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.
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.
Synth and effects guru Rob Papen has released RP-Amod, a free plug-in for owners of existing Rob Papen plug-ins. If you were one of the people lucky enough to grab our recent exclusive RP-Verb via our deals then you’re in luck.
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!
So you are working on a masterpiece in Pro Tools and something goes wrong, either you edit the audio in a way you did not want to or made a change to an entire session that you now want to get back. We get emails asking if it is possible to roll back time. Here are a few things to consider.
Prevention Is Better Than Cure
There’s a few steps you can take to ensure that when things do go wrong that not all is lost, here’s a few things to check off the list.
In your Pro Tools preferences there is an option to have Pro Tools automatically backup your sessions as you are working. Go to the menu Setup/Preferences/Operation
In the Auto Backup make sure the ‘Enable Sessions File Auto Backup’ is enabled and then choose how many copies you want to keep in your archive and how often. These numbers will depend on how dangerously you want to live. This one single option has saved me a lot of lost work when I’ve done something wrong or Pro Tools has crashed on me. When is a backup not a backup?
Name Your Tracks
You might think we are starting to sound like a cracked record but if you need to find a piece of audio in a Pro Tools session then unless you have given it a meaningful name it can be like trying to find a needle in a haystack - so name every track the minute you create a new one. Read our 8 Pro Tools basics you can’t afford to ignore.
Backup Your Backups
You can never have enough backups of your precious work, you can either create local copies on another drive or get Gobbler, you can use Gobbler to automatically backup your Pro Tools sessions, which will even include backups of the backups! Find out more about Gobbler here
When You Are Working
ZZZZZZZZZ - Undo
No, it not time to sleep but don’t forget you have the option to use the UNDO feature in Pro Tools, or ‘CMD Z’. Pro Tools supports up to 64 levels of undo (this can be set in the Editing Preferences window). Not everything is covered by the UNDO option, but many editing and mix actions are covered. It’s worth opening the UNDO history window so you can see what is getting logged for you to roll back to. It time stamps your actions and you can click on each one of the items in the list to roll back your session to.
Compare The Meerkat
One cool but often overlooked feature in Pro Tools is the COMPARE feature in Pro Tools plug-ins, this enables the user to check the changes made since the current preset was last saved. So load a preset and then tweak to your heart’s content.
Simply Find The Orginal Audio
One of my all-time favourite features in Pro Tools is simply knowing that every piece of audio or CLIP (Previously called regions) is there in the CLIP LIST if I need to go back to it. If you are new to Pro Tools then open the CLIPS list on the right of the Pro Tools window and then you can see all your audio clips. As you start to record new audio or make changes to exisitng audio, then those clips are given new numbers each time you make a change. If you use audiosuite to change the clip then a new clip will be created with a name that denotes in some way to the process used.
Even better of you make a fade or drag the audio in and out with handles then the orginal is still there if you want to get it back simply by pulling the handles back out or removing the fade.
If you think you have screwed up the audio then as a last resort then you can always go back to the clip list and find the original and pull it back in. Hey presto!
One Final Word Of Warning
Of course if you try hard enough you can screw things up so badly you can lose your work. Here are two things to take special note of;
- In the CLIPS list there is an option to CLEAR selected audio clips - if you don’t know what you are doing then use this option at your peril. Now we have almost limitless hard drive space the need to clear audio to free up space is less necessary. If you don’t know what you are doing then you can delete audio and never get it back.
- Don’t delete entire session folders, they contain all your Pro Tools work. Back them up too!
Of course things can go wrong, but if you create workflows to account for that possibilty then the worst that can happen may not be the worst that can happen.
Check out our Support Tools page here that covers more troubleshooting
UPDATED: In the earlier version of this story we mentioned that Fabfilter One is a FREE plug-in - this is incorrect. Apologies for the confusion.
The word FREE can often conjure up the idea of something being worthless; for many years the VST world has been filled with worthwhile FREE plug-ins yet Pro Tools users have often felt a little left out of the FREE plug-in world. However there seems to be a growing collection of FREE plug-ins for Pro Tools RTAS and AAX that are well worth investing your time into.
Here are a selection of some FREE synths worth checking out.
A single oscillator synth with enough sound shaping options to give a palette of cool synth sounds, the option of PWM is always welcome on a single oscillator synth as it gives the possibility of creating extra depth from the single source - a trick used in the very early synths. Available in VST, VST3, Audio Units, AAX Native formats (all both 64-bit and 32-bit), as well as RTAS (32-bit only) More from Fabfilter
Linplug Alpha FREE
A cut down free version of the popular LinPlug Alpha, this 16 voice, 2 oscillator synth includes many of the features of the paid for version. There are over 30 waveforms to choose from as well as useful filters and a single LFO. Mac and PC RTAS only. More from Linplug
NI Reaktor 5 Player
Reaktor 5 is one of NI’s flagship products and Reaktor Player is a great way to explore the almost limitless potential of this modular synth design. NI offer a free download of over 200 synths based around 3 synths as part of this starter series. Mac and PC, RTAS and AAX. More here
A one oscillator, one filter, single envelope synth, Podolski has been around for several years in different incarnations. it also features a Zebra-style arpeggiator/sequencer plus chorus and delay effects. Mac and PC. More about AAX here (Mac)
In this free Pro Tools video tutorial Russ shows you how to take any beat and make it do what you want - no plug-ins required!
This video is a sample of over 500 members only Pro Tools video tutorials for one low annual payment - more here
Mike Aiton who will joining us at BVE in London on Febuary 25th for a Panel Session on the Avid stand has sent in a really useful tip….
This is an old trick showed to me by Nigel Edwards at The Farm back in the days of PT5 when we were still being weaned off our AMS Audiofiles. It’s called multiple clipboarding.
When you are at a certain location, and you suddenly want to re-use a clip (region - for old timers) that you have used previously in the timeline. you need to whiz off back down the timeline to collect that region. but how to get back to where you wanted it to go to? Instead of using markers to quickly locate to a section in the timeline use the clipboard - which can hold multiple sorts of objects.
- Hit “*” on the number keypad (to ether the counter), then “Command C” to copy the current time to the clipboard then Enter.
- Then whizz down the time line to find your clip (making sure Automation follows Edit is selected of course)
- Highlight your clip
- Hit “C” to copy to clipboard - which rather cleverly simultaneously can hold timecode (which is TEXT) as well as your clip (which is an audio object)
- Hit “* ” on the number keypad (to ether the counter), then “Command V” to paste the current time in the clipboard to the counter. Then hit “Enter” to go there
- Then hit ”V” to paste the clipboard contents (the audio object) to the timeline.
Mike Thornton says - There are couple of things you need to be aware of when using this trick…
- Make sure you are in Keyboard Focus mode so the one button shortcuts work. To do this, check that the A/Z button is highlighted in the top right hand corner of the tracks section of the Edit window.
- Make sure you use Command C & V and the single shortcuts C & V exactly as explained in Mike’s instructions.
- Your main counter must be in Samples or Timecode for this to work, if you are in Bars & Beats, Mins & Secs or Feet and Frames for some reason the copy and pasting of the main counter data doesn’t work.
SSD has never been a cheap option for drive storage, but Crucial drives have dropped further and closer to being in the hands of more and more people.
SSD drives are used by many of the Pro Tools Expert team for boot drives, they offer fast start-up times and fast load of applications. The jury is still out in terms of using SSD drives for media for two reasons, first the cost per byte ration compared to traditional hard drives and secondly the lengevity of SSDs for constant read/write type operations is still unclear.
Despite those misgivings, if you are on the fence about jumping on the SSD train then now may be a great time. Crucial prices right now are;
- Crucial 240gb $130.99 £97 inc VAT
- Crucial 480gb $260.99 £202 inc VAT
- Crucial 960gb $449.99 £346.99 inc VAT
This is an exclusive sneak peak of the latest build or a brand new product still in development from our friends at Source Elements called Source-Connect Now. It brings the features of Source-Connect into a Google Chrome browser on any platform.
There is lots more to come with this, including video and audio which will make collaboration conferences and mix approvals so much easier.
Opus codec -Set at 128kbps for professional high-quality audio.
ISDN-like workflow - Low-latency bi-directional audio.
Conference up to 10 connections - Only limited by your bandwidth.
For music and voice - Send high-quality mono, dual mono or stereo.
Mono: Voiceover and remote ADR sessions
Dual mono: Two discrete microphones or timecode
Stereo: High-quality music monitoring and review
Mac OSX, Windows, Linux or ChromeOS
Compatible with any OS that supports Chrome Browser.
A stereo or multi-mono CoreAudio, ASIO or Linux audio device set to 48000hz sample-rate.
Chrome Browser Beta 33 recommended due to audio bug where you cannot set your own output with Chrome 32.
It’s not an exact piece of science but I’m coming to the conclusion that the quality of service you get from a brand is the converse of their size. Take my bank or my energy company to name two culprits, they have more data on me than I have on myself, this should mean that their understanding of me as a customer and the products I buy from them should be amazing - in fact the opposite is true. Both the bank, in my case the HSBC and my (recently fired) energy supplier Npower are beyond incompetent, often arrogant and plain stupid in their dealings with me 99% if the time. I’m glad neither brand make their money from running parties in beer manufacturing plants, this would ruin them.
This is partly because to grow and keep shareholder profits high they need to use computers instead of humans, so they fire staff and replace them with data centres and the staff that are left have zero power to make a decision off the script, they have to do what the computer says, so I can’t blame them. There are notable exceptions to this malaise, Amazon for me continue to be able to offer outstanding service irrespective of their huge scale, I also hear many people speak highly of Sweetwater, although although I’m sure there are some who have their own experiences that may contradict me on both counts.
Setting aside my theory of computers replacing people, there’s a fundamental problem, the bigger a company gets the less personal the service becomes, it is inevitable unless you can clone the founders or at least do an amazing job of imparting their visions and values into every member of their team. Of course this is assuming that the leader of the brand who imparts those visions and values has decent ideas and ethics to starts with - it isn’t always the case, it is said that what walks in the parents often runs in the kids. In other words arrogant CEOs have a tendency to impart that spirit throughout an entire brand, so most of their employees soon catch what they are, save for the few brave mavericks who want to try and swim in the other direction - but sadly they seldom last in a bad corporate culture for long.
You may ask what does this have to do with Pro Tools and studios?
In a recent demo of the new Roland AIRA range, they revealed what they call “plug out technology”. They went on to say that they will be making VST plug-ins of a lot of their classic synthesizers. Roland aim to start with the classic SH101 synth.
The new AIRA System 1 Plug-Out Synthesizer will also act as a controller for the new plug-ins, but even better the new System 1 can then host the VST as a “plug-out” to use on the road without the need for a computer.
Roland say the new sounds are created using ACB (Analog Circuit Behaviour) that models everything at component’s behaviour at component level. We’ll add that acronym to the long list we’ve been presented with over the years. :)
Setting that aside. we’re looking forward to these new addition to the Roland range. They include;
- AIRA TR-8 Rhythm Performer TR808 and TR909 - $499
- AIRA TB-3 Touch Bassline - $299
- AIRA VT-3 Voice Transformer vocal effects processor and vocoder - $199
- AIRA System-1 Plug-Out Synthesizer — $599
The idea of Roland created plug-ins is interesting and we look forward to checking them out.
Check out this extensive article with video from Gizmodo
Here is another tip from community member John Russell who says…
Hi Guys, loving your ongoing support of PT and its users. the PTE site is always my first stop in the morning.
Here is a PT tip that is probably so simple that everyone will have thought of it but hey ho, some might not have. In larger sessions, I like to use the PT mixer in collapsed mode (i.e. thin faders) but find the shortened track names are often indecipherable. The other day I hit on the idea of using the track comments field as an alternative place to name the tracks. The smaller font used means that you can always see what a track is called without resorting to a CMD/Option/M. Anyway, it was a revelation to me. keep up the great work.
Mike says, John I am with you, I hadn’t thought of it and I think its a great idea, thanks for sharing it.
We get a lot of questions to the Pro Tools Expert podcast every week, many of which fall into the same categories again and again. These can often be solved by knowing some Pro Tools basics, these are 8 Pro Tools basics you can’t afford to ignore.
Some will make your system work better and some will help speed up your workflow, consider them the essentials to having a much more productive life with Pro Tools.
Knowing how to set-up your audio engine in Pro Tools is the difference between smooth operation with low latency or stuttered playback and cryptic error messages that are going to bring you to tears. Take time to learn how to set this up, this differs between different version numbers and between Pro Tools and Pro Tools HD/HDX systems and different machines. Some of it is down to trial and error, but as a rule of thumb you are aiming to keep your Playback Engine down to the lowest amount of samples possible when recording to reduce latency, without Pro Tools falling over. When you mix you can push your samples up to the max when you need as much power as possible and latency is no longer an issue.
The I/O set-up is where you tell Pro Tools what connections your audio interface has, these directly link to your channel input and outputs. If you get a dialogue telling you that you can’t record because you have no audio inputs, if you get this then make sure you have the right audio interface set in your Audio Engine (see our first point) and then a quick fix is to click the Input Tab and hit Default and then click the Output Tab and click default, in many cases this should get you up and running. Check out our guide here
Pro Tools uses different track types that are most approprate for your needs, they are;
- Audio Tracks - These are for recording audio from mics and line inputs etc.
- Aux Input - These can be used for effects returns and sub groups internally or for external inputs into Pro Tools from hardware devices that you do not need to record and want to keep live.
- Master Fader - This is where all the audio ends up in a mix, you can add processing such as compression, dither and of course check your final output is not clipping.
- VCA Master - HD systems only, VCAs are used to control the volume on a set of tracks
- MIDI Tracks - Used for recording MIDI information to be sent either to internal instrument plug-ins or external MIDI hardware.
- Instrument Tracks - A combination of a MIDI track and an AUX Input track allowing the user to record MIDI and playback the audio of a virtual instrument on one track.
- Video Track - Yep you guessed a track for the playback of video.
Knowing what track to use will help keep your sessions tidy, speed up your workflow and in many cases may also save your system power. Check out our guide to Pro Tools Instrument tracks here and our guide to Aux Tracks here.
This deal sold out quicker than we had expected and so a number of you haven’t been able to take advantage of this deal. We have talked with Zplane and have managed to replenish the store with some more copies, so if you tried to buy this plug-in then do go back to the Deals page and try again, but we won’t be able to keep this deal going for too much longer so if you want a great post prduction metering pakage including quasi PPMs and loudness metering for both the EBU R128 and ATSC A/85 standards then grab it at £69 whilst you can.
At the end of Podcast 100 we announced a competition to win an Audient iD22. We asked you to tell us why you are a fan of Pro Tools Expert and specified that entrants must live on planet Earth to enter.
As a team we read all the entries and chose the one we liked the most and we are delighted to announce that Liz Scott from the UK has won this competition. This is what Liz wrote….
I’m a fan of Pro Tools Expert because without it i would have never have beaten my anxiety disorder. Music was my hiding place and my brother studies it at university using Pro Tools on a daily basis. He showed me how to create music like I’ve never created before, and now we both create powerful motivating music to get me out of the house and achieve my dreams. As well as this Pro Tools Expert helps my brother to pursue his dream and one day he will be a mini David Guetta and it will be from the help of this software so a huge thank you to the founders and creators :) The technology and knowledge behind Pro Tools is a genius! Thank you to you all, and you’re all pretty awesome to have created this competition too :) P.S - I would just like to point out I live on planet earth :)
When we contacted Liz to give her the good news that she had won she told us a little more about herself…
I am 22 years old who shares a passion for music, but the person who inspired me and made me realise music was my hiding place was my brother and without him I wouldn’t have realised how powerful music is. I didn’t realise what fantastic technology was out there, I simply just thought people could sing and there would be a few instruments involved, but when I was introduced to Pro Tools Expert I couldn’t believe what I had been missing, but now its in my life and for that I thank the creators and all staff behind it.
I am just an ordinary girl, despite having anxiety issues, and I just want to say to all of you out there, never let anyone put you down, and never give up on your dreams, and if one day me or my brother make it as a well known musician then it will be thanks to the Pro Tools Experts. Thank you x
Liz, we love to be able to help people and it means so much to us here at Pro Tools Expert to know that we are able to help you is very humbling. We hope that you can Chris will enjoy using your Audient iD22 interface.
Our friends at Plug & Mix and Puremix have a mix contest running at the moment.
The concept is very simple Re-Mixing DJ Colette hit song “We Feel so Hot”. You can listen to mixes already posted by users on SoundCloud. The excellent news is that everyone that participates will win a FREE P&M Plug-in and a FREE video tutorial from Puremix.net!
10 winners will be selected and they will ALL win a P&M V.I.P. Bundle ($299 Value) as well as a ONE year subscription to Puremix video content ($269 Value)
As an added bonus during the contest the Plug&Mix V.I.P Bundle will be sold at the promoted price of ONLY $179 (MSRP $299). That is ONLY $4.48 per Plug-in!
For more information check out the Plug & Mix site.
Here is another tip from community member Jason Conanan who says…
This is a simple tip I use to make commenting on work faster. When I have a project that needs commenting on by a client, I leave them alone with a microphone that is recording onto a separate track (that is muted so it doesn’t come out in playback) and play the whole project in one go. This way the comments are recorded in appropriate point on the time line as the video is playing through. I do this so that if there are problems with the comments they gave me I can refer easily to the recorded comments the same way I would refer to an email comment.
This technique can also work remotely if your client knows how to record themselves as they view the emailed version of your work. They then send an mp3 that you sync up to your video so that comments line up with the review copy.
Either way, I find this is easier than writing comments, it also gets more of the spur of the moment comments that can sometimes be forgotten when writing stuff down.
Mike says - This is an interesting idea that is worth trying.
In this Pro Tools video tutorial Russ shows how using groups, shortcuts and stems can help you to take control of large sessions and manage them.