If anyone thought that Thunderbolt was a flash in the pan for audio technology solutions then NAMM 2015 announcements should put pay to that idea. Many of the new product and announcements at NAMM 2015 use Thunderbolt technology, which on the whole excludes Windows users. There are some Thunderbolt equipped Windows based PCs but most manufacturers are reticent to qualify their products for use with Windows machines.
We’ve spoken in great deal about this on several Pro Tools Expert podcasts, with Neil expressing his dissatisfaction with this situation but at the same time explaining some of the reasons why it’s not always easy to offer Thunderbolt solutions for Windows users. It’s not for want of trying with forward thinking brands like the Pro Tools PC offers dual Thunderbolt 2 as standard, so the technology is there and ready to work.
Some Windows users have taken the plunge using Thunderbolt with mixed results, there’s an excellent thread on the UAD forum showing this here.
Of course there is plenty of professional audio equipment on the market that uses fully Windows compatible technology, but with more and more manufacturers offering Thunderbolt only solutions it does leave Windows users with less choice.
Avid are hoping a lot of people are going to get a copy of Avid Pro Tools First, it’s long been their desire to find ways to stem the growing tide of new music makers choosing other more powerful and relevant, as well as often cheaper, DAWs to make music with. Secondly Avid need to find ways to get people signed up to Avid accounts and on their cloud services in order to tempt them to buy in app purchases or get hooked on Pro Tools and possibly upgrading to a paid version, or even better a subscription.
There’s nothing wrong with either one of these marketing strategies, it’s not some evil corporate conspiracy. Avid need to make money and both in app purchases and upselling from free to paid models are common ways to generate income. If you have any doubt about this then go look at Apple’s revenues and compare their hardware sales to their iTunes and App Store revenue.
It’s a good idea to make a free copy of Pro Tools, in fact I remember having a couple of conversations with Avid team and suggesting this as a way to go to get new music makers into Pro Tools.
However, there seems to be some disconnect with the Avid Everywhere philosophy when it comes to the actual offering of Avid Pro Tools First. Looking at the limitations and the features it feels like the accountants have managed to make the decisions about the feature set in Pro Tools First. This is at the expense of a great user experience and even worse to the detriment of the Avid Everywhere mantra of interoperability and compatibility.
I’m not talking about track count, included plug-ins or some of the core features but some of the things that any modern DAW, and especially an application that’s part of a product family needs to have.
Here are a few things lacking in Pro Tools First that make it far less attractive than the headlines suggest.
A-Z of Pro Tools - I is for I/O, Insertion Follows Playback, Identify Beat, Instrument Track, Import Audio, Import Session Data
This week we are spoilt for choice, so many significant parts of Pro Tools relate to the letter I that its a good opportunity to revisit some of the great content already on the site.
Pro Tools offers flexible, customisable routing and with the addition of of mapped output busses in Pro Tools 9, sessions travel better between systems than they used to. People who work entirely in the box and on their own system can get by without visiting this page often but in my world, constantly moving sessions between systems, I’m in and out of here daily. If you could do with a primer, Mike Thornton offers some resources.
Insertion Follows Playback
Put simply this controls where playback will start from after you press stop. Insertion follows playback and link edit and timeline selections are so important to understanding how playback works in Pro Tools that the first thing which came to mind when I started the Pro Tools Fundamentals series was a tutorial on precisely this.
Dynaudio Professional, have announced at NAMM 2015 the introduction of two new brackets designed specifically for the BM mkIII Series of monitors and Dynaudio AIR 6.
The brackets are designed and manufactured by König & Meyer in Germany, and the two new Dynaudio mounting brackets offer maximum reliability as well as flexibility to place Dynaudio Professional monitors anywhere. The new brackets are made of powder-coated steel, and an aluminum construction with 0⁰ - 30⁰ vertical and +/- 45⁰ horizontal adjustment options deliver the optimal solution for most studio settings. Fred Speckeen, Global Business Manager for Dynaudio Professional told us…
I am very excited that we can now offer production and broadcast professional everywhere a solution that allows them to install anything from stereo to various multichannel listening setups with BM and AIR 6 monitors easier than ever before.
Price And Availability
- Wall Mounting Bracket: 129 EUR/99 GBP/169 USD
- Ceiling Mounting Bracket: 129 EUR/99 GBP/169 USD
- Both are available now
Win A Dynaudio Speaker System
James from Pro Tools Expert gets a full overview of the new IZ Technology RADAR system.
IZ say about RADAR Studio:
Long considered the world’s finest digital audio recorder, RADAR now runs Pro Tools, natively. RADAR studio renders both the audio PC and audio interface obsolete. Track and mix with a single, integrated, best-in-class audio appliance.
Built with world-class converters and Adrenaline DR technology, RADAR studio transcends the digital barriers of sonic quality. Read more about RADAR’s legendary Sound Technology.
RADAR has always been the best digital audio recorder, and now it’s the best DAW host. Running Pro Tools natively, you can track, mix, and automate, using all the plugins and features your workflow requires.
RADAR. Your favorite DAW. One box. Starting at $4995*. Seriously.
*2015 NAMM Show limited time offer. Includes a free Classic 96 8 channel analogue I/O card. Offer ends Feb 15th.
When Pro Tools 10 was announced Avid proudly announced that many of the features found in Pro Tools 10 were those found in the top 10 Pro Tools IdeaScale most requested features.
For those unaware of Pro Tools IdeaScale, this was set up by Avid several years ago to gather user ideas for features they would like to see in Pro Tools. At the top of the Avid run site they say:
“Welcome to the Pro Tools IdeaScale User Forum - In this community you can submit an idea, vote on existing ideas or add your comments.”
However in recent years it seems that most of the suggestions made and the voting has been in vain, as right now it seems none of the top 25 ideas on the site have been implemented, they are certainly not mentioned in the product info for the upcoming Pro Tools 12. We may be wrong and find that track freeze may be part of the collaboration features, this is not clear from Avid’s own information on their website about Pro Tools 12. Even if this is the case then it still leaves 24 of the top 25 ignored.
As a matter of fact cloud collaboration, in app purchases and selling your content don’t feature in the top 25 of the list at all.
It seems that Pro Tools IdeaScale may be less effective at getting Avid to listen than the Pro Tools community would hope.
Several folk have asked us to post the list of the top 25. So below is the full list of the top 25 most popular active features on the Pro Tools Ideascale along with the summary from the user who posted it….
- Freeze tracks feature
This one freeze feature would fix your TDM and LE DDL limitations. It would also allow faster than real time bounces because if you froze most of the tracks then the processing to do a mix bounce could be done in the back ground.
- Folders in the Region List
For better region management i would like to see folders in the region list. It would be great if you could assign one or multiple tracks to a folder in the region list and all the recordings and edits of the track(s) end up in the designated folder in the region list. This folder could then also be created in the Audio Files folder for even better file management.
- Save/Load Plug-in ‘chains’ (common plug-ins combos)
It would eliminate the awfully slow process of importing session data, copying plug-ins, deleting tracks, etc.
- Marker Improvements
I would REALLY love a change in the markers. Please have multiple marker rulers in the edit window. I would also like to be able to set custom colors to certain markers. Also, in the marker list, I would love to be able to re-sort alphabetically and renumber sequentially after re-sorting. Primarily what this would allow me to do is set ADR markers, foley markers, music markers, dialog markers, etc…
- Phase switch on every track in the mix window
Would make life so much easier, especially when recording with multiple mics.
- Multiple sessions at the same time
The ability to open 2 sessions at the same time with only one session being active - the other one inactive (active/inactive switch). You then could compare two sessions and copy/paste instantly regions/region groups etc. without having to import/export whole tracks.
- Undo Deleted Tracks
All users claim for it for long time. All another software have it. All people does not understand why PT doesn’t have it yet.
- Bus Soloing Feature
We could use the ability to solo a bus instead of having to select all the individual tracks in order to hear the mix.
- Keep the waveform visible when sliding the region…
Click on a region and try to line it up with another & you have to guess where it will end up. Be nice to have the waveform ALWAYS visible so you don’t have to guess.
- Shortcut for making two mono audio tracks into one stereo.
Kind of the opposite of Split Stereo Track into 2 Mono Tracks.
- Batch Track Naming
In current PT If I need to name 30 tracks e. g. Foley 1—Foley 30 I need to do it one track at a time. This is rather time consuming when dealing with large sessions. It would be nice if I could select a number of tracks, type “Foley” and let Pro Tools assign consecutive numbers to “Foley” automatically. PT should be smart enough to understand that if I type “Foley 10” I need track names start from 10 and on. And it would be nice if we could get this batch naming in the IO Setup window too.
- Region/Clip Based Effects
EQ and gain parameters could be assigned to clips. This would greatly simplify automation and editing especially in post production.
- VST Support!
Pro Tools should have it’s own VST capability so us Pro Tools users can have a much wider pallet of instruments using only one DAW. That one DAW should be Pro Tools and nothing else. Does this make any sense to you guys?
- Fix Bugs Before Adding New Features
‘Fix all known bugs BEFORE adding any new features.’ was merged with this idea.
- Sum To Mono Option On Master Fader
To check mixes in mono. self-explanatory.
- An option to automatically mute a track as soon as it starts recording
To allow monitoring using the console rather than running thru the digital interface. This gives you unlimited communication with the performers while the session is playing.
- Trim knob on audio tracks
A trim knob that works like the plug-in placed before the channel plug-in path would be nice. This would help in facilitating proper gain staging of tracks that are recorded too hot or too soft without using up a plug-in slot.
- Smart Session Cleanup Function
I would like to have a smart, half-automated way for cleaning up sessions after a mix is done. The function should allow me to remove unused playlists, consolidate all audio files, delete unused audio regions and put everything in a new folder that contains only the audio needed for the session.
- Track Folders
Big mixes require good organisation, it would be great to be able to have track folders (for example-for your 32 tracks of drums!)
- Plug-in Manager With Version Indicator
A build-in plug-in manager that would allow you to turn plug-ins on or off AND clearly specifies the correct versions of the installed plug-ins.
- Control|24 and ProControl drivers for Pro Tools 11
I would pay for this :) Could you please help us with that?
- Red book CD authoring
It would be nice to have a Redbook CD authoring system included within Pro Tools similar to CD architect.
- Make it possible to enter fader/pan data with double click+number
Digi, please make that possible, would speed up things a bit.
- Graphics GPU Accelerated
I think this will be less taxing to the CPU if the majority of the graphics runs off the actual GPU. Example. A lot of the plug-ins have meters, or some graphics that moves around. The bigger the session get the more taxing it is on the CPU.
- Audio to Midi
Where is audio to midi?!? Digi, its 2009! You have a great program but sometimes I wonder… If we had this, we wouldn’t have to buy Drumagog to replace live drum sounds. We’d do audio to midi, then use the new midi track with BFD or DFH Superior. We could sing a bass line and then have XPand play it on the bass!
As we have already said the only one of these feature requests that may be in Pro Tools 12 is the Track Freeze, however it is not clear from what Avid have published so far as to whether Track Freeze will be available as a stand alone feature or only as part of the collaboration workflow.
It is also disappointing that a lot of these feature requests are 5 years old and still not implemented.
James met up with Fabrice Gabriel From Eiosis, the man behind the new Eiosis AIR Eq and many of the Slate plug-ins.
AirEQ was designed with a vision of achieving musical, technical and sonic excellence.
Simple, intuitive and quick to use, AirEQ is a musical equalizer plugin at its best.
The Water and Fire curves, as the Character and Strength parameters were adjusted by ear, so mixing engineers can focus on one thing - making music sound great.
As a result of a joint engineering venture, Jünger Audio and Flux have announced at NAMM 2015 Jünger’s Level Magic will be available for the first time in a software format. Level Magic is a loudness measurement, correction and management algorithm designed to ensure compliance with all current worldwide loudness standards which up until now has only been available in Jünger hardware units.
Based on the underlying ITU-R BS.1770(-1/2/3) principle, Level Magic provides compatibility with EBU R128, ATSC A/85, ARIB TR-B32, FREE TV OP-59 and Portaria 354.
Designed to be audibly transparent, Level Magic utilises a proprietary multi-loop approach comprising of three essential elements in parallel to measure, and if necessary correct, out of specification audio. An AGC section controls slower changing levels over time whilst a fast acting transient processor catches inaudible high frequency overshoots that may otherwise cause detrimental effects in downstream processing or coding.
A brickwall filter provides effective True Peak limiting using a 2ms look-ahead to capture any intersample peaks. The resultant gain changing signal is a combination of all three elements.
With Pro Tools 12 Now Announced When Are You Going To Sign Up For Their Upgrade & Support Plan? Poll
In our earlier poll we asked what your plans were coming up to the 31st December 2014 deadline, by which all Pro Tools LE, Pro Tools Express and Pro Tools M-Powered users would need to have signed up to an upgrade & support plan at the special rate of $199.
However looking on the Avid Store, Avid have only closed the door on Pro Tools LE and Pro Tools Express (inMusic Edition). If you are an Avid Pro Tools Express, Pro Tools M-Powered 6-8 or a Pro Tools MP9 user, you can still upgrade to Pro Tools 11 & 12 for $199.
Many Pro Tools 9 to 11 users have told us that they were planning to wait until they see what features come with the next version of Pro Tools before decided to jump onto an upgrade & support plan.
With the announcement of features in Pro Tools 12 what are you plans now? As ever please feel free to comment.
For those wanting to know more about details about the new free version of Pro Tools - Pro Tools | First, here are Pro Tools | First Software Frequently Asked Questions.
Are there any hidden costs with Pro Tools | First?
Avid say that there are no there are no hidden costs and that you can download Pro Tools | First complete with Xpand!2 Virtual Instrument and 20 plug-ins Pro Tools | First compatible plug-ins.
What is missing in Pro Tools | First?
Avid say that “the software includes all of the same main recording and editing features as industry-standard Pro Tools, such as the Edit window, the MIDI Editor pane, the Mix window, and the Smart Tools. Some of the differences are that Pro Tools | First does not include the Score Editor or video playback in the timeline, and it has a simplified set of preferences. For a full comparison between the different versions of Pro Tools, see the Pro Tools Comparison table on the Avid web site”
Does Pro Tools | First require an iLok to use it?
Avid say that Pro Tools | First, and its included collection of compatible AAX plug-ins, do not require a physical iLok to use the software at all.