Entries in tips (87)
As part of me getting ready for Pro Tools 11, I needed to go up from Lion - 10.7.5 to Mountain Lion 10.8.3, as Lion isn’t supported on Lion, and so I have finally decided to go for a SSD drive for my boot drive for my 2010 Mac Pro.
Following Russ’s experience of the support from Crucial and doing further research I decided to go for a Crucial M4 512GB SSD from Crucial on Amazon UK or Amazon US. When Russ installed his SSD he rested it in the second optical drive slot. As I do take my Mac Pro out on the road so I didn’t feel comfortable will it resting or even using double sided sticky tape.
Russ shows how to get more interesting acoustic guitars using the example from the track “Let Her Go” by Passenger.
Community member Marco Niccolai wrote to us with a brilliant email containing an in-depth exploration of Eleven Rack - even if you don’t own it then you should check this out. It is very thorough and Marco deserves our thanks!
“Hello Pro Tool Expert, I really appreciate your daily support, this time a wish to give, if can help, a little tribute to the community. I start to appreciate Avid Eleven Rack, it recreates a lot of nice gear, but it’s not easy to understand what you are using whatching only a small graphic interface. So I took the detailed descriptions on Avid site, some pics of the gear and the corresponding ER interface. Put all together and did a recap on a PDF. If you think this can be useful for the community, you can download from here and let it be available for who want it.”
Thanks Marco, this is excellent.
In this video Mike shows how to use Save Session Copy to preapre a session so that it is saved with all its media and the correct version ready for your collaborator.
Russ shows how to track both clean and effected tracks at the same time in Pro Tools, giving the best of both worlds.
Russ, Mike, Neil & James are here with a packed Pro Tools Expert podcast that includes;
- Exponential claims for PT11
- HD Native could be a killer system
- The future of Apple’s Mac Pro
- Community Tip 1 - Carsten Groa
- Community Tip 2 - Tony Molica
- Community Tip 3 - John aka Tunes
- Community Tip 4 - Kimball Owen-Brown
- No sound from Pro Tools SE
- Control surfaces and monitor sections
- No Digidesign Plug-in Folder after update
- Problems with DAE error 9073 on Windows machine Video to help
- Problems with Ableton Live 9 Intro & Pro Tools 10 Rewire downloads
- Will Bidule work with effects plug-ins?
- AAX version of Vocalign LE
- How to prove eligibility for free academic upgrade
- Pelsuo v Octava mics
- Keyboard focus question on Windows PC keyboard Logic keyboard
- Have you heard of Keycue?
- What is the Pro Tools mode on the Apollo?
- Where are the links your refer to in the podcasts
You can listen here;
Our friend Lev Perrey has helped clear up the Pro Tools mode in UAD version 7, he writes…
“To be clear, Pro Tools mode has nothing to do with the record arming or muting of outputs. That is handled by the “Low Latency Monitor” feature in Pro Tools 10. Low Latency Monitor mode works for inputs routed to 1-2 (or the Monitor outputs in our case) so that is how it is handled. When this option is checked in the menu, record arming a track in Pro Tools does not play back the software path, instead you only hear the Apollo Console path - so its great to not have to manage Mutes or anything…
While you guys were spot on about the gnarlyness that can come about when opening a session made on a different interface, PT Mode in the new UAD Version 7 software is all about Hardware Inserts and Multi-unit I/O.
Here is a description of what PT Mode does in V.7:
1. Aligns the I/O for use with Hardware Inserts with one Apollo or one Apollo 16. This is done by adding 2 Null (Silent) inputs into the driver, so that all of the analog and digital I/O are aligned.
When I say aligned, this has to do with the Pro Tools restriction on Hardware Inserts. PT has a rule that Hardware Inserts have to be in the same input and output slot to be used. With Apollo for example, the first inputs are Mic/Line/HI-Z 1-2 and the first two outputs are Monitor 1-2 - hence, users with UAD v.6.5 or lower couldn’t use the first two Hardware Inserts in Pro Tools. So they were limited to 6 hardware inserts via analog, the problem exacerbates when you want to use HW inserts with the ADAT or S/PDIF - they were not aligned either so it was not practical to use the digital at all. All fixed in UAD v.7
2. Prioritizes Analog and Digital I/O routing to the driver when using 2 Apollos or 2 Apollo 16s. Pro Tools has a limit of 32 inputs and outputs when used with a Core Audio or ASIO device. One Apollo broadcasts 28 inputs and 24 outputs (a lot of those inputs are virtual paths from the console that can be folded back into Pro Tools). WIth PT Mode + Multi-unit support we made sure that the majority of Analog and Digital I/O gets routed to the 32 available driver I/O slots so customers can get at the physical I/O they bought.”
This is an excellent video produced by Toontrack and a valuable resource for anyone wanting to craft better songs. Enjoy!
With the growing propensity towards mobile recording solutions, an obvious way to capture the data is with a USB stick or pen drive. However not all drives are created equal and some just don’t have the speed to keep up with a multi track audio DAW like Pro Tools.
A lot of people working in the music industry work for themselves; it can be the best decision you ever make. But too many people go into starting a business without knowing some key things that are a normal part of running your own business. So if you are considering working for yourself, or have just started, then read these 5 things - they will stop you feeling alone or thinking that you’ve maybe made a big mistake.
If you want to get tight timing in your tracks there are a few things you can do to make sure your performance is on the money. Here are my top 5;
- Get The Metronome Beat Right
One trick drummers use, especially on slow tempos is to make sure you metronome is running at 8 clicks per bar rather than 4 clicks per bar. This helps to keep your playing super tight.
- Get the Metronome Sounding Right
The sound of a click can make a lot of difference, thankfully Pro Tools 11 features Click II that will offer many more click sounds to chose from. Even if you don’t intend to upgrade then you can modify the click to trigger any MIDI sound, you can also simply create you own click drag by dragging clips onto the timeline and lining them up on the grid and then looping them.
- Get Your Monitor Mix Right
Spend time making sure you have both the mix and the metronome right in your ears. Too quiet and you won’t play in time, too loud and it will bleed into your recording. If you are working with clicks then make sure you have good quality enclosed headphones, especially around drums as there are multiple mics the click can bleed into.
- Practice Makes Perfect
I’ve worked with human metronomes who seem to be tight as a drum machine, but ask them and they will tell you they spent hours learning to play to a click. The good news is that you can improve your timing with practice, the bad news is you have to put in the work.
Sometimes you get performances that were played live, without a click or you just have a someone who has sloppy timing. If you can’t get the performance you need then you may have to resort to using the excellent tools for getting stuff in to time such as Beat Detective, Elastic Time or good old fashion cut and nudge - but if you can use these as a last resort, a great performance is always more musical.
So there we are, 5 ways to get tight timing in Pro Tools. If you have any of your own, please comment.
Now that might seem like a smug thing to say, but believe me I’ve had hard drive crashes on several occasions, the first time I tried spending £450 with a specialist recovery firm, only to get back half the data. They say a fool is not someone who makes a mistake, but one who keeps on making the same mistake. I think I’ve learned from my mistakes, read this and you can learn from my mistakes too.
So my Mac Pro started playing silly buggers about a week ago, it would freeze after about 45 minutes of use and the only thing that would bring it back was a hard restart. Then I went through all the apps and systems that could be causing it, starting with apps, then background processes and still no love.
Then I fired up Disk Warrior and it told me that my SSD had some serious issues that I could only fix by flattening it and starting from scratch. Now for some that would be the worst news in the world. Thankfully for me it wasn’t, here’s why.
- I have two system drives on my Mac, one running the latest OS and the other an older trusty version. If one bombs then I have the second one I can boot to run any analytics, such as Disk Warrior.
- I keep all my sample libraries, Pro Tools Sessions and the data components of any large products like Komplete Ultimate on other hard drives. So if I do have to reinstall apps I don;t have to reinstall the huge libraries they use. All my sessions are backed up to Gobbler, all my other personal stuff is in Dropbox, all my mail is on IMAP, so none of that is getting lost.
- I use Super Duper and Carbon Copy Cloner to make back-ups of my drives so if the worst should happen then the worst hasn’t happened.
- I keep all my installers on a spare drive, so should I need to reinstall all the Apps, then I don’t have to wait for huge downloads to complete before I’m up and running.
- I use iLok for most of my plug-ins - you might hate iLok but they are my best friends, even if I had to buy a new machine then I could use all my plug-ins.
Now all of that is wisdom acquired from more bags of hurt than I care to recall. It has taken time for me to come to my senses regarding good storage, labelling and back-up policies. Some of the software I have mentioned is not free, but the alternative of me spending hours, if not days, trying to get my computer and data back from the dead makes my investment pay for itself a hundred times over.
Take my advice, learn from my mistakes and never have the worst happen, even when it does!
Russ and Mike have produced a show as either a YouTube video with slides or audio podcast ‘Everything You Need to Know About Pro Tools 11’.
The 45 minute show is an in depth explanation of the new features found in Pro Tools 11, plus our thoughts on the latest version of our favourite DAW.
If you cannot see the audio controls, listen/download the audio file here
Are you fed up of trying to get down to producing some masterpiece only to find that 8 hours later you’ve done bugger all? Here are 5 things that can improve your output, all of which sound plain silly but are completely true.
- Stare At A Cute Animal Picture To Improve Your Playing
You know all those pictures of cats rolling around in heather and puppies looking to camera with ‘please don’t drown me’ eyes, they help improve our motor skills. Two studies, one from the University of Virginia and the other Hiroshima, both found better performance improvements after staring at pictures of “very cute animals.” If you are struggling to nail those guitar licks, keyboard lines or Pro Tools shortcuts it may be time for you to find a cute animal pic.
- Surf When The Sun Shines Work When It Rains
Harvard Business School have published a study that shows when the sun shines we are distracted, but in bad weather our productivity improves. They suggest we should work shorter hours when the sun shines and make them up when it rains. That may explain the prolific musical output from the UK and also Jack Johnson living in Hawaii.
- No Song Then No Beer
When push comes to shove, we are more likely to avoid loss than try for a benefit. In other words, if I told you that if you wrote a song by the end of the day you got $100 you may not meet the challenge. However if I told you that it you didn’t finish the song by the end of the day you would lose $100, then you are more likely to do it. So you should set targets on yourself, I do this all the time, I only reward myself with a coffee, lunch, sleep etc. when I’ve hit a milestone - it’s very good for self employed people to manage their time and output.
- Multitasking Is Rubbish
It has been said that multi-tasking is the best way to get things done; I’m sure you do it all the time, flick between editing a track and reading your emails. Stanford have conducted one of many studies that show multitasking to be a weakness not a strength. Even more interesting is a study from the University of California that shows that when people turned off their email they were less stressed and got more done. Stress is a creativity killer - if you are in the middle of a great song idea and then you read an email that gets you angry or a Facebook comment that is just plain wrong, I can put money on you not finishing that song that day… if ever.
- Sleep And Go Look At Squirrels
Creative types like to work late, party hard and live on Red Bull or other similar substances to improve their senses. However several neurological studies show that the ‘I only need 5 hours sleep’ line isn’t true, lack of sleep suppresses brain activity that control attention, it also affects how you control your emotions. So the next time you find an artist flipping out in a session, it may have more to do with their lack of sleep than them being a genius! Furthermore, not only is sleep good for you but also getting out into nature. The Universities of Utah and Kansas ran a creativity test on two groups, one that went hiking for 4 days and the other before - the group who did the hike scored a 50% higher result than the other group that didn’t go looking at squirrels.
All a little mad you might think, but I’ve done all of these and seen improvements - why not give them a try, if for no one else then do it for the puppies.
You can read all of this and more in detail in the April 2013 edition of Inc.
After the video showing how to use Thump to get killer Hip Hop kicks some of you asked how to do it without. Russ shows you how.
Transfuser is often overlooked as a complicated instrument, but watch Russ take you from nothing to an entire song in a few minutes using just Transfuser.
Ever tried to navigate to your sounds via the browser in any version of Structure to be presented with the Mac beach ball of death? It may also be the same in Windows, but I’m a Mac user so we need to ask Neil.
Anyway, you can spend days trying to fix this - but the best way to fix a problem is to find out why it happens in the first place.
Here are 5 more MIDI features in Pro Tools worth knowing about to follow up on our first 5 we showed last week.
Mirrored MIDI Editing Works Across Tracks
Whilst Mirrored MIDI editing may be cool within a track to ensure loops are consistent, you can also use them across tracks if you want to use 2 synth bass sounds or stack drum sounds. Simply turn on the feature then a track copied to another will continue to mirror any edits made
Right mouse click on the name of any MIDI track and you will see the “Export MIDI” feature. Now because Pro Tools uses real-time MIDI processing you will then get a dialogue box up asking if you want to export the original MIDI without any quantizing, transposing or other real time processing you may have done, or as you are hearing it - nice!
Show MIDI Editor
If you want to see you MIDI editor all the time rather than when you just open it (double click on the MIDI track for that when in clip mode) then simply hit this down arrow at the bottom of the Pro Tools Edit window.
Enable Note Chasing
Imagine you have a long string pad that starts at bar one and then lasts 8 bars, but you want to hear the sustain of that note if you start playing at bar 5. Enable note chasing and Pro Tools plays the note as if you had started playback from the start. Magic!
Drawing MIDI Date
If you drop down the arrow on the bottom left of any MIDI channel you’ll see options to chose any MIDI controller, use the little arrow at the end of the grey bar next to the word to choose. Then select the pencil tool and you can draw in things such as the velocity of hi-hats or a snare roll. I use it all the time.
Everything from mic placement to reverb settings can make or break the perfect vocal take. Fortunately there are plenty of of great advice and help for getting the most out of your vocals, when you’re tracking and when you’re mixing. John Perry (who has sung with artists like The Beatles, Elton John, and Roger Daltry) guides you through an 8-part Vocal Master Class featuring both Nectar and Nectar Elements.
You can even download the demo song to follow along on your own!
How you deal with clients including agreeing work, the price, cancellations and getting the money can be a tricky business, so here are some thoughts based on my 20 plus years working as a freelance.
- Cancellation Charges
What should you do if a client cancels. My terms & conditions say 50% if a client cancels within 1 week of the job, 100% if cancelled within 24 hours of the job. As to whether to impose these terms, it depends on things like, whether it is a regular client, or if the job is postponed or cancelled.
- Money up front
I will usually ask for a deposit from new clients I have no relationship with and definitely if I have had to buy or rent in stuff for the job.
- Pre Job Briefings
Working with clients over the internet and so have never met means that meeting people isn’t always possible as the flight would be more expensive than the job, but yes as a rule, it is best to meet up with folk before hand so you can get a feel of where they are coming from. You can get a much better feel for where they are creatively meeting face to face. Failing that use services like Skype.
- What to do with the ‘tapes’?
This is a golden rule, especially with new clients. Never hand over the media until you have been paid in full. Also make sure that in your terms & conditions, you specify that you own the content of the recordings and that ownership will only transfer to the client when they have paid you in full, so if they try and use some low grade approval version without paying you then you can take them to court for using your content without permission.
- The price
Be clear about the price, discuss it and then confirm details in an email. In my experience, the people who haggle over the price, cause me the biggest grief because they always want something for nothing.
In conclusion, be clear, explain your terms and conditions up front so the client is aware of the way you do business.