At NAMM 2018 today, Avid has announced Pro Tools 2018. Not only has the version numbering changed as we predicted, but Pro Tools 2018 also brings a raft of music production related features and improvements including Retrospective MIDI Record, MIDI Editing Enhancements, Track Presets, Playlist Comping Enhancements, Mixing UI Enhancements, "Start Collaboration" File Menu Item, and Flexible Licensing and Deployment.
Retrospective MIDI Record
Ever jam along to a song and nail the perfect run without being in record? Now with retrospective MIDI recording, Pro Tools 2018 goes into "listen" mode even when you're not recording, so you can grab those inspired performances into a track after you have stopped playing.
This means you can now capture MIDI performances on MIDI or Instrument tracks even when Pro Tools is not recording as long as the track is in Record Enable and then add them to your session with a simple key command, which is Shift+C, or you will find a new menu item in the Events menu 'Retrospective Record' and then Pro Tools will insert the performance onto the appropriate track where you played it.
MIDI Editing Enhancements
Making music has never been easier. With numerous MIDI improvements and enhancements, you can fix and finesse every note to perfection, from transposing and trimming notes with the arrow keys, to building chords and scores faster than ever before.
- Arrow keys editing, transpose in-key
- MIDI tab-to-note
- Extract chords from MIDI clips
With Pro Tools shortcuts built around the arrow keys you can now easily transpose...
- Use the Up and Down arrows to transpose a note up or down by a semi-tone
- Use Shift and the Up and Down arrows to transpose a note up or down by an octave
- Use Control on a Mac, or Start on Windows, together with the Up and Down arrows to transpose a note up or down in key with Pro Tools using the key information set on the Key Ruler.
You can also use variants of these shortcuts to create chords quickly and easily. If you add Option on a Mac, or Alt on Windows, to the Transpose in Key shortcut, because the Alt/Option key creates a copy as you move the note and so you can build up chords quickly and easily.
There are also new shortcuts for trimming MIDI notes...
- Use Control on a Mac, or Start on Windows, together with the Left and Right arrows to trim the start of the note by the grid value.
- Use Option on a Mac, or Alt on Windows, together with the Left and Right arrows to trim the end of the note by the grid value.
If you add the Shift key to either of these keyboard Shortcuts will move the start or end by the next highest grid value, without having to change the selected grid value.
Another set of shortcuts added in Pro Tools 2018.1 are the ability to adjust the velocity of selected MIDI Notes...
- Use Command on a Mac, or Control on Windows together with the Up and Down arrows to increase or decrease the note's velocity by 5.
- Use Shift and Command on a Mac, or Shift and Control on Windows, together with the Up and Down arrows to increase or decrease the note's velocity by 15.
Finally now in Pro Tools 2018 you can extract chord progressions from a MIDI clip selection. This feature is designed to be a helpful way to identify chords based on the performance on an instrument or MIDI track. These extracted chord progressions are then displayed in the Chord Ruler and so are designed to eliminate the need to enter chords into the chord ruler or score editor.
At last Avid has added Track Presets, which has been a heavily requested feature in the Pro Tools IdeaScale and the Avid Customer Association Surveys. With Track Presets, you can quickly save, catalog, and recall your favourite effects chains, vocal processing, session import criteria, and other track settings all of which are designed to boost your efficiency so you can spend more time creating.
This feature has harnessed the Session Import feature and created micro sessions with just one track giving us Track Presets, which can include media, audio, and MIDI, so not only can you set up track presets with plug-ins, inserts and sends all set up, you can also include audio and MIDI in the track presets as well. All of this is intended so that you can spend less time configuring tracks and remove mundane tasks and spend more time being creative, developing ideas, and finishing projects.
All you need to do save a track preset is either right-click on the selected track and choose Save Track Preset or use the corresponding menu item in the Track menu or use the new shortcut Option+Shift+P on a Mac or Alt+Shift+P on Windows. Whichever option you use, this will bring up the Save Track Preset dialog box where you choose where to save the track preset and much more. Watch the video above to see how to use this feature.
You can recall Track Presets from the New Track dialog box and in the Workspace browser, there is a new Track Presets category in the Locations column on the left-hand side. Here you can search by Name or Tags assigned to a Track Preset that you want to import.
The new Track Presets feature also allows for partial recall of a track preset making it great for saving and recalling plug-in chains.
Pro Tools 2018 will ship with 630 built-in presets to get you started.
Track Compositing Keyboard Shortcuts
Pro Tools 2018 brings a powerful combination of keyboard shortcuts to help streamline track comping workflows. While not all of the following keyboard shortcuts are new, we have included them all here for the sake of completion.
|Solo the Playlist lane containing the Edit cursor||Shift+S||Shift+S|
|Move the Edit cursor up and down through Playlist lanes||Control+P and Control+ Semicolon (;)||Start+P and Start+ Semicolon (;)|
|Show the previous or next playlist in the main playlist for tracks that contain the Edit cursor||Shift+Up Arrow/Shift+Down Arrow||Shift+Up Arrow/Shift+Down Arrow|
|To designate the Target playlist for the playlist containing the Edit insertion||Command+Shift+Right Arrow||Control+Shift+Right Arrow|
|To designate the Target playlist for the playlist containing the Edit insertion for all tracks||Command+Option+Shift+ Right Arrow||Control+Alt+Shift+Right Arrow|
|To show the Target playlist as the Main Playlist||Shift+Right Arrow||Shift+Right Arrow|
|To toggle between the current and most recent Main playlists||Shift+Left Arrow||Shift+Left Arrow|
|Copy the selection to the Target playlist||Option+Shift+Up Arrow or Option+Control+V||Alt+Shift+Up Arrow or Alt+Start+V|
|Move the selection to the Target playlist||Option+Shift+T||Alt+Shift+T|
|Copy the selection to a new playlist||Option+Shift+Down Arrow||Alt+Shift+Down Arrow|
|Move the selection to a new playlist||Option+Shift+N||Alt+Shift+N|
|To cycle in material in the Edit selection from the previous playlist||Command+Shift+Up Arrow||Control+Shift+Up Arrow|
|To cycle in material in the Edit selection from the next playlist||Command+Shift+Down Arrow||Control+Shift+Down Arrow|
|Create a new playlist for the first selected track in the session||Control+\||Start+\|
|Create a new playlist for each track in the session||Control+Option+\||Start+Alt+\|
|Create a new playlist for each selected track in the session||Control+Option+Shift+\||Start+Alt+Shift+\|
|Duplicate the main playlist for the first selected track in the session||Command+Control+\||Control+Start+\|
|Duplicate the main playlist for each track in the session||Command+Option+Control+\||Control+Alt+Start+\|
|Duplicate the main playlist for each selected track in the session||Command+Option+ Control+Shift+\||Control+Alt+Start+Shift+\|
Playlist Comping Enhancements
With Pro Tools 2018 you can now build a Target Playlist of the best performances from multiple playlists whilst in Waveform view. It's ideal when working with grouped tracks, making playlist management and viewing much easier. You can also now cycle through different takes within a clip using the arrow keys for a quicker review.
You can now comp from Waveform view and the send clip selections to a target playlist without having to switch into Playlist view. This makes it easier and faster to comp together the best takes while saving valuable screen real estate in Waveform view.
Even better is that this works on grouped tracks. If you have 4 takes of a drum kit recording, with say 8 tracks all grouped together, you can now audition the different takes from the Waveform view and select the best take or section of a take to go into the target playlist.
Watch the video to get an insight into this great new feature.
All these new commands have also been 'euconised' so you can implement them from a Eucon control surface, like the Avid S6, S3, Artist Mix and the free Pro Tools Control app on the iPad.
Mixing UI Enhancements
With new EQ curve graphs on all Mix window channel strips in Pro Tools 2018, you can see how your settings and automation are impacting each track in real time, even those with multiple EQs including any 3rd party plug-ins that support this new feature.
In addition, pre-fader sends and Automation lane view menu entries are now colour-coded, making them easier to distinguish. Pre-Fade sends are now coloured blue in the Edit and Mix windows whereas Automation lanes are coloured orange in the track view menu so you can see which lanes have automation on them without switching views. All of this makes it easier to see what is happening at a glance.
"Start Collaboration" File Menu Item
If you have got a session that you would like to work on with others, then with the new Start Collaboration feature in the File menu, Pro Tools 2018 will automatically save your current session, close it, and reopen it as a project in the cloud, with all tracks converted and ready to be shared.
You can now more easily convert session files to project files and then invite collaborators via this new File menu item. You can also convert sessions to project files which will enable you to future-proof, collaborate and take advantage of revision history.
Flexible Licensing And Deployment
Pro Tools 2018 brings iLok Cloud Support to Pro Tools, which can enable you to choose to work iLok-free and reclaim an extra USB port or continue using your iLok as before. Make sure you have updated to the latest version of the iLok License Manager to take advantage of iLok Cloud and Network licenses, coming soon, once that feature is supported in Pro Tools.
You will need to move your Pro Tools license from your iLok into the iLok Cloud using the iLok License Manager, so make sure you have the latest version of the iLok License Manager before updating to Pro Tools 2018 if you want to use the iLok Cloud option.
Network Site Licensing will also be coming soon. With this option, you will be able to administer licenses to your enterprise, teams, or educational facility without needing to manage multiple iLoks or replace stolen ones. If you need Pro Tools for your post facility, broadcast enterprise, or educational institution, Network Licensing is due to be released soon. Then you will be able to purchase a multi-seat Pro Tools or Pro Tools HD Network Site License, which is a long overdue feature request from large organisations including post facilities and educational establishments.
Pro Tools 2018 New Features And Compatibility Chart
|New Feature||Pro Tools First||Pro Tools Standard||Pro Tools HD|
|Retrospective MIDI Record||X||X||X|
|MIDI Editing Enhancements||X||X||X|
|Track Data To Import Dialog||X||X|
|Playlist Comping Enhancements||X||X|
|Mixing UI Improvements||X||X||X|
|"Start Collaboration" File Menu Item||X||X|
|Flexible Licensing and Deployment||N/A||X||X|
Initial Observations Of Pro Tools 2018
As this update hit our Avid Master Accounts yesterday some of the team have had the chance to a look at Pro Tools 2018 and it is very clear that this first release of 2018 - 2018.1, where the .1 represents the month that the update was released, is a music orientated release and one that is designed to improve the ease of use and the workflow, managing tracks, editing MIDI, recording MIDI, Playlist Comping, all focused on music production.
That is not to say that some of these features won't help the post community too. Track Presets, Comping Improvements, the Mix page UI Enhancements and the conversion of sessions to Projects, then turning off the backup to the cloud option, so that we can use Revision History, are all useful features for Post users.
Pro Tools First gets a new version as Avid hasn't always updated Pro Tools First each time they have updated Pro Tools Standard and Pro Tools HD. But with this release, the free version of Pro Tools gets 4 of the 8 new feature sets, Retrospective MIDI Record, MIDI Editing Enhancements, Track Presets and Mixing UI Enhancements, making it more useful.
What do you make of Pro Tools 2018? Have you tried it yet? Do share your thoughts and experiences with us in the Comments below...