Review of Pro Tools 8 by DAVID FRANZ

Pro Tools 8! The Real Review…NOV 07 2008
Posted in Music Production, Pro Tools, Recording Studiopicture-1
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…





Structure for Pro Tools LE

I have been using Logic Pro 7 & 8 for about three years as thats how I entered the world of digial DAW (Diagial Audio Workstations) before that I used tape, real to real. Tascham and Fostex. Everyone that I knew at the time was really into keyboards and not so much captureing true live sound audio so I was told to try Logic by Apple, I also was using Apple Computers so it made sence. Grage Band, Logic Express, and Logic Pro. I was told that Pro Tools was evil or called by some Pro Fools. Yet I always wondered why would all the pros use it if it was so bad. Well I have switched. I really like Pro Tools and in version 8 its pretty easy and with all the web support and info its pretty easy to get started. I love the Produciton Kit 2. So far with Pro Tools I am very happy and will be selling some of my Logic Gear soon on ebay. My Ensemble, Mackie Pro Control, and some software. Im a Pro Tools Pro Fool.
Professional sampler workstation
for Pro Tools
Developed by the acclaimed Digidesign® Advanced Instrument Research (A.I.R.) group and optimized exclusively for Pro Tools®, Structure™ is a powerful RTAS® virtual instrument that redefines the art of sampling, allowing you to freely create, sculpt, and refine everything from simple acoustic instruments to highly complex soundscapes with amazing ease — in real time.

Structure comes with an extensive library of high-quality sounds from A.I.R. and EastWest (including a 30-day trial of Goliath — Structure Edition), welcomes the use of your own sample libraries, and lets you create your own samples directly from your Pro Tools sessions via drag-and-drop. It also features an impressive universal sound engine with support for an unlimited number of nestable patches, optimally manages sample streaming along with Pro Tools playback, and includes a powerful multi-effects processing engine. Whether you’re a musician, sound designer, audio engineer, or post-production editor, Structure offers superior playability and performance.

Digidesign 001 Picked one up on Ebay for the G4 Mac


Ordered a New Digidesign Command 8 from Sweetwater

Sweetwater tuns into Saltwater to me.  They will say that they have them (products not in stock) so you will place your order fine,  then they say it will be hear on such a date yet that seems to not be the case most of the time.  Then two weeks later they get it.  I am finding that Sweetwater try to get you to commit to placing an order yet they dont have the item.  I am also finding that they dont really have the best prices you can do better at other stores like Guitar Center, Sam Ash, Musicians Friend.


Pro Tools 8 is out! They should be sending out the link for the update soon!

Should be at Palm Recording Studio within two weeks.

Black Lion Digidesign 002 Upgrade Were scheduled to get one mid Jan 09

Analog Stages + Mic Pres
We’re able to completely rework the entire analog stage, including the mic preamps, line inputs, voltage reference circuitry, and headphone amp. We’re fans of Burr Brown’s OPA4134, and we substitute those for the TL074 opamps used in the mic preamp and line inputs. We’re able to reduce analog stage noise created by the 002’s phantom power circuitry as well as reducing the RF noise created by the 002’s switching power supply.

The Clock
While experimenting with clock designs, we found that we liked the quality of the audio better when the master clock frequency was increased. Due to the superior nature of third overtone XO crystal oscillators (they have inherently less jitter than fundamental XO oscillators), we decided to increase the 002’s original master clock frequencies, and then divide them by two to obtain the needed frequencies. We started with a pair of ultra-low jitter (1 picosecond average) XO oscillators, one for 44.1 kHz and its multiples, and one for 48 kHz and its multiples. We use a proprietary method that keeps accumulated jitter and switching noise to a bare minimum: under 10 picoseconds. Coupled with our approach to converter configuration, we’re able to bring the 002 to a level of performance that rivals or exceeds digital systems that cost thousands more.

Taking the 002 even further
Over the last few years, we’ve experimented with several different design approaches for digital audio, starting with the power supply and moving into advanced theories of clock and data harmonic structure. We came up with several unique approaches to the 002 and 003 modifications. These are practices that aren’t used by any other manufacturer. We’ve found them to yield sonic improvements that rival the most expensive conversion systems available in pro audio today.

We began using a low-emission toroid to power the analog and digital stages separately because it improves overall sonic character. It also completely eliminates the power supply as a source of crosstalk between the analog and digital circuitry. This is available on both the Tweak Head and Signature Series modifications.

Converters are very sensitive to their power sources, and proper configuration is very crucial. Although there is an approach commonly used by all manufacturers, we began experimenting with new design theories. We approached it from the perspective of minimizing resonant frequencies and current noise within the power supply, and the resulting overall impact on the conversion process. After almost six months of testing, we came up with a proprietary method for configuration of the 002’s converters. We feel the end result represents a great breakthrough, and takes the 002 to a completely new level of sonic quality. This is included on every 002 and 003 modification we perform.

Our latest effort has focused on the overall harmonic structure of the master clock, and the overall sonic effects yielded during the conversion process. These experiments have yielded our 220/270SP Master Clock; a master clock system that we feel is among the best in the industry. This is available only on the Signature Series 002 and 003.002_sigature