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Pro Tools Expert Podcast 125

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

Groove 3 Titles We Like

Competitions 

Deals page

Talking Points 

Community Feedback Kindly Sponsored by RSPE Audio Solutions

  • Joe Teresi - tip on using clip gain before a compressor to get a more even sound.
  • Donald Crees has let up know about a free AAX plug-in and special offer on another AAX plug-in
  • Justin Bryant - Can you do an article on building a studio in the garden?
  • Matt Greaves has found a possible bug with Autotune Evo when importing a track into Pro Tools 11
  • Dualta Barrett - Can you do a video on using ring modulation?
  • Mark Kaim - Suggestions of how to do the mastering bot versus human challenge
  • Matt Cheney - Can you do a video on the best ways and plug-ins to use to handle frame rate changes?

Questions - Kindly Sponsored by Alchemea

  • Shiv Dhuna - Why do the tracks that I export from FL Studio don’t sound the same in Pro Tools?
  • Eric Everhart - Why do plug-ins like Slap Delay II or Extra Long Delay II don’t work in Pro Tools 11?  Video on Time Adjuster plug-in

Listen on to the Pro Tools Expert Podcast on iTunes

Download the Pro Tools Expert Podcast as an MP3

Waves Add more Plug-in Deals For July

Our friends at Waves have added some more plug-ins to their selection of special offers for July.

1 day, 1 Surprise Plug-in, 1 crazy price

They are due to offer one plug-in at a crazy price for today only, check out the Specials page for this and other great deals. 

Plug-In Alliance Summer Sale With Reductions Of Up To 50%

Our friends at Plug-in Alliance are running a summer sale until August 14th. They are offering reductions of up to 50% on individual plug-ins from their huge range of plug-ins from brands like Brainworx, Maag, and Elysia.

Bundle Up And Get More

You can also create your own custom bundles and save up to an additional 50% on top of the summer sale prices.

Pre Reverse Reverb Trick

Here is a simple yet useful production trick I picked up earlier in the year when I was re creating a mix of ‘Lost’ by Gary Numan, from ‘Splinter (Songs From A Broken Mind)’. There are several moments in this dark and atmospheric production where his voice eerily comes in backwards, bathed in reverb which crescendos before the main melodies are sung. This is an emotive trick that is easy to achieve with a couple of AudioSuite plug-ins.

I strongly recommend you listen to the track ‘Lost’ as hearing this effect in the context of a production should give you ideas of how you can implement it in your own mixes. I am going to explain how to setup this trick using stock plug-ins in Pro Tools.

Keep in mind that this method can be used with any instrument… not just vocals.

1. Audio Clip

Create a new audio track. Create a copy of the clip you want to effect onto the new track.

2. Reverse

Highlight the new clip and go to AudioSuite - Other - Reverse and hit Render. You will clearly see the new clip has been reversed.

3. Reverb

You need to be sure the length at the end of the reversed clip is long enough to have a reverb tail rendered to it. Use the ‘Selector Tool’ or ‘Multi-Tool’ to highlight the whole reversed clip and be sure to include at least double the space at the end. It is best to highlight more than you need, excess can be trimmed away later.

Open up a Reverb under AudioSuite - Reverb. Select a Reverb that sounds good for you and click Render. You will see a long reverb tail in the waveform.

4. Reverse Back

Simply reverse back the reverb clip with AudioSuite. To get the best from this method try creating a few reversed clips and add different reverb settings so that you can compare between them.

5. Position And Edit

I generally slip the newly effected clip under the original vocal until it sounds right for the song. To adjust the length of the effect I either create a fade with clip gain or automate a volume fade to get my desired amount of time into the moment.

Delay

This can also be done with delays.

If there is a name for this method please do share it, if not… let’s name it together.

Audio Repair In Music Production: Removing Plosives and Mouth Clicks

Declicking tools are not only for dealing with vinyl records or digital clicks. In this video, Mike Thornton shows you how to use RX 3’s Declick module to remove mouth noises from an intimate vocal recorded close to the microphone and how to combine Spectral Repair’s attenuate mode with the Brush tool to remove mic pops and plosives.

Waldorf Announce AAX Versions of Largo, PPG Wave 3.V and the Waldorf Edition

For lovers of Waldorf synths then there’s some great news. Waldorf have released 64 bit versions of their plug-ins in AAX format, the updates features Largo, PPG Wave 3.V and the Waldorf Edition.

Waldorf Largo AAX

Largo offers three fat oscillators, two of them with sub oscillators. These oscillators include models of classic analog waveforms as well as a selection of waves from the PPG and Waldorf Wave stored in two Wavetables. All these run through two Waldorf multimode filters with steep cutoff, resonance up to self-oscillation and a drive stage to add even more punch and grainyness to the sound. Ultra-fast envelope generators and flexible LFOs as well as an easy to understand, yet extremely versatile modulation matrix make for a sound designer’s dream.

PPG Wave 2 AAX

PPG Wave 2 was the very first digital Wavetable synthesizer with analog filters that allowed completely new worlds of sound and endless sonic possibilities. Shortly afterwards, the successor PPG Wave 2.2 came out and was born to make history. With a gigantic arsenal of waveshapes, it could not only reproduce known analog sounds, but also brilliant choirs, bells and whistles. The digital sounds of wavetables had been unheard until then and offered sensational sonic evolutions by smoothly going through 64 waves back and forth.

The Waldorf Edition AAX

The Waldorf Edition features the famous and award-winning PPG Wave 2.V, Attack and D-Pole plug-ins as VST and AudioUnit variants.

More information from Waldorf

Fear Is Sometimes Our Biggest Creative Challenge

I started a new project yesterday for a client. It has been 6 months in the making, from discussion, request for a proposal, pitch, agreement and then eventually the green light.

The night before I start a new project I often find myself having the same sleep pattern as when I need to wake up for a flight, sporadic short bursts of sleep followed by longer periods of lying awake having the project playing over and over in my mind.

Is the idea any good? Have I hired the right talent? Have I made the right gear choices for capturing the performance? Will the vision I have become a reality? Will the client like it? Am I good enough? Are just a few of the thoughts that play over.

These are just a few of the neurotic thoughts that flow - of course I’m a creative, it’s the very gift that allows me to dream up creative ideas that is the same thing that curses me with visions of failure. Add to this the fact that a lot of creative types think in black and white meaning everything is either fantastic or a disaster and you know you are in for another roller coaster ride of emotions.

Of course I’m not the only one - perhaps I’m describing you?

In the final analysis it’s fear that is sometimes the biggest challenge, looking into the eyes of your latest project and hearing the demons whisper ‘you can’t do this.’ 

It’s at this moment we have to look right back and say ‘watch me!’

Do You Have Golden Ears? Take The Test

There’s a lot of discussion doing the rounds at the moment about the quality of recorded music. It all starts with the source material and how well the people making the music know what to listen for.

Philips have create the cool website where you can take some test to see how well you detect changes in sound on the same piece of material. It isn’t perfect and it won’t get you a degree but it’s an excellent way to give your ears a spin.

Furthermore, if you want to help your friends who listen to MP3s hear how different things can sound then this may be a great way to introduce them to critical listening.

More here

FabFilter Summer Sale - 25% Discount On Bundles

Until August 1, our friends at FabFilter are running a Summer Sale in their online FabFilter web shop, offering 25% discount on all plug-in bundles! In addition, if you already own one or more FabFilter plug-ins, go to your online FabFilter account and you can get discounts of 25% or more during the Summer Sale.

We love FabFilter plug-ins, take a look at our show & tell reviews

Also look out for our review of the Pro Q eq plug-in which more and more of the team are using. So don’t miss out on this chance to start off or even complete your FabFilter collection, or recommend FabFilter plug-ins to a friend!

SSR In Manchester Get The First Avid S6 In UK Education Sector

SSR, who are a training facility based in Manchester and London providing music, film and media training, have just taken delivery of an Avid S6 mixing console, the first to go into an education facility in the UK.

The arrival of the expanded 24-channel desk with its three TFT displays and M40 engine will be the focal point of their flagship audio post production suite in Manchester. It is housed in a customised AKA Design furniture, with a Pro Tools HDX system for use on SSR’s industry and degree programmes, as well as official Pro Tools certification courses. The new console heralds a significant expansion alongside an existing array of Avid equipment at SSR, including: ICON, D-Show, ISIS, C|24 and Artist Series. Tom Aston, SSR’s Technical Director told us…

Taking delivery of the Avid S6 is a clear example of our commitment to providing the latest and most industry relevant technology to our students. Having been established for over 30 years, SSR has always been a pioneer in education; from being the first audio engineering school in the UK and the first to deliver official Pro Tools certification in Europe, we are extremely proud to continue this ethos by being the first in the UK with an S6.

I am looking forward to seeing the S6 in place when I go into SSR, Manchester to present a guest lecture there on Wednesday.

Audio Post Production Workflows Using Pro Tools - Part 3

In parts 1 & 2 of this extended series - Audio Post Production Workflows, Conor Mackey covered what he does as an assistant editor does and how he prepares the edited sequences to hand onto the Dialog, FXs, Foley and Music editors so then can work their magic. We now move onto the first of these roles - dialog editing and Michele Ciment-Woods whose recent work has included Inspector George Gently Fleming and The Mill. Michele explains….

What Does A Dialog Editor Do?

When people ask me what I do for a living and I tell them “dialogue editing for film and television” I often get a very quizzical look. It’s a skill that’s often not recognised, outside our industry, because it is something people should not notice when they are watching a television program or film. The end product by a dialogue editor should be unnoticed. Let me explain…

My main responsibility as a dialogue editor is the sound that was recorded during the shoot. I have to take the audio, smooth it out, clean it by removing hits and bumps that cannot be seen, look for alternate recordings from other takes and if that is not possible, resort to ADR. It has to sound seamless as if it was all recorded clean and perfect on the day of the shoot helping the picture edit seem as if it was filmed in that sequence without several takes to make the scene whole and fluid.

What Do I Get?

I start working on the dialogues as soon as the picture editor has hopefully, but not always, finished editing the picture which is married to the sound. I receive a QuickTime of the locked picture, all the sound rushes from the shoot (which will give alternate takes for possible fixes), AAFs, EDLs for possible conform, a shooting script, sound sheets and a cast list (so I know who the actors are playing the characters).  These elements are often provided to me straight from the cutting room onto my hard drive or transferred to an FTP where I can download everything except the sound rushes (this is usually a massive file and is best to get it directly from the cutting room).

First Things First

The first thing I do is watch the QuickTime of the film or television program and quickly assess what ADR may be needed and where alternate takes may be needed. I make notes so that when I meet with the director and picture editor I am already familiar with the show.  At this initial meeting we also discuss possible additional lines that may be needed for ADR, problematic audio issues, and, of course, crowd. 

Click on the image for a larger versionTo start editing, I prepare the session in Pro Tools, I am currently using PT 10 HD. It is important to check with the rerecording mixer (sometimes called the dubbing mixer) before starting to see how they want the session to be set up and laid out, so they understand the track lay when he/she finally gets to mix it all together. Every rerecording mixer works differently and has certain setup requirements. At the end of the day, my track lay has to work for the mixer - they are ultimately my client. What I provide the mixer is integral to getting the mix to work.

Coming Up…

In part 2, we will look in more detail at setting the session up, how to identify what will need ADR and how to prepare for the ADR session, and what can be saved to reduce the need for ADR.

Previous Parts Of The Audio Post Production Workflows Series

Part 1 - Assistant Editor, preping sessions

Part 2 - Assistant Editor, preping sessions

pureMIX Offer Their 1st 2 Day Masterclass Led By Fab Dupont

We love the videos that our friends at pureMIX produce. Now how would you like to learn from the master Fab Dupont, in person for 2 days? For the first time ever Fab Dupont is running a 2 day masterclass at Flux Studios, New York City. You could be one of just 16 people and as part of this exclusive masterclass learn how to record and mix a full band and how to improve your engineering skills.

Live in a pureMIX Tutorial

Over the course of 2 intense days, you will live inside a pureMix.net tutorial, with a great New York city band in world class studios with exceptional equipment, and the added benefit of being able to hear the same thing as the engineer.

A significant portion of this masterclass will be dedicated to ear training and critical listening to make sure you leave the seminar with a new appreciation for quality tones. the mastercalls will also arm you with the tools you need to solve the multitude of unforeseen problems that making music pauses. This masterclass will focus on what is not in the manual.

Day 1: Recording Session 

During the recording segment of the seminar, you will learn how to mic drums, bass, guitars and vocals by choosing microphones according to the sources, how to pick preamps, how to handle recording levels, how to make the best out of a hybrid digital / analog system for a winning cue system. You will also learn how to make the right compromises, how to run a session that feels great for everyone, and how to interact with musicians to make the most of their performances.

Day 2: Mixing Session

The following day, in one of New York City’s most famous mixing room (the Fabulous room @ Flux Studios), you will learn how to edit the raw tracks to bring them to ‘finished record’ level, and how to tune and manage time to perfect the feel of the music. Then you will be able to watch and ask questions while Fab Dupont mixes the tracks into a radio ready single. Special care will be given on bottom end management, specialisation, 2Bus chain management and compression optimisation.

The great monitoring environment of the fabulous Room and Fab Dupont’s deep attention to details will supply you with enough insights, as well as tips and tricks to keep you busy for a long time after the masterclass ends.

When & Where

The masterclass will be at Flux Studios in New York City on August 16th & 17th. If you would like to be one of 16 people to learn from Fab Dupont face to face then hurry over to the pureMIX site to find out more and book up for this amazing opportunity.

The Distortion Of Sound - A Thought Provoking Documentary On Consumer Audio Quality

“The Distortion Of Sound” is a thought provoking short film that puts the spotlight on the contrast between studio production quality and consumer listening quality of music today.

Industry professionals including Quincy Jones, Hans Zimmer, Snoop Dogg, Slash, Manny Marroquin, Andrew Scheps and more give their views and frustrations over how much attention to detail and effort is employed in music production only for it to be largely degraded to a disappointing state by digital delivery and listening mediums of today’s technology in a trade off for convenience. Discuss.

Check out the Film and more details here

Use iZotope Alloy 2 To Get Drum Overheads Under Control 

Russ shows how using a transient processor can help to get a set of overheads under control.

Transient processors are an often overlooked but vital tool for mixing helping to push forward parts of the audio that are getting lost or pull back parts that are too far forward.

When this is applied in a multi band process they can take a piece of problem audio and help get it back into shape.

Click here to watch now

Voice Projection - Pre And Post Production Part 1

From the authors of 12 Steps For Preparing To Record Vocals and Breathing And The Voice - In Performance and Production Part 1 and Part 2; In this third instalment to their series, Producer Dan Cooper and Vocal Instructor Georgie Gillis will give their two-pronged approach to voice projection in the mix.

The Singer’s Perspective By Georgiana Gillis

Why Do I Need To Worry About Projecting My Voice In A Studio Environment?

One of my pet peeves as a vocal coach is to hear a singer not projecting into the microphone during a recording session. They mistakenly keep their voices ‘local’ as if the pop shield were their target audience. This false delivery then gets mixed and mastered into the final product with lack lustre results. The one thing your producer cannot fix with any post production tricks, is how you carried your voice into the recording microphone in the first place.

How Can Projecting Help With My Vocal Takes?

Projecting your voice not only gets it INTO the microphone, but helps with these three key elements which must come from you the singer and cannot be faked:

  • VOLUME - If you were talking into a mic and your producer pushed the fader up you would still sound like you were only talking, only louder - not shouting. The same goes for big belting choruses - what’s the point if you are only singing them to yourself?
  • ENERGY - Singing requires a certain amount of energy. Any listener can hear the difference when your voice sounds flat and lifeless. Aim for your vocals to always sound effortless and never strained.
  • EMOTION - Passionate vocals convince the listener that you are singing from the heart. Believe your own hype and ham it up! If you are not recording original material, go for songs that you can relate to.

Ok. What Exactly Is Projecting Your Voice?

Technically it could be described as the action of extending your voice towards a desired target - in this case a microphone. Like breathing, projection is another one of those hear-say terms that can be interpreted in a number of different ways depending on who is teaching you. Learning how to project correctly and safely is often a case of making these small adjustments to your technique:

  1. Visualise singing live - In a performance situation you would sing TO your audience whereas in a studio we only have a microphone in an acoustically treated room. Visualise your perfect audience and then go for it!
  2. Use ‘Forward Placement’ - This describes where you ‘place’ your voice in order to achieve the best projectile results. Sing as if you were singing solely to the back of your top front teeth - this directs your air flow outwards where you need it most.
  3. Deep Breathing - (Breath = Power) Make sure you are using some form of diaphragmatic/deep breathing to enable your voice to ‘soar’. Combining correct breathing with Forward Placement has the desired ‘bow and arrow’ effect of projectile singing.

Can’t I Achieve The Same Results If I Just Make Myself Louder?

No. Getting louder does not mean you are necessarily extending your voice forwards. Simply forcing your voice without any precautionary action (shouting) is effectively ‘smacking’ your vocal folds together aggressively while at the same time forcing too much air through your larynx. Signs that you have been doing this already include; the feeling that you have ‘strained’ your voice, sore throats, hoarseness or regular bouts of acute or even chronic laryngitis. Over the long term, abusing your voice like this causes polyps and permanent laryngeal damage (listen to Rod Stewart for an example of vocal damage).

How Do We Place Our Voices Forwards?

In short, once we have taken a nice deep belly breath, that air then goes on a journey out of the airways, through your larynx, into your throat and hits the soft palate where the air can then either go up your nasal cavity or out of your mouth (or both).

Try this:

  1. Put your tongue up on the roof of your mouth. This is called the hard palate.
  2. Run your tongue along the hard palate towards the back of your throat.
  3. Keep going until you reach the soft, pillowy soft palate.
  4. On the other side of the soft palate is the opening to the nasal cavity.

When singing we want our voices to go OUT of our mouths and not UP our noses as no singer wants to sound nasal. But because the nasal cavity is openly connected to our mouths like a chimney to a house, we need to MANUALLY direct the air flow to go where we want using Forward Placement - and so aiming the air outwards rather than upwards.

How Do We Achieve Forward Placement?

When coaching my students I tell them to sing to the back of their top front teeth (incisors). It is a simple yet effective image to visualise. To take this one step further, pay attention to how you use your lips when singing; In your normal ‘indoor’ voice, say the word ‘speak’. Say it again and notice what happens to the corners of your mouth. ‘Speak’. They pull up and back to make the required sound, thus losing some of your voice at the corners as well as sounding nasal and bright. Now try singing the word ‘speak’ with your lips pushed forwards. Hear the difference? To project effectively, everything should go forwards; voice AND lips.*

Difficulty with Accent - Irish or American?

One of the best accents for Forward Placement is Italian as their speech patterns naturally go forwards and up. Another good accent for singers is Welsh. It is perhaps no accident then that great singers such as Luciano Pavarotti, Andrea Bocelli, Katherine Jenkins and Tom Jones come from these countries, to name a few! Unfortunately there are some accents which are prone to sounding nasal - American and Irish accents are two examples of such and depending on the regional dialect can encounter more placement problems than others. However, using Forward Placement can remedy this considerably.

What If Your Chosen Method Of Singing Does Not Normally Require You To Project?

Obviously there are many different styles of singing and if yours is a style that relies heavily upon microphone amplification, for example; breathy vocals, stylised singing or using ‘hushed’ tones to create that modern ‘not bothered’ effect - then discuss this with your producer. He or she will adjust the sensitivity/proximity of the mic and volume in your ears accordingly. Even so, placing your voice forwards will enable the mic to pick up as much of your voice as possible with the minimum amount of loss.

Conclusion

True projection means to use a combination of deep breathing in conjunction with placing your voice in the foremost resonating chambers of your mouth. Taking this projectile action supports your voice in travelling a greater distance as well as gaining greater power and volume. It is also the key to unlocking a passionate, energetic performance. Second to breathing correctly, learning how to properly place your voice is integral to overcoming nasal tones, belting safely and riding your breaking point to name but a few.

*In this article I refer to ‘Forward Placement’. It is also known by other names such as voice or vocal placement. Their are many schools of thought on the correct way to do this as well as variance within genres. There is no exact science however and it mostly comes down to individual feel.

Mix Master Mick Guzauski On The Avid S6

Mix master Mick Guzauski gives an interview about the new Avid S6 control surface over at the RSPE Audio web site.

“Well, the controls were all in very logical places. A big thing for me was the color-changing OLEDs; it was so easy at a glance to tell what the function of any knob or switch was. Also, the comprehensive control over the system from the center-section touch screen and focus fader; and that it could be configured any way you want—you could have a lot of faders and fewer knobs, or knobs on every channel. You could have a high density of controls near the center and then just faders off to the sides—it can be configured any way you’d like it. Also, the metering was great because you could see the waveforms scroll on the meter bridge aside from the normal metering. And in the future, they were showing me that EQ curves could be up there as well. There’s also gain reduction metering next to the faders following what Pro Tools 11 is doing …”

Read the rest of the interview with Mick over at RSPE Audio.

Focusrite Offering Trade In For Any Pro Tools Interface Against Rednet 5 

Our friends at Focusrite are running a great offer too encourage Pro Tools users to go Rednet. Until August 31st 2014 you can trade in any Pro tools compatible interface and get £500 off the price of the Focusrite Rednet 5 HD interface.

What Is a Rednet 5?

RedNet 5 connects your RedNet system to Pro Tools HD®. Up to six units can be connected to one Pro Tools HDX system, supporting up to 192 channels at 96 kHz or 96 channels at 192 kHz. Pro Tools HD® Native and Pro Tools HD® (TDM) are also supported. RedNet 5 is interoperable with other Pro Tools interfaces and no RedNet PCIe card is required. 

Key Features And Performance:

  • Upgrade to RedNet interfaces while remaining fully compatible with your saved sessions
  • Each RedNet 5 can route up to 32 input and 32 output channels between your RedNet network and Pro Tools HD system 
  • Connecting six RedNet 5 units to a Pro Tools HDX system allows up to 192 inputs and outputs - the maximum supported by Pro Tools HDX. 
  • Maintain your existing Pro Tools workflow with simple, logical assignment of RedNet I/O to Pro Tools HD inputs and outputs
  • Compatible with Pro Tools HD® TDM systems

What is RedNet?

RedNet is Focusrite’s range of modular Ethernet-networked audio interfaces that harness the Dante digital audio networking system to bring studio quality sound to any modern audio application using cat 5 or cat 6 infrastructure. RedNet is a scalable, near zero latency audio distribution system that can be used to expand I/O channel count, interface digital components, and/or bridge between Pro Tools|HD or MADI and the Dante audio network.

Are You Using iOS For Music Making Or Audio? Poll

A few years ago the iPhone and iPad were inheard of and yet in a matter of years it has become a ubiquitous part of modern life. Part of the attraction is of course the huge selection of Apps available, it wasn’t long before Apps were appearing to make music and to record and edit audio.

Avid have made some small steps into the world of iOS with Sibelius support but nothing for Pro Tools users to date, other brands have tried to do more to give their DAW users an iOS experience when working on the move.

So has iOS been the music and audio dream come true for you, or did you dabble and find yourself disappointed?

Please complete our poll - we’ve broken it into professionals (those making a living from music and audio) and enthusiasts to see if there are any trends that emerge. Of course, as ever please leave comments to give more flesh to the poll.

Show And Tell Review Of UAD Thermionic Culture Vulture

Russ takes and look and listen to the latest addition to the Universal Audio UAD stable the British favourite Thermionic Culture Vulture.

He gives it a run on bass, guitar and vocals and shows the fun that can be had with this unique audio plug-in.

Watch this review of the UAD Thermionic Culture Vulture

Pro Tools Fundamentals - Managing Latency In Native Systems

In last week’s fundamentals article I discussed latency and how it is largely inescapable in native audio systems. The vast majority of this round trip latency (from input to output) is introduced by the processing done by the computer. The low latency of DSP systems such as HDX is desirable but remains expensive. This has resulted in a variety of workarounds for this problem. Nearly all of these rely on avoiding monitoring though Pro Tools itself and thereby avoiding the latency introduced by the computer. The disadvantages of working this way are that all of these solutions are either more complex, less flexible or involve additional hardware. The advantage is that all of them are less expensive than an HD system. So what are the options?

Running A Low Buffer

With a fast enough computer it is possible to monitor through Pro Tools with a buffer as low as 32 samples. In this scenario the latency introduced can potentially be under 2 milliseconds, roughly equivalent to the time it takes sound to reach your ears from some nearfield monitors. The thing which is far from guaranteed in a system like this is the reliability of the system. On the performance/latency/determinism triangle this solution is sacrificing determinism in favour of low latency. That being said I have successfully tracked bands using just this setup with no problems.

Click to read more ...