24 Mar

Small Pro Tools tip #2

Just a little workflow tip that helps you identify clipped tracks during a multi-track recording without having to constantly scroll up and down on your timeline.

The key is to leave the track list open in the edit window.

First, it gives you a very good overview, can show you track numbers and names, you can easily select one or more tracks, and also, make tracks active or inactive, show and hide them. For these things it’s already a great habit to have it open during recording, but the main thing is, this is the best place to see if some tracks have clipped, as the overloaded tracks are shown in red.

track list window

As the track list window is very “succinct”, you can see much more tracks comfortably than in the edit window itself.

And while we’re here, sometimes you need to clear clip (clearing the red signs). To do this, hit:

ALT+C

After this command, you’re going to start with a clean track list again, so if anything goes into red after this, you’ll see it.

14 Mar

How a birthday party looks like #2

Thought to share some technical details, hope you find it interesting. Won’t go into deep technical explanations, rather just give some general idea how we use some of our gear during these two days.

Studer, Lexicon, TC and Pro Tools

The Studer Vista8 serve as a live broadcast and remote gain console. On the first two layers we mix the current show with 82 inputs from the big hall. If necessary, we can remote control the Studer from the other studio, but honestly you need to constantly check if the remote is working fine, because it’s not the most stable software…
The Lexicon 960 serve as a four engine reverb, while the TC system 6000 serve as a two engine reverb, a multi-band mid/side compressor and a limiter on engine four. All the channels goes into a Pro Tools HDX2 system which also records two complete broadcast mix, one is processed (quasi-mastered on-air) the other is unprocessed.
If it is necessary, the Pro Tools system can also serve as a main mix system with a S6 surface, recording the multitrack, the mixed on-air outputs while recording the mix automation during the performances. We have a few detailed template session for this.

Where it all comes together

The centre of the whole multi-room system is the Direct out technologies m1k2, which is a very clever routing matrix for 1024×1024 audio channels. Although the whole building operates at 24 bit 48kHz, if we happen to have any additional equipment which operates at any other sampling rate, this system is able to handle that with its poly-sync feature.

We have 3 studios operating at full throttle during these two days, serving the web-radio, the live broadcast, the OB van, and of course the HD video studio. All the recordings are being stored not only on the local recording drives, but right after each show, a safety backup is created onto a huge RAID storage. Because we record enormous amount of data daily, after double-checking the backup, we have to clean the record drives to have ample space for the next day.

So far, we have very minor issues, nothing showstopper, but experienced strange drop-outs on two Nuendo workstations. Fortunately the errors only occurred during rehearsals but the on-air shows went without issues. At the end of the day we’re going to do some tests to make sure that the two problematic workstations don’t have any hidden errors which could ruin tomorrow’s recordings.

14 Mar

How a birthday party looks like

At least here, in the Palace of Arts Budapest. Well, it looks like chaos from the outside. Lots of things to see and hear, so many concerts and cultural activities that you can hardly select your favourites. Behind the scenes though, all the studios are on full throttle. It’s like a huge festival on steroids. We record almost everything (multitrack) while mixing for live web-stream and internet radio and serving the OB van outside the building. Yes, although we have the largest in-built studio department in the country, during the next two days we’re going to have so many things to record-mix-stream that we need additional OB van to take care some of the occasions.

I thought it would be interesting to know what arsenal we use for this huge marathon. So, in a nutshell, here’s the equipment list:

2 Nuendo with RME audio cards with Artist series controllers
1 Pro Tools HD native with S6 controller
1 Pro Tools HDX2 with S6 controller
2 JoeCo MADI recorders for safety backups
1 Studer Vista 8 console with a Lexicon 960 and a TC system 6000
1 DoTech MADI router for main distribution

This arsenal only for the broadcast-recording part of the equation, have a few other things in the OB van, some more at the video side. Looks like chaos, but we have a strict plan, which seems to be working. As I’m writing this, we’ve done 7 broadcasts, went without a hiccup. So far so good.

08 Mar

Minor problem with one of our S6

Recently we had a tiny issue with one of our S6 surface. After the latest update, it started to behave strange. All the functions worked perfectly, but for some unknown reason, after the boot sequence, the master modules’s fan kept on spinning at the highest speed. When you boot up the surface, it’s natural to hear the fan for a few seconds, but after that, it’s just adjust the fan speed so you can’t really hear that it’s working. But with this unit, the fan kept on working at the highest throttle all day.

Tried multiple re-boots, but that didn’t help. Then I decided to ask about this issue on the DUC. Then Brandonx1 suggested this:

Just log out and log back in. That fixes the fan issue for me

Which is a very good advice, and it seems this solution worked for many who had the very same issue, but it didn’t solve our issue. Next I’ve tried to update the internal modules to see if that solve it. But sadly, that didn’t help either. As a last attempt, I reinstalled update 1.4 and voila, the loud fan problem disappeared. When I started the reinstall process on the master module, the installer offered a repair option. I chose that, and it perfectly solved this tiny problem.

So, if you’re an S6 user and have a problem like this, try these two simple things I wrote, hopefully it will solve your fan problem too.

And by the way, we still don’t have proper softkeys under Nuendo…