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Tag: protools

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.

ProTool12install

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 #4

Probably the easiest to use and one of my favourite both in original analogue format and in digital reincarnation too. It has a few knobs only and one large meter in the middle, still it can do wonders on a wide variety of materials. From being so subtle that no one can hear it to really smash it but still being musical, performing equally well on single tracks and on mix buses too.

From hardware to plugin

I had the chance to use this beauty in real life on numerous sessions and surely that was the time I’ve fallen in love with it, its sound and easy of use was a win-win. The original concept and design comes from two masterminds: Michael Papp and David Hill. I think it’s absolutely futile trying to list their magic designs over the years. Let’s just say that all the hype surrounding them are true!

Softube tla 100a

I was very excited back then when Softube announced that they’re doing a plugin version of the TLA-100A tube levelling amplifier. Kudos to them, they even made it more versatile as now we can separately adjust the harmonic distortion and the wet/dry balance (parallel compression).

softube tla100a addons

I really don’t want to praise it through many pages, anyone who don’t know the unit or never tried the plugin should download the demo and give it a test ride. I think you’ll agree with me that it’s a stellar unit and an amazing plugin. Oh, by the way it’s available in AAX DSP too.

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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:

[fruitful_sep]

ALT+C

[fruitful_sep]

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.

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Small Pro Tools tip #1

This is just a really small tip, a tiny helper to make your work more efficient. Often having impossible deadlines I find myself spending time with unnecessary tasks as analysing the finished mix with some offline loudness meter plugin. Couple of weeks ago though, I discovered that if I use offline bounce and leave the plugin open (on screen), at the end of the bounce I can see the result of the loudness measurement, including the whole show’s loudness graph.

insight offline bounce

This works beautifully with Izotope’s Insight, but it seems that it doesn’t work for example with Avid’s ProLimiter. But if you’re an Insight user, you’re in luck. Don’t miss the opportunity to streamline your workflow, bounce and measure at the same time. Enjoy!

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Preparing a live broadcast and record day 2

Yesterday’s rehearsal went really well. It couldn’t be better than this, as what I call a rehearsal was an actual live concert, it was a rehearsal only for us, the record/broadcast team. As the piece is quite complicated, it’s nice to have the opportunity to test things, find the problem spots and correct them before the real broadcast happens.

Although it’s not a requirement, I record every rehearsal, so now I have a full live concert fine-tune my processing chain and to correct some problem spots. As I quickly go through the multitrack, I already found some minor issues which can be solved with minor microphone adjustment.

Using the controller

To be honest the more I use the S6 the more I love. There are some functions I’m aware of but haven’t used yet, but there are some features that makes my life very, very much easier.
I know it’s a simple one, but believe me, VCA spill is huge. But here on the S6 you’re not only able to spill the controlled tracks, but with a push of a button you can decide to spill it to the left of the fader or to the right. Why is it matter? Because if I spill for example my solo VCA to the left of the fader, I still see all my other VCAs. And if I spill my mains VCA to the right, then I’ll have all the main mics in front of me, while still have access to the solo, strings and woods VCAs. While it might seems like a very small thing, it is immensely useful, probably even a bit more in a live broadcast situation.

vca spill
Plugin manipulation from the surface is quite good, although I don’t agree with some mapping, for example the EQ should be reversed in my opinion so that the highs should be on the right side and lows on the left. All in all there’s some minor issue with this, but I’m sure they’re going to solve these small things with an update soon.
All in all the surface has plenty of information during mixing which is very helpful, and now I’m quite familiar with the little buttons and LEDs so without thinking and searching for information I see what I need to see, which proves that it’s a good design.
Since we use Pro Tools 11 HD, I always record some automation, this time, all the VCAs are in latch mode. With this I can still freely adjust any particular channel, but still have the ability to have all the VCA automation recorded, and that can be coalesced after the recording to the channels.

Geeky note

The whole live mix/record runs mixed on Pro Tools HD 11.2.2 with running on a 6 core new (trashcan) MacPro, this time with HD native, controlled with an S6 surface. All the recordings goes to a multiple RAID backup system for safety. Monitoring is JBL LSR6328P, this time in stereo. The record drive is a 6TB dual bay Lacie big disk.

Plan for the day

As the camera team’s going to be here soon, we’ll have to check through every camera position and adjust some microphone position if necessary. It’s always this type of collaboration, it has to sound good but also has to look good on camera.
After that we’re going to have another very short rehearsal with the orchestra, this time with the whole picture team present, and at the evening we do another rehearsal pass which is also our main rehearsal for tomorrow.

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