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.
I’m time poor, there’s never enough time for me to do what I need to do, so even my down time is precious - if I watch a movie or listen to an album that I think was not good then I feel like it’s minutes or hours I can’t get back and time that could have been better spent.
When I first saw the new ‘The Story of the Focusrite Studio Console’ doing the rounds on social media, although I’m friends with many of the Focusrite team and have huge respect for what they do, I asked myself do I really have 40 minutes to watch what may be a long advert? I’m glad I made the time.
The conceit of the movie is a simple one, to track down the ten Focusrite consoles designed and built over the time they were in production and see what they are doing now. As thrillers go it’s not the complex plot of a CSI episode, but then again anyone who is well read and geeky enough to care will know where many of these desk started and ended their lives. However simple the story is, it’s genuinely interesting and as documentaries go it can stand its ground with anything you will see from the Beeb or Channel 4.
This movie has everything; from the bizarre story of a fully assembled console in a spare bedroom, the heartbreak of a console immersed in water after a studio is hit by a hurricane, right to the stuff of legends, with one console turning up hidden in a Texas storage lock-up underneath a fake Christmas tree.
‘The Story Of The Focusrite Console’ is beautifully shot, skillfully edited and the gentle and unobtrusive style from Chris Mayes-Wright (the man on the mission) ensures that the star of the show is the Focusrite consoles.
This documentary is what I hoped Sound City would be, simply a beautifully shot story of audio history. It is a beautifully shot story of audio history, but on this occasion it does not feel the need to create a polemic on the demise of the analogue recording industry.
If like me you never have enough time to do the things you need (let alone the things you would like to do) then I suggest you make 40 minutes to watch this. I guarantee it won’t be time wasted and you will leave you satisfied by this story, which is without doubt a genuine part of audio history worth documenting.
In honour of Focusrite Audio Engineering Ltd.’s 25th Anniversary (and 29 years since the creation of the Focusrite brand) they are running a dream recording competition, giving you and up to three of your friends a once in a lifetime opportunity to record a track with Grammy award-winning Producer, Guy Massey at the world famous AIR Studios in London, UK. The lucky winners will spend an all expenses paid weekend in the inspiring environment of the legendary AIR Studios, where Focusrite’s original Rupert Neve designed recording console modules still works today.
Focusrite have also produced a documentary following the journey of their products from 1985 to present day. Having developed modules for the world’s leading mixing consoles, the company’s first recording console, the Focusrite Forté, was launched, before a streamlined version called the Studio Console was put into production. Only 10 Studio Consoles were ever made, and six remain in operation to this day - the documentary tells the stories of these consoles and the people who used them.
Our friends at HHB Communications and Scrub are showcasing a broad range of loudness technology at BVE, including hardware and software from TC Electronic, NUGEN Audio, Wohler, Dolby, Chromatec, DK-Technologies and RTW.
The HHB/Scrub stand is also the venue for the UK debut of the Avid S6 control surface with a modular design, extensive visual feedback and integrated touchscreen.
On the Avid stand, we will be taking part in a Pro Tools post production panel session with not one, or even two, but three Mikes. Our very own Mike Thornton, will be joined by Mike Aiton and Mike Wabro with Russ Hughes trying to keep us in order. Join us at 15:30pm on Tuesday 25th February 2014.
Our friends over at Logic Pro Expert tipped us off to this trove of Lexicon booty.
They originally ran the story as Free impulses for Logic Space Designer, but we’ve downloaded these impulses and tested them in Avid Space/TL Space and they do indeed work and in fact sound very sweet.
They are the handiwork of Producer Grant Nelson, so full creds to him!
Source: Logic Pro Expert
In Podcast 104 we were talking about shortcuts and workflow tricks. Well here is one from community member Kerry Smith who says…
I managed to eliminate a huge time-waster and annoyance for myself today, rather by accident. If you use a Mac and own a lot of plug-ins by certain manufacturers (NI, Avid, Sound Toys and Plug-in Alliance for me) you probably have experienced that if you go to update them all, then you must download each plug-in as it’s own installer (either pkg or DMG). You then have to run the Apple-standard installer for each plug-in.
Normally, I had to sit through each installer and click the various “Okay”, “Accept” and “Continue” buttons. Often going through this process takes longer than the actual installer process does. It really makes me appreciate Waves’ system.
Today I downloaded and updated about 10 plug-ins by a certain manufacturer. But, once I had all of the installers down, I shift-clicked them all open at the same time (I usually do one at a time). What I discovered is that, although I had to launch each installer, once I clicked on all of the Legal and Continue boxes for the first plug-in, I wasn’t asked to do it for the others.
I was so happy and I don’t know exactly why this works (maybe the Apple Installer program doesn’t self-quit because other installations are active?) but I think I saved 40-60 clicks and the navigation to the associated buttons. As far as I’m concerned, this is a workflow win!
Mike says - I wonder whether is was because all the installers were from the same manufacturer so the terms and conditions were the same. I suspect you wouldn’t be so lucky if they were from multiple manufacturers as the terms & conditions would be different. If anyone is doing a bulk install please try this out and report back your experiences as this could be a real time saver.
Friend of the blog and mix master Gary Lux (Sting, Janet Jackson, Usher and more) sat down with RSPE to talk about why he like the new Avid S6.
Recently Russ made a show & tell video on Cthulu from Xferrecords and community member Matthias Schmidt tried it out and and sent in a suggestion on a different way to use it.
First of all thank you for all your help, support and advice over the last years on so many topics about Pro Tools, virtual instruments and plug-ins.
After watching the video I tried Cthulu and was very impressed. there was only one thing which actually had nothing to do with Cthulu but Pro Tools itself and how it is doing MIDI. I always like to keep at least one MIDI instrument track in record mode which has some disadvantages.
Once you worked out some chords, arpeggios, or whatever; you have to print it down to a MIDI track in Pro Tools to continue recording other stuff on other channels and instruments without interfering with the two Cthulu tracks. I wanted to avoid having to print down midi tracks when using Cthulu together with Pro Tools I did some in depth research and found a solution.
In Podcast 104 we had a question from Richard Shapiro who asked…
When offline bouncing why is there no warning message if Pro Tools can’t convert an inserted plug-in to native? I recently bounced a 2 hour show and the Oxford Dynamics (compressor only) plug-in got removed from the signal chain because there was no native version. It took a while to figure out why the narration was so buried in the offline bounce but not in a real time bounce. When running large sessions and having freelancers or unfamiliar mixers on a project it can be easily overlooked. Do any of the recent updates address this? I’m surprised I don’t see much about this when reading about offline bounce.
We asked Sonnox and they explained…
The latest version of the AAX plug-ins (AAX Dynamics v2.0.2) will not have this issue. With the addition of Native cut-down variants, the DSP cut-down variants are now able to switch to Native for an offline bounce.
So Richard, update your Sonnox plug-ins and it won’t happen again. Thanks to Sonnox for their speedy response too.
Synchro Arts have announced the public beta of Revoice Pro 2.3, it features a number of cool new features particularly for Pro Tools users, offering an almost VocALign AudioSuite interface for those who want to do fast APT and Doubling.
The engine has also been updated to give even more flexibility. Often instruments using very low or very high pitch are not processed well during pitch operations, in Revoice Pro 2.3 the algorithm now allows for much better processing at these audio extremes.
We recently ran a competition where our friends at Source Elements offered a great prize for music and post users alike, with a bundle of the Source-Talkback plug-in as well as a 2Q wireless Remote Activator.
We are very pleased to announce that Paul Talbott is the lucky winner of this prize. He says…
I’m a recording engineer with 15 years of experience in music, and sound for film/TV. The photo is taken from my day job shooting ADR for Technicolor in Toronto. I’ll be using the plug-in and talkback for remote recording gigs, where it’ll be extremely valuable for me!
We are thrilled to welcome lynda.com as a new partner with Pro Tools Expert.
We have spoken a lot recently about some Pro Tools basics that every Pro Tools user should know about. In this FREE Pro Tools video tutorial Brian Lee White explains how essential it is to organise a Pro Tools session.
This video is a part of the entire series ‘Pro Tools Mixing and Mastering’ one of the many training series for Pro Tools from lynda.com
You can try out lynda.com for 7 days, just click the banner on the right or the link below.
Some of you may remember “Little Microshift” Which was a limited availability Free Plugin Soundtoys released as part of their annual SXSW “Share and Win” competition.
Much like what happened with the the Devil-Loc Plugin from the year before we have been expecting an upgraded “Big Brother” version….. Well Here it is, With added Focus Frequency, Detune and Delay Parameters for even more Control.
In Sound Toys own words:
Go Even Wider
MicroShift makes it wide. Be it vocals, synths, guitars, backing vocals or whatever you choose to run through it, MicroShift uses this classic studio trick to spread it out, thicken up, or give a new space to any track you hit with it. Of course, the SoundToys spin takes it beyond the original with the new “Focus” knob that lets you push and widen specific ranges without affecting the rest of the track. Amazing for adding “shimmer” to a vocal, or “air” to a guitar. Control of the detune amount, delay, and a mix knob let you tweak the effect to fit just right in the track. MicroShift combines the classic sound of the hardware with new advanced features, and a super easy to use interface. Simply Huge.
A Bit of micro-shifting History
The technique has been around since the early days of pitch-shifting, using devices like the Eventide H910(x2), H3000, the AMS DMX 15-80, and all the way to plug-ins like our own SoundBlender and PurePitch. The idea is fairly simple, small amounts of delay and or pitch-shift panned hard left and right. The formula’s are all a bit different on all the devices, but the effect is essentially the same. It adds a width, space, depth, and thickness to vocal and background vocals. Of course it’s been used on lots of other things but that’s kind of where it started. It’s also still a vital part of most mix engineers “bag of tricks”. Oh, and let’s not forget the guitars. It was also used by guitarist to get crazy huge walls of sound, and bring solos out front (where they should be).
The uber clever and super nice Steve Duda at Xfer Records has updated Nerve, a beat box on steroids, to version 1.1 with 64 bit AAX support.
In addition LFOTool and Cthilhu are also AAX. Being a super nice guy he has sent us a copy to review… watch this space.
Another small developer who never sleeps the list of updates are long;
- 64-bit support (VST/AU/AAX).
- ProTools AAX32 and AAX64 support (ProTools 10.3.5 or later).
- Drag-and-drop pattern button (A-L) to export MIDI to host.
- Drag-and-drop pad to host (source wave file).
- Drag-and-drop pad + Shift + Control + Alt: render all to a new wave file in host.
- Drag-and-drop pad + Control + Alt: renders pattern of dragged pad as wave file.
- 16 stereo outputs.
- Pre-calculated 4-band parametric EQ per-pad.
- Pre-calculated plate reverb per-pad.
- Pattern randomize (‘R’ button).
- Pattern hybridize (‘H’ button) creates new patterns based on existing loaded patterns.
- Option to follow Host notes note-length / note-offs choke the sound.
- Type-able values for all controls (text entry appears with double-click).
- Mouseover help for all controls (when mouse is hovered for 1 second).
- “MIDI Note Off Chokes Pads” option now stores gate values to Sequencer.
- Option Menu: “Gate Only alters Hold time” (to maintain other envelope length.
- Improved panning law.
- Command: Explode Loop to All Pads - converts a loop pad to all 16 pads as one-shots, with pop-up to choose between ‘stretched’ render, or raw loop.
- Command: Generate Pattern from Loop Timing - Creates notes + Late-Graph offsets for a loop file, based on the loop slice points.
- Command: Convert back to OneShot (so One shots can be stretched-to-tempo with the various settings / loop-stretching algorithms).
- Alternate OpenSoundControl build + template, for Lemur users.
- Alternate TouchOSC build + template, for TouchOSC users.
- Alternate Korg PadKontrol build which automatically detects and connects to the PadKontrol.
- Screen redraw improvements (hardware accelerated graphics).
- Support for dragging from Cubase Media Bay, fixes for dragging files from StudioOne browser.
- MIDI Key names in piano roll support, for hosts which allow it (e.g. Reaper/FL Studio/ StudioOne).
- Additional MIDI CC controls.
- Dozens of bug fixes.
The updates is free. Nerve 1.1 can be found in the Registered User Forum. A comprehensive list of changes can also be found there. More info and demos here
One of the things I have found less experienced users of Pro Tools find confusing is the way playback behaviour can mysteriously change so that playback starts from an unexpected place on the timeline. This can be very frustrating but if I am asked why its “being weird”, it is often to do with the two buttons with the unfriendliest names in the edit window: “Link Timeline and Edit Selection’” and “Insertion Follows Playback”. While they don’t have snappy names, once you understand them you can finally feel properly in control of your session.
Edit and Timeline Selections
There are two kinds of selections in Pro Tools: Timeline and Edit. A Timeline selection is a selected area of a timescale ruler (minutes & seconds, bars & beats, samples etc). A timeline selection dictates where playback or recording will start and where it will stop or loop. It can be identified by a pair of blue or red arrows in the timescale ruler depending on whether any tracks are record armed. An Edit selection is a selection made on one or more tracks, actually on the track playlist itself. Edit selections control what audio or midi will be affected when making any kind of edit whether that is separating a clip, deleting, copying etc. The in and out points, when not obscured by the timeline selection arrows, are indicated by orange “pipe and a dot” markers.
Linking Edit and Timeline Selections
The most intuitive way of setting Pro Tools up is to link the timeline and edit selections so that whatever audio you select in the edit window will play because Pro Tools automatically creates a timeline selection to match any edit selection and vice versa. This means whatever you “point at” in the edit window will play, many users of other DAWs select exclusively in the timescale ruler and while this is perfectly effective, is unnecessary if timeline and edit selections are linked. To link edit and timeline selections either press the button below the Grabber or use the shortcut shift + /. I find I use Pro Tools with linked timeline and edit selections very nearly all the time.
If you look in the toolbar display in the edit window you will see a large display of the current position of the playback cursor (more on this in a moment) and to the right of that, the start, end and length of the edit selection. You will find the equivalent info for the timeline selection in the transport window. If you click in the timeline without dragging you will create an insertion point. The insertion point looks like a blinking vertical line across the selected track. Playback starts from this point and a solid line moves away from the insertion point. This is called the playback cursor. It is useful to think of the insertion point as an edit selection with no length (i.e. the edit selection in and out points are in the same place or to put it another way, an edit selection is a “stretched out” insertion point).
Insertion follows playback
The “Insertion follows Playback” button changes the playback behaviour between two states. Unselected, playback begins at the insertion point, the playback cursor moves away to the right as the audio plays and when you press stop it returns to the insertion point. In this way you can repeatedly play from the same point over and over again. With the Insertion follows playback button engaged the insertion point follows the playback cursor. When you stop playback the insertion point position updates to the position of the playback cursor giving the same behaviour as a tape machine with playback continuing from where you last stopped playback. The shortcut to switch from one to the other is pressing N in command focus or if not in command focus press Cntrl + N.
If you think of an edit selection as a stretched out insertion point then the annoying experience of forgetting you have insertion follows playback enabled, pressing play, and losing your carefully set up edit selection when you stop playback makes perfect sense. The insertion point/edit selection position updates to the playback cursor position and you therefore lose your edit selection. You can’t fix this using Command + Z but Command+Option+Z will restore the previous edit selection - Very, very handy.
Russ, Mike, Neil & James bring you another packed show of talking points, tips, tricks and questions answered.
- Win a Elysia 500 series X-Filter 500 module on Facebook
- New prize draw - Win A Copy Of BFD3 From FXpansion
- PPMulator XL From Zplane available again- £69
- Iosono AnyMix Pro Surround Panner & Upmixing Plug-in £139 - 33% Off
- New deal EdiPrompt From Sound In Sync For Your ADR Sessions £259 - 40% Discount
- Massey AAX Plug-in Installers For Pro Tools 11 OS X Now Online
- Should Media Composer And Pro Tools Converge?
- Using Groups, Shortcuts And Stems To Take Control Of Large Pro Tools Sessions
- Crucial SSD Prices Drop And Make Them More Affordable Than Ever
- 8 Pro Tools Basics You Can’t Afford To Ignore
- Help! I Did Something Wrong In Pro Tools - Can I Get My Stuff Back?
- Are We Spending Our Money With The Wrong Companies?
- Exclusive Sneak Peak Of The Latest Build Of “Source-Connect Now”
- Robert Parr - Thank you for the concepts that you share.
- Ben Rubin - Shortcuts on the Close session dialog box
- Michael Svensson - Thanks for the birthday present and more post & surround videos please
- John Nelson - Can we have templates to go with videos please.
- Problems with an Arturia MiniLab Controller on a new laptop
- What is the Magic ID? Mike’s Sound on Sound article
- Problems with Sonnox Dynamics not having a Native equivalent when offline bouncing
- How can I share processing power across computers?
- Problems with VST Lord
- What is the best way to report bugs in Pro Tools? Avid Pro Tools IdeaScale
It’s not one of our deals but this one may be too good to miss, Waves tune is currently at a very silly price. Waves say:
“With full ReWire support, formant correction, and an extensive palette of pitch shaping tools, Waves Tune lets you do all your editing right there within your DAW environment - no need to export sections or work offline. Better sounding and more flexible than any other pitch correction processor, Waves Tune will get your vocals back on track.
Operates in sync and controls host transport using ReWirePitch edit graph with waveform overview, timeline, piano roll and pitch editor3 timeline modes including bars/beats, minutes/seconds and samples”
Here is another very useful community tip especially for dialog editors from Joe Belliston….
Here’s a tip for the post community who have a hard time finding enough room tone to make clean dialogue transitions. I like to duplicate the clip(s) with the room tone, drag the handles out as far as they go, highlight the clip and hit Cmd+U to bring up the strip silence window. Finesse the settings and click Extract. That will leave you with all the room tone without any dialog on that clip. Shuffle the extracted room tone together and listen to make sure there is no unwanted noise, and you will be left with a nice long selection of room tone.
Mike says - That is a nice use of Strip Silence where you keep the silence rather than loose it and keep the audio.
Together with our friends at FXpansion we are giving away a copy of BFD3.
BFD3 is the third generation of FXpansion’s software acoustic drum studio: new levels of realism and ground-breaking features in an intuitive redesigned engine.
With stunning new kits with mix-ready presets and modelling technology for tom resonance and cymbal swells, BFD3’s audio engine delivers uncompromising detail. The revamped interface has a new mixer and sound browser for the easiest BFD experience yet.
BFD3’s all-new library is recorded in two fantastic rooms by engineers including Andrew Scheps, Rail Jon Rogut and John Emrich, giving you a diverse palette of drum tones out of the box. The sounds include a brushed kit and processed drum presets for fast custom kit-building. BFD3 also contains a powerful built-in environment for pattern creation and editing, complete with a range of performances by legendary drummers for effortless production of drum tracks indistinguishable from the real thing.
Terms and Conditions.
- You are entering for a chance to win a copy of Fxpansion BFD3 plugin no cash alterntive.
- One entry per email address.
- No warranty, training or support is offered by Pro Tools Expert for any of these products. Warranty support will be provided by the appropriate manufacturer.
- By entering this draw you are giving permission for your information to be shared with all companies who are supplying prizes for this draw.You may remove yourself from the draw at any time, removing yourself before the end of the draw will remove your entry.
- There is no cost to enter this draw.
- The judges decision is final, no correspondence will be entered into regarding the outcome of this draw.
- Ends 17th March 2014
Russ takes a look and listen to the Rob Papen RP Amod, a plug-in featuring modulation based effects that is FREE to existing Rob Papen customers.
Another community tip sent in by Eoghan Tyrrell, this time as a video showing how you can create your own favourite presets for plug-ins, which of course can be from the factory presets or ones that you create yourself. Although Eogham shows it on a Mac, because the plug-in presets are stored in a similar way on Windows machines, this should work on Windows systems too.