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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.

Entries in tips (123)

Chris Lord-Alge Talks Old Tape Machines And Fast Mixes

Here’s a nice video from the Rednet team with Chris Lord Alge.

Although it’s primarily a promo video there’s some gems in their from mix-master Chris Lord-Alge.

Check it out.

Get Your Pro Tools Computer In Shape For The New Year

New Year, new start! While you have some time on your hands and a line drawn in the sand then it might be a good time to do some housekeeping and get your Pro Tools computer in shape for the coming year. Here are 4 ways to get your Pro Tools computer in shape.

Sort Your Files

It does not take long to have hard drives filled with samples, loops, libraries and sessions, if you don’t label them in a meaningful way then you’ll soon find you are wasting precious creative time looking for these things. In the absence of a meaningful workspace in Pro Tools the need to label is even greater. The right labelling system is the one that works for you, make it as simple or as complicated as you wish, although the simpler the better in my book. Both Windows and Mac OS have good search built in, but why make life hard - a few hours spent labelling the files you use for your music production is time well spent.

Archive Your Projects

If the home of some people was like their computer then they would be waste deep in crap. Once you have your stuff labelled in a meaningful way then consider archiving the stuff you don’t use that often. Having your local hard drives full of sessions dating back years is pointless, with the cost of hard drives dropping all the time then it’s a good idea to get stuff archived and free up your local hard drives for the new work you are doing. Also don’t forget that with the speed of internet connection improving and cloud based storage such as Gobbler built into Pro Tools then you can also archive and back-up in this way too.

Thin Your Plug-ins

Plug-ins have never been cheaper, it doesn’t take long for your plug-in folder to fill up with hundreds of plug-ins. Our team review a lot of plug-ins and soon there’s several hundred plug-ins sitting in the folder, just watch Pro Tools scanning and loading them each time it starts up. You may want to consider moving the plug-ins you seldom use into the Unused plug-ins folder, doing this will speed up your Pro Tools load times and also save you having to search through long lists of plug-ins every time you need to use one. If you want to ignore this advice then watch our Pro Tools tutorial on creating your own plug-in shortcuts video.

Update Your Software

Updates are a two edged sword, sometimes they fix your problems, other times they create even more problems for some users. Updates are an essential part of taking care of your Pro Tools computer system but it is worth doing your research first, we try and report any update issues as soon as we know about them, for example the recent issues surrounding the Pro Tools 11.0.3 update have been documented in several posts. However an out of date plug-in can crash your Pro Tools sessions, you can use cool software such as PluginUpdate from our friends at Kazrog. Ignoring updates to either to Pro Tools system is not possible, it’s just a case of doing your research when you are presented with new updates. 

A good place to start if you are unsure about getting your system in shape is by checking out our Support Tools section sponsored by Pro Tools PC and also our Pro Tools FAQ section.

25 Top Pro Tools, Recording And Business Tips You May Have Missed

We often run a ‘5 Ways’ article filled with tips for either getting the besy from Pro Tools, general recording advice, or business tips, after all there’s a lot of money to be made AND lost if you don’t take care of business.

Here are 5 articles that we ran and that got a lot of interest in the early part of 2013.

5 Ways To Better Loops That Will Cost You Nothing

Loops are a two sided coin, one side inspiration and hit making, the other side derivative and over-used. So how can you make sure that when you use loops your coin lands on the right side?

Here are our top 5 tricks that will cost you nothing…

Click to read more ...

The Easy Guide To Installing AIR Instruments

Russ responds to some emails about installing AIR Instruments, where to put the content libraries and then how to locate them from the instruments.

Become a member today

5 Ways To Ensure You Have A Healthier Studio Business This Week

Creatives are good at a lot of things, but for many taking care of some fundamental business needs is last on the list. However if you neglect them then your business, your finances and your home life may suffer. Here are the top 5 things anyone running a studio or a freelance business can do to ensure a better week.

Click to read more ...

How To Create Low Sub Bass Like The Track 'Boom Boom Boom'

Russ does a quick video to show how to get those really low bass sounds you hear in tracks like ‘Boom Boom Boom’

Dangling The Carrot – A Smart Way To Ensure You Get Paid. Mac


In the industry we sometimes find ourselves faced with a situation where in we have difficulty getting paid for the work we do. The scenario is something like this:

You get a gig, a remix for example, and while you are excited to do it and are happy at the prospect of being paid, the agreement is perhaps not cemented and dates are not given for final payment etc.

You finish your work in a timely manner, and you are happy with it, the client is happy, but the funds are still outstanding even though you have dropped the files and invoice, the client has mysteriously forgotten that the balance is outstanding, and their phones are suddenly going to voice mail and they cannot be contacted…

Click to read more ...

How To Connect Vienna Ensemble Pro Across Ethernet And Control It - Mac

Russ shows how to get Vienna Ensemble Pro working on two Macs via ethernet.

How To Get A Driving Pop Track 

Russ responds to a question about how to get that tight driving sound often heard on pop tracks. He uses just the free stuff that comes with Pro Tools.

How To Make A Two Mic Band Recording Sound Big

Russ shows how a band with just a couple of mics can make a mono recording sound big. All with the FREE stuff in Pro Tools.

Excellent Video From Spectrasonics On Memory Management

Omnisphere Video Tutorials: Memory Management from Spectrasonics on Vimeo.

This is an excellent video well worth watching in light of the recent release of AAX 64-bit versions of their plug-ins.

If you were previously using Spectrasonics plug-ins in Pro Tools 10 and below, you may be able to update your settings now to take full advantage of the new 64-bit engine.

The 5 Hour Challenge - Try It

Here’s a challenge and it will take just 5 hours to complete - try it and you’ll be amazed at the difference.

  • Spend One Hour Watching Some Tutorials
    Believe it or not, we all watch video tutorials on the team, learning is a life-long pursuit which one never completes. There are going to be things you own that you’ve never got around to fully learning - it might be Pro Tools, a plug-in, some hardware - you know. Spend one hour this week learning how to use one of those things. Most of the videos I make are born out of me being inquisitive and asking “I wonder if this is possible”.
  • Spend One Hour This Week Watching Some Industry Gurus
    If you are yet to watch any of the interviews on Pensado’s Place then check it out. Dave and Herb regularly have industry giants on the show - go over and drink in the wisdom. If you’re a post user then let us know some of the cool post videos you’ve watched recently.
  • Spend One Hour Reading A Manual
    You’ll be surprised what is hidden between the covers of those manuals. You may have already read all your manuals, but sometimes things don’t go in and sometimes things fall out.
  • Spend One Hour Listening To Some New Recordings
    I love to hear a new recording and it’s never been easier to find them. It’s as easy as checking out the iTunes album charts, searching Spotify or a hundred and one other music streaming sites. If you’ve listened to something cool recently then let us know and we can all check it out, it doesn’t have to be new, just a new discovery - if you’ve yet to check it out then give “Every Kingdom” by Ben Howard a spin.
  • Spend One Hour Learning A Fundamental
    It may be the guitar, drums, acoustics, mic placement, time code, frame rates, soldering, dithering, musical theory, orchestration. You’ll not learn everything in an hour, but you’ll know more than you would had you not bothered.

Now if you get into the habit of doing that every week then those five hours will all add up to making you someone skilled at your chosen craft - you may not end up making money from it, but you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing you tried your best.

Manipulate Any Beat To Do What You Want

Russ shows you how to take any beat and make it do what you want - no plug-ins required!

MIDI Instrument Power Workflow Using Instrument Tracks 

Here’s a video showing the very cool tip from community member Steve Peach on making powerful MIDI workflows whilst minimising screen real estate in Pro Tools.

Pro Tools Expert Podcast Episode 74

Russ, Mike, Neil, & James are back with a packed Pro Tools Expert podcast that includes….

This podcast was brought to you completely by Pro Tools 11 and you can listen here;

Community Tips From This Week's Podcast Part 2

We continue to get a great response to our appeal for tips from the community and each week we are giving away a storm-trooper iLok to the best tip of the week. Here are second batch of the tips that were submitted to this week’s show starting with this week’s winner from Jeff Meredith…

  1. Jeff Meredith Insert a de-esser before your reverb to scale back the more noticeable bits in the high end on things like snares and acoustic guitar. It lets you have more control over your reverb and keep it sounding natural!

  2. Michael Moeding When prepping a session for ADR go through the script and create memory locations for all dialog to be replaced.  Type the characters name and full line of dialog into the comments section of the memory location.  as you start the recording session double click the memory location of each line of dialog you are about to record and copy the comments section and paste it into the record track’s name.  Each line of dialog you record will have a clip with the characters name and dialog line as well as the record and take number.  The ADR editors and mixers will love you more!

  3. Will Gurrey Don’t leave your iLok hanging around otherwise your son will nab it thinking its a flash drive!

  4. Marco jr Battistella Never, NEVER ever leave your black iLok on a table in the studio and let your Great Dane in it unsupervised for a couple of minutes. Why? Because you end up looking for your dongle for hours just to find out that your dog ate it. Sounds funny? Well, true story.

Do keep sending your tips in, and you may win a storm-trooper iLok.

Community Tips From This Week's Podcast Part 1

We have had a great response to our appeal for tips from the community and each week we are continuing to give away a storm-trooper iLok to the best tip of the week. Here are some of the tips that were submitted to this week’s show…..

  1. Jonathan Becerra My tip is to make a ritual with your iLok so that you never forget where it is at all times. Since the iLok is the holder of your most valuable licenses I believe that it should be the forefront of your studio set up and tear down ritual. Get a small lock box for the iLok that you can secure to an underside of your studio desk. Once there always start and finish with getting your iLok form the lockbox so that it becomes a habit. Hope this helps with some security and paranoia of messing up or losing your iLok!
  2. Espen Hollund I just want to share some of the shortcuts I use all the time to speed up my workflow. When renaming tracks you can hit cmd+enter or cmd+rigt arrow or  cmd+down arrow to get to the next track to the right. If you want to go to the next track to the left hit cmd+left arrow or  cmd+up arrow. This saves a lot of time compared to double clicking each track. When I’m zooming I always use the keyboard shortcuts. I then hit cmd+] to zoom in and cmd+[ to zoom out. I also think the possibility to dial in nudging distance in samples is worth mentioning again for new listeners. Set nudging to samples, dial in how many samples you want to nudge, select the clips you want to nudge and hit + or - on the numeric keyboard to nudge. Also the cmd+= is a must-know-shortcut for everybody with just one computer monitor. Hit escape when in the edit window to switch between the different Edit Tools (selector tool, smart tool etc.)
  3. Micke Løvdalen I’ve found a really crazy shortcut in PT 10 Mac.  On an audio track, make a selection and press Shift-Ctrl-alt and number 3. This will give you a sine wave at 1k.
  4. Brian Russ Read The Manual aka RTM or RTFM. Seriously, it will save you precious minutes you will otherwise not get back, wishing you had spent time in the alps yodeling out to the valleys below, or whatever.

 

More later this week, including this week’s winner.

Pro Tools Producer Secrets - Pultec Eq Trick

 

In this new series Russ shares some of the secrets from top engineers, producers and mixers.
In this video he shows the Pultec Eq trick.

 

Create MIDI Triggers From Audio Loops In Pro Tools

Russ shows how a little keyboard shortcut knowledge can help you create MIDI versions of audio loops - no extra software necessary.

Using Multi-band Compression To Sweeten A Final Mix

Russ uses the very cool Blue Cat Audio MB-5 to show how to sweeten a mix using multi-band compression.