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Tempo Track

Berklee Online & Avid Present: Organizing and Mixing Your Sessions in Pro Tools (Tempo Track)

Welcome to our brand new video tutorial series co-created by Berklee Online and Avid. In this 9-part series, Organizing and Mixing Your Sessions in Pro Tools, I’ll be teaching you techniques used by professional engineers. If you like this tutorial series, you might find the in-depth curriculum of my Berklee Online course, Mixing & Mastering with Pro Tools even more valuable.

To dive into this series, we’re going to have a look at creating a tempo map for a Pro Tools session that was not recorded to a click. This is a really handy thing to do if you wind up working with a Pro Tools session where the music doesn’t really correlate to what Pro Tools is thinking about in terms of the tempo of a song. This sometimes comes up if you record some music where you aren’t listening to a click in Pro Tools or maybe the music was done somewhere else and imported into Pro Tools. Let’s get started with this first episode, Tempo Track.

Berklee Online: Mixing & Mastering with Pro Tools

Mixing & Mastering with Pro Tools

Learn music production techniques from anywhere in the world with Berklee Online, the award-winning online school of Berklee College of Music.

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Unlock Your Mastering Potential with this Free Mastering Guide from iZotope

iZotope Mastering Guide Header

Get approachable advice on the art of mastering in Pro Tools, using the Ozone AAX 64-bit plug-in from iZotope, with a free guide that provides valuable tools, tips, and techniques.

We’re happy to share the 2015 update to our acclaimed guide, Mastering with Ozone. You can get it for free as a PDF or as an iTunes download for your iPhone or iPad. Check out the links at the bottom of this article.

If you don’t know anything about mastering—or if you could use a refresher—this guide is a great place to dig into the basic principles and techniques. You don’t need to own iZotope Ozone 6, our AAX creative mastering platform plug-in, to enjoy the guide, but we use it as reference point to provide illustrative examples of tips and concepts. If you want to get hands-on as you read, you can always download the free Ozone 10-day trial. Ozone is AAX 64-bit compatible, which makes it an excellent companion to Pro Tools when you’re finishing your mix.

Our 2015 edition was revised by Jonathan Wyner, iZotope’s Education Director. Jonathan is the Chief Mastering Engineer at iZotope and founder of M-Works Mastering Studios in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

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Free Guide: Mastering with Ozone

We hope Mastering with Ozone helps you in your quest for better-sounding masters!

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Separate Lead Vocals From Music Tracks with Ease Using ADX VVC Plug-In for Pro Tools

Separate Lead Vocals From Music Tracks with Ease Using ADX VVC Plug-In for Pro Tools

At Audionamix, we pride ourselves in being a company that provide creative solutions for complex audio problems. For many years we’ve delivered our unique brand of audio source separation services for major projects in the entertainment industry, and along the way I’ve been asked by veteran sound engineers countless times, “when are you going to make your software available for us to purchase?”. Their question was finally answered at NAMM last year when we debuted ADX Trax, the world’s first automated audio source separation software for the pro audio community. Much to our surprise, our first stand alone software earned a Best of Show award from ProSound Network, as well as numerous follow-up features and honorable mentions in other notable audio rags shortly after its NAMM debut.

From there, it was time to get the ball rolling with the first-ever audio source separation plug-in for pro audio users. Once the proof of concept was accepted by a few key Audionamix beta testers, we went on to seek a development partner with vast experience in creating new and exciting plug-ins. That search led us to Guillaume Jeulin (Founder and CEO at Blue Cat Audio). After discussing the possibility of developing a source separation plug-in with Guillaume, his enthusiasm for the project made him the obvious choice to become the lead development partner for the ADX Vocal Volume Control (VVC) plug-in.

As we all know, there are many types of AAX plug-ins for Pro Tools: EQ’s, delays, reverbs, compressor/limiters, gate/expanders, etc…but every so often an innovative plug-in like VVC comes along that defies categorization, and places itself firmly in the “Other” column. ADX VVC for Pro Tools 10, 11 and 12 uses the same cloud-based, multi-algorithmic and automatic VEX technology as ADX TRAX and ADX TRAX Pro, with the convenience of working within a Pro Tools session.

Using state of the art audio analysis and separation techniques, this revolutionary plug-in will automatically separate a master recording’s lead vocal from its accompanying mono or stereo music track. Once the file is separated, users can effectively adjust the volume (+/- 9dB) and pan positioning (60% left and right) of the lead vocal for various pro audio workflows in the post production, broadcast, advertising and marketing industries.

In the coming months, ADX VVC will be available in the all-new Avid Marketplace for a special introductory price, so stay tuned for the official announcement of this special offer!

In the meantime, watch VVC in action in the following video. Then, read our brief tutorial on VVC’s use in Pro Tools.

After importing your chosen audio file (Stereo or Mono) to a new track, choose VVC from the Inserts menu under Multichannel/Other for a stereo file or Plug-in/Other for a mono file.

Audionamix VVC Select

When VVC first loads, the Acquire button will be activated and the red light will be on. This indicates that the plug-in is ready to acquire the audio data for separation.

Audionix VVC Window

Make a selection of the audio that you would like to make volume or panning adjustments on and press play. This will send the desired audio data to the plug-in, and the red light will turn blue. Using the offline bounce feature in Pro Tools 11 or higher will speed up this process significantly. It is also suggested to simply acquire the entire audio file, so you can make several adjustments throughout the full duration of the song.

To help our algorithm focus on a main melody, you can set the pitch range of the (desired vocal) performance (for separation). In this example we’ve set the highest note in the melody to A4 and the lowest note of the melody to B3.

Audionamix VVC Pitch Range

Before separating, you can also choose to activate two separation options. The HQ algorithm is a more intense extraction process with extended filtering which can greatly improve results depending on the source material. Reverb, when turned on, will separate the target vocal’s reverb along with the lead vocal so that you adjust the level of the melody and its associated reverb at the same time.

Audionamix VVC

Once you’ve selected your desired options, press the Separate button. ADX cloud processing will automatically separate the vocal from the music so that you can then raise and lower the volume, and change the pan position of the separated vocal.

As with other plug-ins, VVC’s gain and pan position parameters can be automated from the automation lanes in Pro Tools or in real-time from the sliders on VVC’s user interface.

Learn more about our ADX VVC plug-in or connect with Audionamix for comments or questions at support@audionamix.com.

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Plugin Alliance Releases 18 New AAX DSP Titles for Pro Tools | HDX

Plugin Alliance AAX DSP Plug-ins

Plugin Alliance recently released 18 new plug-ins for AAX DSP including the legendary SPL Transient Designer as well as titles from companies like elysia, Maag Audio, Vertigo and Millennia Media. Added to the already available 11 titles, Plugin Alliance now has a total of 29 plug-ins available as AAX DSP.

With AAX DSP being the platform of choice for so many recording and live sound professionals around the world who rely on Avid’s Pro Tools as well as Avid’s VENUE consoles, such as the recently announced VENUE | S6L, broad support of the AAX DSP platform is priority for Plugin Alliance. In the coming months you’ll see a number of additional AAX DSP releases so keep an eye out for updates!

Plugin Alliance unites some of the best-known international audio companies under one, virtual roof. Plugin Alliance empowers world-renowned analog hardware companies with a digital strategy and provides software developers with services including marketing, distribution, a state of the art authorization system and customer support, which allow Alliance companies to concentrate on what they’re best at: developing great sounding plug-ins that enhance workflows.

SPL was the first company to join the Plugin Alliance and now has 10 titles available on AAX DSP. SPL has been developing and manufacturing analog and digital audio gear for the music, film, multimedia, and broadcasting industries since 1984. SPL products are respected worldwide for their innovative approach and user-friendliness, but most of all for their outstanding performance.

Plugin Alliance - SPL

Among SPL’s most celebrated developments are the patented Vitalizer® sound-optimization processing, the TwinTube which adds saturation and/or harmonics extremely musically and the first-ever level-independent dynamic processor known as the Transient Designer.

The Transient Designer is the best known of all SPL products and one of the most innovative concepts in pro audio over the past 2 decades. The real innovation of the Transient Designer is the level-independent processing, which makes the setting of a threshold unnecessary and allows you to process all attacks equally regardless of their level. There is nothing that can punch up a drum track or buss like a Transient Designer.

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Got a Pro Tools | HDX system? Need some AAX DSP plug-ins? Plugin Alliance can help. Your choice, Native or DSP. 18 new HDX-ready plug-ins, 29 total, one license. No crossgrade fees and fully functional 14-day demos available.

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My Music Mixing Evolution with Avid

In the early 1990’s I began formulating the idea for opening a commercial recording studio in downtown Chicago. That studio, named HINGE, would also serve as my personal production and mixing facility. It didn’t take long before the monumental decision of what mixing console I would purchase needed to be addressed. The usual choices of consoles were already covered in other studios so I began the search for something that would be new, cutting edge and would elevate us beyond what the other studios offered.

After some research and a bit conversation with the people at Euphonix, I boarded a plane for Silicon Valley to see first hand the newest technology available in mixing consoles. The Euphonix CSII was a full-fledged digitally controlled analog console. It was clear to me right then and there that the future of mixing was here and the console was purchased for HINGE. The CSII offered significant advantages over other analog consoles in the way of instant recall of the entire console and automation of all the consoles knobs and switches. The technology was revolutionary at the time.

Shortly after buying the console, Euphonix added a center section that included a TFT monitor that displayed important visual feedback elements including EQ curves, dynamics and automation data. I jumped on board with that upgrade immediately and my clients and I began to experience the true beginnings of the power of the digital mixing and control surface revolution.

John Legend, Kanye West and me behind the Euphonix CSII

I was also an early adopter of hard disk based digital recording and took delivery of the very first disk based digital recorder and added that to my analog 2” machine for an additional 24 tracks. Although Pro Tools existed at the time, it was still in its infancy. Over time as more and more sessions were coming in as Pro Tools session it became clear that HINGE would have to move over to the Pro Tools platform in order to stay competitive.

Pro Tools functionality with its extensive editing, automation and plugins was a huge leap from the previous digital machine and allowed for things never possible before in recording and mixing. However, I still loved the sound and automation capabilities of the Euphonix and continued mixing from the desk. I mixed and recorded countless records with the Euphonix/Pro-Tools environment including the Grammy Album of The Year record for Kanye West, “Late Registration.”

Although I had outstanding success with that combination of Pro Tools and Euphonix, I began to crave more integration between the control surface and the software. The main issue being the consoles automation system was independent of Pro Tools and would not follow any editing (or conforming) that happened within Pro Tools session. It was complex and time consuming to edit the desk automation separately anytime an arrangement edit happened with in the session.

Also, with parts becoming harder to get for the CSII, I made the decision to retire it and move to the Digidesign ICON D-Control. With the ICON, I now had total control of every function in the DAW while still maintaining the feel of an analog console. Gone was the issue of having to edit the automation independently of the audio in the Pro Tools session.

Tracking on my 32-fader ICON D-Control

Having a physical surface is extremely important to me as a mixer. The control surface becomes my “instrument” and I’m able to feel and manipulate the music much more organically than just a mouse alone. Still a huge fan of analog equipment, I mixed in a hybrid setup of a very large Pro Tools system with 48 analog ins and outs as well as 16 digital i/o. The analog outputs fed into summing amps before hitting a Lavry stereo A-D convertor.

One of the very early projects mixed on this set up was Lupe Fiasco’s Grammy nominated album, “The Cool.” The new set up had proven its worthiness very quickly. I knew this workflow of Pro Tools and a control surface was the definitive environment for me as a mixer.

After 20+ years in Chicago, I decided to move HINGE to Los Angeles in the fall of 2013. Avid had just announced the S6, their latest offering in the evolution of the control surface. Given the move to LA, my great experience with the ICON as well as my desire for the latest and greatest in technology, it was an easy decision to become an early adopter of the S6. With unprecedented visual feedback, modularity, and touchscreen interface that the S6 offers, the surface further elevates my workflow in every way. The S6 is really the ultimate combination of my original Euphonix CSII and the ICON. With the S6, I do still mix with a hybrid set-up and continue to push the envelope of what’s possible in mixing with this highly advanced control surface and DAW: Pro Tools | S6.

I’m very excited to offer insights into my workflow, mixing tips and how I use the S6. You can check out these first two videos for an overview of how I setup the session and the desk to mix.

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Inside the Post Production and Film Score of German Hacker Thriller ‘Who Am I’

The postproduction videos of the successful German movie “Who am I” were already a big hit on YouTube. In order to round up this video series, Avid hosted a “Making of” event at the University of Television and Film Munich (HFF) on April 28 where the makers of the movie provided inspiring insights into their workflow.

For audio and video professionals as well as students in this field, there is probably nothing more exciting than looking over the shoulder of renowned industry experts while they are at work – the perfect reason for Avid to host a “Making of” event at the HFF in Munich. For this matter, Avid invited editor Robert Rzesacz, sound designers Daniel Weiss and Florian Holzner, composer Michael Kamm and mix engineer Ansgar Frerich from BASISberlin. The main focus of the event was the presentation of the entire workflow from rough cut and sound design to film score and final mix.

All the videos from the “Who am I” postproduction can be found on YouTube (in German).

Prior to the evening event, students from HFF, the SAE Institute and the University of Music Munich (Musikhochschule München) were invited not only to an interactive audio Q&A session, but also to an editing masterclass. Both of these special sessions were received very positively by the students who entered into lively discussions with the artists.

Avid application specialists Michael Bleser and Lars Kischkel kicked-off the evening event, which turned out to be informative and entertaining at the same time. The opener was a panel discussion with a subsequent introduction of the various segments of editing, sound design, film score and re-recording, rounded off by some Q&A. Each member of the production team gave insight into his work and described the close collaboration among the various team members from rough cut to final mix. It was especially interesting for the audience to hear about the close collaboration with director Baran Bo Odar who managed to create a procreative workflow by combining his very distinct ideas about the movie with the willingness to integrate suggestions from the team.

The event concluded with an informal get-together that allowed guests to ask the experts many more questions in a relaxed atmosphere. In the end, most of the attendees seized the opportunity to watch the movie (again). And to see this fast-paced hacker thriller with the eyes of someone who is privy to insider information made it even more exciting.

In case you missed the event in Munich, you can now just go to Avid Germany’s YouTube channel to look over the experts’ shoulders.

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Mixing Music for Post

Master the Art of Post Mixing

In the final episode of our Master the Art of Post Mixing series, we examine music mixing for film post production. In order to craft a mix for your film, receiving split stems from your composer is important. Mixing both individual stems and then groups of stems together with VCA Masters is a good way to manage your music mix and also blend against the other elements like dialog and effects. Placing stereo elements in surround is also an important film mixing technique discussed in this episode. Let’s take a look.

Pro Tools | S3 control surface

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Mixing Foley

Master the Art of Post Mixing

Foley footsteps, cloth movement, and prop handling sound additions are critical to making a convincing and fully enhanced soundtrack. Mixing them into place and making them believable can be challenging. In Episode 5 of Master the Art of Post Mixing, we explore ways to blend and control foley on the individual level and then blend overall with hard effects and production sound. Let’s take a look.

Pro Tools | S3 control surface

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Mixing Sound Effects

Master the Art of Post Mixing

Discover the difference between Sound Design and Sound Effects/Hard Effects and how to mix them into place in Episode 4 of Master the Art of Post Mixing. Explore fast mix tips and techniques using the Pro Tools | S3 control surface, Preview Mode and Aux ‘Chains’ to Pre-Dub the effects tracks. Also see tips on how to handle and blend the LFE or Sub channel to your sound effects to make them larger than life.

Pro Tools | S3 control surface

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Mixing Backgrounds

Master the Art of Post Mixing

Backgrounds and ambiences are often overlooked, but can help you set the mood quickly. They also dramatically increase the production value of your film. In Episode 3 of Master the Art of Post Mixing, find out how easy it is to mix backgrounds into place quickly with Capture and Write-To-Selected automation techniques. Let’s take a look.

Pro Tools | S3 control surface

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