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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.