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Tag: pro tools 11

Plugins I still miss from Pro Tools 11

With the big change to AAX we all knew that it would take time to convert/recode our favourite plugins to the new format. Some company could do this so fast that we almost didn’t have to wait, others are still trying to catch up. Sadly even Avid is in the catch up team. I know they have enough on their plates, but still there are plugins they should release in AAX.

Avid

For me the most important would be TL Space. Although I love Altiverb, for my personal rig I cannot justify the high price of it, and frankly with my IR library I’m pretty much covered. It somewhat surprises me that it take so long Avid to port it. In my opinion Avid should’ve shown a good example to plugin companies. With that I mean they should’ve released almost all their plugins when Pro Tools 11 was released, or at least only a month after that. And now, here we are in 2014, and they are still not ready with some of their very popular plugins.

Massey

massey

As far as I know he’s almost ready with the AAX transition. I own many of his plugs and really looking forward to use them in Pro Tools 11. I realise that Massey plugins is a very tiny company so I understand that it take considerable time to port everything, still very eager to get them as soon as I can.

AudioEase

speakerphone

Speakerphone. I would love to use it in PT11. Frankly I’m a bit disappointed. They make amazing plugins. These plugins are very expensive ones, so in my opinion users deserve a much more straight and honest communication. I understand that they don’t want to promise things they cannot keep, but after many many months a simple: “I hope it will be soon…” is not enough. I already know many fellow engineers who simply decided to search for other tools, and would never buy a thing again from them.

This is my short list. I think we almost have everything we need to completely abandon the older versions of Pro Tools. I do almost everything in PT11 now. We need a few more plugins and a few more bugs to be ironed out, and then I will happily say that I’m completely on PT11. Hope it won’t take too long from now.

I know about some nasty bugs that need to be ironed out in PT11, still, I can see huge potential in it.

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Pro Tools 11 gems part 5

Didn’t get enough metering yet? Here’s some more for us. The new send view which can show the send levels.

send meters

Fallen in love with it from the first moment. I’ve read negative things about it as it is not accurate, meaningless, or even disturbing. But let me tell you that these opinions couldn’t be further from the truth. They are not accurate meters I agree, but one should realise that the purpose is not the same as with any highly accurate sophisticated metering plugin.

Use the help your DAW offer

Well, I tend to mix many sessions that are well over a hundred tracks for example, and for me this is a great help to not only see that I have send on a particular channel, but to see a good approximate about the level too. Especially on bigger mixes it can be a spectacular guide for the mixer’s eye.

It’s really quite interesting that although these meters are very tiny, they still provide ample information about my sends. Obviously you cannot depend on them completely, but that’s not the point.

Together with the gain reduction meter these two small add-ons are here to help us to more clearly see what’s going on in our sessions. And on a final note, I promise this was the last Pro Tools 11 metering praise post.

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Pro Tools 11 gems part 4

I hope you don’t mind, but it’s still about metering, though not the usual one. When I first read about the new gain reduction meter in Pro Tools 11, frankly I thought it wouldn’t be a big deal at all. Well, I was wrong.

gain reduction meter

Visual feedback is good for us

On a nice sunny day I started to mix a big concert show so I decided it is a perfect occasion to try the new gain reduction meter. Switched it on and honestly I didn’t really cared about it. At least I thought that. After a few hours I was constantly realised that I unconsciously check the gain reduction meter on channels, on groups, almost every time. When I really started to pay attention, it tuned out that I also check and sometimes revise things, almost because of this metering.

Of course one should always use the most delicate sensors to mix, but getting constant visual feedback is very nice and helpful indeed.

If you switch it on and use it, soon you’ll get used to it so you actually feel the need. Now I always leave it there to see what is happening gain reduction wise. Again, this is not a ground breaking feature, but a very nice and helpful add-on.
To switch it on, simply right click on any channel meter, scroll down and choose show gain reduction meter. Additionally you can select various methods, so you can even tweak the gain reduction meter.

grm options

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Pro Tools 11 gems part 3

This time it’s all about metering. Yes, I know it may sound a bit boring, but believe me it can be very important for various reasons.

It’s been long long years that Pro Tools needed a healthy upgrade regarding to its metering. It took Avid so long that actually many of us got used to the “original” subpar metering it offered to the users. Now, with the newest iteration of our beloved DAW, everything has changed for good. We have proper and versatile metering. Better late than never…

I heard many who says now it is completely obsolete as almost the whole audio community is gravitating towards some kind of loudness metering, but still, in my opinion it is a viable option.

First

Many pro got used to different industry standard metering (BBC, VU, etc.) and can work with these so called obsolete metering very effectively, even in the new loudness era. If you learn to keep a few rules, one can still use the old metering standards and the end result will still be compatible with the new formats. How is this even possible? Remember, mixing is about sound not metering. So while you mix, you should check the meters regularly, but don’t stare at them. Mix for sound not to a standard. With little practice, you’ll learn to mix compatible material with almost no help from the meters.

Second

Many post house still need to ingest, rework, remix old material, so having various older standards built right into our DAW can be very, very helpful. This is also true todays ever-changing industry where we seem to abandon analogue technology, but still need to interface the old with the current one daily.

Third

You can modify the preferences of these meters, so basically you can tailor its behaviour to your own needs, which is, obviously, a great tool. Be it a recording session or a mix, you can easily find your own “metering sweet spot” and save that for later projects. With this, you can always use your own kind of metering which serves you best.

metering options

So, here are the different metering options for Pro Tools 11 HD:

  • Sample Peak Provides the default Pro Tools metering. Sample Peak metering is also the only Meter Type used for non-HD version of Pro Tools. The scale and the decay time is calculated in dB/second, which results in slower decay in metering com- pared to lower versions of Pro Tools (such as Pro Tools 10). The Sample Peak option is the only Meter Type that has a 0 sample integration time, and as such shows all dynamic activity of the digital signal at every moment in time.
  • Pro Tools Classic Provides legacy Pro Tools scale and metering ballistics.
  • PPM BBC (Pro Tools HD Only) Adopted by commercial broadcasters in the UK, BBC scaling uses 4 dB spacing between scale marks. Other organisations around the world, including the EBU, CBC, and ABC used the same dynamics but with slightly different scales.
  • PPM Nordic (Pro Tools HD Only) A Scandinavian variant of the DIN PPM has the same integration and return times but a different scale, with “TEST” corresponding to Alignment Level (0 dBu) and +9 corresponding to Permitted Maximum Level (+9 dBu). Compared to the DIN scale, the Nordic scale is more logarithmic and covers a somewhat smaller dynamic range.
  • PPM EBU (Pro Tools HD Only) Is a variant of the British PPM designed for the control of program levels in international program exchange (Type IIb PPM in IEC 60268–10). It is identical to the British PPM (BBC) except for the meter scale. The meter scale is calibrated in dB relative to the Alignment Level, which is marked “TEST.” There are ticks at 2 dB intervals and at +9 dB, which corresponds to the Permitted Maximum Level.
  • PPM DIN (Pro Tools HD Only) Used in German broadcasting, the nominal analog signal corresponding to Permitted Maximum Level was standardised by ARD at 1.55 volts (+6 dBu), and this is the usual sensitivity of a DIN-type PPM for an indication of 0 dB. The Alignment Level (–3 dBu) is shown on the meter by a scale mark at –9.
  • K–12 (Pro Tools HD Only) The K-scales are RMS based scales with an integrated sample peak meter as a secondary value. K-Scales are popular with music mixers that are looking for a meaningful indication of overall loudness. K–12 should be re- served strictly for audio to be dedicated to broad- cast, though broadcast recording engineers may choose K–14 if they feel it fits their program material.
  • K–14 (Pro Tools HD Only) Use K–14 for mastering when working in a calibrated mastering suite.
  • K–20 (Pro Tools HD Only) Using K–20 during mix encourages a clean-sounding mix that is advantageous to the mastering engineer. At that point, the producer and mastering engineer should discuss whether the program should be converted to K–14, or remain at K–20. If mixing to analog tape, work at K–20, and realise that the peak levels from tape will not exceed about +14.
  • Linear (Pro Tools HD Only) Use Linear for post- production and music mixing scenarios. Using a fast decay time, Linear provides direct one-to-one linear metering of sample peaks in the audio signal with a metering range down to –40 dB. This offers higher metering resolution closer to 0 dB (which can be particularly useful for mixing and mastering).
  • Linear (Extended) (Pro Tools HD Only) Provides the same ballistics as Linear, but the meter scaling extends to –60 dB.
  • RMS (Pro Tools HD Only) Provides metering ballistics that display the average loudness (Root Mean Square of the signal) over a range of time. Peak metering, on the other hand, displays the peak signal level at any given point in time.
  • VU (Pro Tools HD Only) Popular for music and dialog mixing, the VU scale used in Pro Tools is extended on the low end from –23 dB to –40 dB to accommodate a wide range of material without the need for stage re-calibration.
  • Digital VU (Pro Tools HD Only) Provides VU ballistics with a modern digital scale.
  • PPM Digital (Pro Tools HD Only) Popular in Europe and Asia with broadcasters, and also with US Film consoles (such as the Avid System5 consoles), PPM Digital has a similar integration time to Sample Peak metering, but different scales and decay times.
  • VENUE Peak Provides the same ballistics as Sample Peak, but with VENUE meter scaling to +20 dB.
  • VENUE RMS Provides the same ballistics as RMS, but with VENUE meter scaling to +20 dB.

definitions grabbed from PT user guide

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Pro Tools 11 gems part two

In this second part I praise another great new feature, which is offline bounce. It was one of the most awaited features for years and in Pro Tools 11 it seems that Avid decided to give us the possibility. Of course I know that most of the DAWs already had it for years, but now Pro Tools has it too. And in the case of HD it is not only a simple offline bounce, but you can bounce multiple sources, that can be different stems for example.

Speed and efficiency

It is great that even on a smaller computer you can bounce offline with amazing speed. Meaning that for example on a simple dual-core i5 laptop a really heavy loaded session would bounce 3x faster than real time, which is a real time saver.

If you’re into sound design, bouncing layers of sounds together takes only seconds, even if you use many cpu hog plugins. After editing certain music or dialogue cues, we don’t have to bounce or re-record them to track real time. These are all great examples where this function can help us a lot.

There are caveats though. With certain plugins, offline bounce can end up giving you different results. Right now the suspects are some Waves plugins and some noise reduction ones from Izotope for example.

Although you can read about this on various online forums, the solutions has not been sorted out yet. We still don’t know for sure if this is a Pro Tools or a plugin issue or both. Still, be aware of this issue to avoid nasty surprises along the way. With all that said, offline bounce is still a very valuable tool, even for me, who is not a big fan of this process (I’ll tell you why later).

Right now I use offline bounce for the following things:

  • quickly render preview versions for director/actor/musician/band, etc.
  • to print out test versions of a mix to check it at multiple locations
  • to make deliverables (the mix is ready, just need that myriad of different formats)
  • to bounce multiple layers into one stereo/mono/surround file

In this way it is almost impossible to encounter with the above mentioned problems, while I still have a great timesaver function.

btd window

Old school vs. offline bounce

To be honest though, my basic workflow hasn’t changed a bit. I still use the “old” and trusty re-record to track method for multiple reasons:

  • destructive record to track realtime means a last QC pass
  • if I need to do some revisions, destructive punch in is much more efficient and much faster than any offline method as you only need to punch in that few seconds, and as you hit the stop button, you’re already finished
  • while you’re listening to the final pass, you still have the option to change things

It’s only a few, but I think worth the consideration. At first it might seem slower, but eventually it is actually faster, more safe and more future proof.

All in all, both methods are good, the trick is to know which to use in a particular situation.

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