Do I Need An Extended Keyboard For Pro Tools?

Continuing the theme of Pro Tools and the use of keyboards from last week, considering how ubiquitous laptops have become in audio production, their performance in terms of processing power and the connectivity options offered by Thunderbolt can make owning a desktop computer seem unnecessary. However there is one area in which Pro Tools and laptops are still an awkward match. I find using Pro Tools without an extended keyboard so inconvenient that if I know I am going to be using Pro Tools on my laptop I will often carry an extended keyboard with me and I suspect I’m not the only one. So which of the many uses for the number pad is it that I miss when I’m on a laptop? Here are 5 which come to mind though as we’ll see sometimes it is the ignorance of the user which is the problem rather than laptop keyboards…

Show/Hide Floating Windows

Screen space is limited on a laptop and because of this being able to manage floating windows is especially important. I use these three show/hide shortcuts more than any others and when they aren’t available it really slows me down:

  • CMD+1 - Transport Window
  • CMD+4 - Automation Window
  • CMD+5 - Memory Locations Window

(PC Users substitute Control for Command) 

Nudging The Audio

Nudging in Pro Tools is endlessly useful, so useful that it definitely deserves more attention in another post coming soon. If you aren’t a regular command focus user you might think you need the + and - keys on the number pad to use nudge. For years (and unfortunately it was years) I wondered how anyone could edit in Pro Tools without a keyboard command for nudge. When I finally took the plunge into command focus shortcuts I found the nudge commands had been there all along. To nudge use “,” and “.” and to nudge by the next bigger value use “m” and “/”.

Recall Memory Location

Using “decimal point - memory location number - decimal point” you can quickly recall memory locations. See my article on faking VCA spill for ideas on how to use memory locations for more than just recalling markers. While you can recall memory locations by clicking in the memory locations window, I really need the screen space when I’m working on a 13” screen. As markers get used so much when tracking this is something I really miss when using a laptop.

Drop markers

Using the enter key to drop a marker was always the shortcut I missed the most as I often find myself using a laptop with Pro Tools while tracking using a mobile rig. Having experienced dragging flightcased CRT monitors around in the past I really appreciate laptops but being able to drop markers on the fly is essential.

I have been using a Macbook Pro for many years, I work alongside very techie people who all use Macs and audio software and have done for a long time. The collective facepalm moment which happened recently when we discovered what the little symbol on the return key on a Mac Book Pro meant was worth seeing. I’m sure many people out there know this but clearly many people (like me) don’t. If you hold Fn while using Return on a Mac Book Pro it changes from Return to Enter. In Pro Tools you can drop markers on the fly using a Mac Book Pro after all - Why has it taken me so long to realise that?

Fast Forward And Rewind - FF/RW

Although its largely unnecessary with a DAW, I rediscovered the joys of using traditional tape transport with Pro Tools when I started using control surfaces. I’m sure many never use it but often nudging transport back or forward a few seconds using numeric 1 or 2 is easier than moving the insertion point with the mouse. An essential feature of Icon control surfaces is the “Back and Play” button which moves the playback cursor back by the amount specified in the preferences without stopping playback. The same feature is available in software by control-clicking (start-clicking on PC) on the rewind button. What I’d really like is Control+Num2 to work with back and play in the same way because it doesn’t at the moment. Please Avid?

Sampling Masterclass Part 1

Marcus Huyskens starts this new series of sampling masterclass.

In this first video tutorial Marcus talks about cleaning up the samples using various techniques.

Marcus is founder of Bad Cat Samples and and part of the Pro Tools Expert team.

Join now to watch this and over 500 exclusive Pro Tools video tutorials

Running Pro Tools On The Surface Pro 3 - Video

Robin Vincent does a full show and tell video of Pro Tools runinng on the new Microsoft Surface Pro 3.

He talks through the pros and cons of running Pro Tools on the Surface Pro 3 and considers screen resolution, performance and battery life.

Watch the full video and see the report by PC guru Robin.

Iosono Join Barco And Auro Technologies

Barco have been working very closely with partners Auro Technologies to offer the cinema world an integrated 3D solution for both pictures and sound.  Together they are committed to providing the best immersive sound system in the cinema market and it would seem as if this is bearing fruit.

Open standard

Barco and Auro are pushing for an open standard for immersive sound. Brian Claypool, senior director of strategic business development at Barco told us….

Creating a standardised format for immersive sound is critical as it helps to control costs for content to be produced and distributed and will ultimately speed the adoption of immersive sound worldwide. As this standardisation effort continues, Barco remains committed to providing immersive sound solutions with its partners Auro Technologies and IOSONO that are designed to fulfil the needs of the exhibition industry and give content creators the flexibility and tools to produce the best work imaginable.

Wilfried Van Baelen, CEO of Auro Technologies added…

We are so excited to be able to work together with more innovators like IOSONO to further develop, the tools and processes that make the object based part of the Auro-3D format a truly magical experience. IOSONO and Barco are the perfect complementary partners to further develop the Auro 3D listening experience and we look forward to showing the world what this new element of collaboration will yield for the industry.

More On Iosono

It will be very interesting to see how the companies work together. You can see our show and tell review of the Iosono AnyMix Pro surround panner and upmixing plug-in.

More on Wilfried Van Baelen

If you want to hear more about about what drives Wilfried Van Baelen then you can listen to an extending interview with Mike Thornton.

More on Auro 3D

We will be releasing a series of video interviews with the team at Auro over the coming months too.

Stereo Electric Guitar Tricks In Pro Tools

Russ shows a couple of simple tricks for making electric guitars stereo in Pro Tools.

The best bit is that both tricks require no extra gear and cost zero to make happen!

Pro Tools Expert Podcast 135

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

No Podcast Next Week

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Talking Points Kindly Sponsored By Universal Audio

Community Feedback Kindly Sponsored by RSPE Audio Solutions

  • Look for RSPE at AES from 9th to 12 October at booth 1437 and its the last days of the Royer Ribbon Summer Rebate and savings $300 on Adam Subs
  • Sean O’Brien asks if we can make a video on how to get the sounds in the song Flight from MonterCat
  • Jim Burke asks if we could make a video about the harmony section of iZotope’s Nectar 2.We have already done it
  • Andres Gonzalez wanted to share an explanation of overtones and harmonics on SoundCloud
  • Chris Bach wanted to let the community know that Garritan are doing a sale on their orchestra products  until Sept 30th and although they aren’t AAX they do work in Pro Tools 11 using PatchWork.
  • Brenton Craig wants to know what the guitar settings on Xpand2 in our video “How To Transform Your Delay Effects In Pro Tools For Free”

Questions - Kindly Sponsored by Alchemea

  • There is going to be a great competition with Alchemea that money can’t buy.
  • Kyle Whittaker is having problems with MIDI notes hanging on but can’t track down what is causing it.
  • James Clark is having problems with hardware compensation in Pro Tools 11 with the audio coming back from the hardware very early.
  • Basil Fearrington is having problems with Pro Tools 8.0.5 with Windows 7. Check out our Support Tools page and the Avid 8.0.5 Installer download link
  • Jason Wilkins asks if anyone has created new keyboard shortcuts for DSP Quattro
  • Navid A is having problems getting Komplet 8 working properly in Pro Tools 11.
  • Andres Gonzalez would like to know the difference between 24 bit and 32 bit floating point in terms of A to D & D to A converters.  Xiph.org videos 
  • Glenn Skinner asks for recommendations to replace a Mackie Big Knob.

Find Of The Week 

Listen on to the Pro Tools Expert Podcast on iTunes

Download the Pro Tools Expert Podcast as an MP3

Unloadable’ Strike 2.0 Presets Workaround

Some users of Strike have identified a small bug which prevents browsing long lists in Strike 2.

The issues means that when a user tries to move down a long list of presets the list jumps back up to the top.

Long time community member John Eyers has created a workaround.

Hold down CONTROL + ALT (Windows) while clicking on the Preset to load any of the previously “unloadable” presets.

This may affect Windows users only, although Mac users may have a similar problem.

Click to read more ...

Windows 8 Storage Spaces - The Easy Way To Parity RAID Backups

Are you running Windows 8 and have a load of old unused hard drives hanging around doing nothing?

Use Windows Storage spaces to make a redundant RAID array that’s really easy to manage, best of all it doesn’t matter what varying sizes the drives physically are.
You can use any mixed sized drives you have to hand plus if any one of those drives fail your data is still safe while you replace it.

If you don’t have a secure backup solution currently in place this may be the answer for you.
I’m going to build myself a little standalone machine out of old spare parts i have just for this purpose instead of an expensive NAS enclosure and expensive matched capacity drives, then tuck it away somewhere out of sight and sound and access it via my gigabit network.

This setup is unlikley to be useful for use with Pro Tools as it does not support software RAID but would be great for a secondary backup destination for your projects, sound libraries, installers and other files you need to keep safe.
Coupled with some form of cloud backup service I think you will be pretty well covered.

See it in action in the very well presented video by TrainSignal/PluralSight
Thanks also to Jon Christopher for pointing out to me a similar Application is available for OSX users called ZFS see here for more details 

Warning Waves Licence Centre (WLC) Not Compatible With OS X 10.10 Yosemite Beta

We’ve been taking one for the team again and found out that the latest version of Apple OS X 10.10 Yosemite public beta is incompatible with Waves Licence Centre WLC

Some system running the Yosemite beta version will not allow the WLC to run correctly and may mean that Waves licences will not load when running your software.

We’ve had extensive discussion with Waves who confirm that Apple Mac Yosemite public beta is not qualified for use with WLC and is therefore unsupported.

We’ve confirmed this on two of our test machines and suggest not running the beta.

Problems With Timecode And Field Recorder Workflow - Can You Help?

Community member Johannes Wengert sent us in this question and to date we have drawn a blank and so we thought someone else in the community may have the answer. Johannes asked…

I have a question concerning metadata in wav-files. I’ve received an AAF from Media Composer (not embedded audio, not consolidated but full copies of all wav files) and successfully imported it. Everything good so far. Now comes the problem:

I need to conform the multitrack audio (it’s a concert recording) to the rough mix from Media Composer using the “field recorder guide track” option in PT using timecode. Everything has been recorded properly with TC during the show so no problem there. Pro Tools cannot conform the tracks because there is no valid time stamp in the audio from MC - When I look at the files using the Workspace or the “Wave Agent” by SoundDevices it shows a Original Time Stamp / Start TC of 01:00:00:00 for every file

Click to read more ...