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Tag: HDX

Avid S6 v2.2 update

Few weeks ago Avid released the latest S6 upgrade which makes our control surfaces even more clever. I scanned the forums for information how stable it is, what new goodies we get, but haven’t been able to install it due to the enormous workload. As the old wisdom says: Never ever upgrade in the middle of a project.

So I patiently waited until the studio has a small pause so I can install the new upgrade.


The install process is not complicated, however you have to be precise and keep the order or else you might experience some weird things. Go to the Avid site and log-in.

1. Download the necessary software from your Avid account. Don’t forget that you need an S6 update and also need a WS control upgrade for your computer. If you don’t find the downloadable file, search for them under the Products not yet downloaded section.

2. Copy the S6 upgrade software to a pen-drive.

3 On the S6, log-out into Administrator mode and launch the install file from your pen-drive. Obviously follow the steps until it’s ready but wait, you’re still not finished with the S6 part. You have to Activate the new software which means you need your system ID and the activation code.

4. Now you have two options. Activate online (only if your S6 is connected to the net) or do it offline. I did it offline which requires to go the Avid software activation site, fill in the form and download the activation file.

5. Once you’ve downloaded the file, copy it to your thumb drive and sit back in front of the S6. The software there asks for the activation file and as you show the path for that, you’re ready with the complete installation and activation process.

6. One thing left. Go to the surface menu and update the modules as the S6 asks for this. This, depending on the surface, may take a few minutes to finish.

7. Update the WS control software on your workstation.

8. For real World peace, restart both the S6 and the computer.

If you’re absolutely not familiar with the update process or find it difficult, you can find further help in the What’s new document, also available from your Avid account.

s6 update donwload links

In practice

As we all know, it’s one thing that a new software should be bug-free and perfect in every area, but as these beast are so complex, bugs are just the reality of our professional life. Hence I always insist on testing the new release on myself before I upgrade the other studio. I’ve been testing the 2.2 software for 5 days now with smaller and bigger sessions and it is extremely solid. I haven’t experienced even one crash during this period.

Tried to make it break with huge film score mixes and dauntingly long 10 hour-long opera recordings but it just works like if I’d been using only a few channels.

One important note. This new version might render your old layouts unusable. Because there’s a new feature in this mode, you might need to redo some older session’s layout.

It seems that we’re lucky, every older layout works fine with the new software.

After the last few days I absolutely recommend every S6 owner to immediately upgrade to 2.2. Not only it is rock solid, but you got some very nice new features too, which I’m going to introduce in the next posts, so stay tuned.

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Pro Tools 12.5.2 update

After gathering some information online, it seems that the general consensus is that this release happens to be one of the best lately. So I thought I give it a try to see if that’s true. By the way I always love to be on the latest stable version for many reasons.

One being that the latest versions have the most goodies. The second is that these versions contains improvements and bug fixes, well, at least hopefully.

But I have to be cautious because it’s all fine if I only screw up my own system, but I must be much more diligent when it comes to our studio systems. They must be working 24/7 so no premature update there. My method became that my own MacBook Pro is the first test. If everything is fine there, than I update one of our main rigs, where mainly I work the most. If that’s still a success, only then I update all the other rigs in the house.

Even if everyone on Earth would swear that we received a perfect update I’d keep this order just in case. I love to be on the latest-greatest release but also I want to work without major hiccups.

At the weekend I downloaded the installers from my Avid account and installed it onto my laptop. Deliberately first I don’t clean the prefs and databases, simply I just install it on top of the other. Worth mentioning that you can find the Codec and HD-driver installers inside the package. I also updated those.


Then played a few hours with it and to my surprise I didn’t have any crash. Tried with easy sessions and with more complicated ones, it was stable. The next test was to work from the internal SSD instead of an external one. It is still NOT recommended and honestly I really suggest to always use an external drive for your work. This was only to see how stable the new release is. Still, no hiccups, no strange issues.

Main rig 1

The first main rig is a Apple MacPro with a 6-core Xeon and 64GB of RAM, HDX2, Yosemite 10.10.5, one S6 control surface. I’ll cover the S6 update in another post.

The update went well, as expected. I thought as the laptop install didn’t have any issues, I just do the same thing. No clean install, no prefs and database clean, nothing. Since I installed it (that was at the morning) I deliberately try to break the system, but it’s just works! Feels snappy and stable.

This week I do even more tests as I continue to mix on this rig so only if the whole period goes well I will upgrade the other rigs.

Stay tuned for the Avid S6 upgrade post, as that update bring some new goodies to the S6.

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Plugin purchase #1

At least once a year me and my colleagues get together for a brain storming session to discuss which are the best plugins of the year. Which, in our case means, what plugins we want to purchase for our workstations.

We can’t buy everything, but we can buy the necessary things, which includes new developments, desert island plugins, even some vintage emulations if that’s what will make our mixes really better. So with all the ideas, the long testing periods, the discussions we select our favourites. That’s a pretty big list at the start, then we try to pick priorities. The most popular goes up in the list and at the end we have what I call the would-be-cool to have plugins.

This year’s highlights


HEAT stands for Harmonically Enhanced Algorithm Technology. Developed by Avid and the legendary Dave Hill, who I think really needs no introduction.

I’ve been looking for the holy grail of analogue emulation for a long time, and HEAT was always on my radar, but haven’t tested it thoroughly before. Tried many other from different companies, but all failed at some point. Some sounded very good, but hindered my workflow, some maps on surfaces poorly like the Slate plugins. I even reached out to some developers if they are interested to fix the obvious shortcomings, but even in 2016 it seems that many plugin company still only interested in selling their thing, but not make it work properly.

So after the dead-end streets I found HEAT again. If you’re not really familiar with it, here’s a video that explains it much more interestingly than I ever could:

No-one can argue that the integration within Pro Tools is absolutely spectacular. And it works great with control surfaces. Now about the sound. Now I assume you know that it is capable of emulating the tape-like sound and the tube-like sound, depending on the setting. But instead of trying to emulate one or two iconic equipment, it promises to really emulate the analogue process itself. Non-linearity, softening the transients like tape and almost organically reacting to the input signal.

For the causal viewer it may seem that we would need more controls and parameters to adjust this analogue-like process, but believe me, the two main knobs are just what we need. One direction gives you more tape-like sound, the more you turn the knob counter-clockwise the more you hear the effect, and if you go to the clockwise direction, you’ll get a rich tube-like sound. Besides this, you have a simple tone control, so you can gain back the high loss caused by the tape algorithm for example. Other than these, there’s a global bypass, channel by channel bypass and pre-post buttons which define if the process takes place pre-plugins or post.


To be honest I was, and still surprised that this genius algorithm is actually working on insanely different materials. Tried it on jazz, symphonic, score music, rock, you name it, and it really works. The simple two knob control method really allows you to get the sound you want literally in seconds.

I’m a big believer of subtle small things that can really take the mix to the next level. HEAT can does that.

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