Entries in Pro Tools (414)
There’s a lot of people making music on Pro Tools and a lot of them are looking for some great guitar sounds. You may be limited by both space and cash and so the chance of being able to throw a Marshall stack up and mic it with vintage microphones is about as likely as the Pope being in a Beatles reunion line-up.
However, don’t let a lack of cash or space stop you from getting some great guitar sounds, here are Free Pro Tools plug-ins that every guitarist should try.
One of the gems of the FREE plug-ins that come with Pro Tools, Sansamp PSA-1 is used by some of the top names in the industry including Daniel Lanois and Mark ‘Spike’ Stent and it has been used on countless tracks. It features an excellent set of controls as well as some very cool presets, check it out for both clean and dirty tones, it works on other material too, ace on bass. RTAS and AAX. Check out our video on how to use Sansamp
IK Multimedia Amplitube Custom Shop
A FREE version of AmpliTube 3 with 24 models including a digital chromatic tuner, 9 stomps, 4 amps, 5 cabs, 3 mics, 2 rack effects, even better you can use their cool try before you buy store to check out an almost limitless supply of guitar amps and effects. RTAS and AAX
Native Instruments Guitar Rig 5 Player
Guitar Rig 5 Player is the free guitar amp and effects processor from Native Instruments, combining creative effects routing possibilities with ease-of-use and pristine sound quality. The included FACTORY SELECTION library provides one amp with 17 cabinet emulations, plus 13 effects and sound modifiers to shape and enhance any audio signal. RTAS and AAX.
Often Pro Tools crashes because of bad plug-ins - either plug-ins that are out of date or because they have a bug. If you have an unstable Pro Tools system then here are 3 ways to find bad Pro Tools plug-ins.
Pro Tools Won’t Boot
One way to try and identify a plug-in that stops Pro Tools from booting is to watch progress as it loads each plug-in.
As Pro Tools boots it first scans your plug-in folder to see what to load and then it moves to load each plug-in, if a plug-in has an issue then Pro Tools may crash before it can start-up, if this occurs then you can simply watch Pro Tools and see when it crashes during this process (see image above). If it happens at the same point in the process every time then it is likely to be the plug-n that shows when it crashes or the plug-in immediately after that one in the list. Then look in your plug-in folder (see below) and pull the possible culprits out (don’t delete them simply move them) to prevent them loading.
Then relaunch Pro Tools and see what happens, if it loads without issue then you’ve found the bad plug-in. Then it’s worth checking to see if you have the latest version by visiting the vendor’s web site, if your plug-in is up to date then it may have a bug so email any crash reports to the vendor.
One small tip, don’t send the email with a title like ‘Your crap plug-in has trashed my computer’ you won’t win any friends and you certainly won’t get it fixed any quicker, it may not be their plug-in, but if it is then finding software bugs is not an easy task.
Try Taking All The Plug-ins Away And Then Find The Baddie
Sometimes Pro Tools will load even with a bad plug-in but will then crash during the session, this may still be down to a plug-in issue. Finding the bad plug-in can be a royal pain in the ass, here’s a very quick way to find the bad plug-in. Follow this guide here
File locations changed in Pro Tools 11 - check out Mike article here
Also check out our support tools here
Last One In First One Out
If your Pro Tools system was stable and then it starts crashing then it may well be down to the last plug-in you installed, this can be for various reasons.
- It’s bad plug-in that has a bug
- You don’t have the latest version
- You need to trash your preferences
First thing to try is to remove the last plug-in you installed and see what happens.
If Pro Tools is stable then you can do a couple of things;
- Trash your preferences and then try again
- Check with the vendor to see if you REALLY have the latest version
If after checking your preferences and the version number but it still crashes Pro Tools then you may need to report the bug to the vendor.
Pro Tools Prefs for Mac can help with some of the tasks outlined above, more information here
Trasher for Windows can help Windows users with some of the tasks outlined above, more information here
Find Bad Pro Tools Plug-ins - Final Thoughts
Bad plug-ins are a good place to start looking if you have an unstable Pro Tools system, more often than not it’s where I find the problem. One final word of advice is to make sure you only keep the plug-ins you really use in your plug-in folder.
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Source: Loop Loft
Pro Tools has made Rolling Stone’s list of 24 inventions that changed music.
Some believe that Pro Tools was a force for good and others think Pro Tools killed recording studios, but whichever side of the fence you are on there is no doubt that Pro Tools has made a significant impact on the music making landscape. Pro Tools is now ubiquitous when referring to DAWs, in much the same way that iPods are often an expression used for MP3 players.
There are plenty more on the list including the Akai S900, Autotune and Garageband, although we’re not quite sure how seriously one can take a list like this when both the banjo and accordian are excluded - do these people know nothing about music?
Source: Rolling Stone
For many users clip gain was the new feature in Pro Tools 10 which changed workflows overnight. All of a sudden inserting trim plugins or using Audiosuite to render gain changes seemed very old fashioned. For me it was definitely a case of why didn’t we have this before? Doing music work, clip gain is not something I use constantly but I really value when it is there. As a result of it not being in constant use it was a while before I investigated keyboard shortcuts but when I did, I found them so straightforward it was no effort to commit them to memory and I could become less mousebound.
Essential Clip Gain Shortcuts - Control+Shift Clip Gain Shortcuts
As well as my all-time favourite - band pass mode in EQIII, which is accessed via cntrl+shift, there is an extremely useful set of shortcuts based on these modifiers which all relate to clip gain. PC users should substitute Control for Start. Some of them will be familiar as variations of existing shortcuts. The ones I use regularly are:
Cntrl+Shift+Equals - show/hide clip gain info - i.e the little fader icon
Cntrl+Shift+Hyphen - Show/hide clip gain line. It helps to remember this as a variation on control+hyphen - toggle waveform/volume playlist. It can look a little like you are looking at a standard automation playlist when displaying the clip gain line but the clip gain line is the only automation playlist you will see where the waveforms haven’t been faded back. As well as using the clip gain info icon to access the clip gain fader to adjust clip gain remember you can use the trim tool when mousing over the clip gain line. When using the Smart tool the Select or Grab tools change to a clip gain Trim tool when mousing over the clip gain line.
Cntrl+Shift+Up/Down Arrow - Nudge clip gain up/down in 0.5dB increments, to change the default go to the editing page of your preferences and look for “clip gain nudge value”.
Cntrl+Shift+Num Plus/Minus - A variation on the standard nudge command, also accessible using the command focus nudge shortcuts of M, comma, period and forward slash if you are on a laptop. This is great fun watching the waveform heights update in real time to reflect the clip gain setting.
Cntrl+Shift+C - Copy clip gain, used in conjunction with a standard Cmnd+V paste command
Essential Clip Gain Shortcuts - Clip Gain or Waveform Zoom?
One potential area for confusion is that both clip gain and waveform zoom have a similar effect on the waveform but with entirely different results. Displaying clip gain info should help but if you want to reset a clip’s gain to unity, option click the clip gain fader, which leads me to an extremely useful final shortcut:
Cntrl+Opt+Cmnd+[ - Reset waveform zoom to default
It is possible to have dual clip gain lines in crossfades. This makes perfect sense, they reflect the clip gain settings for the outgoing and incoming clips. The crossfade’s clip gain can of course be trimmed independently of the parent clips and the two clip gain lines will reflect any changes made while maintaining their relative offsets.
I find Clip Gain has been a more regular part of my workflow now that I am controlling it using these few shortcuts. Bear in mind that you can have multiple breakpoints and levels within a clip and selecting and trimming clip gain as well as dynamics processing and volume automation all sit together seamlessly in the production process. How did we get by without it?
All too often people dismiss factory-supplied plug-ins in preference for purchased plug-ins; in some cases the free ones are just as good. Whilst Avid may have a reputation for being misers when it comes to giving stuff away with Pro Tools, there are some gems that ship with Pro Tools that I reach for on a regular basis. Here are 5 factory plug-ins that you should no ignore.
Pro Tools Factory Plug AIR Vintage Filter
Pro Tools Factory Plug Avid BF76
Pro Tools Factory Plug Avid 1-Band EQ III
Pro Tools Factory Plug Avid Signal Generator
Pro Tools Factory Plug Avid Pitch II
Waldorf have announced that a number of their plug-ins will shorly be ported to 32 and 64 bit AAX for Pro Tools 11.
Waldorf plug-ins to be included
- PPG Wave 3V
- Waldorf Edition
In their latest newsletter they say All Waldorf plug-ins will soon be 64-bit compatible, so you will be able to use them in the DAW of your choice. In addition we have made almost all Waldorf plug-ins compatible to Avid’s Pro Tools. The following plug-ins will be available in 32/64 bits as AAX, Audio Unit & VST”
Some time ago we were sent an Axiom AIR Keyboard to review, however there was one glaring ommission to this ‘upgrade’ of the popular a working version of Hypercontrol.
Today M-Audio have announced a working version of Pro Tools Hypercontrol driver for the Axiom AIR series. This now makes them a far more attractive addition to those using Pro Tools to make music.
Hypercontol allows direct control of Pro Tools from the keyboard including direct control of plug-ins.
You can download the new software for Mac and PC here
Hot off the lips of Mr Slate himself and seen with our very eyes, Slate Raven will soon include a feature to create custom shortcuts and buttons for often used and complex actions.
New Slate Raven Software In Detail
For example the new software allows the user to create a single button that can chop all the audio on all drum tracks to transients, align it to the grid and then apply Beat Detective Edit smoothing. Or the user could have a shortcut to create a submix to a buss.
Seeing it in action it is impressive and further extends the feature set of the Slate Raven software.
It’s a shame this is limited to the Slate Raven and that Avid don’t currently offer this kind of ‘macro’ customisation within Pro Tools as a native feature.
Price And Shipping Date
Price and shipping date to be confirmed.
In putting together the article on how to do a clean install for Macs, following Neil’s article for Windows 7 & 8 users. I was reminded that there was a new Pro Tools Prefs helper application. Peter Gates from Free Range Audio here in the UK has taken up the baton left by Jean Charles Deshaies and produced PT Prefs. The latest version now includes the feature we had in Jean Charles’ version which enables you to back up and restore preferred settings.
Pro Tools Prefs Helper v1.2 New Features
- Update V1.2 can now backup and restore. It creates a mirror folder structure in PT Prefs folder in Documents. This makes it easy for users to zip this folder structure to keep multiple backups.
- Separated Version 11 onwards prefs/AAE from pre Version 11. Handy for co-installs.
- Confirmation for trashing/restoring items
- Added another file to AAE prefs trash/backup/restore
- Added the com.avid.plist file
- Added nice little icon!
- Minor fixes
- Separated the trashing and backup/restore sections in preparation for extra backup/restore options. Fixed false confirmation on unsuccessful backup
You can see that this covers all the different location for both Pro Tools 10 & 11 for Preferences related files and includes the Apple AudioMIDIsetup and MIDI files.
But unlike Trasher 11 for Windows users, Pro Tools Prefs doesn’t include files and folders like the Plug-ins and Plug-ins Settings folders that I referred to in my Clean Install For Mac article so you will still need to do those manually.
Any problems/queries/suggestions, do let us know here or on the special thread on the DUC.
Neil provided a very comprehensive feature recently for How To Perform A “Clean” Uninstall Of Pro Tools 11 On Windows 7 And 8 and in the comments where were questions of how to do this for a Mac, so here are some guidelines.
You Need To Archive Files Manually
There is no Trasher 10 option to undertake the archive process in the Mac world so you need to do this manually. I have covered how to do this is detail in my Pro Tools Toolkit For Mac series in Groove 3. One of the videos covers this in detail.
However the file locations vary depending whether you have Pro Tools 10 or 11. My video covers Pro Tools 10 but some of the files and folders are in different locations for Pro Tools 11.
Have you ever sat in a session with a Pro Tools engineer going through a piece of audio meticulously to make changes? This may be to the timing, tuning, de-breathing, or trying to change the audio becuase the Eq was recorded wrong and they now need to go through and notch their way through the performance.
Sometimes it is necessary, so here is the case for and against.
Find out from Avid more of what went into the sound production for Gravity that meant it cleaned up both sound related Oscars. Director Alfonso Cuarón wanted to leverage sound and picture to create an immersive experience for moviegoers. In this exclusive interview, the Gravity audio post team explain how using Avid workflows they were able to transport the audience to a heightened reality.
OK after Part 1 of 10 Things You Should Do Before Sending Your Mix To A Mastering Engineer your mixes are definitely ready, now in part 2.
I’ll discuss 5 final things to do that will make for a smooth mastering process with no last minute screw ups and enable you to get the best results and therefore value for your mastering money.
10 Things You Should Do Before Sending Your Mix To A Mastering Engineer 6 - Check
Double check all bounced tracks are OK before delivering to the Mastering Engineer. Seems obvious right? You would be surprised how easy it is to forget to unmute that percussion you just muted to check something or to do a faster than real time bounce on your DAW software and not realise something went wrong and you’ve got digital distortions. It’s that simple a mistake to make and could be costly.
10 Things You Should Do Before Sending Your Mix To A Mastering Engineer 7 - Compression
If you’ve used a mix bus compressor consider sending a version without it as well as one with. This really is about your level of experience. A lot of experienced Mix Engineers have a buss compressor on the mix bus from the start and mix into it, it becomes part of the sound Andy Wallace, Cenzo Townsend, CLA, being prime examples and of course they would just deliver the finished mix with it included as it’s an integral part of their sound. Less experienced mixers though should beware, they often add a buss compressor plug in as an afterthought or have it working far too hard, the Mastering Engineer may also simply have better quality compressors that may sound better, so play it safe, if in doubt send with and without versions. It may well be “with” is best and you’ve nailed it, but better safe than sorry.
10 Things You Should Do Before Sending Your Mix To A Mastering Engineer 8 - Less Excitement
Also be wary of “Warmerizers/Exciters” if you have used a soft saturation type plug in on your mix bus such as PSP Vintage Warmer, Sonnox Inflator, Slate VTM etc, just double check that you haven’t overdone them. A lot of these effectively soft limit your tracks and whilst not as obvious as hard Peak Limiters can cause similar issues at Mastering. A B with and without and make sure you have made the right choice. If in doubt back off the settings a little. I use these Plug Ins myself and they are awesome in getting some of that virtual analogue warmth, but I tend to always be very careful when deploying them on mix busses. If still in doubt bounce one mix with and one without.
10 Things You Should Do Before Sending Your Mix To A Mastering Engineer 9 - No Limits
If you have used a peak Limiter on your mix buss please remove it and re bounce making sure that now the Limiter has been removed there is no digital clipping. If the track has been smashed by a limiter there is very little dynamic range left and this makes it very hard to bring out sounds with the Mastering EQ or add further Mastering dynamic processing. Limiting should always be the last stage of Mastering before dithering down to 16bit.
10 Things You Should Do Before Sending Your Mix To A Mastering Engineer 10 - Sample Rates
Export the finished mixes at whatever sample rate and bit depth your “parent” session was i.e. if your session is 24 bit 44.1Khz send your mix file at that, if it was done at 32bit 96Khz bounce the mix in that format. Too often people are careless at this point and send 16 bit versions or may have unintentionally done an unnecessary sample rate conversion process that can affect the quality. Any Mastering Engineer can easily convert all files to the destination format at the highest quality so just don’t worry or think you need to do it yourself.
A Final note. If you’re on a label but you’re sending the files to the Mastering Engineer make sure you get your ISRC codes from the label too and send them to the Mastering Engineer along with 100% accurate final song names, artist name and, project title. If you want adding sequential numbers as the first part of each of the song name e.g. 01 before what will be track 1, 02, 03, etc would be super awesome!
ISRCs are usually only for large scale commercial releases and are supplied by your record label you can read about those here http://www.ifpi.org.
Neil Pickles is an award winning mastering engineer and Pro Tools Certified Expert instructor at Alchemea College.
Alchemea are currently offering 30% discount off their weekend recording, mixing and mastering courses for people who mention PTE when booking (offer ends midnight April 30th).
We asked Neil Pickles, Mastering Engineer and Director of Short Courses at our training partner’s Alchemea, to give some advice for those thinking of sending their mixes to a mastering engineer. His advice is comprehensive so it is in two parts so you have chance to grab a second coffee!
In part 1 I’m going to talk about 5 things that can be useful in checking your mixes to make sure that they are good enough to send for mastering. A good mix equals a good master; a bad mix cannot be made great with the best Mastering Engineer in the world, so it all should start with the mix.
In Part 2 I’ll discuss 5 final recommendations once you’re confident you have the mixes ready to go, that will make for a smooth mastering process with no last minute screw ups and get the best results and therefore value for your mastering money.
The following are 5 simple recommendations based on my experiences and anecdotal discussions with other Mastering Engineers. That can help you decide that your tracks are ready to go to mastering.
10 Things You Should Do Before Sending Your Mix To A Mastering Engineer 1 - Quality
Stop worrying about volume and worry about the quality of your mix instead. It’s my personal experience that a well arranged song, with a good mix in terms of balance and EQ, can be made as loud as any other regardless of whether it comes to me at .1dB or -8dBfs from 0dBfs. In fact a mix that has clearly had a lot of unintentional internal clipping in a fight to make it seem as loud as a master at the mixing point often doesn’t scrub up so well.
Focus on a good mix and a good song arrangement, not some imaginary battle with volume. If it doesn’t sound as loud as a mastered track don’t worry they’ve been pumped up in volume, just turn up your volume knob, focus on the quality of your song, it’s arrangement, your choice of sounds/instruments and your mix.
10 Things You Should Do Before Sending Your Mix To A Mastering Engineer 2 - Check
Check your balance. Balance is the relative volume differences between the different instruments. A good balance is fundamental to a good mix and a good mix equals a good master! A bass guitar that is 6dB too loud and drowning out the bass drum cannot be fixed in Mastering as well as, if at all, as simply correcting it at the mix does. Always listen to your mixes on as many different systems as possible and at a variety of volumes. If you suspect your snare or vocal is too loud or too quiet check it out at the lowest possible volume. Did you know that our hearing sensitivity changes at different volumes and if the snare sticks way out at low volumes it’s too loud? (If you want to know more about this read up on the Fletcher-Munson Curves).
There’s something special about using hardware, it can take an average virtual instrument and make it sound great. Russ shows you who to get the routing done and then how to get the track recorded in Pro Tools.
There’s a lot of plug-ins on my Pro Tools rig but the reality is there are some that I reach for time and time again when mixing. I feel sure you will have a completely different list, but I would be interested to see if there are any on my list you use and any you think I really do need to check out.
Take the poll at the end to tell us which ones you use and leave comments with some tips.
The Plug-ins I Reach For When Mixing In Pro Tools - Maag EQ4
Our People’s Choice winner in 2013. This is such a fantastic EQ, it sounds amazing on vocals and guitar, in fact it sounds amazing on almost everything. Best of all it’s so easy to get a great sound with the Maag EQ4, some plug-ins fight you, this one is my best friend. Check out our review of it here
The Plug-ins I Reach For When Mixing In Pro Tools - UAD DBX160
In the absence of owning the real thing, the UAD dbx160 is such a great compressor/limiter, again it’s easy to use and sounds great. You’ll find this on most of my tracks, it loves bass guitar, vocals and electric guitar. It so damned fun to use too and that has to count for something.
The Plug-ins I Reach For When Mixing In Pro Tools - Softube TSAR Verb
A favourite of both me and James Ivey, while many people love to use Convolution this Algorithmic reverb is sweet and versatile - it’s sitting on a buss somewhere in every mix I do.
Our friends at Absolute Music have produced this video showing an install of a Pro Tools HD system using the Magma Roben.
The video features their product specialist Tom Osborne who talks you through their latest Pro Tools HD build.
Using the Magma Roben-3TS-R PCIe to Thunderbolt chassis, a Mac Mini server as the main CPU and the Sonnet RackMac Mini. This means that everything is easily rack mountable. The set-up is all running from an APC UPS.
Real World Studios in the UK have a job for an Assistant Engineer. They write…
A rare opportunity has arisen to join the Studio team at Real World Studios as an Assistant Engineer, with the possibility of solo engineering opportunities for the person with the rights skills and experience.
Friend of the blog and Pro Tools guru Kenny Gioia has released a new Groove 3 title, Pro Tools Signal Flow Explained.
There’s no short measures with this video series with over 48 video tutials covering every aspect of signal flow in Pro Tools. In the words of Groove 3;
Kenny starts with the basics of signal flow using diagrams and pictures so you can easily understand the concepts. Next, Kenny reveals the sometimes puzzling I/O Set Up Window and explains each section in detail as well as how to route, name and organize your inputs, outputs, busses, inserts and more.
Track Types is next on the menu and Kenny serves up complete understanding of all the different track types and their uses. Setting up to record is then looked at so you’ll know exactly how to name tracks, prepare inputs, enable tracks to record, setting the right level to avoid clipping and overloads, all the different record modes and how / when to use them, as well as the different monitoring modes.
Kenny now goes deeper showing you all things MIDI, such as MIDI Setup, Input Devices and MIDI Thru, MIDI input Filters, Wait For Note Recording, Click Tracks, MIDI Merge, Real-Time Properties for non-destructive editing, Input Quantize, using Multiple MIDI Tracks, Punching MIDI, and Loop Recording MIDI.
If that wasn’t enough, Kenny goes even further with awesome videos on Mixing techniques utilizing Hardware Inputs, FX Sends & Returns (both Hardware & Software), FX Sharing, Parallel Compression, Master Faders, Submixing, Headphone Mixes and much, much more. Kenny wraps up this detailed series with advanced Insert & Sends videos, Pre and Post Headphone Mixes, Printing Stems and Sidechain Compression techniques.
If you really want to master the ins and outs of Pro Tools, there is no better way than to watch this series… Get “Pro Tools Signal Flow Explained” today.
Source: Groove 3