Archive of the TechTicker Category

Avid Releases Pro Tools 9.0.3

Pro Tools version 9.0.3 is out as a free download. It fixes a long list of bugs (30 pages) including:pro-tools-9.jpg

1. Pro Tools cannot record to Mac OS X drives that have been formatted as “Case-Sensitive.”
2. Spotlight indexing can interfere with long record passes.
3. Because of Spaces, Pro Tools can appear unresponsive at launch, with the Menus grayed out and browsers inoperable.
4. Pro Tools could alter I/O routing in the session when using Import Session Data command and selecting the Match Tracks option.

And the hits keep on coming. See a complete list of fixes here.

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Harrison Releases Mix Bus 2.0

Harrison has released V2.0 of their Mix Bus DAW.
New mixer features include:mb2_all_mixer.jpg

- 8 Mix Bus Sends
- Plugin Effect Control Sliders allow you to map plugin controls directly to controls on the mixer strip.
- Input Trim, Makeup Gain, Sidechain, and Master Limiter controls are now available directly from the mixer window
- Improved Mixer navigation and display, including narrow mixer strip and the ability to show/hide Mix Buses as needed
- New Phase-Correlation meter on the Master Bus displays mono compatibility of the stereo mix
- Polarity buttons on the top of every mixer strip
- Plugins, sends, inserts and the fader now appear in a single redirect box at the top of the mixer strip

It is available June 1st for $219 via direct download

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Dream Rig

I’m tracking a record at my studio this weekend with this rig of preamps and compressors I have in for review. I’m using the Radial Workhorse 5000 which made my list of Top Gear of the Noughties. In the Workhorse, I’ve got some great 500 series modules from Radial including the Power Pre preamp, JDX DI, X-Amp Reamp and XTC Reamp. I also have the Inward Connections Magnum Preamp, Vogad and Brute compressors and the DACS MICAMP 500. I just asked Eben Grace if I could get an m501 and he said they were just coming off the line and there was one on the way. I’m very excited about having all this firepower at my fingertips for drum, bass, keys and vocals. I’ve already had the Radial Power Pre and Inward Connections gear in session and they are spectacular. Stay tuned for more in-depth coverage here and in Mix.

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It’s Not Exactly Audio BUT……

One of the coolest things I saw at the recent NAB show was the Roland VR5 AV Mixer/Recorder. And although this blog is mostly about audio, there are some compelling reasons for audio pros to know about this product. After all, in these days where self-promotion is king and everyone must be their own promoter, what better way than to explore web streaming as an option. For instance, if you’re a studio looking for a contact-bumpvr-5_roland.jpg from your clients, why not live stream a session? Dierks Bentley did just that from a studio in Ashville, NC and the results were impressive.

But back to the gear. The VR5 is an elegant, all-in solution for audio/video live production. I was able to quickly get my head and hands around the unit at the Roland booth at NAB. They had a few camera feeds coming in to the VR5 and I was able to quickly fade in and out of the various sources by simply touching the screen. It accepts up to 5 sources including two independent audio sources. It also has an onboard player that sources from an SD card, can do chroma keying and other neat video tracks. It was so cool that I’m going to do a live stream event soon that I’ll write about in Mix.

Check out the VR5, it could very well be another revenue stream for individuals or facilities looking for more ways to spread their brand and put some $$$ in their pockets.

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The Best $20 You’ll Spend Today

Longtime friend of Mix and audio engineer Jose “Chilitos” Valenzuela has released his much-anticipated second edition of “The Complete Pro Tools Shortcuts.” The book is newly revised with over 400 Pro Tools shortcuts covering the latest versions of the DAW protoolsshortuts.jpgand is a great way to speed up your workflow and make more $$$$$$$. I just got my copy today and it is well-written and comprehensive. It’s the best $20 you’ll spend today.

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Top 5 NAB Gear Picks

I just returned from the NAB show in Las Vegas where there was some standout gear on display. I saw Genelec’s 1238CFgenelec_1238cf.jpg Tri-Amplified DSP Monitoring System for the first time and it is impressive. The three-way monitor is a midfield or soffit-mount size speaker that is a mere 10.1 inches deep and offers their Genelec Loudspeaker Manager™ (GLM™) control software. The 1238CF can be combined with Genelec 8200/7200 Series products in the same control network. The rear-mounted amp ran surprisingly cool to the touch and the speakers sounded great.

The Digico SD11 is a rackmounted live mixer that comes with a stagebox offering 16 microphone pre amps, eight line outputs and two mono AES I/O. It features 12 touch sensitive moving sd11-cover.jpgfaders below a 15� touch sensitive screen. There’s plenty of IO on the unit itself making it versatile enough to run with or without the stagebox for quick and portable use.

The Channel from Aphex is a complete channel strip for voice and instruments. The Channel incorporates seven powerful devices within a compact, single rack space design. It includes a tube preamp, compressor, gate, de-esser, Aphex’s Big Bottom bass enhancer, parametric EQ, and Aural Exciter.

Roland’s M-480 is their upgrade of the M-400 V-Mixer. It has a wider stance, larger touchscreen and more direct user tweakability including an EQ “smart channelâ€? to which you can assign any channel for quick hands-on involvement with your signal processors. It features 48 mixing channels plus 6 stereo returns Main roland-m-480.jpgLCR outputs, 16 AUX buses, 8 matrices 4-band fully parametric EQ, gate/compressor on all channels. All input and output channels equipped with delay 6 built-in multi-effects and 12 graphic EQs Cascade capability supports large format applications.

The Neyrinck V-Control Pro is a slick iPad controller for Pro Tools (soon to be cross app) designed by none other than former senior vice-president and chief technology officer of Avid Technology, Dave LeBolt. I was quickly able to get deep into automation and plug-in controls with its large buttons, some which v-control-pro-neyrinck-copy.jpgpop up other useful menus making it a tactile delight. You can swipe horizontally to move channels instead of banking and operate the transport with the dedicated controls across the bottom of the screen. Watch for a review coming soon.

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Ninja PT Workflow: Creating a Click on an Existing Session

I recently had to re-cut drums on a live session that wasn’t cut with a click. I needed an accurate click countoff plus a few bars to feed to the new drummer to get him aligned with the track. Pro Tools’ Identify Beat feature makes this an easy prospect.

1. Find an instrument that plays a consistent two bar section at tempo to use as a tempo identifier. (I used a rhythmic guitar intro but a drum or percussion track would work.)

2. Turn on Pro Tools Tab To Transient feature and Tab to the first beat of a bar. Hold Shift and Tab to select two bars.ss1-2-tempo.jpg

3. Turn on Loop Playback (Control + Click on the play button) and play the selection to see if it represents a tight two bar segment.

4. If the selection is good, create a Click track by selecting Create Click Track from the Track pulldown

5. Bring up a Transport (Command + 1, or from the Window pulldown), turn on the MIDI controls (upper right hand corner of the Transport) and make sure the Click and Conductor is On (Metronome and Conductor Icon)

6. Use the Event pulldown and select Identify Beat (Command +I). If you selected a 2 bar segment set the Add Bar/Beat Markersss4-tempo.jpg popup Start to 1|1|000 and the end to 3|1|000

7. The click will now follow the tempo set by your selection (as long as the band doesn’t drift!). If you need a two bar countoff, click Countoff at the top of the MIDI controls on the transport.

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Free: Devil-loc Plugin

SoundToys is offering the Devil-loc plugin free until the end of March as a precursor to the Devil-loc Deluxe edition coming soon. dl_500px.gifThe plugin is a wicked-simple crusher/distorter that is as fun as it is simple. The knob on the left gives you more crush (It’s inspired by the classic Shure Level-Loc but is also reminiscent of the SSL Listen Mic Compressor), while the knob on the right gives you more distortion. I’ve had it on guitars and drums and it sounds great and does exactly what it says: provides heavy-handed compression/distortion with a devilish personality.

From SoundToys:
The Devil-Loc: Essentially a distorting compressor but so much more, it’s really quite simple but also a bit supernatural. Because the release time of the compression is effected by the input level (like the Level-Loc) it’s a bit hard to predict exactly what will happen the first time you work with it. Luckily with just two knobs, you can find the magic spot for your track fairly quickly and you’ll be going for that sound more and more. Don’t be fooled by it’s simple front panel, this plug-in has a lot more cool sounds than you’d expect out of two knobs. Get crushing kick drums, to almost rhythmic level sweeps with the crazing sucking compression, to blitzed out blasting beat loops. Drive it hard and you get straight hardware sounding break-up and drive. It’s a devil in disguise, and the devil’s in the details, and the devil made us do it and all those other devil references.

Devil-Loc Deluxe. Coming April 2011
To take things beyond the hardware that inspired it and give you even more creative flexibility, Devil-Loc Deluxe adds a “Darkness” control for tone, switchable slow or fast release times and the ability to mix the original back in right on the front panel. The addition of these controls opens up the sonic palette immensely. Dark thundering drums, to driven lo-fi loops, and more, and the mix control saves all that tedious routing and lets you automate mix to keep the Devil from taking over the soul of your tracks. This time, evil is good.

A Bit of History
The Shure M62 Level-Loc was designed by Shure to be a leveling amplifier mostly for mics. The concept was it would keep an even level (locked level) once it hit a certain input so you wouldn’t get “fade outs or blasting”. It was super simple with only a switch for three “distance” settings based on how far from the mic you were. The M62V upped the control a bit by adding an input level knob. However, the reason it became famous was not because it did a good job of leveling, it may have, but largely thanks to SoundToys user Tchad Blake and his desire to push, abuse, and do deliciously evil things to his tracks. He discovered that pushing the Level-Loc gave you gritty, dirty, unusual compression that made drums gigantic and nasty. Both of which are good things. So we’ve taken that concept and dropped it in the simple two control Devil-Loc. Then we’ve taken it further than the original hardware with the Devil-Loc Deluxe.

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Ninja PT Workflow: Dual Mono to Stereo

Going from multi-channel to mono tracks in Pro Tools is as easy as selecting your track and choosing “Split into Mono” from the Track pulldown. However, going the other way, from mono to stereo, isn’t as simple. For me there’s always a doubt that I may be accidentally moving audio left or right on the timeline and opening up a new can of worms. The method below quickly and accurately moves mono tracks to stereo giving you access to multi-channel plug-ins while slimming down your mix window.

1. Make a new Stereo track to the right of the dual mono tracks you wish to move

2. While holding Shift, use your mouse to select the audio regions and Copy them with Command + Cscreen-1-pt.jpg

3. Turn on Keyboard Focus (see pic –>)

4. Use “P” to move selection UP or “:” to move selection DOWN into your New Track

5. Command + V will copy the regions into the moved selectionscreen-2-pt.jpg

6. Delete or deactivate mono tracks and move them off the Show/Hide list

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Cloud-based Production and GrooveZoo

I’ve been researching cloud-based production and found quite a few high-end producers/engineers are using it for various purposes. For example, Robert Venable in Nashville uses the Cloud to store his audio toys. He says, ” I keep some of my drum sample collections in Dropbox to be able to pull them when needed. I do a lot of work at other studios, in other states, and it’s one less hard drive to lug around or check at the airport.” Watch for an in-depth feature on the Cloud in the May Mix from Blair Jackson and Tom Kenny.

In my outreach via FB and Twitter, I also found the Groovezoo. It’s an online studio thatgz_logo-copy.jpg promises enhanced connection with musicians, producers, and songwriters, sharing of files in organized sessions and mixes plus the ability to set up work for hire and royalty split contracts with other musicians.

We’re watching the future of audio unfold and the cloud is where it’s all going. It will become more common as bandwidth deepens and becomes more affordable.

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