Webchat – Radio Production Tips and Tricks

so the guys at benztown have asked me to participate in a webinar about radio imaging and production. because it’s such a broad topic, we’re going to leave it pretty open as far as topics go and see what the everyone wants to talk about. for this one, it’s looking like me, andy and a special guest producer will be moderating.

if you’re interested in joining in, hit up the benztown guys here and rsvp.

the date and time of the webinar will be determined in the next few days and we’ll be sending out that information to everyone who registers.

personally, i’m really looking forward to the webinar because it’ll give us a chance to talk to a bunch of different people and see how everyone else approaches the same idea. it’s going to be a great time and who knows, maybe this’ll be the first in a series of webinars that will help current and future producers for a long time

big ups to the benztown boys for this great idea and continuing to contribute and progress our craft.


Adobe Audition vs Pro Tools…

It’s always a topic of conversation: which is better? Adobe Audition or Pro-Tools? There are loyalists on each side and would defend their choice to the bitter end. Up until about a year ago, I had been on the Audition side of the argument. I didn’t feel like I needed to learn PT to get the job done and to be perfectly honest, I haven’t had to. So what changed? Why the sudden urge to go learn the ways of the “enemy”? Honestly, I couldn’t tell you. It probably any one thing, but as of two weeks ago, I’ve officially become a PT user.

Okay, so let me start off by saying that I didn’t switch from Adobe Audition to Pro-Tools because I think one is better than the other, but after working on Adobe for almost 10 years, I think I’ve got a pretty good grasp on what I’m doing there. As far as Pro Tools is concerned, I’m familiar with it, but would never thought about actually producing on it. When I first thought about switching from Audition to PT, I was tentative mainly because I didn’t think I had the time to learn how to produce on a different program, but after watching my buddy Oli’s Katy Perry video tutorial and seeing the real-time automation function, I finally decided to bite the bullet and do it. Sometimes it’s the littlest things…haha

So two weeks ago, I switched the home studio from Adobe 3.0 to Pro-Tools 8.0.5 on a PC running WindowsXP SP3.

Now I’m not gonna lie, the first week was frustrating as hell. PT was crashing, it wasn’t importing, the drag and drop option would crash the program, it got to the point that I was so frustrated with it, I thought about returning it. It just didn’t seem like a stable system on my PC and I really didn’t want to deal with the frustration. BUT after 2 weeks of finally tweaking with it and going back and forth with Ryan Drean, and checking out the tutorials on the Benztown blog, I’m finally up and running and everything has been great. It’s still taking a little getting used to and I’m not producing as quickly as I normally would but it’s coming along. I still find myself trying Adobe shortcuts on PT (haha), but if your accustomed to working in a multitrack, you’ll find that the transition will be relatively easy.

If you’re thinking about switching your systems over, here are some tips that’ll hopefully keep you from going through some of the frustrations that I did.

1. PT doesn’t like hard drives that are FAT32 formatted. Whenever I would import files from my external hard drive, it would let me import 1 file, but when I tried another, PT would crash. So make sure whatever drive you’re pulling files from is formatted NTFS. From what Ryan told me, having a second internal drive installed would be optimal, but I’ve been using a NTFS Western Digital USB extension drive and have been having no problems.

2. Avid has a list of things that you can do to optimize PT on your PC (this is for PT8, not sure if the same applies for PT9, but I’m sure there’s an optimization page for 9 as well).
– If you’re running Windows XP you can find it here: http://avid.custkb.com/avid/app/selfservice/search.jsp?DocId=349591
– If you’re on Vista, click here: http://avid.custkb.com/avid/app/selfservice/search.jsp?DocId=211077

3. Make sure all your drivers are up to date. Not just your audio drivers, but EVERYTHING. Amazingly enough, having an out of date video driver can really screw with how PT runs.

4. If you’re wondering what the keystrokes are, PT has about a billion of them. You can find them all under “Help,” but if you want a basic list of keystrokes that you’ll use the most, it’s always good to ask another producer. My friend Andy at Benztown gave me a short list of shortcuts and it’s definitely made the learning curve a lot shallower.

After that, everything else comes down to just producing. Getting used to working exclusively in the multitrack, bussing, switching views for volume and panning, and of course, mixing down in real-time (kinda lame if you ask me PT!). But I have no regrets about switching over. It’s an amazingly dense program, and it’s been fun learning how to produce on it.

Here’s something that I was messing around with:

So if you’re thinking about switching over to Pro-Tools from Adobe (or whatever DAW you’re currently working on), I’d say go for it. There are a lot of pros and not a lot of cons. If you have the time and are willing to put up with being a little lost for a bit, it’s worth it. It doesn’t have to be something you move exclusively to (I still use Adobe at the office), but think of it as having another weapon that you can add to your arsenal. Plus, now that Pro-Tools 9 has gone native, you don’t have to worry about buying any kind of hardware! Well…except for an i-Lok.