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AIR Mini Grand Demo Video

Over the coming weeks we will be posting a series of videos showing the new AIR Virtual Instruments and Plug-Ins which come FREE as part of Pro Tools 8. The first features the new Mini Grand, come back soon and check out all the other videos as we post them. An HD version is at Vimeo http://www.vimeo.com/2603527


Day 3 - More About PT8 Candy

OK Day 3 and I decided to take the plunge and install in on my main first gen Intel MacBook Pro 1.83, 2GB Ram. This enables me to run it in a real world studio session and open a working project which will be running a lot of 3rd party plugins.

The project consists of both real audio, instrument and aux inputs for the use of reverbs etc.

Here's the session in detail:

  • Stereo Instrument running Structure with 2 channels loaded with Electric Piano and Bass.
  • Stereo Instrument running DB33
  • Stereo Instrument running EZ Drummer
  • Stereo Instrument running Boom
  • Stereo Aux running AIR Reverb
  • 2 Mono electric guitar tracks running IK Amplitube 2 and Smack LE comps
  • 1 Stereo Main Output running Massey L2007
  • 1 Vocal track running Joe Meek Comp and Meekqualizer
  • 1 acoustic guitar track running 7 band EQ 3 and BF76
I'm very impressed, tracking was not possible with this amount of VIs in 7.4, but now able to track guitars at 128 setting and then bumped it back up to 512 for mixing on a single processor.

I used Elastic Audio to time correct the guitars and also do some spot timing fixes in the vocal track. Works like a treat.


  • UI didn't take long to get used to it and now I'm flying around it. I know there have been comparisons with the Logic UI but this is far more easy to navigate.
  • I haven't opened the manual yet!
  • New VIs are fantastic, DB33 sounds are very usable and I've been a NI B3 hardcore user for several years. Boom is easy and a lot of fun, again I have Stylus, another hard act to follow when it comes to Beats. Eleven Free has a great sound, but I had to revert to Amplitube 2 because of the sheer amount of CPU power Eleven requires.
  • MIDI editing is now a dream and the old issue of notes not copying from the start of bars now seems to be resolved.

  • EZ Drummer works in terms of its audio but the UI is screwed and will need an update to fix the lack of mixer controls.
  • Again Eleven is CPU hungry so I'm not sure how usable it is when tracking in intensive sessions.
  • Some of the AIR plug ins take a while to open, you can even get the beach ball of death.

So day 3 in a real world environment and I still love it - a vast improvement, the pros far outweigh the minor glitches which I'm sure will be worked out in later CS releases.

Pro Tools 8: The End of Logic?

So I'm into day 2 of Pro Tools 8 and it's time for me to post my early findings.

First, perhaps a little bit about my history. For those old enough to remember the early days of sequencing on computers, I was a demonstrator showing off C-Lab Creator and then Notator, running on an Atari 1040ST - a great computer with built in MIDI ports. I remember the joy of using this early incarnation of a computer based MIDI sequencer, the ease at which you could build up MIDI sequences, loop sections, transpose, and do numerous tricks in record time was amazing; songs came together in minutes rather than hours. It was a ground breaking piece of software. For those who know their history, this became Emagic, which was eventually bought by Apple and turned into Logic. I was also one of the first people in the UK to demonstrate and sell DigiDesign Soundtools - a Mac based stereo editor, costing around £8K in the mid 80's, the forerunner to what we now know as Pro Tools.

I say this because, although it's about 20 years since those products hit the streets, both of them have stuck with me as groundbreaking moments in music and audio creation. I think they have both created sub conscious benchmarks for me as music creation tools to live up to.

For years Pro Tools has been my DAW of choice for a number of reasons;
* Compatibility with thousands of users and studios across the world.
* Sheer ease of use for audio editing and mixing
* Great sound

BUT! Pro Tools never had the ability to cut it as a music creation product, as a tool that I could sit down on and knock up song ideas in minutes - just as I did in the early days with C-Lab on the Atari.

This is where Logic was a winner, of course it was born as a MIDI sequencer and it shows even today, it has always been so easy to create and compose in record speed. It is has been the antithesis of Pro Tools, a MIDI sequencer let down by its audio editing capabilities. Both of them have been on a journey, Logic, historically a sequencer trying to be a DAW and Pro Tools a DAW trying to become a sequencer, heading from 2 ends of the same road and heading towards each other.

The reality for the last couple of years is that both of them seemed to be at the same point in the journey, it was for this reason that many of us choose to jump between the two, we could see the benefits and merits of using both platforms. Some choose to stick to one camp and tolerate either audio or MIDI shortcomings.

In recent years Apple threw the kitchen sink at Logic loading it with more musical candy than you could shake a stick at, tons of Virtual Instruments, lots of great plugins and content to boot, it was a tempting package, but again let down by its sound - for me the instruments and the plugins never quite felt or sounded Pro quality - although they have made it onto thousands of multi million selling singles and albums, so obviously not everyone felt the same way.

This is where the story has been for some time... enter Pro Tools 8.

In a nutshell Pro Tools 8 changes the whole game, with its new interface, new Virtual Instruments, great new plugins and content, plus some genius new features. Pro Tools 8 hits the turbo button in the race and has sent DigiDesign speeding into the lead. Now let me be clear, Apple have never been a company to take anything lying down, they use everything at their disposal to stay in the lead. This includes buying up software and hardware companies, they have deep pockets and massive amounts of influence - love or hate them, some of the most powerful people on the planet are friends of Apple and only to happy to be associated with them, remember Chris Martin of Coldplay even named his child Apple, opinion is divided if she is named after Apple Inc. but it hasn't done Apple any harm!

I have to declare another secret... I am a Mac Evangelist, cut me in half and you'll find Apple written through me, I hate to see them getting a kicking in the press or a product failing, but I just could never throw myself into the Logic camp, it just never made complete musical sense to me. Today I think Digi have done something that no one else has ever managed to do, they made me walk away from an Apple product. All the things that kept me going back to Logic I no longer have the need for.

I'm sure many who will read this were hoping to read a full technical review of Pro Tools 8 and in particular the AIR content - that's coming. If you are reading this and wondering if you should buy Pro Tools 8, the answer in short is a resounding YES! In fact sell your bed and buy it!

New Pro Tools 8 Videos

AIR Plugin Compatibility Grid

Updates are posted automatically as they arise.

12 Minute Pro Tools 8 Video

The lovely guys over at Sonic State have released a 12 minute video of Pro Tools 8 in action, check it out here - it show some of the new AIR Plugins close up. ENJOY!

New Air Plug-ins for Pro Tools 8

In the new release of Pro Tools 8 there will be a new set of AIR plug-ins, many have been 'liberated' from their VI's such as Structure and Hybrid.

Here's the list as far as we can verify it...
• Chorus
• Decimator
• Distortion
• Dynamic Delay
• Enhancer
• Ensemble
• Filter-Gate-Sequencer
• Flanger
• Frequency Shifter
• FuzzWah
• KillEQ
• MultiChorus
• MultiTap Delay
• Nonlinear Reverb
• Phaser
• Reverb
• Spring Reverb
• StereoWidth
• Talkbox
• Vintage Filter

Pro Tools 8 - New Virtual Instrument Information

- 3,000 patches, 1,500 in the current version.
- Completely new GUI
- Four part multi-timbral.

Mini Grand

- 1.5 GB Acoustic Piano sampleset
- Models: soft, ballad, real, bright, hard, dance
- Controls: dynamic response; tuning (equal/stretch); volume
- Reverb: soft, bright, studio, chamber, hall, ambient

- Tonewheels: New, Used, Dirty, Synth 1, Synth 2
- Standard B3 controls (chorus, key click, percussion)
- Leslie sim (separate panel with detailed controls)
- External input on Leslie - can be used as separate plugin
- Leslie controls: Ext input volume, organ volume, character, drive, hi cut, mic positioning, slow/fast rate, acceleration/de-acceleration, level

- Grid style drum programming.
- 10 sounds available at a time with controls for pan, level, tuning and decay.
- Over 100 Kits
- 16 step drum sequencer; three levels of velocity
- Patterns can be chained
- Swing and dynamics controls

- Vacuum tube synth
- Monophonic bass and lead
- Vacuum tube oscillators, continuously variable waveforms.
- Two filters with a potentiometer on the slope
- Can be overdriven at numerous spots
- Arpeggiator, tremolo, vibrato

See them in action here...

Remix Magazine Review Transfuser

Review: Digidesign Transfuser

Sep 1, 2008 12:00 PM, By Asher Fulero

Transfuser makes great use of contextual menus; right click on any parameter to Learn CC for quick assignments to physical MIDI controls or assign the parameter to one of six Smart Knobs for macro control.

Transfuser makes great use of contextual menus; right click on any parameter to Learn CC for quick assignments to physical MIDI controls or assign the parameter to one of six Smart Knobs for macro control.

It's hard to review Digidesign's powerful new Transfuser virtual instrument without comparing it to the other big groove-oriented software, such as Propellerhead Reason, Ableton Live, Native Instruments Reaktor and Devine Machine's Lucifer and Guru VSTs. Transfuser is almost a production environment onto itself — simple to use but with staggering potential for complexity. Truly the only thing holding Transfuser back is its format limitation (RTAS only — no stand-alone or external ReWire capability). However, any producer already using Pro Tools should definitely check out this extremely deep and complex instrument/effect/sampler/sequencer/randomizer/remixer.

I tested Transfuser with PT M-Powered on a MacBook Pro; it requires an iLok to authorize. Simply create an Instrument track in Pro Tools and open Transfuser as an Insert; you can immediately drag-and-drop audio files in the Transfuser window. Each instance of Transfuser supports as many as 16 MIDI channels and 128 internal tracks at a time — plenty for most uses. For more detailed MIDI control and for capturing performance data, Pro Tools MIDI tracks can be assigned to any of Transfuser's internal tracks, and the audio from each track can bus out to separate Pro Tools audio tracks for discrete mixing.

There are four basic ways to use Transfuser. One is simply as an effect insert; by using the Input Synth option, audio from any PT channel can go through Transfuser's signal chain for fast and fun sonic destruction. The other three approaches involve using source samples, either the packaged 2 GB sample bank of REX files and loops, a Region from your current PT session or from the Finder.

Each time you attempt to bring in audio, Transfuser asks which approach to use. The first approach slices samples into smaller chunks to manipulate (much like Reason's Dr.Rex instrument or Slicing in Live 7) and pairs them with a Slice Sequencer preset with a “staircase” pattern that plays back the original sample unaltered. In the second, the audio is instead beat-matched to the session tempo using Digidesign's time compression/expansion algorithms. The third option focuses on drums; it slices, frequency analyzes and auto-assigns the slices to a flexible set of 12 virtual drum pads. In all three cases, a track's Synth module is paired with a Sequencer module, which can manipulate the samples either via a 12-note step sequencer or a piano-roll interface. The process is fast and easily does dramatically interesting things to your audio.

Slices can be re-pitched, rearranged, stretched or played via a MIDI controller and later edited just like in a DAW from within the Sequencer editors. Each also has a Pattern section for recalling as many as 12 grooves, and to keep things moving, Digidesign includes a cool new technology called M.A.R.I.O. (Musical Advanced Random Intelligent Operations). Pressing the big Apply button randomizes elements of the active sequence, but you can fine-tune how M.A.R.I.O acts by adjusting the Depth Dial and choosing specific parameter groups from the drop-down menu. It was enormously successful at changing things up in a way that was almost always listenable and helped to quickly put together some unique variations that I could then play back with the Pattern triggers.

Transfuser's built-in effects stand out; the Beatcutter alone is almost worth the price. With cool effects like Repeat, Reorder, Gate, Scratch and Freeze, Beatcutter uses an ingenious Probability Sequencer with 16 steps that let you create a phrase that shifts the likelihood of any of the Beatcutter effects being applied. I also liked using the Force buttons to play the Beatcutter live. Other notable effects include the Gater, Kill EQ with three customizable pads, Pumper for creating sidechain-like effects and bpm-syncable Delay, Multi-Delay and Tape Delay. Each track has four effect slots and two Effect Send knobs for sending to the Master Effects Chain.

You attach parameters to one of the Automation Lanes, an interesting approach that offers several 16-step graphical sequences that can each have an unlimited number of assigned parameters. While perhaps a bit awkward for more traditional automation use, Automation Lanes are great for creating fast variations whose parameters shuffle around for surprising results.

Overall, Transfuser's attention to musicality is obvious. While not necessarily as useful for nondance music, Transfuser is certainly a giant boon for any producer used to working with urban styles within a tempo map/bpm setting. There is so much more than can be covered here, but suffice to say that if you work with beats, create remixes regularly or are a dancefloor producer with Pro Tools, you need to check out Transfuser.


Pros: Quick to learn yet has infinite potential for complexity. Excellent time-based and slicing effects. REX file compatible. 2 GB of samples ready for slicing.

Cons: RTAS only. No stand-alone or external ReWire capability.

Contact: www.digidesign.com/transfuser

Mac: Pro Tools 7.0 or later system; iLok USB key (Check with Digidesign for detailed Pro Tools requirements.)

PC: Pro Tools 7.0 or later system; iLok USB key (Check with Digidesign for detailed Pro Tools requirements.)

Interview With Peter Gorges - Head of AIR

Peter Gorges will be taking part in an online interview with the AIR User Blog in the coming weeks. Let us know what questions you would like us to put to him. Please try and keep them specific and not about why your software keeps crashing on your computer - that's for the DUC.

We can't promise to put every question to him and will select those that we feel are the most interesting for all AIR users.

Leave them as comments here...

Hybrid 1.5.2 on Leopard Known Issues

If you install the 1.5.2 update for Hybrid on Leopard you may experience issues, such as no screen images for the interface. This is a known issue which Digi are looking into.

A workaround is to re-install 1.5.0 which WILL work on Leopard and to check back here or the Digi DUC for more news.

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