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.
Flux have been busy recently and have released a new true peak limiter Elixir aimed at the audio post production market for those producing content to one of the new loudness specs like the EBU R128. But this isn’t a loudness management plug-in, it is designed to manage the true peak levels to keep them within the broadcaster’s delivery spec whilst being as transparent as possible and not unduly adding to the loudness. I think this is the first product of its type and so I wanted to see if Flux had managed to meet these expectations.
I set up a session with a range of different programme types to see how it would perform and also followed it with a loudness meter to see if it changed the loudness too much.
I found it was very good with very few side effects even when working it hard. It is very simple to use with the main Threshold control often the only one I would need to set. Once I had got to grips with the basics I studied the manual because there was a couple of controls I didn’t expect to see on a limiter.
This is the start of a new series where I explore the products that I owned over the years, as I made my way along the road of my production journey. For some this will invoke their own memories of owning these products and for others just simple amazement that we managed to make anything decent with them.
The first step in my journey started when I was 17 yrs old, working in a music store and seeing a Tascam 244 Portastudio for the first time. From the moment I saw it I had to have one. Now if you are too young to remember you had better sit down. It was a 4 track cassette based recorder with a simple two band mixer and the worst DBX noise reduction ever - it sold for £1199 in 1983 - that’s around £2800.00 in today’s money. As I worked in the store I got it for £799, which I ‘borrowed’ from my Dad, paying him back at £50 a month. I think he got around half back in the end. I spent a fortune buying TDK SA90 tapes to record on.
Here’s the ‘full’ specification:
4 in 4 out
2 FX sends and a cue out
Aux sends: 2
Max tracks: four
Maximum Resolution:cassette tape
EQ: Hi/Lo Shelf
I was glued to the 244 for month after month, recording endless demos for me and my mates - I loved it and look back with fondness at it now and some of the songs I made. This was the start of a long journey which I am truly thankful for. More to come…
You may recall how I loved the BFD Eco as outstandoing value for money when I reviewed it. It got my Editors Choice Award.
Now my latest Groove 3 title is available ‘BFD Eco Explained’.
- 10 Tutorials / 1 Hour Total Runtime
- For all beginner fxpansion BFD ECO users
- Tutorials written by DAW guru Russ Hughes
- Simple to use video control interface for Mac & PC
- Available Options: Watch Online, Download, Stream to iPad, iPhone & iPod
It’s a bargain at $14.99 normally $24.99 - more here
Brit audio creators Audient have announced the ASP4816 console. It’s British, analogue and compact. Now normally anything the British invented such as football, cricket or athletics, we end up being crap at - not so when it comes to audio gear - we still rock and this monster looks like the newest addition in a long line of British sonic legends.
ASP4816 provides the key features of a large format recording console in a compact, cost effective form. Designed by audio guru, David Dearden and featuring Audient’s legendary analog circuitry, ASP4816 is the perfect centre piece for production studios and educational facilities.
The main input channels feature Audient’s renowned Class A preamp and 4 band EQ – a combination found in hundreds of ASP8024 equipped studios where many users no longer feel the need to reach for their outboard preamps and EQ. The console features 40 faders,16 bus routing, 6 auxes, 2 dedicated cue sends, 4 stereo returns, stereo bus compressor and a comprehensive monitor section. More here
This is the announcement from Gobbler…
We’ve released our most ambitious build yet which includes multi-factor authentication & OAuth. We now store your photos, movies & over 20 new project file formats that YOU requested! The Gobbler Team has also fixed many bugs that were reported to us through the community. Keep using Gobbler & we’ll keep building a better product for you!
Version: Gobbler 0.9.8, January 13th 2012
-Multi-factor Authentication, to allow for secure logins
-OAuth authorization now allows Facebook and Twitter logins to be used to login to Gobbler
-User’s Movies and Pictures folders can now be backed up
-Over 20 new project/file formats supported from this release, including iMovie, Sibelius and Maschine. Gobbler is no longer limited to DAWs!
Have you ever seen Van Gough’s catalogue of the paint colours he used? Or The entire set of recording notes Hendrix made for his sessions? I doubt you have because I doubt they exist.
A few months ago I talked about taking time to organise your studio; I did it and I’m glad I did.
The truth is, some of us are wired that way, I know one top producer who is meticulous in his work and another one who would be hard pushed to remember the file name for his last session.
Some people thrive in order and some in chaos, I think I’m somewhere in then middle. Any todo list I make gets forgotten or lost, but at the same time I can’t stand mess when I’m in the studio, it unsettles me and stops me being creative - that may sound really anal, it’s not because I love going with the flow.
So you might just be one of those people who will never be organised, if that’s you then you might well be the genius who writes the next hit of the decade, even if you can’t find where you last left it.
Soundfield who are well known for their microphones also branched out a couple of years ago into the plug-in market by producing the Surround Zone plug-in that would take the B format signal from the Soundfield mic and enable you to produce a 5.1 output.
Now they have released another plug-in the UPM-1, which has nothing to do with their microphones, and this is an upmix plug-in taking stereo content and produces a 5.1 output, otherwise known as an Upmix plug-in. They are following the TC Electronic Unwrap and the Waves UM225/226 upmix plugins, but what Soundfield say they are trying to do “is to produce a very stable and natural sounding 5.1 without destroying the original stereo image.”
The Pure Analyzer from Flux is a big application with loads of options that displays and measures your audio in so many ways.
The first thing that is different about Analyzer, is unlike their other products that function as plug-ins within the host application like Pro Tools, Analyzer doesn’t. It is a separate application that picks up signals from a Sampler Grabber plug-in (similar to ReWire) and routes the data to the main Pure Analyzer application. This threw me at first as I was expecting a plug-in and having run the installer I couldn’t find the plug-in. However once I had read the manual the configuration and arrangements were very clear and I had Analyzer running very quickly.
I have just upgraded my HD2 Pro Tools rig to HDX and I feel stranded. I have so few plug-ins that will run on the DSP chips on my new HDX card. As Waves plug-ins regularly are my ‘go to’ plug-ins like Ren EQ - when I want eq, L2 for my master limiter for broadcast work, Renn Vox for voiceover and insert compression and so on, I am really disappointed that my only option now is to use the RTAS versions, leaving my expensive investment largely unused.
Please, please, please port all your plug-ins across to AAX Natve and DSP, by all means offer two products as you do now so the DSP products are more expensive, but please do it and do it soon. The longer you leave it the more people will find an alternative and then you will have a serious struggle to get people to come back to Waves.
So if you want access to Waves plug-ins then I suggest you do the same.
It was just around a week ago we reported the rumour that Avid may take the Thunderbolt route for audio connectivity, now MOTU have launched more than a proof of concept but an entire box that runs both audio and video over Thunderbolt.
MOTU, Inc. introduced the HDX-SDI with Thunderbolt™ technology, a professional video interface that turns a Thunderbolt technology enabled Mac or PC into a powerful HD/SD video production workstation equipped with all the video and audio I/O needed for professional capture and monitoring.
With the plug-and-play ease offered by Thunderbolt Technology connectivity, users can connect any video source to their computer via the HDX-SDI, from SD camcorders to today’s latest HD cameras, then log and capture clips directly into their video editing software, including Final Cut Pro, Media Composer 6, and Premiere Pro. The HDX-SDI supports all standard SD and HD video formats up to and including 1080p30 (720p, 1080i, 1080p & 1080PsF).
For the best-possible image quality, users can capture uncompressed pixel-for-pixel HD video input via HD-SDI or HDMI with 4:2:2 10-bit color depth and full-raster 1920 x 1080 resolution. For compressed workflows, users can choose ProRes, ProRes HQ, Avid DNxHD, or the codec of their choice.
Advanced features include ASC CDL color grading, RS-422 (SONY 9-pin) machine control, bi-level and tri-level video ref sync, time code in/out with front-panel time code display, 16 channels of simultaneous audio input and output, multi-stem 5.1 and 7.1 surround sound capturing/monitoring, 8-channel analog audio I/O on quarter-inch TRS connectors, 8-channel AES/EBU digital audio I/O, 8-channel SDI and HDMI audio with embedding/de-embedding, and more. Time code support includes LTC, VITC (SD analog), D-VITC (SD-SDI) and embedded (SD/HD-SDI).
The HDX-SDI is housed in a rugged, one rack-space cast metal enclosure with removable brackets for convenient desktop operation.
The HDX-SDI with Thunderbolt technology will ship Spring, 2012. Price is TBA.
Find out how powerful MIDI realtime processing can be for trying out new ideas in Pro Tools.
You can edit as much as you like and only commit it once you have what works.
Avid have announced updates for several of their virtual instruments; Strike, Velvet and Transfuser.
For many this will fix this issue “Pro Tools could not load the following plug-ins [Strike, Transfuser, or Velvet] either because no valid authorization could be found, the iLok key was not connected or the plug-in was damaged.” when launching Pro Tools 10.
Community member Eric Vernaudon has sent in a load of new free download links for sounds and samples from various new sources. They are not created by the blog, so please no emails about the links or the samples not working. Here they are.
- FREE DUBSTEP STYLE LOOPS AND SAMPLES FOR MUSIC PRODUCTION Featuring over 70 FREE SAMPLES TAKEN FROM OUR NEW DUBSTEP SAMPLE PACKS FOR YOU TO CHECK OUT IN WAV FORMAT INSTANT DOWNLOAD PC/MAC WE ARE LIMITING THIS TO 1000 DOWNLOADS SO GRAB IT NOW Note : make you sign up with your correct email address or you wont get the samples!
- Glisten. A free Xmas download for all. Explore the sound with the six mysterious knobs…For Kontakt 4 and 5. Free Kontakt Player not supported.
- FREE SAMPLES FOR NI KONTAKT http://www.pettinhouse.com/html/download.html
In part 1 I installed the new Mac Pro, and in part 2 I started the Pro tools installation.
Lack of AAX plug-ins
Having now got a stable system it began to dawn on me how few AAX plug-ins were installed on my system despite the PR to the contrary on the launch of Pro Tools 10.
This shows the complete extent of my AAX plug-ins, notice that not even the Avid AIR plug-ins are there, even they are still dpm plug-ins. So I started to research what plug-ins were available starting with the list of “some 35 3rd party companies” that Avid announced on launch day having “AAX-compatible plug-ins ready or will have them ready shortly—please visit their website for specific plug-in information.” And are listed on their AAX compatibility web page. I will keep this page updated as announcements are made above AAX support, so do pop back to check for the latest info.
Are your mix sessions a case of happy accidents or is there a creative intention to them. Here are some ideas that may help you get more from your mix sessions.
- Make sure you know what the track is trying to achieve, irrespective of the fact that it is one of your own tracks or one you are doing for someone else. If you don’t know what the plan is and the target sound and feel you are trying to get then how will you know when you’ve got there?
- Make sure you know the track inside out before you mix it. Lyrics, structure, melody, instrumentation, if it’s for a client, then get some track notes to make sure you don’t miss the lead break or the second vocal track which someone turned off before they sent you the session.
- Know your gear inside out, it is pointless having a rack full of hardware or a folder full of plug-ins if you don’t know what to use when and how to use it. Top producers and engineers know exactly what to reach for and when.
- Look after yourself. Take regular breaks, and eat and drink during the mix session. You need to give both your mind and your ears a rest; if you think that you’re going to get a great mix by slaving over it for 12 hours then you’re a better man than most. On that matter if you do work with studios and producers then give them the same space. The best studio sessions I’ve found myself in have been run by producers and engineers who take time out during the sessions. Tiredness and hunger do not get good results.
- Have fun, try out some new ideas. We all have our drum sounds, our guitar tricks, vocal reverb but don’t impose them on every track you create or indeed on client tracks, be open to new things.
So in summary, those are the things I find help; have a plan, be prepared, know your stuff, stay healthy and have fun being creative. What do you find helps? Let us know.
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.