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What is it?

This mystery gear showed up onstage at last week’s Jeff Beck/Clapton concert at Madison Square Garden in NY. Anyone have any ideas?stageequipment.jpg

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Application Collaboration

There’s no doubt that different DAWs have unique features you can exploit to make your productions stronger. However, collaboration across applications can sometimes be non-intuitive and bog down your creative process. The steps below outline the technique for easily taking audio between Logic and Pro Tools, and back again.
Logic to Pro Tools Transfer

1. From Logic’s File menu, choose Export/All Tracks as Audio Files. SHORTCUT: Command + Shift + Elogic-export-tracks-as-audio.png

2. Choose the location for your files from the next screen

HOT TIP: If you have markers in your Logic session, you can export them as well by creating a MIDI track with as little as one note recorded. Then, stretch the MIDI track to the length of all your other audio regions. As the Audio and MIDI tracks are imported into Pro Tools, the MIDI track, which has the location and names of your Logic markers will also be imported allowing you to locate to the same markers within Pro Tools.pt-import-audio.png

3. In Pro Tools, choose Import/Audio from the File menu. SHORTCUT: Command + Shift + I


4. From the next window, navigate to your files and add them to the Regions to Import list. You can also audition files with the play button. Press Done when finished.

pt-regions-to-import.png

5. Next, choose New Track from the next window (Audio Import Options) and click OK

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Pro Tools to Logic Transfer

1. From the Edit window, highlight all regions you wish to export by putting the cursor at the front (left) of every track, then click + drag to the end of the longest region. SHORTCUT: Place the cursor in front of every region you wish to export and push Shift + Option + Return.

2. Consolidate all selected regions by selecting Consolidate from the Edit pulldown. SHORTCUT: Shift + Option + 3cosolidate-pt.png

3. Once regions are consolidated, select Export Regions as Files from the Regions pulldown menu at the right of the Edit window. SHORTCUT: Command + Shift + K)pt-export-regions.png

4. From the Export Selected screen that pops up next you can change the File Type, Format, Bit Depth, Sample Rate and more. Click Choose next to Destination Directory to pick where the exported files will be stored. You can also Resolve Duplicate File Names with the three choices at the bottom of the screen. When done, click Export.export-screen-pt.png

5. Open a New Blank Logic session (Logic prompts you to make at least one track which is ok for now). Drag the entire folder with your exported Pro Tools files to the center of the Arrange window and choose Create New Tracks from the pulldown.logic-import-create-new-tracks.png

6. Click OK on the Add Selected Files to Arrange window and Logic will import your tracks with the names to your session.

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Mix Nashville Shaping Up

One of my gigs at Mix is program director for our Mix Nashville and LDI events. Mix Nashville (MN) is coming up this year again on May 25/26 and we’ve got some great sponsors, topics and panelists on tap. Nashville engineers Bil Vorndick and Russ Long are onboard as moderators and topics cover effective collaboration, advanced analog/digital techniques, boosting revenue and more. Check out the videos from Bil and Russ below and keep your eyes here for a look at past MN’s and 2010 info as it develops.

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Top Ten Gear Picks from NAMM

Winter NAMM is but a memory but not the slick gear that bowed at the show in Anaheim. The Mix/EM crew shot some great video from which I’ve picked my favorite pieces.

  1.  I attended the Waves press event on Friday where Jack Joseph Puig, Chris Lord-Alge and Eddie Kramer showed off their latest plug-in creations. Although some of the GUIs were in beta, the concepts and sounds were fantastic and worth a further listen when they’re released.
  2. API’s Arsenal line is now renamed JDK. The R-22 is a two-channel rackmount compressor launched at NAMM bearing the API legacy of quality and an affordable price point.
  3. I got a great tour of Amplitube 3 at the IK Multimedia booth. It has some slick new abilities making it sexier than ever to model amps, cabinets, processors and more.
  4. Dan Duffell from SSL showed me their new X-Patch system, a very slick and organized way to manage studio signal flow through any gear you’d like.
  5. Do any remote recording? Then you have to check out Sony’s new and affordable PCM M-10 handheld recorder. It has lots of great features pulled down from their higher end units and comes with a number of great accessories.
  6. Engineers with ears I trust were raving about the new JZ Vintage series mics. It mimics some famous legacy mics via switchable capsules.
  7. We ran across producer/engineer Ronan Chris Murphy in the A Designs booth where he gave us an unsolicited testimonial of the new NAIL Compressor. Some unique features make this a box to put on your “must hear” list.
  8. Radial Engineering had a gang of studio problem solvers plus their new Workhorse 500: a vertical rack for 500 series units including a summing mixer and easy module linking.
  9. Presonus was showing off their new, and larger, StudioLive mixer designed to work across a variety of situations. The slick smart channel design easily puts parameters at your fingertips.
  10. Jonathan Little at LittleLabs demoed his 500 series VOG module which makes it easy to pinpoint desired frequencies, lifting a track to greatness. I heard it myself and it’s very impressive.

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New Alan Parsons DVD Set

This new DVD set from Alan Parsons looks like a winner. Great production values, serious interviews and access to some of the best minds in recording. A definite BUY

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Top 5 Pro Tools Cripplers And How To Fix Them

When your Pro Tools system gets sluggish or repeatedly crashes, sometimes the simplest thing can fix the problem. Just upping the computer’s RAM will often help but there are also deeper, hidden features that can get your rig humming along like a bullet train. I invite you to participate and add your own entries in the comments section.

The Problem: When using Virtual Instruments on a multi-core computer, Pro Tools may give you buffer errors saying it playbackengine1.gifis running out of processing power even if no other plugins are in use.
The Fix: Go to the Setup/Playback engine pulldown and set the number of RTAS / HOST processors to 3 instead of 4 (Mac Pro Quad Core). If using a Dual Core or a PPC system, reduce the number of RTAS / HOST processors to 1. This works on LE, M-Powered and HD systems.

The Problem: Apple’s Spotlight is a great way to find data on your computer but it can make your whole system sluggish spotlight.gifif not properly set up.
The Fix: Go To Apple System Preferences under the Apple symbol at the upper left side of your monitor. Find the Spotlight option and limit the search index to only the most important categories. Not only Pro Tools but your whole system will run better.

The Problem: Plugins with streaming ability can bog down your system bringing your session to a halt.
The Fix: New with Pro Tools 8, the plugin streaming buffer can help content stream more efficiently from the disk. Go to the Setup/Playback engine pulldown and adjust the buffer size to find the best setting. Also try turning on the “optimize for streaming content� box to enhance performance.

The Problem:
Some wildly capable plugins such as AmpliTube Fender from IK Multimedia are DSP hogs and become cpu-usage.gifsluggish with minimal use.
The Fix: Go to the Setup/Playback engine pulldown and reduce the CPU Usage Limit to  60% or less. This will give your system the power it needs to run DSP-intensive plugins smoothly.

The Problem: Pro Tools preference files, database files, DAE files and AMS setup files can become corrupted bringing database-helper4.gifdown your system in short order.
The Fix: Rather than deleting these hidden files yourself, download the free Pro Tools Preference and Database Helper from http://www.jcdeshaies.com/. It easily removes a variety of elusive, damaged and unreadable files that can cripple your system. Versions are available for Pro Tools systems on 10.4 (Tiger), 10.5 (Leopard) but not yet for 10.6 (Snow Leopard) and Pro Tools 8.0.3.

Thanks go out to Pro Tools power user Sean Conkling for helping with this post

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Feeling Loopy?

picture-1.jpgProducer/composer Rick DiFonzo of Discrete Drums fame, has created a new, download only, audio loop website at loopworkshop.com. Rather than selling large drum collections, the focus is on small, individual session packs featuring 50 to 150 loops per package.

Files are 16 bit Apple Loop AIF, with 24 bit Acidized WAV files coming soon. With multiple song segments (intros, verses, choruses, fills etc) users can build the arrangement they need, and change tempo within most software apps. Apple Loop encoding allows out-of-the-box tempo shift in Logic and Garage Band.

The advantage to this approach is that users can download only the sessions they need. Small file sizes keep prices low and downloads manageable. Drum sessions are available in rock, alt rock, pop, country, reggae and r&b styles. EXS-24 Sampler instruments are also available, which can be imported by many other soft samplers. Guitar, bass, orch and synth packs are also available.

For detailed product info and audio demos, please visit http://loopworkshop.com

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5 Worst Audio Trends of the Noughties

Here are my picks for the Top Worst Audio Trends since 2000. Feel free to add your own comments and picks.

  1.  The End of Hi-Fidelity – Digital distribution of music has lowered the fidelity bar to new levels offering consumers less quality than ever. George Massenburg recently spoke out on the effects of compression formats that introduce distortion, destroy stereo image and generally sound awful giving us something to think about and the knowledge to fight back.
  2. Illegal Downloading – The popularity of illegal peer-to-peer music “sharing” eroded the power of copyright and greatly affected the bottom line of our industry. The Supreme Court came down on the side of copyright holders but not before the damage was done and an entire generation grew to feel they were entitled to free music.
  3. Pitch Correction Abuse – Pitch correction software is nothing short of amazing, but in many cases it created a music culture where talent is optional and production is driven by “fix it later” instead of “get it right.”
  4. The Death of Dynamics – While audio pros continue to fight the misconception that louder is better, it keeps rearing its ugly head, even in mainstream media where Metallica fans cried foul when they realized that Guitar Hero: Metallica game mixes sounded better than the record because the songs had more dynamic range.
  5. Staying Inside The Box – There’s no question that digital audio workstations, modeling software and plugins are here to stay and have changed our industry. But completely eschewing analog processing and recording in favor of staying “inside the box” denies adding a flavor and color to music that can never be modeled. Case in point, The Dead Weather’s Horehound which was recorded on 2″, 8-track analog tape and is a feast for the ears.

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DIY Ribbon Mic Kit

The Austin DIY Ribbon Microphone is the brain child of Rick Wilkinson. The kit starts at $149 and comes with all the parts and instructions including photos and videos. You can also upgrade the chassis and transformer for more $$$.

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Top 20 Gear Hits of the Noughties

The years between 2000 and 2009 saw a mind boggling expansion of audio technology. Releases included impressive new gear and upgrades of existing products for recording, processing, editing and mixing audio. Here are my top 20 picks with links to reviews and videos. Feel free to write in your own picks in the comments section and add to the list.

  1. Pro Tools HD – Digidesign’s 2002 hardware upgrade brought high resolution audio to the industry’s top DAW
  2. Neumann Solution-D Digital Microphones – Neumann’s legacy of quality was advanced with the release of these amazing sounding transducers with onboard converters
  3. Apple Logic Pro – After the purchase of Emagic, Apple puts its stamp on this popular music production tool making it a contender for top affordable native DAW
  4. Celemony Melodyne – Auto Tune was first in the 90s, but Melodyne brought a fresh new way to correct pitch in the noughties
  5. Blue Bottle Microphone – This retro mic set the quality and design standard for Blue which later released the innovative Mouse, Dragonfly and Blue Ball.
  6. Focal CMS 65 monitors – Focal’s affordable CMS line benefits from the technology used in the company’s audiophile speakers which can go for well over $100k a pair
  7. SSL Duality – SSL got a new owner and steered through troubled waters with this large format console at the helm
  8. JBL LSR6328P monitors  – Once the studio monitoring champ, JBL made a solid bid for the title again with these great sounding speakers
  9.  Digico SD7  – Used recently on tour with U2, the SD7 debuted in 2007 with state-of-the-art FPGA technology making it a top contender for live sound applications
  10. Royer SF24 – Royer provided an easy way to record with ribbon mics in stereo without having the gain and impedance issues of a passive ribbon
  11. Genelec 8050A Series Monitors – Genelec replaced their 1029/30/31As with the 80 series, improving on the pioneering brand that set the pace for self-powered monitors
  12. Roland V-Mixer – RSS was an unlikely entrant into the live sound market when they launced their forward looking, affordable and feature packed small format console with a digital snake
  13. Plugins – Many companies defined this category in the noughties including Waves, Sonnox, Focusrite, McDSP, Bomb Factory, TL Audio, SoundToys, PSP, URS, IK Multimedia, brainworx, Universal Audio, iZotope and more
  14. Digidesign VENUE and ICON – Digidesign went from 0 to 60 in record time with their live sound and studio consoles
  15. Converters – Companies that brought their best to the noughties include: Mytek, Lynx, Prism, Apogee, Weiss, db Technologies (now Lavry Engineering), Benchmark, Millennia Media, dCS and DAD
  16. Radial Workhorse 5000 – Radial’s penchant for building sturdy, versatile and affordable products was carried on with this innovative take on the simple 500-series rack
  17. ADAM A5 Monitors – In the quality vs. price race ($800 a pair), no one came closer to winning the “bang-for-the-buck” trophy
  18. DPA 3532-T Mic Kit – DPA dominated the high-voltage mic niche with this all-in-one toolkit
  19. Upstate Audio Sonic Lens Preamp – This preamp set the bar high for the competition with its pristine, audiophile signal path between mic and recorder.
  20. Fairlight Xynergi – Fairlight’s slick video-keyed controller for their Crystal Core engine offered fantastic value, user experience and the best feature set in its price range

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