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Upgrade day

During the busy Christmas season it’s very hard to find time to upgrade software, and normally I try to avoid such rapid upgrades, but as we planned, it was clear that if we don’t do it now, we won’t have time for this for months. Not that we couldn’t live without upgrade, but as we have multiple S6s, Pro Tools and Nuendo workstations, Artist series controllers, everybody felt the need of the new functions, only available in the new software versions.

Plan, prepare, execute

Before the big upgrade, honestly weeks weeks before that we started to test everything. Installed Nuendo 7 demos, upgraded one S6 and one Pro Tools workstation and used them constantly to find out if something weird happen.

As usual, I was the test dummy for the Pro Tools & S6 rig. But frankly, the upgrades has been so stable so far that I wasn’t worried a bit. Tested this rig in many situations from live broadcast mix to post production chores and it was really flawless. Honestly I can’t really remember the last time I had a crash with Pro Tools and the S6 (knock on wood…).

So finally, the day has come. Well, we searched for it…

We had a full day “offline” without any need for those studios. It was a fully official upgrade day!


I started with the S6 as it needs not only a simple install, but a tedious authorisation process in order to use the new software version. I think it’s because of the new subscription model, Avid need to check if we have a support plan. I could live without the long activation numbers, but it doesn’t take that long to active the new version, and if your S6 is happened to be connected to the internet, then it’s a much easier process. The whole process went as usual, after the software upgrade I needed to initiate a module update as well.

S6 upgrade in progress… #Avid #S6 #ProTools

A photo posted by Tamas Dragon (@tamasdragon) on



A bit of maintenance on the OSX side and I was already into Pro Tools and plugin installation for a while as we received some plugins with the Pro Tools annual plan. One thing to remember though, the additional plugins are not the same as if you bought them. They are tied to your subscription, so you can use them as long as you pay the monthly/yearly plan. Still, I think it’s a nice addition as for example we didn’t have to buy all Pro series plugins for all the workstations, we got them with the yearly plans. If you do the math, it’s a really good deal to us.

Everything went well, although I was wishing for a bundle installers with the plugins…

On the Mac, all went well, however, the Windows side needed some trickery. By default, the HP workstations only had one network card, we installed the second in order to have a separate data and controller network. But it turns out that during the boot process the two cards initialised at different times, so we need to delay the Eucon startup a bit to gain ample time for the operating system to get the hardware ready. Once the Eucon is delayed, all things came to life perfectly at every boot up.

During the tests everything seemed to be working perfectly, just as we hoped and tested before. Right now, all the Windows machines run Win7 with Nuendo7, all the Macs has Yosemity with Pro Tools 12. So far so good. 🙂


Updates in a hectic schedule

Few days ago Avid has released a new update for Pro Tools and for the S6 control surface. For some reason I always get excited when a new update is out, reading the release documents to find out what bugs has been ironed out, to see what might be the new add-ons. The problem is, with a quite busy schedule it is very hard to find a few days where I can execute the update, and after the install I have time to test the new updates. As we also use the S6 in live broadcast environment, it’s imperative to test every new update. Stability is the main point. I rather have fewer features with great stability than plethora of options with occasional hiccups and crashes.


This weekend we have fewer broadcast events, so I marked my calendar to update both Pro Tools and the S6 to the latest, hopefully greatest versions. After that, the next two day will be post mix days so I’ll have the opportunity to test the new updates thoroughly.
Usually, after I’m finished with the normal daily schedule, I reach for my trusty test sessions to see if the system is as stable as we need during a live mix situation. Of course, during these tests I do much more than I usually need on a live broadcast event. But I think if it’s capable of performing 2 or 3 times more things than we need, than it’s surely can do what is asked of it. On a side note, so far our experience with the S6 in live broadcast situation has been flawless.

S6 update process

Do it

Usually the update process is simple and fast. Download the files from your Avid account, upload the necessary S6 file onto a thumb drive, and transfer the Pro Tools installers to the dedicated computers. From this point, it’s a matter of a few minutes to be completely up-to-date. This is time of careful attention.
I like to pay attention to every nuance from the boot up process. This is important. Is the computer and the S6 booting up as it was before? Is it faster or slower or the same? Any difference can be a clue if something goes wrong. If the booting is fine, start as you would on any regular day. In my case, lock Xmon to the surface, start Pro Tools and launch a session, this time I suggest to have a test session. This test should contain a huge mix with lots of complicated routing and many plugins on channels and buses, some VCA groups and a complete master chain with multiple feeds. I think it’s wiser to build a bigger-than-needed test scenario so you can really see how the whole system perform under pressure. From now on, use the surface ore actively than you usually do. Edit plugin settings, bank from front to back, automate the hell out of your session, while record automation in the session. Add markers on the fly, scroll, zoom and use the Master module on the S6 to edit your master plugin chain. At this point sound doesn’t really matter. I mean your should look for any hiccup or distortion, but this mix is not going to be a candidate for the Grammy award, the sole purpose of this exercise is to see if the system is working absolutely flawless.
I usually do one more thing to disturb the process, modify groups on the fly so Pro Tools has to update the assignments, and also has to update the automation. While this is really not recommended to do on the fly, if you can do this and nothing bad happens, you can be sure about that your system will perform absolutely perfect under demanding circumstances.

S6 module update

If, for some reason I don’t have ample time to test everything then I usually “pre-test” things on my MacBook Pro and if I experience no problems whatsoever, run a shorter test on the main system. However, this is only if for some reason (due to a nasty bug) we absolutely need the update but don’t have time to thoroughly test it.


The last two days proved that the new updates are not only safe to use, but they make our life a bit easier too. Pro Tools is very stable, I experienced no crashes or hiccups whatsoever, not even with the biggest tests I’ve made. The S6 update has some very nice add-ons and the the whole surface feels a bit more responsive. So all in all, I’m very happy with these two updates, and as they proved to be stable, the rig is officially back in live broadcast too.


Fabfilter ProQ 2 THE UPDATE

Yes, I mean it, with all capital letters. Honestly I’m very seldom get excited by any software update. When I saw Fabfilter’s sneak peak video about the new ProQ2 EQ, I thought that it’s very nice, I have to try it in the minute they’re going to release it.

The original ProQ has been my go to eq for some months now, no matter what production I’m in. It served amazingly well in music productions, sound design, dialogue mixing, during full re-recording sessions, so literally in every possible scenario.

Now here comes ProQ2, which is considered as a new product, but Fabfilter customers get a very fair discount upgrade price.

ffpq2 q

The update is not a cosmetic thing at Fabfilter, here’s the list of the new things:

  • Different interface sizes and additional Full Screen modeNEW
  • Operates in zero latency mode, linear phase mode with adjustable latency or the unique Natural Phase modeNEW
  • Spectrum Grab: just grab and adjust a peak in the real-time spectrum analyser right away!NEW
  • Filter shapes: Bell, Notch, High/Low Shelf, High/Low Cut, Band Pass, Tilt ShelfNEW
  • Universal filter slope support for all filter types, up to 96 dB/octNEW
  • EQ Match feature to automatically match the spectrum of another track via the side-chain inputNEW
  • Phase Invert option to change polarityNEW
  • Highly improved CPU optimisation: Pro-Q 2 uses less memory and is more than twice as efficient as its predecessor!NEW
  • Optional Gain-Q interactionNEW
  • Auto Gain and Gain ScaleNEW
  • Built-in spectrum analyser with Pre-EQ, Post-EQ and SC modes, adjustable range, speed, resolution, tilt and freezeNEW
  • Optional piano roll display to quantize EQ frequencies to musical notesNEW
  • Large output level meter with peak level readoutNEW

What really should be normal daily operation in the software world, but we all know it’s not, every new function works flawlessly, just as they promised. No weird things, no unkept promises, it’s just works.


You really have to try it to believe. It’s not only a spectacular sounding eq plugin, but this one also has all the features we wished in post production. So, if you want a trusty eq which is not only good sounding but also “clever”, then try ProQ2.

I truly wish that more developers would go on this route like Fabfilter and Exponential Audio, that we, users really get value for our money.

Just for you to know, this is not a sponsored post, I’m a genuine Fabfilter customer, get the same prices and discounts as any other customer.

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Little update

I just wanted to publicly say a huge thank you to Paul Virostek who kindly offered his own written end user license, so from now on, I have a real EULA, you can find it in the menu. Nothing really changed, what is free, remains free. It is only some necessity.

And I managed to add a instagram widget, you can find it at the right side, it’s nicely rotates my instagram pictures. I hope you’ll like it too.

In a few days I’ll be ready with some mic comparison, will post it, so stay tuned!

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