PT8 is here!!!

The wait os over... Digidesign has released Pro Tools 8.

For further information on the many new features click here.


New Rode microphone blimps

To compliment the Rode range of shotgun microphones, the release of the Rode Blimp is something to get quite excited about. Retailing for a fraction of the cost of other alternative blimps, this makes for a very handy addition to your recording kit.

Included with the blimp is:
- The windshield. (Including a quick release pistol grip and internal cable from the mounts to the pistol grip)
- Spare rubber shock bands for the mounts
- The "Dead Wombat" (The furry windsock)
- The "Dead Wombat" brush


New Mac Books

After much speculation and anticipation, Apple has finally released it's newest range of Mac Books. As a sound editor, one limitation on the new Mac Book models is the lack of a firewire port. This makes using additional interfaces and drives, USB dependent. The Mac Book Pro on the other hand, does have one Firewire 800 port.

For further information, visit the Apple website.


ProTools 8 - Dialogue / ADR editing improvement

If you are a dialogue editor, then you may wish to see what PT8 has installed for you and ADR recording/ editing...(providing it is recorded on a PT8 system). This video is based on vocals in a music track however it will be the same for dialogue tracks....

Digidesign | Products | Pro Tools | Pro Tools 8 | Get Ready for Pro Tools 8

click on "see it in action", log in to your digi account then select "Comp tracks to perfection"


Use your Mac as a mobile phone remote

- Do you not have an iPhone?
- Do you hate typing text messages on your mobile phone due to keyboard limitations?
- Do you wish you could use your Mac address book to ring people directly on your mobile without always having to sync?

Well there is a solution. Mira Software have a cheap (USD$24.95) program BluePhoneElite 2 which connects your mac to your mobile phone via Bluetooth technology. This software makes texting and the management of calls a breeze. Check it out!!!

Pro Tools 8 announcement

Digidesign has a publicly announced some of the new features added to the much anticipated release of Pro Tools 8.

Some key features include:
- Music score editor
- Elastic Pitch
-Collapsable Automation tracks
-"Check for Update" feature for Pro Tools and Plug-ins
- Quicktime HD support

Some of the biggest features will be in the expansion of Pro Tools LE, making it far more compatible with Pro Tools HD. Some of these new features include:
- Up to 128 Tracks
- 7.1 surround mixing

Click here to read more about the new features in Pro Tools 8


Track Magnification using scroll wheel

If you are using a mouse or trackball with a scroll wheel, you can make the waveform display in your tracks zoom in or out by pressing " Shift" + "Option" and rotating your scroll wheel.

Also if you want to scroll along the timeline, hold down shift whilst using your scroll wheel.


Waves 6.0.1 update

Waves has release 6.0.1 with the introduction of a free plugin to those who are covered by the WUP on either the Gold, Broadcast + Production, Platinum, Diamond and Mercury bundles.
The new plug being the MV2 Volume Maximizer.

Apart from upgrading the Waves bundle software, you will also need to reauthorize your iLok for the v6.0.1 update and for MV2 to take effect. Authorization is not an instant process! You need to go to Waves, click the update link in your user account, and enter your iLok details. Eventually a license will appear in your iLok account for you to download. In doing so, this process will remove the v6.0 Waves license and replace it with the new v6.0.1. Since my 6.0.1 license is yet to appear in my iLok account I am unable to tell if this v6.0.1 will be backward compatible with Waves v6.0 software.


The v6.0.1 ilok asset is backward compatible with Waves v6.0 plugins


ReBirth may be gone on OS X but this will make you smile even more!!!

Owning some of the old analogue legends of Roland may be a dream or distant memory to some of us. Currently I am in the process of building a clone TB-303 since I sold my original a few years back. Propellerhead ReBirth gave us hours of entertainment when available on Mac OS9, however since OS X this software has not been upgraded. Instead you can download free refills for Reason - providing it is the full version and not "adapted". Today though I came across a website which blew me away. Not only does it contain an impressive arsenal of the vintage roland legends, it has been scripted in flash! Meaning that it will run on almost all computers, and is only limited to the web browser/ internet connection. It is extremely interactive- with you being able to patch into a virtual mixer, as well as program patterns and adjust parameters on the fly. This thing ROCKS!!!
Have a play on the Hobnox - Audiotool Demo


iTunes 8 Big Brother "Genius" -

Today saw the release of some new music related products from Apple. These releases include new revised iPods as well as the release of iTunes 8. iTunes 8 introduces a new feature named "Genius", which can analyze your music playlists and give you recommendations for other music which may compliment your musical tastes. For this to work though, you need to agree that "Genius" will be sending your iTunes information to Apple, and the Apple Store in turn will send you new music recommendations. Unfortunately this "Genius" feature does not work as a stand alone feature on a host computer using your own music library as a resource pool. I for one am not a fan of Apple knowing my musical tastes and having them make music recommendations for me in the hope that I will purchase music from their iTunes Store. As a result I will be using my iTunes with "Genius" disabled.


Perspective cuts- splitting quickly

If you are needing to cut and split tracks for perspective, a quick method is as follow:

Group the tracks that you are wanting to split. (If you have many edits - it may be worth creating a region group first). Go through and place a cut to your region on the edit points. Then, using the "Grabber- object" tool, go through and "shift click" your regions which need to move down to a new set of split tracks (this could be every second region). Then drag these tracks down to the tracks used for the split. This is much faster then going through and dragging each region edit selection at a time!


Free Folder Sync Application

Do you backup from one folder to another?
Do you need to clone folders?

Do you not use Automator for folder synchronization?

If you answer yes to these, then check out this free folder sync application!

About halfway down the page is an application created by Thomas Robisson and Philippe Galmel, named "SyncTwoFolders".
Alternatively, this is the link to the Intel Version.


Want to rename regions quickly?

If you are wishing to tidy up your edit window, especially if your session is being passed on to another person, one thing that can make a huge difference is region names. Often regions have long descriptive names especially after processing with plugins. When you are printing charts or just wanting to find a region quickly, you want your region named concisely and as short as possible. Now you can rename a region simply by double clicking on the region. This is fine if you are only renaming a couple of regions, however if you are wishing to rename multiple regions, especially if you have checker boarded perspective cuts, then there are a couple of options.

If you want to give all of your selected regions the same name you can simply go to the region list menu and choose "Auto Rename". this will allow you to give your regions the same name with increments. The second method is to select the regions you wish to give the same name and simple go to the region menu and select Rename. Then type in your new name, copy it and press enter. The next region name will then automatically be displayed for you to paste the clipboard name.

Of course you can use region groups to do the same thing, however if you are charting, region groups will only work on single tracks. If there is silence between 2 regions, this will be incorporated into the region group, so this may not be the best solution.


Coalesce VCA groups

When editing or mixing a new feature of ProTools is through the use of VCA groups.
This allows you to write volume automation using a VCA, which effects the tracks which are slaved to it. (The non VCA tracks which make up the group) If you need to remove a VCA from it's group, or a non VCA track from the VCA, it is possible to have the automation of the VCA coalesced to the "slave" tracks.

Under Preferences -> Mixer , there is a tickbox to "Coalesce when Removing Slaves from VCA Group"

This will automatically coalesce any VCA volumes to the slave tracks.
If this tickbox is not selected then you will get a pop up warning, like so:

You can see from the blue volume how the coalesced volume will effect the audio track.

Free file re-namer

I have been using a freeware (Donation to Unicef if you wish) file re-naming application since moving to OS X. R-Name is a very powerful utility which is very easy to use and saves you having to write an Automator script to do simple file/ folder renaming. This is invaluable for me as I do a lot of field recordings and sound effects creating which I need to keep very ordered. Where I use this the most, is adding "key" words to my file names as I use the ProTools digibase for most of my SFX searching. I can also rename an entire folder with an abbreviation of the job title and any other relevant information. You can also preview your name changes before committing to the renamed file - which is very handy!!!

Some features include:
- adding characters to the start or end of a file name
- sequential file naming
- find and replace
- removing characters from the start or end
- changing extensions
- changing the case of the letters

and my favorite...
- append names pre and post extension

Click to download


The M-Audio Axiom

I have recently purchased the M-Audio Axiom USB controller keyboard. Out of the 3 models (25, 49 +61 keys) I purchased the 25 key version simply because I wanted a "small desktop" keyboard. Up until this time I had been using a full sized midi keyboard which I had on a stand. The fact that this Axiom fits next to my mixer on my desk is amazing!

Some other features of this keyboard:
- it is USB powered and doesn't need external power - even if running through a USB hub!
- 8 x drum pads
- 8 x fully customizable pots (which can be used for soft synths or anything really)
-Pitch bend and Modulation
- Transport controls (In ProTools goto "Peripherals" menu, "Machine Control", and enable the tick box "Midi machine control slave")

You can also download "Enigma" from the M-Audio website which allows you to create and save patches and settings using your computer.

Free ProTools Plug ins

Steven M. Massey, a former Digidesign and Trillium Lane Labs employee has released several plug-ins for free. That is right FREE!.
Here is the link to some "Utility based Plug-ins".
These include metering, backing up and other various plug-ins not necessarily audio based.

If you are after some more "Audio" based plug-ins then have a look at the Massey High end plug-ins. Here you can download demo versions of often used plug-ins. As the web page state, you have "unlimited usage period and introduces no mutes or beeps to the audio. Use it as long as you like."

Please read all disclaimers though in regards to the use of these plug-ins.


TL Space Impulses

If you are using TL Space, this link will give you an assortment of extra impulse responses. This link was easy to find on the Digidesign site for a while, however over time it has been lost in the ether... A few colleagues of mine have been raving about this plugin, and I agree with them that as far as sound design is concerned this is one amazing plug in!

Here is the link to the extra impulses. Please read the descriptions as some of these did ship with the original instal. All up it is about 500 meg.

TL Space extra Impulses.


iChat video problems

As more people are upgrading to Leopard it is becoming apparent of some issues that are arising between Leopard and Tiger machines using video iChat. Some of the problems are as a result of the modem/ routers being used as opposed to the operating system itself. In particular there are some issues with some of the D-Link products.

Here is a rough guide to what is compatible (as far as I am aware anyway):

Tiger to Tiger = Works
Leopard to Leopard = Works

Tiger to Leopard (LAN) = Works inmost instances
Tiger to Leopard (internet)= Works sometimes (Does not work with some D-Link products)

It is possible to fix the D-Link issue between Tiger/ Leopard however:
a) it requires upgrading the D-Link firmware and altering the modem/ router settings
b) most Tiger machines may be upgraded to Leopard soon (if you are not comfortable upgrading firmware or messing with your router, upgrading the Mac OS to Leopard may make for a simpler fix in the long run)

There are possibly (and probably) compatibility issues with other manufacturers, however this is what I have experienced to date.


How to fix the D-Link problem:

You need to open up ports 16393 - 16402 on the firewall. Once this has happened, all should be good!


Some often used Track View key commands...

Control + Command + Click on Track name = Waveform View

Control + Command + Click on Volume = Track Volume view

Control + Command + Click on Pan = Track Pan view

Control+ Up/ Down Arrow = Selected track will go to next/ previous track height
Control + Option + Up/ Down Arrow = All Tracks will go to next/ previous track height

Control + Command + Left/ Right Arrow = Toggle through selected track parameter views
Control + Option + Command + Left/ Right Arrow = Toggle through All track parameter views

Control + Command + Up Arrow = Selected track fills screen


Screen Sharing Pt2 (iChat)

Although being able to screen share using the finder, another method of screen sharing with Leopard is through the use of iChat. Today I performed some software optimisation and trouble shooting for a colleague who is working in the United States. What I was able to do, was to share his screen from Australia and by using iChat, perform the tasks at hand.
This will however only work if both computers are running Leopard.

Now not only can iChat be used to communicate with friends and family all over the world... but now you can be called up to fix their computers... just what you wanted!!!

While I am on the topic of ichat, something else I would like to point out is the new feature "iChat theatre". This new feature allows you to share such things as iPhoto albums and documents through iChat. This is a great if you wish to "show" someone either photos or documents without having to upload them. Your holiday slideshow can now play to family across the globe without having to upload/ download the raw files.


Leopard Screen Sharing

This is not a tip... as much as it is praise.

Having used Leopard for a few months now, I have absolute confidence in it as a stable platform for running ProTools. I am running both an LE system as well as a HD system (both Leopard). One of the new Leopard features that I do love is screen sharing. Because I work in ProTools HD all day on a Mac Pro, my email and other business takes place on another computer. Now instead of having to go back and forth between computers, I can simply share the screen of my "business" computer and not have to leave my desk, go over and wake it from sleep and log in etc in order to respond to emails etc. I can now simply share the screen and type away on my work machine using a shared screen. I sometimes have iTunes playing from my business computer in the background - and now I can control it's itunes from my work computer. Brilliant!!! The possibilities are endless!

triggering Automator back ups... file management from the kitchen... running remote scripts...


Waves V6 - ProTools launch crash

If you have installed Waves V6 and you are having problems opening ProTools (ie. Pro Tools freezes on the launch screen) you may wish to try the following:

Go into your user name Library folder, then go into the preferences folder and delete the Waves preferences. This should fix any problems.

Want Quicktime to be more diverse?

If you are on a Mac and wish you could open more movie codecs - check this out!
http://perian.org/ . A free Quicktime component that opens just about anything!


Have you lost your Function Key Commands?

If you have a new slim- line apple keyboard, chances are that the function keys are operating the Apple Dock and Expose parameters etc. In order for you to use these buttons for Pro Tools functions, you will need to disable the keyboard shortcuts and enable Function key functionality.

To do this:

Go to "System Preferences"

Firstly go to "Dashboard and Expose"
Disable the function keys

Secondly go to "Keyboard and Mouse"
Set the checkbox as below.

Then click on "Keyboard Shortcuts"

Disable "Keyboard Navigation" and "Dock, Expose and Dashboard"


Track short cuts

For some short cuts that relate to viewing, hiding, scrolling and track activation - either Right Mouse click or "Control" click on the track name. A menu will appear showing several track related short cuts.

This is especially good for "Hide and Make Inactive"


Need to scroll down the page quickly?

This may seem obvious, however I figured it may be worth posting just to remind people on how to quickly scroll down through your edit page quickly... especially when you get to over 80 tracks or so...

One option is to simply use the "Page Up" and "Page Down" buttons, however another way is to use "Option" + "Command" + "F". This allows you to enter the track number and thus quickly go straight to the desired track. - This saves a lot of mouse scrolling!!!

If you want to advance along the timeline one screen at a time you can also use "Option" + "Page Up/ Down"


Quick Surround Navigation on Pro Tools

If you quickly need to adjust you trims on your surround parameters:
1) Bring up the surround mixer for your track
2) "Control" + "command" click on the position dials


Free reliable FTP software

If you are after a free simple to use FTP program on the Mac - have a look at Cyberduck. I have been using this program for about 3 years now, and rely on it for work. So far it has been 100% reliable. Another aspect of Cyberduck that I like is the fact that it has a very user friendly GUI - so it is not confronting for people new to FTP software.


Have these tips delivered to your email program whenever there is an update

If you would like to have these tips delivered to you automatically when they are updated - simply subscribe to the RSS feed.

my feed URL is:


In mail, simply to the "+" sign on th ebottom LHS, and create a new RSS feed and paste this in the URL field.

A quick way to add tracks of various types...

To create a new track the keyboard command is "shift" + "command" +"N". when the new track window appears, simply press these buttons again and you will get 2 options, once again and three options etc etc...

Colored Tracks in PT 7.3 and above

DigiNews Tips & Tricks: September 2007
By David Gould and Steven Webb

Pro Tools 7.3 for HD, LE and M-Powered systems has a handy hidden feature that isn’t documented anywhere! Make it easier to manage your sessions and grouping tasks by coloring tracks and channels. Here’s how:
Open the color palette by double-clicking any track's colour label or by opening from the window menu

For Mac OSX hold the following keys: Command+Control+Option

For Windows hold the following keys: Control+Start+Alt

Now using the mouse, click, hold and drag in the color palette (Dragging up will make the tracks go darker in relation to the existing track color, dragging down will make the tracks go lighter in relation to the existing track color)

What is the "blue tick" in the digibase?

With the new "elastic time" feature in Pro Tools 7.4 some parts of the digibase have changed. The most obvious now being a blue tick in the workspace which appears next to some files in the "find" column. This tick represents that the file has been analysed be elastic time, and that a beat has been detected in the file.


Digidesign Transfuser

Digidesign is giving a 3 month free trial of their newest plug-in Transfuser


Automator - the simple way to make repeated tasks only a 1 click step.

I have been using Automator since it's introduction with OSX 10.4. In my day to day work I particularly like it's use in automated back ups. I am able to synchronise any 2 folders, with only changes taking place on the destination folder.
Some other every day uses I have are:
- Batch File renaming
- Creating automated Zip files
- Batch conversions of Quicktimes
- iCal triggered events


Pro Tools Elastic Time

How good is elastic time?
Wow! This is an awesome new feature of ProTools 7.4 which allows audio tempo changes on the fly.
It is now so easy to create perfectly timed remix - as loop tempos can now follow your session midi tempo map. I have been accumulating many loops over the years I and I am amazed at how easily and quickly I could assemble the rhythm section to a song. One of the best features is the fact that you can also now preview your loops in the workspace at the new tempo of your track. Previously I used to time compress/ expand my loops - but now this has eliminated that step.
I also have been working on some Heavy Metal music which I have been remixing to Industrial- a big problem I was having was having to time stretch every couple of bars. NOw all I need to do is tempo map the track and all loops or additional sound s will instantly be in time. Amazing!!!


Apple Drive Encryption

Due to Australia being such a large country and our broadband not being the fastest, it is often more efficient to deliver materials via courier. When working on a film which is undisclosed, often Hard drives containing picture files and audio files are transported from one place to another. If the contents of these drives were to fall in to the wrong hands than many millions of dollars could be potentially lost due to piracy etc etc. One way to combat this is to Encrypt all files and/ or all drives. The Mac OS includes encryption as part of it's drive set up. Another option is Truecrypt . The differences being: The Mac OS will only encrypt Disk Images on a drive, whereas Truecrypt will encrypt an entire volume. The Mac OS version also needs to do an encryption pass which takes time, whereas Truecrypt encrypts on the fly.

A quick way to encrypt files using Disk Utility, is to create a blank disk image on your desktop using encryption. Then just copy straight into the image.



As a sound designer/ sound engineer in Australia with over 10 years of experience in film, television, games and music; I thought it appropriate to start a blog where I can share my thoughts and tips which I employ into my work. Being almost exclusively an Apple Mac and Pro Tools user, I often have tips to streamline productivity. This Blog is set up with intentions to give those new to the industry, or those wishing to join the industry a look behind the scenes.