Logic X Key Commands: ProTools Preset

Holy pants, folks! I don't know if this was always in Logic X, or if it has just recently reappeared, but this will save me so many ⌘-Z undo actions.

My brain's memory banks thanks you, Logic developers!

My brain's memory banks thanks you, Logic developers!

Especially, the difference between the default Logic X and ProTools zoom shortcuts: ⌘+← or → for Logic, ⌘+[ or ] for ProTools. I can tell you how many times I've mashed the ProTools shortcut 5 times while using Logic, thinking I was going to zoom out or in, only to trim a region or wreak some other untold havoc on my session.

Using Logic Pro to generate "air"

A while back, I linked to a Designing Sound article by Doug Murray (whom I later would go on to work for on Dawn of the Planet of the Apes!) about using convolution reverb to generate room tone to fill holes in dialog tracks.  At the end of that linked post, I speculated on using Logic Pro's Space Designer plug in, since I didn't (and still don't) own a convolution reverb for ProTools.  Well, I finally had a reason to sit down and try it out, and the results were pretty great.

Using Space Designer to generate endless room tone!

Using Space Designer to generate endless room tone!

I was really pretty happy with the results. The general process:

  • I cut in ProTools, so when I needed a piece of fill, I'd copy-and-paste a clip of room tone onto a new track that I had labeled "FILLSeed", and consolidated it (OPTION+SHIFT+3) into a new file, and named it according to the character, room, and reel, i.e. "FILLSeed_Chris_BR_R1". I called it "FILLSeed" because I didn't want to confuse this short clip of room tone with the synthesized version that will come out of Logic later.
  • Switching over to Logic, clicking on the disclosure triangle next to the IR Sample label in Space Designer brings up a menu for importing a sound file as your new impulse response.
  • Make sure to set the Dry level to "0", which in less confusing terms would be -∞, and setting the "Rev", or wet signal, to "max." Space Designer is also a multi-channel plug-in, so it will always come out as stereo, so I set the Input slider to the mono setting, over on the left side of the window.
  • Turning on the Test Oscillator insert plugin (with white noise, output at around -50 to -60 dB) on my AIR SOURCE track in Logic, white noise starts pouring into Space Designer, which gets convoluted with the impulse response of room tone that I just imported, and sweet magical room tone comes pouring out!
  • Space Designer does have built-in EQ, so if you need to tweak it a little bit with some high or low-pass/shelf, it's really easy to do that right in the plugin window.
  • I set the input of a second track to be the bus output of my SOURCE track, put it in Record Mode, and record a chunk of fill! Drop that new recording into your ProTools session, and cut it in. Huzzah!

So, there you have it. For about 1/5th the cost of Altiverb, you can buy a copy of Logic Pro and have your own capable convolution reverb. And, you get a pretty nice DAW with some great features of its own, to boot! With the improvements to Core Audio in OS X, having two DAWs open at the same time, using the same hardware, is actually possible, making this type of workflow far less painful.


POST SCRIPT (11/09/2015): While this process has been rendered less useful due to features in software like iZotope's RX and the Ambience Match algorithm, this is absolutely still relevant if you a) don't own RX or 2) don't have it available immediately.

Massey AAX Plugins!

I don't know how I missed this, but Massey has released 64-bit AAX versions of their plug-ins for ProTools 11! Huzzah!  It comes with a fancy new Wizard installer thingy...

Installin' ma plugz

Installin' ma plugz

So far, it looks like the vt3 3-band EQ, ct5 compressor , L2007 limiter, and TapeHead saturator are the only ones to get the AAX treatment so far, with the others listed as "Coming Soon," but if you're a fan of the Massey plug-in suite and a ProTools 11 user, head on over to Massey's site and download the goodness!

ProTools Tip

Hey folks! Back with another ProTools tip for  you - this one I found through the Avid "Knowledge Base".  I was getting an assertion error -

Could not create a new document because Assertion in "/Volumes/Development/123191/ProTools/DFW/MacBuild/../Views/", line 1547.

- when trying to create a new session. Seems like a pretty major error to be getting, right? I thought so, too.  Anyway, a quick Google search for the text of the error yielded nothing, which is normally a bad sign. But, lo and behold, Digi- sorry, old habit - AVID's Knowledge Base to the rescue!  Holding down the N key while launching ProTools will bring up the Playback Engine dialog before ProTools finishes it's startup sequence. Who knew ProTools even had startup keys?!?

Playback Engine dialog, right in front of the ProTools splash screen!

Playback Engine dialog, right in front of the ProTools splash screen!

For whatever reason, this solves the assertion error that happens when ProTools tries to create a new session when it's not in a familiar audio habitat.  This makes sense to me, because I just fired up away from my home studio and my trusty old Presonus interface.  This startup key will come in handy. Ever startup a ProTools session while connected to a network that has an AppleTV connected, and had ProTools freak out on you about sample rates? Well, here's a quick way around that.

Follow up: ProTools & OS 10.9 Mavericks

So, almost a month ago I posted a link to an article noting that Avid had released an update to ProTools that supported Mavericks, but in the release notes it mentioned that co-installation was not supported.

As it turns out, I can confirm that, at least in a limited role, you can keep and use ProTools 10 (10.3.2, to be specific to my case) and use it while having ProTools 11 and OS 10.9 Mavericks installed.

As it turns out, ProTools 11 has a bug about importing AAF/OMF files. The only suggestion offered by Avid is to open the AAF in 10.3, save, and open back up in 11. Of course, you're not supposed to be able to do this in Mavericks, according to Avid. So thanks a lot, Avid.  But, you can get ProTools 10 to function in Mavericks, but be careful, as Your Mileage May Vary.

Carry on.

Brilliant dialog fill method

This is great! The bane of dialog editors everywhere, and a great technique for patching those impossible-to-fill spots:

Unlimited Dialog "AIRFILL" to Fill your Every Need

Such a brilliant way to take advantage of convolution reverb processing, which was already an amazing tool.  I think I'm also going to dig out my copy of SoundHack and see if it's spectral shaping can be used to do the same type of thing, since I don't currently own a copy of TLSpace or Altiverb for ProTools. Though I do like to use Logic Pro's convolution reverb, Space Designer, perhaps I can create a bussing system in Logic to do the same thing, as this article suggests is possible. 

Thanks to Douglas Murray's guest post on!