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Entries in tips (126)

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.

UVI Workstation AAX Kills Mini Grand - Workaround

UVI Workstation and Mini Grand have fallen out and are now in counsellingReports have been emerging that sessions using the new 64-bit AAX version of UVI Workstation are causing Mini Grand to lose sound. This is a confirmed bug.

No word on this bug from UVI yet; however, a workaround is to instantiate UVI Workstation LAST on a session - also, make the UVI plugin INACTIVE before saving the session, which will force other VIs to load before UVI when reopening that session.  Once the session is open, go ahead and reactivate UVI.

We’ll let you know when there’s a permanent fix.

How To Get Reversed Piano Effects In Pro Tools

Russ shows how to get a cool reversed piano effect in Pro Tools.

Pro Tools Preset Track Hack Updated For Pro Tools 11 Mac

This is an updated video of the Pro Tools track preset hack from Philip Nicols which is different in Pro Tools 11 due to file and folder locations being moved. Thanks again Philip!
To see how to do it in Pro Tools 10 and below then watch here:

Offline Bounce Power Workflow In Pro Tools 11 HD

In this video Russ shows how some pre-planning can create some powerful offline bounce workflows for those using Pro Tools 11 HD.

How To Use Elastic Pitch To Change Notes In Performances

Russ shows how to use elastic pitch in Pro Tools to alter notes in performances, no auto tune software required.

Pro Tools 11 Working With Digi002 - A Guide

Owners of both Digi002 and Digi002R were a little concerned when Avid put it in the “might work” options on their list of approved interfaces. Anyway Eric Johnson has taken the plunge with Pro Tools 11 and reports are postive, here is guide to how he got up and running! Thanks Eric, you’re a star.

In the hope that it might be helpful to someone else, here is how I updated my Pro Tools system on Mac OS X Mountain Lion from Pro Tools 10 to Pro Tools 10 and Pro Tools 11. My Mac Pro is a 2008 8-core (dual 2.8GHz quad-core) ID 3,1 w/ 16GB RAM and a plethora of disk volumes, and my interface is a Digi/Avid 002 console. Neither my computer nor my interface are officially supported by Avid for Pro Tools 11, however they’re working. Of course I plan to replace both when I am able, but for now I’m thankful for the extended life I’m getting from my existing gear.

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Create A Track Freeze Workflow In Pro Tools 11

Russ shows how easy it is to create a track freeze workflow in Pro Tools 11.

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Automatic Ducking In Pro Tools

In this video Russ shows what ducking is and how to apply it to a track. Often necessary when making podcasts, radio or voice in video and film.

My Personal iLok Woes - What Helped And What Didn't

Update 17th June 2013 10:30 BST - The iLok team have told us that they have just made a update to their systems ‘to add more muscle’ to help the Sync & Repair sequence go more smoothly. So if you haven’t been successful so far then it might be worth trying again.

I suppose there is always the danger of reading a blog like this and forgetting that those of us who write it are real people living the same kind of lives of the community we serve. This is not like some corporation, political party or religious institution, where we are removed from the lives of those we try to serve.

I write that to underpin that whilst the iLok issues have been hitting some of the community, at least two of the team, myself and Mike have been dealing with the same pain. I lost 209 licences in the migration, but as of 5 minutes ago I have 202 of them back, so I can get on with working and making a living again.

There are some things we are sure about and some things we are not certain regarding the recent issues surrounding the migration of iLok to their new platform. So rather than try and come up with conjecture about the technical, PR and legal issues, Mike and I thought it might help to outline what helped us and what didn’t help.

What Helped? 

  • Knowing I wasn’t the only one dealing with this and that I wasn’t mad.
  • Mike’s excellent efforts in trying to communicate ways to solve the problem.
  • The reports from other users and how they solved their issues, there’s some real gems on the DUC, Facebook and other sites around the web. Check the DUC here and here
  • Having the iLok team personally respond to every email I sent, the last reply I got was about an hour ago, which is around 2:00am PST.

What Didn’t Help?

  • Although iLok did try and answer emails at any time of the day, they do have to sleep, so iLok need to figure out how to offer 24/7 manned support email and phone lines. I know Andrew and the team do all they can, but however willing they are to try and do it themselves, it is not a viable business model.
  • Having to try and explain complex issues via email. iLok should also seriously consider a screen sharing support application. Most of my emails contained complex descriptions of my issues - one of them contained 5 screen shots as well as extensive narrative. Not all people are able to convey these issues in writing.
  • People unaffected by the issues deciding the have an opinion in forums or on Facebook threads. To be frank the last thing I need when looking for a solution is to have to wade through endless comments (half of them from people unaffected by this issue) who want to give legal, change management, IT, developer and any other would-be professional opinions, so I can find a real answer. If you are unaffected by this, bored and want to have an opinion, then please go and comment on a dancing cat on YouTube, don’t make this harder than it has to be.

What to do now

  • If you haven’t used the new iLok License Manager think very carefully as to when to do it, especially if you are in or about to enter a busy period. This was the advice we gave over a week ago when this started, it is the same advice we give when a new version of Pro Tools comes out. There will be teething troubles with any new version despite a comprehensive testing programme before release. Remember Apple’s transition from Mobile Me to iCloud…. The real world is very different to the lab. But remember a lot of users have had no problems.
  • If you have used the License Manager and you are still having problems then do follow the instructions from the ilok team that we have posted here. This is resolving most people’s problems, even if it does take several attempts at the Sync/Repair cycle.
  • The Sync/Repair cycle is very sensitive to a dodgy internet connection. If you can do via a wired connection then we recommend this is what you do.
  • If you are still having problems then do get in touch with the iLok team with a Support Ticket via the iLok web site. Use the Continue button to start the Support Ticket process. They will get to you, they are working incredibly hard, but it may not be an instant response.
  • Update 17th June 2013 10:30 BST - The iLok team have told us that they have just made a update to their systems ‘to add more muscle’ to help the Sync & Repair sequence go more smoothly. So if you haven’t been successful so far then it might be worth trying again.

Once the dust has settled then iLok have a number of questions to answer regarding roll-out, back-up scenarios, ongoing support and what zero downtime really means? For a couple of days I was on Zero Up Time, which was costing me time, money and reputation.

However, now is not the time for blame but for robust and lasting solutions which I would rather iLok spend their energy on, sooner rather than later. Once this has happened and iLok can gather their thoughts then we can begin the autopsy.

Using Pro Tools Edit Modes

In this session learn about how using the 4 different edit modes can enable you to become a power editor in Pro Tools.

The session explains and demonstrates the best uses for using the Shuffle, Spot, Slip and Grid edit modes.

5 Tips On Deciding When And What To Upgrade

The decision of when and what to upgrade is always a tricky one to make, so it is critical to review exactly what you need the new or upgraded gear to do, and to be pragmatic in your choosing.

  1. Look at your workflows. What do you need your equipment to do for you, so that you can be creative in whatever field or genre you are working in. Remember, the gear is a tool to enable you to be creative, the gear should not be controlling your creativity. Your creativity should determine what gear you need.
  2. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. This advice applies to upgrades as much as it does to anything else. For example, if you have a Pro Tools 7.4 system with old Accel cards, etc., and you can happily do all you need to do, then use that system and carry on using it until it starts to limit your creativity. Then, and only then, consider what to upgrade to.
  3. Don’t automatically assume you need to jump to the latest technology. There is a good argument to staying one step behind the cutting edge, so that you have a reliable and proven system that won’t let you down. Clients should be looking for people that can do the job, not necessarily for studios that have the latest kit (which may or may not work). No one likes downtime when gear/software doesn’t doesn’t work properly and unreliability will kill a reputation in a flash; it will take you a long time and a lot of hard work to get back from that. So it may be better for you to upgrade to an older secondhand system because it does all you need it to do and won’t break the bank.
  4. Whenever you make an upgrade decision, there will always be rumours about the next new thing which that might do this or do that and is certain to be ready next week, or next month. You should only make decisions based on equipment and software actually available and not on ‘vapourware’. Make your choices from what is in front of you now.
  5. Accept that on the day you buy your equipment, it is almost automatically “out of date.” With the pace of new developments these days, there is almost always something new out which supersedes what you have bought.  But if you have bought that widget because it enables you to be creative, then it shouldn’t matter that it isn’t the latest widget. 

Using Parallel Compression On A Drum Buss

Russ shows the advantage of using parallel compression on a drum buss.

How To Get Separate Outputs From Structure FREE

Russ shows a simple but effective tip for getting separate outputs from Structure FREE.



5 Mix Tricks That Work 95% Of The Time

Mixes are complex things and can take a long time to get right, but there are some things that will work on 95% of mixes, or put it another way here are 5 cheats for those who are just getting into mixing. I use these all the time, other people shared them with me over the years so try them and if they work for you then pass them on.

  1. Roll Off Guitars At 100Hz
    Keep the bottom end nice and clean and leave space for the bass and kick by rolling off 100Hz hard on electric and acoustic guitars.
  2. Using A Loop
    To stop loops fighting with other stuff, particularly when you use loops with live drums, I often roll off the top and the bottom and put a peak boost right in the middle to grunge it all up.
  3. Magic Bass Guitar
    Simple as this… shelving boost at 100Hz then compress nice and hard.
  4. De-Ess Cymbals
    Not a usual use for a de-esser, but if you have overheads or cymbals that are harsh then put a de-esser across them and then find a sweet spot using the frequency control and you’ll get them under control.
  5. Use Pre-Delay Instead Of Long Reverb Times
    If you want to create space with reverbs without the whole mix becoming a splashy mess, then use a longer pre-delay and a shorter decay time. So instead of using a decay time of 2.5secs, try a longer pre-delay and about a 1 second decay.

Let me know how you get on. If you have any you would like to share your own then add them in the comments. 

Mastering MIDI Quantize In Pro Tools

Russ shows the various ways you can use to fix timing in MIDI performances when using Pro Tools. There are four of them, so use the one that works best for you.

Pro Tools Expert Will Continue To Cover Legacy Systems

With the recent announcement of Pro Tools 11 and our inevitable reporting, some users staying on legacy versions of Pro Tools may wonder what our intentions for future video, editorial and podcast content are.

The Pro Tools Expert team appreciate that some users either do not wish to upgrade to a new system or cannot afford to upgrade.

Rest assured, it is our intention to continue to offer advice and tips and tricks (including videos) and answer podcast questions for owners of legacy systems. NEW USERS PLEASE NOTE - this is an independent community site offering tips, tricks, tutorials and advice, for product support related to your purchase please speak to your dealer or Avid in the first instance.

Mike Installs SSD Into His Mac Pro

The Crucial SSD drive fixed to the Akasa bracketAs 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 Pro Tools 11 isn’t officaly 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. 

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