Tag: Cubase

DAWs, Automation, and the PreSonus FaderPort

On Leap Year, February 29th, we featured a pretty awesome piece of gear by PreSonus called the FaderPort as the Daily Deal. Now, despite Sonic Electronix making great strides in pro and home audio, we’re still primarily known for our car audio products. Many of our customers probably have no idea what a unit like the FaderPort would even be used for… until now. I hope you’re listening, because school’s now in session!

Single Channel USB Automation Controller with Transport Controls

DAWs and Automation

First of all, “DAW” stands for “Digital Audio Workstation,” and they are the means through which virtually all music is recorded, edited, mixed and mastered nowadays. Secondly, one of the great things about DAWs is that they have something called “automation,” that was carried over from those huge, old-school mixing consoles that were their predecessors.

Basically, automation is a way to non-destructively change some aspect of your audio over time in a mix. Some common examples are volume, muting, panning and DSP (Digital Signal Processing) effect levels. To break it down a little further, let me give a practical example: let’s say you’re mixing a song and you notice that between 1:00 and 1:05, the song gets quieter than you’d like it to be. A little automation can fix that in a snap!

Automation modes

It would be near impossible for me to speak for all DAWs, but the two most popular ones, Apple’s Logic and Avid’s Pro Tools, have four main automation modes:

  1. Read:
  2. The default automation mode. All this means is that your DAW will follow any automation data that exists on your track.

    Automation Read
    Read Mode
  3. Touch:
  4. In this mode, automation data will begin writing once you “touch” a fader, button or knob: either using a mouse in the DAW program or with your finger(s) through tangible faders, buttons and knobs like those on the PreSonus FaderPort.

    As soon as you let go, it will snap back to wherever the playhead was on the automation line when you pressed play, and will resume reading any automation data that’s on the track. Pro Tools even allows you to set the speed of the snap back.

    Touch Mode
  5. Latch:
  6. This mode is like Touch mode, except that instead of snapping back to where it was when you pressed Play, it remains at the level you leave it at. Like both Touch and Write Mode, Latch will overwrite any automation data it comes across.

    Unlike Write Mode, however, neither Touch nor Latch Mode will overwrite automation data without you touching a fader, knob and/or button; both modes will simply read automation data as would normally occur in Read Mode.

    Automation Latch
    Latch Mode
  7. Write:
  8. This mode will start writing automation data wherever the (vertical) playhead sits on that bold, black (horizontal) automation line, destructively overwriting whatever automation data it comes across.

    In the picture to the right, the red line you see is the automation data being written. As soon as I press Stop on the DAW, all that automation data above the red line will be erased. (Also, keep in mind that you can Undo those changes.)

    Automation Write
    Write Mode

The PreSonus FaderPort:

So, how does that all tie in? Well, the FaderPort can help you do all that stuff with a tangible fader, buttons and knobs, which minimizes time wasted having to navigate around with your mouse, not to mention learning scads of keyboard shortcuts and such.

As a pro audio engineer myself, let me tell you, a device like the FaderPort is tremendously helpful and is a steal at its current price; especially for those of us on a tighter budget.

Anyway, that about wraps it up! I hope you all learned something and will pick up one of those sweet FaderPorts before they’re gone!

Pick up yours today!


PRO TOOLS 9: Lay it down like Pro

Pro Tools 9 Boxed

Here at SonicElectronix we are proud to announce that we are now an authorized dealer of AVID AUDIO products including M-Audio and the brand new, open format, Pro Tools 9 recording software.
Avid has revamped the entire Pro Tools family of software which used to consist of Pro Tools LE, requiring a proprietary Avid or M-Audio interface, and the Pro Tools HD systems which use TDM cards. Pro Tools 9 Screenshot
Now there is Pro Tools 9 which can be used with any interface, or standing alone as native software.  There are quite a few advancements in the brand new edition of Pro tools 9 and by advancements I do mean unprecedented revolutionary changes that have impacted the audio production industry like never before. Pro Tools now works with any audio interface making the most powerful audio editing platform in digital history compatible with your favorite audio interface.

Pro Tools 8 and other earlier versions of Pro Tools have always required a Digidesign or M-Audio Interface to operate but now the industry standard digital audio editing platform can be paired with the most sophisticated audio equipment on the market or with none at all taking advantage of the new Pro Tools Aggregate I/O option which enables you to use your computers built in sound card Core Audio MIDI server for Mac or ASIO for PC.  This allows you to record and edit in Pro Tools using only your computer, an unheard of feat prior to the latest version of Pro Tools. Pro Tools 9 plug-ins
Previous versions of Pro Tools required additional software like Digitranslater to import OMF files from other digital audio workstations hindering your abilities to work with cross platform projects but thanks to Pro Tools 9’s new AAF and OMF importing features you are able to share sessions for other software like Apple Logic and Cubase right out of the box.

Pro Tools 9 has increased the number of available voiceable audio tracks from 61 to 128 tracks with 256 internal mix busses, and up to 512 MIDI tracks.  With the full version and  the addition of the Complete Production Toolkit 2 You can expand your Pro Tools 9 system to 512 voiceable audio tracks making your standard system a functional HD system capable of sharing sessions with any Pro Tools HD system.  The Complete Production Toolkit 2 also grants you access to a plethora of the same plugins industry professionals are using for music and video post-production enabling advanced VCA mixing, 7.1 and 7.0 surround mixing, as well as X-Form time compression and expansion.

With the new advancements of Pro Tools 9 production capabilities are truly limitless as you have at your fingertips the most advanced technology available in a digital audio workstation.