Pro Tools 8! The Real Review…NOV 07 2008
Posted in Music Production, Pro Tools, Recording Studio
Post tagged Digidesign, MIDI, Music Production, Pro Tools
I know, I know… I’ve been silent since the announcement of Pro Tools 8. Why? Well, I didn’t want to post anything until I actually saw the program and played with it. Like anyone else, I can watch the marketing videos on Digidesign’s web site and be awed, but until I actually try out the software, I can’t give my real opinion.
So, here’s my real opinion. Pro Tools 8 is amazing. It is a major leap forward for Digidesign, and a necessary jump to leapfrog Logic and DP, both in GUI looks and MIDI functionality. Literally, it looks a lot like Logic now (when you make the tracks dark grey) or like Digital Performer (when you make the tracks light grey). Gone are the familiar white background on the edit window and stale grey mix window. Say hello to color! Seriously, the interface looks much more modern, with 3D buttons and rounded corners. The Color Palette window gives you a lot of control over the intensity of the colors too… ranging anywhere from muted pastels to bright ‘bag of Skittles’ technicolor.
Pro Tools new face seems appropriate too for all the changes under the hood. Let me list off “a few” of the new ones:
- 10 inserts (5 more than previous versions)
- Grid lines show through audio regions
- Meter markings on the mix faders
- Insertion Follows Playback button (yes, its not the “N” key mystery anymore)
- Waveforms are shown in higher resolution
- Customizable tool bars at the top of the Edit window (which can be saved in a Windows Configuration)
- Universe window is docked and resizable
- Time Lock feature allows you to edit a region without it in time
- MIDI Scrub tool
- Elastic Pitch tool
- MIDI Editing window (can be either a separate window or a docked window)
- MIDI Smart tool — this makes editing MIDI SO MUCH EASIER!!!
- MIDI notes shown with lighter color have lower velocities, darker colored notes have higher velocities
- 64 sample buffer size for USB interfaces
- Video Satellite (use a separate computer for viewing HD video, connected via ethernet)
- When launching, PT asks whether you want to create a new session, open a session, or start with a template
- at least 30 template files (.ptt files)
- Pressing SHIFT while opening a session makes all plug-ins inactive
OK, that’s a big list… but not enough to warrant PT8 status. Good thing there are a million more improvements…
PT8 comes with 5 new FREE virtual instruments:
1. Mini Grand – 1.5GB worth of great sounding piano
2. DB33 – B3 organ with a convolution modeled Leslie cab (which can be used as a standalone effect, sans the B3)
3. XPand2 – a serious upgrade to XPand! with 2GB of sounds and 1500 patches
4. Vacuum – mono synth with gnarly tube sounds
5. BOOM – an analog style drum machine
In addition, you also get Eleven Free (light version of their awesome guitar amp simulator) and Structure Free (light version of their sampler)… in addition to a whole slew of new effects plug-ins. Its quite a big offering. In fact, it all adds up to 9GB for the entire PT software package.
BUT WAIT… there’s more. I haven’t even talked about some of the coolest and most useful improvements.
First, there’s track comping… where you can record in Loop Record and each take is recorded onto a new playlist. Then, you can open and view multiple playlists for one track all in the Edit window. Making a comp between playlists is now even easier. No more switching between edit playlists. Then, there are “Automation Lanes,” which show any or all automation for a track on separate “lanes” at the same time. Draw volume, panning, and mute automation at the same time. No more switching between automation playlists.
And finally… yes, we’re finally getting to the end of the improvements… the Score Editor. Yup, PT has notation now, driven by the Sibelius engine. You can view the Score Editor as a separate window or as a docked window and edit on the page just like editing MIDI. Print and/or save your score as a PDF. The Score Editor doesn’t have all the complexity of Sibelius, but you can easily export directly into Sibelius for further tweaking.
There are other improvements, but my hands are tired from typing all of these ones. Stay tuned for more info re: the Music Production and DV Toolkits, as well as upgrade pricing…