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Anyone Composing in Pro Tools?
Old 1 week ago
  #1
Gear Nut
 

Anyone Composing in Pro Tools?

Most of the composers I meet at music houses and for film/tv work in Logic, and some use other DAWs though I haven't met many working in PT.

Wondering if any folks use PT as their main composition DAW who make a living writing original music for picture? If so, what's your computer rig and how have you been able to use VI's in PTX with low buffer rates?

I'm a post-audio for film/tv guy and work in PT everyday. While I love PT for audio editing and mixing, and midi sequencing is fine, it's the CPU overruns when using lower buffer rates and VIs that kill my ability to compose within it (home rig is 2015 MBP 4 i7 16GB RAM...works fine with Logic X and my day-to-day sound editing/mixing when not working at a studio).
Old 1 week ago
  #2
Quote:
Originally Posted by jondom22 View Post
Most of the composers I meet at music houses and for film/tv work in Logic, and some use other DAWs though I haven't met many working in PT.

Wondering if any folks use PT as their main composition DAW who make a living writing original music for picture? If so, what's your computer rig and how have you been able to use VI's in PTX with low buffer rates?

I'm a post-audio for film/tv guy and work in PT everyday. While I love PT for audio editing and mixing, and midi sequencing is fine, it's the CPU overruns when using lower buffer rates and VIs that kill my ability to compose within it (home rig is 2015 MBP 4 i7 16GB RAM...works fine with Logic X and my day-to-day sound editing/mixing when not working at a studio).
a lot of composers I work for use Digital Performer or Cubase. A lot of guys I work for have tried to get away from Logic because of Apple's lack of support for professionals.

Anyway... all of them have to always deliver their compositions in a Pro Tools session to the dub stages... so even if they don't compose directly in pro tools, they all own a copy and transfer everything into it at some point.

I agree the way protools handles VIs isn't great. but if you write using audio a lot then PT isn't bad
Old 1 week ago
  #3
Lives for gear
 
Sharp11's Avatar
 

I'm soup to nuts in PT, I love it. I started on TDM in the early 2000's and never looked back.

I don't run a lot of VI's, however, I mostly record live piano, guitars and synths - I hate the sound of VI strings, so I moved away from that when I went ITB.

I know some of my colleagues use a shell (VST ?) host to run CPU-hungry VI's.

Last edited by Sharp11; 1 week ago at 02:40 AM..
Old 1 week ago
  #4
Gear Guru
 
drBill's Avatar
100% PTHDX. Used to work in DP and transfer to PT, but on the dub stage, there's too many changes and going back and forth and forth and back between PT and DP a dozen times during a 1 week dub was brutal and kept me up too many long nights. So I switched to PT 8-10 years ago (I forget) for the composition process and have stayed there ever since. The editing and mixing in PT can't be matched, and swapping back and forth SUCKS!!

If pro tools is unstable for you, or you switch cues constantly with the same VSTi's and you're constantly waiting for VSTi's to load - try Vienna Ensemble Pro. It hosts all your VI's outside PT and your network that into PT - taking the load off PT.
Old 1 week ago
  #5
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by drBill View Post
100% PTHDX. Used to work in DP and transfer to PT, but on the dub stage, there's too many changes and going back and forth and forth and back between PT and DP a dozen times during a 1 week dub was brutal and kept me up too many long nights. So I switched to PT 8-10 years ago (I forget) for the composition process and have stayed there ever since. The editing and mixing in PT can't be matched, and swapping back and forth SUCKS!!

If pro tools is unstable for you, or you switch cues constantly with the same VSTi's and you're constantly waiting for VSTi's to load - try Vienna Ensemble Pro. It hosts all your VI's outside PT and your network that into PT - taking the load off PT.
Are you hosting your VI's as AAX plugins on your PTHDX card, or also using VEP? I've tried bluecat patchwork with some Native Instruments VSTi's but didn't help. If I can ask a few more questions:

- What computer are you using (processor/RAM info appreciated)?
- Do you use a separate computer for running pix ref and then sync both PT systems, or do you run on your main computer?
- Do you keep your software instruments running on your main computer, a secondary computer (or using the DSP from your HDX card)?
- Recs on sample-based instruments, soft synths, and non-kontakt "creative" samplers plugins that are PT-friendly?

My gut says I need more computing horsepower (sad cos I can run 200+ track 5.1 PT sessions off my MBP with 1024 buffer rate, or a Logic X session with plenty of VIs).

Thanks in advance for your input.
Old 1 week ago
  #6
Gear Guru
 
drBill's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by jondom22 View Post
Are you hosting your VI's as AAX plugins on your PTHDX card, or also using VEP? I've tried bluecat patchwork with some Native Instruments VSTi's but didn't help. If I can ask a few more questions:

- What computer are you using (processor/RAM info appreciated)?
- Do you use a separate computer for running pix ref and then sync both PT systems, or do you run on your main computer?
- Do you keep your software instruments running on your main computer, a secondary computer (or using the DSP from your HDX card)?
- Recs on sample-based instruments, soft synths, and non-kontakt "creative" samplers plugins that are PT-friendly?

My gut says I need more computing horsepower (sad cos I can run 200+ track 5.1 PT sessions off my MBP with 1024 buffer rate, or a Logic X session with plenty of VIs).

Thanks in advance for your input.
From my experience, I'm not aware of any VSTi's that will run on the DSP of the HDX cards. Plugins, yes. Instruments, not that I'm aware of.

Usually, I'm running the VSTi's natively inside PT for the most part. As great as VEP is, it's one "generation" more distanced from working directly inside PT - and I like to work quickly and change things at a moments notice. I try to stay inside PT unless it's on it's knees gasping for air. (Happens sometimes)

Native Instruments VSTi's - esp. Kontakt work great in VEP. That's what it's made for. AAX or VSTi's or Audio Unit. Mix n Match.

At this point, 1 computer only. I have a spare that's identical that I can put into service if necessary. If I'm writing to pic, I'll run it natively on the main computer.

Most all of the AAX Native VSTi's I've used work great with PT. If they're available in AAX, they're mostly great. I did have one HUGE problem with fxpansion, and I wouldn't go near anything they make although it's been quite awhile now. I installed of one of their plugins and it toasted my OS and PT. Then, they couldn't even test it because they didn't have access to Pro Tools - although their site said it was authorized and spec'd properly for the version/OS that I was running.

System specs :
PTHDX2 - PT Ultimate 2019.10.0
96 AVID I/0
MacPro mid 2012
Mojave - 10.14.6
2x3.46 GHz 6 core Intel
64GB RAM
4 Internal Samsung SSD 2.0GB Drives + a String of EXT Drives

Hope that helps you out. Cheers, bp
Old 1 week ago
  #7
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by drBill View Post
From my experience, I'm not aware of any VSTi's that will run on the DSP of the HDX cards. Plugins, yes. Instruments, not that I'm aware of.

Usually, I'm running the VSTi's natively inside PT for the most part. As great as VEP is, it's one "generation" more distanced from working directly inside PT - and I like to work quickly and change things at a moments notice. I try to stay inside PT unless it's on it's knees gasping for air. (Happens sometimes)

Native Instruments VSTi's - esp. Kontakt work great in VEP. That's what it's made for. AAX or VSTi's or Audio Unit. Mix n Match.

At this point, 1 computer only. I have a spare that's identical that I can put into service if necessary. If I'm writing to pic, I'll run it natively on the main computer.

Most all of the AAX Native VSTi's I've used work great with PT. If they're available in AAX, they're mostly great. I did have one HUGE problem with fxpansion, and I wouldn't go near anything they make although it's been quite awhile now. I installed of one of their plugins and it toasted my OS and PT. Then, they couldn't even test it because they didn't have access to Pro Tools - although their site said it was authorized and spec'd properly for the version/OS that I was running.

System specs :
PTHDX2 - PT Ultimate 2019.10.0
96 AVID I/0
MacPro mid 2012
Mojave - 10.14.6
2x3.46 GHz 6 core Intel
64GB RAM
4 Internal Samsung SSD 2.0GB Drives + a String of EXT Drives

Hope that helps you out. Cheers, bp
Thanks so much for the insights Bill. Seems like the computing power for running VI's in PT with lower buffers is much higher than other DAWs. Will likely be purchasing a 12 core 64GB trashcan soon for my personal rig.

Wishing you the best during these uncertain times in the industry.

Jon
Old 1 week ago
  #8
Gear Guru
 
Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sharp11 View Post
I'm soup to nuts in PT, I love it. I started on TDM in the early 2000's and never looked back.
Ditto.

Quote:
I don't run a lot of VI's, however, I mostly record live piano, guitars and synths - I hate the sound of VI strings, so I moved away from that when I went ITB.
Had an aha moment at one point when I realized that the thing I really didn't like about VI strings (and other things, too) was the intonation. Started playing things in one instrument at a time with my left hand on the pitch wheel and it all got a lot better. Tedious, though.
Old 1 week ago
  #9
Gear Guru
 
drBill's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by jondom22 View Post
Thanks so much for the insights Bill. Seems like the computing power for running VI's in PT with lower buffers is much higher than other DAWs. Will likely be purchasing a 12 core 64GB trashcan soon for my personal rig.

Wishing you the best during these uncertain times in the industry.

Jon
you're welcome Jon. Best of luck with your search / journey, and stay safe! And that goes for everyone here.
Old 1 week ago
  #10
Lives for gear
 
Sharp11's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn View Post
Ditto.



Had an aha moment at one point when I realized that the thing I really didn't like about VI strings (and other things, too) was the intonation. Started playing things in one instrument at a time with my left hand on the pitch wheel and it all got a lot better. Tedious, though.
Some of my colleagues have been tracking strings overseas through the Budapest orchestra. For roughly 2 grand or so, you get a complete rundown of your chart, recorded and mixed. Then you can add it (the stems) to your sessions.

A friend who does trailers has had mixed results - the sound of sampled strings doing fast marcato and stacatto (especially with round robin) has become so common, the real strings just don't always punch as well. He ends up mixing the real strings in with samples.
Old 2 days ago
  #11
Gear Head
 
tofermusic's Avatar
after having used several daws, my favorite is Logic.
Old 1 day ago
  #12
Gear Maniac
 
Evil Jack's Avatar
100% PT since they added midi - v5?
Old 1 day ago
  #13
Here for the gear
PT Ultimate/HDX here. VEPro makes life worth living with a massive template - much more efficient at using DSP.

PT's video handling has been an abomination for me. I now use VideoSlave 4, which works great, chases MTC and responds to MMC - so it responds like PT video would. I have used it on a separate Mac using Apple's Network MIDI, which has been fine - but it's on the main machine right now.

I use the Lemur software on an iPad with the amazing ComposerTools Pro from MIDIKinetics. Utterly amazing. In my template, when I record enable a track and tap CTP, it calls up a remote for the instrument I'm using, whatever that may be, which I have customized with the controls I want. So I can do key-switching in any way desired (I use a variation on UACC for everything with controllers so that switches chase), and adjust any parameter via faders or an x/y pad (best uses: enabling all instruments in a section and adjusting all of the mic balances at once, or having visual faders for all of the various controls for the SWAM instruments, or managing a massive 62-articulation setup for Berlin Strings with color-coded buttons, or using the harp panel to set scales and play glasses).

2013 (15, really) Mac Pro, 12-Core, 128 GB RAM (OWC), with a Samsung 970 EVO nvme SSD on a Sintech adapter for 2TB internal storage, mostly nvme SSD's for library, Sonnet PCIe expansion chassis with 3 slots. HDX with an HD|IO 16x16. (Wish I had a Sync IO to resolve video, but it hasn't really been an issue.) 65" LG monitor, extended 100ft from the closet with Corning fiberoptic cable (with fans pointed at each connector because they overheat and fail otherwise) and a Caldigit Thunderbolt 2 dock, with the appropriate HDMI 2.x adapter to convert to HDMI before the monitor so that full bandwidth for best resolution is passed (using the Apple or Caldigit HDMI connectors doesn't get you there). 31"LG 5k monitor for video from a T-Tap thunderbolt box.
Satellite Mac- 2009 4,1 Cheesegrater flashed to 5,1, with a processor tray swap to 12-Core (2 6's) at 3.2GHz, 64GB RAM, with a Sonnet 4x4 nvme PCIe card and a Lycom nvme PCIe adapter.
Both run Mojave 10.14.6. Both use VEPro 7.

The main revolution in my usage lately has been that when one uses AAX-DSP plugins only for the writing process, the only latency comes from VEPro buffering. When I was using three Altiverbs and some EQ's and dynamics in my basic sessions, sample delay was quite high (as reported in the Session Setup window (command-Numpad2), but when with some good advice I switched to using Space's AAX-DSP version (with IR's made from Altiverb) and only DSP-based plugins aside from VEPro, my latency dropped dramatically. I live at 512 buffer - sometimes switch to 1024 for final stuff.

The other enhancement to workflow is that I use non-position-based memory locations in PT to recall sections. In a large template without folders (yet), it's a game-changer to do it this way - for example, I have a memory location that shows only production audio, Ivory for sketching, and Aperture for quick string things, and one that has the piano sketch track and all of the SM strings (for turning the sketch into parts), and so on. I used to scroll and scroll to get to things, foolishly, until I started using this. It feels like it cuts an hour out each day, though it's surely less than that.

SampleModeling Strings and Brass
AudioModeling Brass, Winds, Saxes, Solo Strings...everything they make.
Berlin Strings (at the moment rarely used because Capsule sucks and the ambient quality of these strings isn't right for what I'm doing, and they lack agility)
Metropolis Ark 1-4
Spitfire SSO (Strings, Brass, Winds, Masse) (rarely used)
Spitfire Percussion
Spitfire Studio Woodwinds Pro (so-so)
CSS and CSSS (very rarely used)
VSL Strings (Orchestral, Appasionatas, Chamber, Solo), Woodwinds, Synchron Yamaha piano
Tons of world stuff from lots of people including SonicCouture
Omnisphere 2
Serum
Ana2
Superior 3
Trillian
Ivory II
Pianoteq
NI Komplete 12 Ultimate/Maschine 2

This is all in the basic template for the show I'm doing now.

I have Cubase and Logic and DP also - only use DP for tempo mapping sometimes. I like the other two but have not had the time to commit to using one or the other for a show - though it would likely be Cubase.

Back to work...
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