Entries in Pro Tools (495)
Robin Vincent does a full show and tell video of Pro Tools runinng on the new Microsoft Surface Pro 3.
He talks through the pros and cons of running Pro Tools on the Surface Pro 3 and considers screen resolution, performance and battery life.
Watch the full video and see the report by PC guru Robin.
We have to admit that at times the whole RedNet idea can leave us scratching our heads, we think it’s a brilliant way to connect stuff but it’s not always clear exactly what does what.
This video is the best RedNet video to date and covers so many of the questions with clear answers and practical examples.
RedNet At Sonic Fuel Studios
Chris Lennertz composes music for film, TV and video games from his studio, Sonic Fuel, in Los Angeles, California. Like most of his peers, his routine from one day to the next is anything but ordinary. He could be recording strings for a music cue in a movie one day, then scoring themes for a network TV show the next. As a result, he needs a trustworthy multi-channel audio interface system that’s flexible enough to let him work to the strict schedules and turnarounds of the film and TV industry. This means being able to to quickly and reliably transfer full musical arrangements between his Cubase composition and sequencing machine and his print rig, a Pro Tools | HD system.
Until early 2014, before discovering RedNet, Chris and his assistant Alex Bornstein were finding it difficult to maintain this flexibility, so they set out on the search for a new system, as Chris explains. “Before we implemented the RedNet system, we had just 16 inputs and outputs into the Pro Tools rig. It was getting to the point where being able to print quickly was no longer working because we were making three or four passes just to capture everything in the mix. We started looking into things like a MADI infrastructure or buying more I/Os for Pro Tools®, but then we found out about RedNet and it seemed too good to be true. Soon, we realised it was exactly what we were looking for.”
So, with Alex’s technical assistance, Chris made the switch to RedNet, purchasing a RedNet PCIe card, two RedNet 5 HD Bridges, a RedNet 2 16-channel A-D/D-A and a RedNet 4 eight-channel mic preamp. Now, thanks to the high I/O count and audio-routing flexibility of the RedNet system and the Dante network on which it operates, Chris and his team can print cues much faster and more reliably than ever before. “With RedNet, we can have 64 ins and outs, so we can print our cues in one pass, and both rigs can use the interfaces… It’s pretty crazy.”
The RedNet System
There are sonic advantages to the RedNet upgrade, as well. Because the transfer between Cubase and Pro Tools takes place in the digital domain at super-low latency, (digital audio is routed internally by RedNet without having to be converted to analogue and back to digital again), the signal quality is not degraded, as it was by the multiple stages of A-D and D-A conversion in the previous rig. RedNet also saves Chris time, and allows him to spend more time being creative, rather than focussing on arduous technical tasks. “It’s very important to me that I get as much time to write and conceive as possible, and spend as little time on tech as I have to. To be able to take back the time previously wasted on printing to either see my kids or write better music and be able to come up with themes without having the clock ticking quite as loudly is well worth it.”
There are even more upsides to the switch to RedNet: Installation of the system was straightforward, says Alex. “We spent a morning setting up the equipment and once that was done, it just worked. Since then, the boxes have been locked: every morning when I walk in, they’re still on.” Also, thanks to RedNet, other rooms in the Sonic Fuel building can be used as recording locations. Chris and Alex can take the RedNet 4 eight-channel mic preamp to the live room, for example, and record directly into Chris’ rig on the other side of the building. Tracking solo instruments and small ensembles just got a lot easier, says Alex. “Any room in the facility that has an Ethernet connection can be patched in to the RedNet network and you can record there. To be able to quickly record multi-channel audio from anywhere in this environment is huge…”
I’ve been on holiday and had some down time from the blog whilst sitting in the beautiful hills of Tuscany in Italy. The great thing about taking time out is it helps you reflect on stuff a little more, to stand back and reflect.
The team did an admirable job of the podcast without me - the jokes were better for sure, but one thing that got me thinking as I listened to the podcast, rather than host it was the whole discussion about buying extra features as bolt on apps for Pro Tools. This discussion was partly driven by our feature on the lack of surround in the new Avid Pro Tools Quartet package.
This led the team to revisit the idea of buying extra features such as surround. I nearly wrote an article about Pro Tools fantasy version where I was going to ask what that would look like.
As I reflected on this idea I changed my mind - buy 5:1 as a feature for Pro Tools in 2014? Are you joking? Give me a break, this is nuts.
Other native DAWs ship with surround support, so why in heaven’s name should anyone have to pay for surround support in Pro Tools, or be expected to buy a Pro Tools HD system that far exceeds their needs just to get surround?
Give me, in fact give everyone a break Avid.
Some of the Avid team ask why we are not always that positive about the Avid Everywhere vision, to be blunt some of it is an adventure in missing the point, offering things Pro Tools users don’t really want instead of delivering the things we are crying out for.
For example, buying a plug-in to finish a project is one of the features Avid thinks we all need. Would I buy a plug-in to finish a project? Only after I’d exhausted the other options available such as getting the project sent over with the plug-in burnt into the audio, downloaded a demo of the plug-in, or just worked on my part of a project without the plug-in. The last thing I would do is spend money on a plug-in just to finish a project, after all that’s profit lost. If I was running a post house or a studio and someone came to me to say they needed a plug-in to do the job then I would ask them to try and find alternatives before blowing cash on the plug-in. Avid run a business where they are trying to maximise profit and minimize costs, so why in heaven’s name do they think the professionals they are selling to would run their business any differently?
It’s time the Avid Everywhere vision extended to more immediate needs of those in the real world, rather than stuff we might need.
Pro Tools is CURRENTLY the industry standard, so come on Avid let’s have 5:1 as standard, as well as other features that continue to be deficient in Pro Tools. Why should we have to pay for features that come as standard in competitor products?
So what motivated this article, have I been drinking? On the contrary I think I’ve sobered up.
Updated on Tuesday, September 16, 2014 at 12:08PM by Mike Thornton
The new Pro Tools | Quartet from Avid is a great option for recording music but if you want to mix surround then you’ll find you can’t do it.
Whilst the Apogee Quartet is perfectly capable of offering a 5:1 mixing workflow the native version of Pro Tools does not have the 5:1 option available, you have to buy HD for that. In the Avid knowledgeable article Avid state:
“The Quartet interface can support up to three sets of stereo speakers or a single set of 5.1 speakers so it can be used for monitoring in surround with applications that support 5.1. However Pro Tools | Software only supports stereo so this solution can be used for stereo audio post with HD video in the Pro Tools timeline but not 5.1.”
We have to say that this is plain silly, it effectively means that if you want to use an Apogee Quartet for surround mixing then you are better off using a different DAW, one that does not limit surround mixing.
With the recent announcement of Avid badging up Apogee interfaces and bundling them with Pro Tools instead of producing their own hardware, it does leave several questions. One of course is will Avid continue to make interfaces or just concentrate on software and services? Let’s consider what we know so far.
Avid Haven’t Made A High Quality Audio Interface For Several Years
The Avid third generation Mbox Family products (Mbox Mini, Mbox, Mbox Pro) were announced on September 14, 2010. In October 2011 the new HDX hardware was announced. There have been smaller consumer style interfaces such as the Fast Track Duo. It has been a highly contentious issues that there has never been a replacement for the hugely popular 003 series of audio interfaces released in 2007, but with a minor update in 2008 with the announcement of the 003 Rack+. With products like the UA Apollo it now makes the possibility of that unlikely.
One thing to appreciate is that R&D and product development can take years, so we may still see products yet to be completed, but that does not mean there is current ongoing development of future replacements for their current audio interfaces.
Many Third Party Interfaces Are Better Value For Money
When you compare the Avid interfaces to the offering of virtually every other third party, for example Prism, RME, Universal Audio, Focusrite and Apogee, then many people decide for a third party interface.
It is possible to use third party interfaces with Pro Tools HD/HDX, but one has to ask how many people would chose Avid hardware if they did not have to buy it to get Pro Tools HD software? The experience of Avid high end hardware from those of us on the Pro Tools Expert team has not been brilliant, both Russ and James have had to replace the fans in their Avid audio interfaces to make them usable in the enviroment they were designed for. Mike has his interface in a separate cupboard with his computer and drives. Add to this Avid’s long tradition of crippling products, for example not all the I/0 on the Avid Omni is accessible, you are forced to make a choice - which when comparing Avid audio interfaces with their competitors leaves one feeling that you are paying more for less.
The New Vision Is More About Software And Services
The new Avid Everywhere vision concentrates on the software and the services that Avid want to try and introduce to add value and hopefully create additional and long needed revenue streams for the ailing brand. In essence Avid want to take on the likes of Adobe and Autodesk, offering software rental, and finding ways to continue to get revenue from their user base after their initial investment. Avid aim to do this by trying to get you to sell stuff through their (yet to be seen working) content distribution store, keep your content on their servers and make profit from selling you third party plug-ins through their store.
Our friends at DDMF, the makers of the hugely popular plug-in host Metaplugin, have announced a new channel strip plug-in The Strip. Please note the GUI is a single long GUI and not split as shown in this story.
The Strip Channel Strip Plug-in
The Strip is cited by Christian at DDMF as “the essential channel strip” and based on a hybrid design of some very nice vintage plug-ins. Even better The Strip boast low CPU usage and should happily sit on every track without putting your DAW into a sweat. It comes available in VST, AU, RTAS and AAX format, 32 and 64 bit, for Windows and OSX (10.6 and higher) Even better it is a temptingly low price of $39 right now.
Full Specifications Of DDMF The Strip
- Low and High pass filter
- four peaking filters
- Low shelf filter
- gate with variable threshold, range, attack and release to prevent unwanted noise
- smooth compressor section
- 2x oversampling available
- EQ section with just the nicest little bit of saturation
- order of EQ and compression interchangeable
- available in VST, AU, RTAS and AAX format, 32 and 64 bit, for Windows and OSX (10.6 and higher)
Find Out More About The Strip
You can find out more and download a demo of The Strip from the DDMF web site.
It’s a Bank Holiday weekend in the UK this weekend so in case you have some free time we’ve opened up our Pro Tools Production Tricks video tutorials for free.
When we say an archive, it may take you the weekend to watch them all, the archive list of Pro Tools Production Tricks videos is shown below.
Pro Tools Tutorial Videos
The videos include Producer secrets, power virtual instrument tricks, the basics of many popular plug-ins and many more.
Normally these videos are member only exclusive content, so knock yourself out and find out what so many people sign up as Pro Tools Expert community members. To find out more about membership then clik here.
The Pro Tools Production Tricks Video Archive
- 3 Cool Ways For Using A De-Esser
- 3 Minute Arpeggiator
- 3 Minute Beat Slice
- 3 Minute Drum Kit
- 3 Minute Groove Locking In Pro Tools
- 3 Minute Guitar Sample
- 3 Minute Thicken Vocals In Pro Tools
- 3 Ways To Fix Timing In Pro Tools
- 32 Bit Floating Point - How It Helps?
- 5 Ways To Create New Reverb Effects In Pro Tools
- A Freeware Alternative To VCA Groups For None Pro Tools HD Owners
- A Really Simple Way To Add Interest To Midi Synths And Beats
- ADC in Pro Tools 9 -Why And How
- AIR - Power Remixing 2 Video
- AIR Filter Gate
- AIR Remix Master Class
- Adapt Beats On The Grid
- Add Density & Energy To Your Tracks In Pro Tools
- Add Vibrato To Vocals In Pro Tools
- Alternate Bounce Method
- Amazing Dance Tracks
- Amazing Trick For Creating Big Kicks
- Assigning Drum Pads On The Axiom Pro
- Audition VI Sounds With MIDI Patch Change In Pro Tools - Max OS X
- Automatic Ducking In Pro Tools
- Automation In Pro Tools
- Axiom Pro Introduction
- Basic - Compressor
- Basics - 1 Band Eq
- Basics - 4 Band Eq
- Basics - Gates
Monitoring Without Headphones
Some vocalists hate using headphones when tracking vocals, instead preferring to monitor through speakers.
The problem is that this gives excessive bleed of the rest of the instruments though the vocal track.
This video tutorial shows you a trick that helps to remove a lot of that bleed and cleans up the audio for further processing.
There was a time when to get real power and flexibility from Pro Tools then one had to take the plunge and invest in their hardware DSP solutions, either HD or HDX. However this option is becoming less necessary for modern music making.
If you are considering how to develop your Pro Tools enabled studio then things you need to consider.
DSP Comes In All Shapes And Sizes
Pro Tools HD/HDX systems are not the only solutions to offer DSP, the hugely popular UAD powered platform uses DSP chips to power the Universal Audio plug-ins. Waves now have their DiGiGrid platform to offer DSP power for Waves and possibly other third party vendors.
Studios Come In All Shapes And Sizes
It is sometimes easy to forget when working in music how small track counts can be compared to those working in post. Post sessions can extend to hundreds of tracks and can make the average album session look like a Portastudio when compared. In this scenario then the need for high track counts at high sample rates and with near zero latency make the need for Pro Tools HD/HDX a no brainer without it these sessions would be impossible to run.
Virtual Instruments Change The Equation
When it comes to composing in Pro Tools and using virtual instruments for making music, then DSP is nigh on useless. Yes it might take the strain away by using DSP for audio plug-ins already in this mix, but 99% of VI plug-ins require the power of native processing. Pro Tools 11 helped a great deal by going to 64bit processing, this means that all the memory in a computer is available for hosting large sound libraries.
Native Processing Is Enough For A Lot Of People
We ran some tests at Pro Tools HQ last week with the new Mac Pro ‘trash can’. We ran a couple of sessions, one with tracks running native versions of Avid Channel Strip and Dverb, as well as 32 channels of Eleven. In the second test we inserted a copy of Exponential Audio PhoenixVerb on every channel, which claims to be super efficient. In both tests we ran out of tracks and voices before we ran out power.
Latency, Latency, Latency
The million dollar question for many people is the issues of latency. As track counts get larger and sample rates to as high as 192Khz then this has an impact on latency. For some people this is going to require them to invest in Pro Tools HDX, there’s no getting around that. However for those working at lower sample rates then there are equally well thought through solutions, for example the UAD Apollo Console offers near-zero monitoring when tracking and also enables the user to monitor via UAD plug-ins when tracking, you can even choose to just monitor or print the effects, like a good old tape machine. You can see this in action here. Other brands also offer monitoring solutions, such as Focusrite, RME, MOTU and many more, although the elegance of the implementation can differ greatly.
What Should You Do?
Well that depends on what you need your Pro Tools system to do. Let’s answer the question with some questions for you to consider?
In this Pro Tools video tutorial Russ shows how using filters on compressors can help to control dynamics in complex material.
Often a compressor is required on a track but with complex material the compresor may be triggered by a certain frequency such as the kick drum in a loop. Russ shows how filters enable you to zone in on a certain part of the sound such as the snare.