Pro tools 11 |

FabFilter Announce A Holiday Sale With 25% Discount On Bundles

Our friends at FabFilter have announced a holiday sale with 25% off all their bundles and free updates to their Pro-MB and Pro-Q2 plug-ins which includes support for Retina screens.

FabFilter Holiday Sale

To celebrate the end of the year, they are running a Holiday Sale in their online web store. Until January 1st 2015, they are offering 25% discount on all of their plug-in bundles.

Existing FabFilter owners should also log into your account and you may well find some additional offers just for you.

FabFilter Pro-MB and Pro-Q2 Free Updates Including retina Support

They have just released updates for their Pro-MB and Pro-Q 2 plug-ins which introduce Retina support on OS X and High DPI support on Windows. Also in these updates the Pro-MB now features interface resizing, Full Screen mode, horizontal zooming, side chain spectrum visualization and more!

These updates are free for existing users, and they are fully compatible with existing sessions and presets. 

You can view the full list of changes here and Download the updates here

FabFilter Pro-Q2 Free Tutorial

Watch Russ’ free tutorial on how to match the EQ of two tracks with the FabFilter Pro-Q2 plug-in

Dennis Sands' Sound Waves SB - The World’s First Private Dolby Atmos Equipped Mix Stage

Sound Waves SBFour-time Oscar-nominated Hollywood mixer, Dennis S. Sands, has leveraged his extensive experience and expertise in both orchestral recording and film score mixing into the evolution of Sound Waves SB, the world’s first and only private studio equipped with the revolutionary Dolby Atmos™ system.

With a resume that reads like a USC post-graduate film student’s thesis on the history of American cinema; if you’ve seen landmark films such as The Shawshank Redemption, Good Will Hunting, Independence Day, The Horse Whisperer, and Who Framed Roger Rabbit, plus recent blockbusters including Captain America—The First Avenger and Godzilla 2014; you’ve heard the remarkable artistry and signature sound of Dennis Sands.

Beginning his film career as scoring mixer for the feature, Movie Movie, Sands has racked up an impressive 282 credits to date. His Oscar nominations for Best Achievement In Sound Mixing include Forrest Gump, Contact, Cast Away, and The Polar Express. Sands also has six additional C.A.S, Golden Reel, and Satellite Award nominations, plus six wins, including a Primetime Emmy and a Grammy for Best Score Soundtrack Album for the film, American Beauty

Always looking to bring his art to a higher level, Sands was recently introduced to the Dolby Atmos audio platform at an L.A. dub stage, and immediately recognized its potential to provide unprecedented control of sound placement, and in turn, a unique, immersive experience for filmgoers. That encounter prompted Sands to outfit his already impressive studio with the Dolby Atmos system, enabling him to deliver a film score in any format, including Atmos, 5.1, 7.1, and stereo. 

The facility itself has a pedigree as impressive as Sands’ long list of illustrious credits. Originally built by action-film director, Andrew Davis (The Fugitive), the studio, now known as Sound Waves SB, was designed by Tomlinson Holman (the “TH” of THX) and outfitted from top to bottom by RSPE Audio Solutions of Los Angeles in conjunction with Ron Lagerlof of Visioneering Design. 

While Sound Waves SB is a convenient and pleasant drive up the PCH for the LA film community, its Santa Barbara location makes Sound Waves SB a choice destination for the international film industry as well. A prime vacation spot on the California coast, Santa Barbara ensures beautiful surroundings, physical comfort, and great food—essential components for any creative endeavor. 

We will let Dennis tell you about Sound Waves SB in his own words.

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Audio Equipment Manufacturers - It's Time To Take Fan Noise Seriously

Last week I had the opportunity to sit down with some of the team from G-Tech who wanted to know my thoughts on product design. One question they asked me was what features could they add to make their drives more useful.

I told them that it wasn’t what they needed to add but what they more companies making equipment for the modern recording studio need to understand, we need equipment that has very little noise.

In our recent controller survey, over half of audio professionals work from home and the likelihood is that all their equipment is sitting in the same room. One fan whirring is bad enough, but then you add the whir from several hard drives, an external chassis, audio interface and other external gear and you may as well be mixing in an airport. OK so I’m overstating the case, but for both reasons of trying to keep noise out of recordings and the general malaise of environmental noise, we need things as quiet as we can get it.

Some manufacturers manage to do it, but some need to try harder.

Yes there are still some large studios with machine rooms, but they are in the decline and those working from home grow year on year.

So if you have any involvement in designing audio for the next generation then please take fan noise seriously - it may be the difference between people buying your gear or buying something else, it certainly sways my buying decisions.

Apogee Ensemble Thunderbolt Review - Thunderbolt 2 Audio Interface For Mac

Updated on Sunday, December 14, 2014 at 11:08AM by Registered CommenterPro Tools Expert

We sometimes get people saying how amazing it must be to get gear to review all day. To be honest it’s a bit like working in a chocolate factory, the novelty soon wears off and in fact it can have the opposite effect and leave one cynical and unmoved by most new offerings.

So when Apogee announced the new Apogee Ensemble Thunderbolt, I even surprised myself by how excited I was after reading the specification. As I’ve already said I’m rarely excited by new product announcements, but I wanted to be the one reviewing the Apogee Ensemble Thunderbolt.

Why? It seemed to tick all the boxes for what I needed in terms of an interface, I was days away from moving to a second Apollo, but neither the Apollo or the Apollo 16 had exactly the I/O I needed for my workflow. Thankfully I have an Apollo Twin and a 4-710D, as well as an Octo card so I still have an Apollo tracking workflow when I need it, I couldn’t live without my UAD stuff.


  • 30×34 Thunderbolt™ 2 Audio Interface for Mac
  • 8 Mic preamps with up to 75 dB of gain and Advanced Stepped Gain circuit
  • Thunderbolt connectivity for ultra-low latency (1.1ms round trip with Logic Pro X)
  • Front panel Guitar I/O with Class A JFET inputs, dual mode re-amp outputs
  • Talkback functionality with built-in mic and control button
  • 2 PurePower headphone outputs
  • 10 separately assignable analog inputs
  • 16 analog outputs of premium Apogee conversion
  • Core Audio optimized DMA engine frees up Mac CPU for plug-ins and software instruments

However the large I/O count on the new Apogee Ensemble along with the flexible connectivity looked like it was designed just for me…how often does that happen? I have to be honest and say that I’ve become less and less happy with my Avid Omni interface, not because of the sound, but because I’ve always seemed to be working around it to get what I need, including if you recall having to replace a noisy fan. The only other reason for owning the Omni was that it gave me an easy way into Pro Tools HDX, which to be frank for a composer using a lot of virtual instruments (of which there are zero running AAX DSP) was becoming somewhat of a waste of time and money for my needs - I use the Apollo solution when I need to track with plug-ins at low latency. I’m not tracking orchestras or mixing Hollywood blockbusters so I’m really not going to miss the HDX. This is not to say that HDX is not of use to some such as large studios or sound stages, but in my experience and for my needs it offered no real benefit. I’m also unable to use it when working in other DAWs as they can’t take advantage of the DSP, so I wanted an interface that was not just limited to a single application. A recent survey we ran showed that around two thirds of us are using two or more DAWs in our work so interfaces need to be able to deal with that.

Anyway back to the review, getting hold of the new Apogee Ensemble Thunderbolt was proving difficult, right now it’s easier to find unicorn poo, they seem to be in short supply. However thanks to Richard at Eastwood Sound and Vision one finally arrived at Pro Tools Expert HQ.

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Which Is the Best VO Mic? - The Pro Tools Expert Voiceover Microphone Shoot Out Blind Listening Test - Part 1

Following on from our previous post on how and why we are doing our Pro Tools Expert VO Mic shoot out, here is the first part of our blind listening tests.

We have chosen to use the Neumann U87 as the named reference mic for each batch of listening tests. This is not because we think it is necessarily the best VO microphone, but simply because it is one of the most used voice over microphones in the industry and so, familiar to most people and a deserving benchmark.

For each microphone there is an example of male and female voice for you to listen to and compare with the U87. We would like to know which you prefer and why.

We will be covering the other mics in subsequent listening tests so please dust off and warm up your ears and let the discussion begin…

The VO Mic Blind Listening Test - Part One


Thank you again to Andrew Bickenell and Posy Brewer our professional voice artists for their dulcet tones and to Nigel Woodford of Richmond Film Services for the loan of the microphones for the test.

How To Re Amp Guitar With The Apogee Ensemble Thunderbolt Tutorial: Video

In this free video tutorial for Apogee Ensemble Thunderbolt users Russ shows how to re-amp a guitar using both the guitar input and output method and also using a stereo input. He covers the settings in Pro Tools, connections to the Apogee Ensemble Thunderbolt and also using the Maestro Software.

This is what Apogee say about the Apogee Ensemble Thunderbolt. The Apogee Ensemble Thunderbolt is the first Thunderbolt 2 audio interface to offer superior sound quality, the lowest latency performance and the most comprehensive studio functionality all in one box.

Ensemble includes 8 Advanced Stepped Gain™ mic preamps, monitor controller functionality including talkback, front panel Guitar I/O, two headphone outputs and digital connectivity for a total of 30 x 34 I/O. Blending acclaimed innovations, groundbreaking new features and an effortless user interface, Ensemble empowers you to capture inspiration when creative lightning strikes.

Launched in 2007, the first Ensemble re-defined the possibilities of the personal studio interface, setting new standards of quality, simplicity and value. Winning that year’s TEC Award for Digital Audio Technology, Ensemble went on to become the preferred interface for thousands of hit-making producers, engineers and artists. Now, with 30 years of digital audio expertise and the latest technological innovations, Apogee has re-built Ensemble to introduce the next generation of music creation technology.

Waves Offer $321 Off PuigChild 660 & 670 Plug-in In Their Next Daily Deal

Waves continue their holiday specials with the 2nd daily deal.  They are offering the PuigChild 660 & 670 native plug-in, modelled on an original Fairchild 670 compressor, for just $79 instead of the normal $400, and although this is a ‘daily deal’ it will be running until Sunday.

From the recording studio to the record lathe, the Fairchild was renowned for its advanced compression techniques and sound. Waves have aimed to capture every distinctive nuance of Jack Joseph Puig’s Fairchild 670 along with every detail of its rich harmonic complexity. It has a lateral vertical mode for MS compression and can be linked or unlinked.

A-Z Of Pro Tools - E Is For Elastic Audio, Edit Mode And Export

Elastic Audio

Elastic Audio is Pro Tools’ real time timestretch, very like Logic’s flextime, Cubase’s audio warp and the similar features found in Ableton and Studio One. In Pro Tools elastic audio has to be enabled on a per track basis. Five algorithms are available suitable for different types of material:

  • Polyphonic - suitable for general use and the only algorithm which offers independent pitch manipulation known as elastic pitch
  • Rhythmic - preserves timing and transients and as such is suitable for rhythmic material
  • Monophonic - analyses frequency content as well as amplitude miking it particularly suitable for vocals and other monophonic material
  • Varispeed - links playback speed to pitch in the same way as varispeeding a tape machine or vinyl would
  • X-Form - high quality processing available offline only, often used instead of one of the real time modes after all the tweaks are complete for the best possible quality.

Its worth knowing that the analysis elastic audio has to complete before any manipulation is possible is performed on a per file basis not per clip, so if you are trying to timestretch a 10 second subclip from a 2 hour file the analysis will take a long time as the whole parent file will be analysed. In this situation a good workaround would be to consolidate the clip to a new file first. For more on using elastic audio check Russ’ video here.

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Seagate Announce 8TB Archive Drives Using New 'Shingles' Technology Are Now Available

We are collecting more and more data, Pro Tools projects, video files, samples, and we need to be able to store all this stuff and also archive it.  This is a recent development from Seagate that provides a possibe solution that can store up to 8TB on one drive, passing the 6TB drive that Western Digital produced that needs to be helium filled to make it work. Seagate have produced a video explaining how it works.

What Is The Catch To Get 8TB?

The catch with the new Seagate Shingled Magnetic Recording (SMR) Drive is that its rotational speed is only 5900 rpm and average read/write speed 150MB/sec you’re looking at something that’s far slower than an average SSD drive  at around 1,800MB/sec and even the average 7,200 RPM hard drive. But that isn’t too much of an issue if we are lookng for archive drives. 

A Possible Archiving Solution?

I currently have around 10 hard drives of varying sizes as my archive storage and have been looking at being able to consolidate them and back them up too and the price per gig at aroud 3 cents makes these drives very appealing.

Two of these drives would provide me with all the archive space I need and would be very cost effective at around $260 for an 8TB drive. You could put these in RAID 5 arrays or just them as drives in a tower.

Loudness From A US Perspective: Nugen Audio Interview Peter Cole From Before Noon Post

Loudness From a US Perspective

In this video, our friends at Nugen Audio have interviewed Multi-Emmy Award winning re-recording mixer Peter Cole from Before Noon Post about how he uses the Nugen Audio plug-ins to help him create great sound mixes that meet the CALM Act and the range of delivery specs from different broadcasters.

Loudness From A UK & EBU Perspective

If you want to know more about loudness and the new ways of working to loudness normalisation then check out the videos from the Practical Loudness event held recently at BBC Broadcasting House in London in which our own Mike Thornton and the BBC’s Ian Astbury work you through the issues the examples, tips & tricks.

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