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.
Flux have updated their range of Dynamics Tools, The Pure Series; Pure Compressor, Expander, DCompressor, DExpander to v3 and they now support 64-bit and AAX Native and DSP.
In addition, the following bundles are now also available in 64-bit and AAX;
- Elemental Pack,
- Pure Pack
- Recording Pack
All of which means they can now on be used on all major native platforms (AU/VST/AAX Native) in both 32 and 64 bits, as well as on the AVID HD-X AAX DSP platform with Pro Tools 11 in 64-bit.
There’s been a few recent announcements for both new audio hardware and software that have caused some Windows users to suggest that some audio companies are not giving Windows users the same treatment that Mac users get.
Product development is complex and at first hand it can seem that Mac users might be getting a better deal than Windows users from some audio companies.
Is this the case? Are there instances where Mac users have not been supported where Windows users have? Are there plug-ins that are Windows only, or have inferior support in their Mac format?
What do you think? Do Windows users have a fair case? Is it the fault of the OS developers, do Apple make development easier? Are you are developer who works on both platforms, perhaps you can give your thoughts on this.
Take a moment to complete the poll and then of course use the comments to add your voice to this debate.
IK Multimedia have announced that their room correction software ARC has now been released in AAX.
ARC 2.2 now features the following changes;
• 64 bit AAX compatibility with Avid Pro Tools 11
• Added compatibility with T-‐RackS 4.5
• General reliability improvements
Pro Tools offers a number of different ways to add effects, one could say plug-ins but sometimes the term plug-in is not entirely accurate. Depending on the way the plug-ins or process is applied in can affect the results and also effect the load on you computer and your Pro Tools session.
Using Plug-ins As Channel Inserts
Perhaps the most common way people use audio processing in Pro Tools is as plug-ins as inserts, this means the plug-in is applied to the channel the audio is playing through. A number of things to note when using plug-ins on an individual channel;
- Plug-ins work live and make no changes to the audio file that passes through them.
- Each plug-in used takes up processing power, either DSP power on a Pro Tools HD system or the computer’s processing (native power) on a native Pro Tools system.
- Some third party plug-ins such as UAD use their own processing either on a PCI card or attached via FireWire or Thunderbolt. Each plug-in you insert will use up that power.
- Plug-ins work in serial, meaning that the audio cascades though each plug-in and is processed. This means for example that if you add a compressor in the first insert and an EQ in the second insert then the EQ is processing the signal as it has passed through the compressor.
- Inserts are pre fader on audio, aux, and instrument tracks, but post fader on a Master track.
- Inserts applied to tracks are not recorded as part of the audio. If you want to record audio with effects then you need to buss the audio out to another audio track and record it with effects applied.
- Virtual Instruments only work as inserts.
As a rule of thumb most insert plug-ins are used for processes involving EQ or Dynamics or track specific effects and when you need to process your audio in serial.
Another benefit of using insert based plug-ins is that live automation can be applied during the mix.
Using Plug-ins On Busses
A second way to use plug-ins as inserts is to use them on an AUX channel and then send the audio to that channel for processing, this offers two benefits.
- Using plug-ins on an AUX allows the user the opportunity to send audio from several channels. This is often the case when using a reverb, where the effect may be sent from many channels at the same time. This means one reverb can be used rather than many reverbs on each channel - this will of course reduce processing load.
- Plug-ins can be used to process the audio in parallel, this is a common trick on drums and vocals when using compressors. Parallel compression offers the opportunity to process the audio in a way not possible using inserts in serial, allowing the user to mix both the clean and compressed audio. Watch this free Pro Tools tutorial on using parallel compression in Pro Tools. Some plug-ins offer the chance to mix the orginal signal with the compressed signal, but even if the plug-in you use doesn’t offer mixing you can use the method shown in the video.
Using AudioSuite Processing
AudioSuite processing is an offline process that makes changes to the audio file. A process can be auditioned and then once the user is happy with the process this can be rendered to the audio. However have no fear of doing irreparable damage to your audio, Pro Tools retains the original unprocessed audio should you wish to return to it, find out more about dealing with this here. Common uses for AudioSuite processing are;
- Changes to gain (less used since the introduction of clip gain in Pro Tools)
- Audio repair, such as denoising, declipping or de-hum.
- Processor intense effects such as de-breath or vocal alignment.
Some Pro Tools users seldom use AudioSuite processing, yet AudioSuite can be a powerful tool, it offers processing that is not always possible in real-time, due to power constraints or the process being so intensive it creates latency so high that makes the process almost unusable. Watch this video on using the Normalize function as an AudioSuite process.
Using Standalone Audio Processing
Many manufacturers offer their audio processing as both standalone and also as an AudioSuite process. Often the standalone version offers more features and better results, two products in question are iZotope RX and Synchro Arts Revoice Pro 2.3, both have far superior features as standalone versions. The great news is that both products offer the option to process in Pro Tools, RX3 offers both real-time and AudioSuite processing, Revoice Pro 2.3 offers AudioSuite versions.
Knowing how to process audio can make a world of difference, it will change the sound you achieve, the quality of that sound and also maximise the efficiency of your sessions.
Russ checks out the updated AAX version of Nerve Drum VI from Xfer Records. Does this drum virtual instrument on steroids offer anything extra for those looking to make beats? Find out what Russ thinks in this extended video review.
In part 1 we heard that Paul Sinkovich had told us about a free app - MXF4mac Player from Hamburg Pro Media, which will open and play nearly any flavour of MXF files, even in full screen. It will open most MXF variations. It supports XDCAM HD, AVC-Intra, DNxHD, HDV, Uncompressed SD/HD, Uncompressed Avid 10 bit, DVC-Pro HD, IMX-D10,DV, Meridien, Sony Proxy and more and it is compatible to QuickTime movies and other formats (e.g. .mp4, .mov, .avi, .m4v, .wav, .aif, .aiff).
However the free MXF4mac Player on is own isn’t enough, you need to buy an ‘in app’ purchase (Avid take note) called TC Sync which then allows you through MIDI Time Code (MTC) and MIDI Machine Control (MMC) to sync Pro Tools and the MXF4mac Player together so that you aren’t asking Pro Tools to handle the video and in this part Paul is going to explain and demonstrate with the video above how he uses MXF4macPlayer with TC Sync, over to you Paul.
I’m late to the 500 series party, when I say late I mean really late. For those too young to remember the 500 series appeared at the end of the 1970s, but they made a resurgence as a popular studio format in recent years, but the 500 series format still did not tempt me to dive in. However when a company like Maag Audio offer a pre amp packed with features and with their AIR band included then a rethink is in order.
There are certain actors who could paint a wall and I would watch - I just love what they do. Having both used the Maag EQ4 plug-in and spent some time with Cliff Maag Sr., I can say the same for Maag Audio gear - I just love the sound and the man - so I’m declaring an interest at the start of this review, he also bought me a beer at NAMM so as far as I’m concerned he’s a friend for life!
But friend or not, does the Maag PREQ4 really deliver the goods as a pre-amp?
The Maag PREQ4 comes packed in what seems like a custom designed box that offers it the kind of protection usually given to a computer hard drive, although to be frank the build quality of the Maag hardware is so good I’m guessing they could send them around the world in a Jiffy bag and still have them arrive in one piece. It does beg the question… will it blend? I think not!
The PREQ4 (500 Series) is a one channel microphone pre amplifier with AIR BAND® (shelf boost from 2.5 to 40kHz via VARI AIR™), compatible with the API 500-6B lunchbox® and 500VPR rack systems.
The PREQ4® offers the AIR BAND®, 65dB adjustable gain, phase reverse capability, 70Hz high pass filter, +48V phantom power, and -20dB PAD.
I decided to test the PREQ4 with both voice and acoustic guitar and to use the Shure SM7 as my test microphone - partly because the SM7 requires a serious amount of gain - about 60db. The SM7 is the mic of legends, used by Quincy Jones to record most of Michael Jackson’s vocals on Thriller and the voice of Vincent Price too! Legend or not, finding a pre-amp to make this baby sing has filled the pages of many of forum.
The guitar, a Taylor 414 which I’ve owned for about a decade, it offers a balance of tone that makes recording it easy and to be frank if you put a decent condenser on it then you could put it through a $5 pre-amp and it would sound great.
The voice, mine. Which has a nasal quality that can be difficult to get right when tracking, so there’s no better (or worse) voice to throw at the Maag PREQ4 to see what it can do.
The guitar was the first thing to record - the mic was placed around 12” from the front just at the bottom of the neck, this allowed for me to get a nice warm sound without too much excessive boom from the sound hole. Engaging the hi-pass filter also helped to keep the low end under control, the knee starts @ 160 Hz and is –3 dB @ 70 Hz. I decided to add some AIR too, which may not be as required when using a condenser mic, but with the SM7 it was a welcome addition to the sound, I selected 5Khz with about 4db of boost. The sound was clean and smooth, allowing the guitar to breath without sound too hyped.
Then on to the greatest challenge - my voice. The settings were much the same, the HP filter remained in to deal with any low end but with the AIR Band pushed up to 20Khz to give my nasal voice breath without it honking like duck - I decided to leave compression until the mix.
Seldom am I happy with the sound of my own voice (irrespective of what my wife says!) but the PREQ4 is one of the few pre-amps I’ve used that actually achieved what I hoped for - I think the combination of the quality of the pre-amp coupled with the AIR Band was the winner here for me.
The guitar sound was also pleasing - offering clarity without a harsh top end and enough body to ensure it wasn’t too thin, the HP filter also stopped any boominess giving a nice balanced guitar sound that would be at home in rock, pop or country.
A cursory glance on any 500 series dealer site and you’ll find just shy of one hundred 500 Series Mic Pre Amps, with everything from Neve, BAE and LaChapell tube based units right down to much cheaper brands at a few hundred dollars. Choosing a mic pre is a very personal thing, a lot has to do with what sound you like and what you need it to do.
As I said at the start of this review, I love what Maag Audio do, so this Pre Amp would have had to have been very bad for me not to like it. Unsurprisingly the Maag PREQ4 is very good, both in terms of build and sound. In the short time I’ve spent trying it out I feel sure that this will be a pre-amp I’ll be using most of the time - it makes my voice sound good - that in itself is a minor miracle.
If you are looking to join the world of 500 series or the owner of a 500 series rack with some spare slots, or someone looking for a high quality pre-amp, then the Maag PREQ4 should be on your short list. It’s not the cheapest pre-amp you can buy but neither is it the most expensive by a long shot, but this $849 pre-amp with its complete feature set, as well as their legendary AIR band is a something that’s not leaving this studio anytime soon.
The transparency of the Maag PREQ4 helps me to get a great sound with the minimum of fuss, BUT the AIR Band can then help me add that magic shine. It’s great to have both options in one unit and not many other units offer this. Last time I saw Cliff Maag Sr. he bought the beer - next time the beer is on me!
Earlier this week we revewed the new Rob Papen RP-AMOD plug-in.
The Rob Papen RP-Amod features ‘Phaser’, ‘Flanger’, ‘Chorus’, ‘Ensemble’ and ‘Tremelo’, which are classic audio modulation FX. You can also ‘tempo sync’ them to your music, and you can use two FX at the same time in various routing configurations. These routing options are not only in serial and parallel, but you can also ‘filter split’ the audio signal ahead of going to both of the FX.
It’s now shipping as PC AAX 32/64bit version.
If you are an owner of a Rob Papen product then go and grab it for FREE here.
In this video Russ shows how using automation with filters can create space in mixes.
He uses the a McDSP Filterbank and then applies automation on acoustic guitars to give the vocal a space to sit in the mix, you can then take these principles and ideas and try them in your mixes and with different plug-ins.
Software used: Pro Tools 11, McDSP Filterbank, Maag EQ4, Avid Revibe, Avid Pitch.
Recently back from his sell-out MPP3D tour of the United States, EDM Producer and DJ, Morgan Page talks to Sonnox about the blend of his music with 3D visuals, and how he uses Sonnox plug-ins in the studio.
For those too old (or grumpy) to visit Build A Bear, then here’s something to give every audio geek some joy.
The team at RSPE Audio Solutions have created this awesome online Avid S6 configurator, that allows you to build you own Avid S6 online or just checkout the standard factory Avid S6 options.
Go over and check it out - you can have endless fun dreaming of your new Avid S6,
For more Avid S6 information and stories visit our Avid S6 micro site here.
Community member Paul Sinkovich got in touch to give us the heads up on a workflow he now uses with a free app - MXF4mac Player from Hamburg Pro Media, which will open and play nearly any flavour of MXF files, even in full screen. It will also control 8 tracks of audio, the frame rate, Movie Time, Source Package Timecode, Frame Number and Data Rate.
The MXF4mac Player can open most MXF variations. It supports XDCAM HD, AVC-Intra, DNxHD, HDV,
Uncompressed SD/HD, Uncompressed Avid 10 bit, DVC-Pro HD, IMX-D10,DV, Meridien, Sony Proxy and more.
Optional Plug-Ins for DCP and JPEG2000 support and it is compatible to QuickTime movies and other formats (e.g. .mp4, .mov, .avi, .m4v, .wav, .aif, .aiff). So in a post workflow that is becoming more and more tapeless and MXF becoming part of the delivery format this is a very useful tool.
Our friends at Exponential Audio have announced after a successful public beta, the public release of version 2.0 of the PhoenixVerb and R2 stereo reverb plug-ins. These new versions feature a radically redesigned GUI with a fresh appearance and improved visibility. Their simple navigation and overall ease-of-use remain the same and the plug-ins are fully compatible with earlier versions.
Additional features include;
- Favorites list
- User-controllable CPU load balancing for increased processor efficiency.
- Several new preferences to help tailor the plug-ins to the user’s way of working.
- Dozens of new presets, making it even easier to find the right sound for the application.
Pricing & System Specifications
- PhoenixVerb is priced at $199 and R2 at $299.
- Bundle packages are available.
- This update is free to all current users.
- Both plug-ins support OSX (10.6.8 though 10.9) and Windows (Win7 and Win 8x) and are available in 32 and 64 bit format for AU, AAX, VST (Mac) and AAX, VST (PC). iLok 2 is required.
Watch Mike Thornton’s show & tell video of the earlier versions of both of these excellent reverbs and find out why they are his ‘go to’ reverb plug-ins.
Watch, the man behind Exponential Audio, Michael Carnes’ excellent reverb 101 tutorial. He has been working on reverb hardware starting with the Lexicon PCM90 and all the subsequent units and plug-ins until he left Lexicon to set up Exponential Audio. As a result Michael knows a huge amount about reverb and in this video he expands and demonstrates all the basic principles of reverb including early reflections, diffusion and reverb to name but a few.
Our friends at TC Electronic have announced that RTW’s LQL (Loudness Quality Logger) is also compatible with the TC Electronic TM7 and TM9 TouchMonitors. LQL is a new tool for logging, true-peak data analysis and reporting, which is a natural extension of the innovative software options available for TouchMonitor.
LQL takes data via an IP-connection from a capable TouchMonitor, as well as from external storage media such as a USB stick. Also included in the software are dual limit weighting, status information, marker and various other reporting features. The new PC software is free of charge, however an LQL license is required to enable TouchMonitors to support data export and additional display functions.
The TM7 and TM9 TouchMonitors feature a 7- and 9-inch touch-sensitive display, respectively, and are great for live mixing where a plug-in isn’t so helpful. Now it is possible to log the data from a live meter and have the best of both worlds. Various audio interfaces and combinations are available i.e. analog, AES3, AES3id or 3G-SDI. TC Electronic’s TouchMonitor range was created to help adhere to all major industry loudness standards, including EBU R128, ITU BS.1770-3/1771-1, ATSC A/85 and ARIB.
Our friends at Universal Audio have announced UAD v7.5 software.
The software brings some new plug-ins as well as official AAX support for Mac. Owners of Apollo interfaces are given access to the cool new Unison technology first shown in the new Apollo. Twin interface. To see Unison in action then watch and hear the effect it has on the sound in this video from James Ivey.
New features include;
- UA 610 Tube Preamp & EQ Plug-In Collection
- Dangerous BAX EQ Plug-In Collection
- Unison™ technology for Apollo interfaces
- Mac AAX 64 support
- OS X Mavericks support
UAD plug-ins now powered by Unison technology are;
- API Vision Channel Strip
- UA 610-A Tube Preamp & EQ
- UA 610-B Tube Preamp & EQ
Also featured in this release is the Dangerous BAX EQ Plug-In Collection developed by the master of sound at Brainworx. UA say that “the Dangerous BAX EQ will make your mixes and masters clearer, richer, and better. Based on Peter Baxandall’s legendary 1950s EQ — a tone control that graced millions of hi-fi systems — the BAX EQ is a musically voiced “finishing EQ” that sweetens up program material by simultaneously employing broad, open curves and gently sloping cuts.
The Dangerous BAX EQ Plug-In Collection is the only circuit-accurate plug-in emulation of the original analog hardware, exclusively for UAD-2 DSP Accelerators and Apollo-equipped workstations.”
- (Console) Plug-in windows are offset for easier viewing when multiple UAD plug-ins are inserted
- (Console) Numeric key presses are passed to Pro Tools for improved control
- (Console) Resolved condition that allowed session files to be overwritten without warning
- (ATR-102) Resolved unresponsive DAW issue when Tape Delay was changed to value of 99
Here is another community tip, this one from Stefano Bonzi with a clever way to stop clients from downloading and using your approval mixes.
I get a lot of work over the internet since I offer mixing and tuning services. Many times I get clients that want to listen to the mixes and I have been debating what’s the best way to show them the product without getting it stolen (many people are happy with mp3s) and without having to cut the sound or add extra beeps to the files (I hate that).
So recently I realized that SoundCloud is my best friend for this scenario and it works straight from Pro Tools.
All I have to do is to ask the client for their SoundCloud account id, then upload the files and make them “private” and leave the box “downloads disabled” the way it is, with a red X, then add the client to the list of people that can listen to the file.
This way I can show them my progress and I don’t open it for download until they’ll have paid. Also they can add comments right on the timeline so I always know what part of the song they are referring to in case there is something that needs to be changed.
I know, there is software that allows people to record sound internally, but I believe the percentage of people willing to go through that is low enough to be happy with my method. Maybe this is old news for the majority of people but I find it so useful that I wanted to share in case somebody wasn’t aware of it yet.
Mike says - Stefano, thanks for this, I didn’t know about this feature in SoundCloud. Does anyone else use a streaming type of solution to stop clients from downloading approval mixes?
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