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Tips, Tricks and Help

Tips and Tricks

(Proximity Effect, Mic Types, Pick-up Patterns and More)

Recording Vocals in the studio can be one of the most challenging aspects of tracking and music production. Not only does the type of mic affect the quality, but so does the placement, the surrounding acoustics, the room, the polar pattern on the mic, etc. This tutorial will be of assistance to shed some light on these topics, and particularly useful for engineers working in home studios. The mic’s we use today are direct descendants of early telephone technology. Once radio broadcast and recording technology started to emerge in the mid-20th century, music lovers looked at developing better, more specific microphones for use in the studio and recording world. Today, we have an endless variety of microphones to choose from, however, they all still work according to the fundamental principles developed by our techno-ancestors.

Mixing in Pro Tools with Analog Hardware is one of the many techniques used by professional engineers. For many years certain devices in the studio have become “infamous” amongst engineers and producers. The never-ending list includes equipment such as a FairChild Compressor, Tube-Tech EQ, Amek 9098i Channel Strip, Lexicon FX Processors, along with dozens of other unique and flavorful devices that are still used to this very day. While the majority of these “classic” devices gained their notoriety during the hey-day of analog recording, they are also being utilized this very day in the latest Pro Tools based digital studios. The power of Pro Tools lies not only with what it can do, but also with its ability to incorporate hardware and software together into a seamlessly package.

The usage of equipment in this way goes back to analog consoles, which allowed user to plug in various equipment by “patching in” (connecting) the input and outputs to the console. The only difference we have nowadays is that our “console” is called Pro Tools and the “patching in” occurs via the Audio Interface. If we follow the same rules of signal flow our forebears did, we can patch in any piece of hardware equipment directly into Pro Tools, just as if it were an analog console and tape machine.


With the dust settling from this summer’s release of Pro Tools 11, it’s time we look at how to implement some of these much talked about features into your workflow. With so much talk regarding Audio Engines, new plug-ins, and all the other distractions, many people have overlooked the most useful new feature of Pro Tools 11, Offline Bounce. Actually, there is a whole lot more to the Bounce engine than just the ability to perform faster than real time renders, the entire feature set has been expanded to give you the utmost flexibility as well as time saving features. The ability to Bounce an MP3 simultaneously with a .WAV is pretty freakin’ cool, so is the ability to bounce different outputs simultaneously. As usual, there is a lot more to this new feature than first meets the eye.

As an Audio Engineer, I’m ecstatic about the streamlined Bounce features of Pro Tools 11. I have done hundreds-of-thousands of bounces in Pro Tools over the years, and it was always a multi-step process. At the very least it required two bounces, one for the .WAV file and another for the MP3. For music mixers, an MP3 is necessary especially when e-mailing files to clients. If your work requires you to bounce MP3’s along with the traditional audio file, check the box labeled “Add MP3”. It will create both files simultaneously, regardless of whether or not you’re using the Offline feature.


Pro Tools 11Several months ago, Avid announced the release of Pro Tools 11 to much fanfare and hype. If you saw the official Avid release video, you got the impression that we were about to see the next big thing. Has it lived up to that kind of hype? In a word, Yes!

The type of changes that were made directly impact anyone working on audio projects for music or tv/film, and most users will see a significant change in workflow to take advantage of these new features.

It turns out there’s a lot more to the latest version of Pro Tools than we first thought. Sure, it’s nice to have 64-Bit Processing, a new Avid Audio & Video Engine, along with a host of other improvements. I’m sure you are asking, “how is this going to improve my work?”. Let’s take a look at what we’ve discovered so far about Pro Tools 11.

How many of you want to share your studio work with other people?

As we start expanding the scope of our work, each of us will find ourselves at some point needing to share work across other DAW software or sessions such as Logic, Nuendo, Studio One, etc. There are many reasons you might share your projects, such as working with collaborators, sending your song to a mix engineer, or having to integrate your work with other material, such as a video. For whatever the reason, the transfer of information between platforms is happening at a fast and furious pace and understanding some basic procedures will make things flow a lot smoother for you.

Mihai Boloni and Kevin ElsonLet’s first look at some of the scenarios you might encounter in the course of working on a session. You have a partner or group of people you collaborate with and they are using different DAW’s in their own studio. The keyboard player might be using Logic, the drummer might be using Pro Tools, and the Singer/Guitar player is using Nuendo. You will have to put all these different pieces together in order to give them to the Mix Engineer who might be using Pro Tools. This type of thing is very common in the musical landscape. Another scenario might involve transferring material between video editing systems such as Media Composer, Final Cut Pro, Premier, back and forth to Pro Tools so you can do the Audio Post Production. Each of these situations might require a slightly different workflow, but in the end the same goal is being accomplished - sharing information across different platforms.

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