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Entries in tricks (69)
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Magic Bass Guitar
Simple as this… shelving boost at 100Hz then compress nice and hard.
- 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.
- 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.
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 here - In addition to us here at Pro Tools Expert continuing to support legacy systems, it may surpise you but Avid do too. They will provide legacy software updates for 3 years and they will offer legacy hardware support for up to 5 years. So no one is forcing you to upgrade if you don’t want to. As I have said before “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it”. If your PT7 system is doing all you need it to do that is fine, if you are finding it no longer does what you need it to do then consider what system will do what you need.
Russ shows how to get more interesting acoustic guitars using the example from the track “Let Her Go” by Passenger.
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.
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.
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.
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
A request by a community member, Russ shows how to create the ubiquitous Wub Wub bass sound in Pro Tools.
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.