Archive for June, 2010

Moving Audio and Markers in Pro Tools

Lately I’ve been doing a lot of analog to digital transfers from 2� tape to Pro Tools. Sometime I’ll have a problem where my Pro Tools session timecode and the SMPTE striped on my 2� don’t line up. When the math is simple, like compensating between 1:00 on one format and 3:00 on the other, adding an offset in Pro Tools is a simple solution. However, other times where the time gap is greater or an odd amount, I like to move the audio so it will line up with the tape.

Moving Right
In this first example, my session, SMPTE start time and audio pic1-zerostart.pngall start at zero. For simplicity sake, let’s say the audio needs to be moved to a 1:00 SMPTE start time (to the right). It could however be any SMPTE number later in the timeline.

Because a session can consist of a lot of regions, the safest way to proceed is to select all tracks and regions and make a region group before you move them. To start, Option + click on any track name to select all channels. Then in order, click your cursor anywhere on a region, hit Return then Command + A to select all regions. Then, to make a region group, press Command + Option + G. It’s now simple to move it to any timecode location by putting Pro Tools into Spot mode then selecting the group with the grabber tool (hand). pic2-spotting-region-group.pngThe Spot Dialog window will pop up where you can type the SMPTE start time in the Start window.

The audio is now moved to the new location but any song markers are still at the original location. You can move the markers by clicking and dragging across them in the marker area and copying them with Command + C. You can place them at the beginning of the new audio location with a Command + V. To finish the job, ungroup the regions by selecting the group and pushing Command + Option + U.

Moving Left

The second example is moving audio from later on the timeline to an earlier location pic-a-regions-and-markers-at-10.png while maintaining the original SMPTE start time. In this case, the audio’s timecode start time is 10:00, but the session start time is at zero leaving a huge gap before the song starts. The intention in this case is to move the audio closer to zero min/sec (left) while maintaining my original SMPTE start time of 10:00.

Start by making a region group as described above. Next, set the session start time to pic-b-new-session-start.png9:00, a minute before our target SMPTE number of 10:00. This will offer a minute grace period for synching or punching in before the first track plays.

Once you select ok, the audio will move to the left side of the timeline. The markers will be out of place but can be moved as in the first example. The audio and markers are now near the left border of the timeline with the a 10:00 SMPTE start time.pic-f-finito.png

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Adobe Audition Coming to the Mac

Adobe Audition for Mac, coming in a future release, will bring modern audio post-production to the platform of your choice. Familiar tools for audio editing, multitrack mixing and recording will meet expanded device support, greater workflow flexibility, and optimized performance. Plus, best-of-breed audio restoration tools make it easy to clean up production audio. A public beta of Audition for the Mac will be available in Winter 2010

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Monstrous Mistake

I recently wrote about a surround recording I did in a Cathedral. Apart from capturing a null.gifgreat performance using great gear like the DPA 5100 surround mic, Millennia HV-3R preamps and the JoeCo Black Box Recorder, my ulterior motive was to write a product review of the latter. Part of this process was to put the JoeCo on the bench and use our APx500 test system to verify the unit’s performance. During testing, audio tech Jeff Harris discovered that my number 2 channel was out of polarity. Some superior sleuthing by Jeff revealed that the source was the “Monster StudioLink 500 Precision Bandwidth Balanced 8 Channel Audio Snake with TWO patented multi-gauge Time Corrected Wire Networks.� Jeff, pulled apart the sealed XLR connector and sure enough, Pin 3 was “hot� on channel two.

Oddly enough, when I mixed the material, it sounded great albeit a bit weak in the center which I thought was due to the spacing of the players and my mic placement. I compensated for the weak center with panning and levels and it sounded fine. After discovering the polarity flip, I went back and compensated with a “backatcha� polarity swap on the center channel of my mix and WOOOSH! the center image bloomed beautifully.

DOH!! Not only am I mad at myself for not hearing this and taking my tracks for granted, I’m upset that I didn’t check polarity across the board. On the other hand, I know that accidents happen but COME ON MONSTER! $250 for a snake that does ONE thing and there’s no polarity check as part of the manufacturing process?

breath…….Xanax………breathe……. OK

Lessons learned?

1. NEVER trust any cable, no matter how expensive
2. ALWAYS check polarity during tracking and mixing

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Waves Offers Vuvuzela Horn Reduction Solution

 If you’re following any World Cup broadcasts, you can’t help being annoyed by the constant beehive-like drone of the fans blowing their Vuvuzela horns during the games. vuvuzela-header.jpgWaves has offered a downloadable processing chain that promises to enhance your viewing pleasure.

Waves explains how it works: “A combination of dynamic broadband noise suppression and notch filtering are utilized to create the Vuvuzela noise reduction processing chain. Routing schemes and parameter settings were painstakingly adjusted, contrasted and, compared; multiple instances of each plugin, with different settings, were ultimately used to achieve optimal results.”


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Pro Tools 8.0.4 Released

A new and free upgrade for Pro Tools (Mac and Windows) has been released and it fixes a huge number of bugs. You can read the full list here, but some of the problems solved include:

  • Cannot create a fade at the front of a region with the Smart Tool
  • Page up/down/end/home keys stop working temporarily
  • Hang after recording with Waveforms set to Power view
  • When writing plug-in automation in Latch mode, stopping the pass may cause Pro Tools to store different automation data than what was written during playback.

The new update supports Mac OS X 10.6.1, 10.6.2, 10.6.3 (Snow Leopard),  Mac OS X 10.5.8 (Leopard) and Windows XP Service Pack 3 (Home or Professional, 32-bit), Windows Vista Service Pack 2 (32-bit).

I’ll have an in-depth look at the new version with more info soon. I’m hoping the next upgrade includes repairs from my list of Top 3 Most Annoying Pro Tools 8 Bugs.

UPDATE: 6/11/10 from a user post on the DUC forum

“I just spent 90 minutes with Digi (Avid) only to be told there is an “issue” popping up with 8.0.4 and Audio Suite. On my system, I am getting -7453 errors when trying to preview. On some plugins like Pitch N’ Time Pro and Izotope RX, they simply don’t preview, and then they render out a blank file. Some of the Digi plug ins work, but I get an “Access Violation” error, and sometimes Pro Tools just quits.

I sent in the error log to them, and they are going over it. In the mean time, they told me to go back to 8.0.3 cs2. They also recommended that my colleagues here in town not go to 8.0.4 yet until they do more research into Audio Suite issues.”

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Fender Rhodes Revisited

 LA engineer David Rideau just got through mixing the audio for Down The Rhodes – The Fender Rhodes rhodes88.jpgStory, a documentary about the electric piano that became a musical icon. The film includes performances and interviews with celebrity musicians including Chick Corea, Eumir Deodato, George Duke, Dave Grusin, Herbie Hancock, Bob James, Ramsey Lewis, Jeff Lorber, Les McCann, David Paich, Greg Phillinganes, Patrice Rushen, Joe Sample, Quincy Jones and more. The movie has a Twitter and Myspace page and will be touring the US, so keep your eyes open for this bit of piano history.

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