O N TRACK
Pro Tools 8
We all know that competition can be a good
thing, and it seems apparent with the new
release of Digidesign’s Pro Tools 8 that the likes
boundaries far beyond recording, editing and
mixing. Aside from a new look, more tracks,
better MIDI and improved window management, there are a few extra treats that have
really helped change my workflow. So, let’s
take a look at some of them and see how they
PT8 now includes a handful of instruments
that sound quite good. Included in the installation are: DB- 33 tonewheel organ, Mini
machine and sequencer, Vacuum monophonic
workstation—which is my personal favorite of
the bunch. For acoustic drums, they give you
their Structure Free sample player, along with
over 800MB of available samples. Along with
used for beat-matching and mixing of audio
files (such as your i Tunes library). As you can
tell, you’ll need lot of space to make a full
For us guitarists, they now include SansAmp,
Eleven Free, AIR Spring Reverb, AIR Multi-Delay, AIR Fuzz Wah, MultiChorus and AIR
Talkbox, along with several dozen other plug-in effects. I was very impressed with the inclusion of these new AIR (Advanced Instrument
Research group) products: they are not only
easy to use, but are also really creative tools.
Air Reverb with the ‘Between The Buildings’
preset sounds great on synth patches, vocals
As a long-time Pro Tools user, the newest
features that I feel take PT8 to the next level
are the Score and MIDI Editor Windows. It’s
nice to be able to compose a part on a MIDI
instrument, then right click on a selection and
Viola, the Score
Editor window will automatically open (you
can of course use menu and key commands
as well). From there, you can edit the notes,
the key, meter, duration, etc. There is of
course the ability to select any notes, transpose them, pencil them in and even change
each note’s velocity for playback. You can
choose to view and follow with either a full
score window or a smaller, docked editor that
sits below the Edit Window.
It’s nice to see that everything is made
quite intuitive in this new release. By simply
double clicking on the song title, a Score
Setup box will open.
SCORE SETUP BOX
Here you can choose how your music is titled,
displayed, spaced and laid out. For example,
by clicking and dragging the Staff Size, you
can increase or decrease the size of the music
click the staff, a Notation Display Track
Settings box will open. It offers the choice of
treble, alto, tenor, bass or grand staff, as well
as Display Transposition, etc.
Another nice touch is the ability to add chord
symbols and diagrams. With a few simple
mouse clicks, you can add chord names to
the Ruler, just like a Marker.
Also, when you go to the Score Window, it
will appear as a traditional guitar chord diagram. If you want to edit it, just double click
on it: the Chord Change window will open
(if selected in the Score Setup window).
It’s obvious that they’ve done their best to
keep the whole scoring process simple.
For those who need furthering Score editing, use the Send to Sibelius command
(File>Send to Sibelius) to export the music
directly to Sibelius (as a .sib file).
Similar to the Score Window, the new Midi
Editor window opens separately for easy
editing. You can choose to view your data in
traditional MIDI form, or select the Notation
Display Enable button to view as Score.
There’s a split pane available so you can also
see your controller, velocity and audio automation data. I’m glad they also included a
large-size keyboard display on the left—not
only can you click on it to hear each note,
but my eyes aren’t getting younger.
winners, both technically and creatively. It’s
far easier to compose with it versus previous versions. The ability to double click and
blow up your MIDI window, then instantly
read Score with the click of a mouse is
incredibly useful. I found myself pscyhed
to open the program up and start making
music. With the inclusion of all the instruments and effects on top of it all, I’m definitely going to upgrade my HD rig to PT8 as
well, ASAP. While I do use just about all the
Pro Tools is still the best way to exchange
sessions with other artists in the real world.
I highly recommend watching some of the
tutorial videos online ( digidesign.com) and
learning some new tricks for yourself.
Rich is a producer, engineer and mixer who has worked
with artists ranging from Al DiMeola to David Bowie . A
life-long guitarist, he’s also the auther of Pro Tools Surround
Sound Mixing and composes for such networks as Discovery
Channel, Nickelodeon and National Geographic.