labs who has an incredible track record in designing and writing plug-ins from the very early days.
In part 3 I will be looking at the availability of AAX plug-ins and making some conclusions from my experience.