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Pro Tools Workflow Cheat Sheet For New Users

If you're new to Pro Tools, there are a few simple concepts and configuration settings that will make your workflow much more efficient. Take the easy way past some early steps in the learnng curve by following the handy tips outline in this downloadable PDF.

The ProMIDIco System: Control Pro Tools plug-ins with a MIDI controller and Controllermate software!

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The ProMIDIco System is a relatively straight-forward approach to controlling Pro Tools plug-in parameters with a generic MIDI control surface. I developed this system because I have wanted to do this for a long time, and I couldn't find an existing system that actually worked.  It is working so well, that I decided it was worth sharing. This free tutorial is for anyone who is looking to do the same!

It works with any plug-in on any DAW that runs on Mac OS. It requires a MIDI control surface with endless knobs (encoders) and ControllerMate, which is a powerful and low cost macro building application

You can reach me with comments, questions, or feedback at

This tutorial can be shared in any form under a Creative Commons attribution only license.

No Charge For This Advice

What is a music producer? This is a reccuring topic of discussion among music creators of different stripes.. While there is no official, set in stone, description, I can definitely say the a producer needs a diverse skill set. In my own ongoing quest to improve my production abilities I have been working to explicitly improve and expand my psychological took kit. This essay focusses on one main psychological roles a  producer needs to play: that of advice giver. In it I identify and articulate what I think makes for effective advice.

Ultimately, the producer is responsible for creating a recording that meets the needs of the client. (For this discussion I will focus on a recording artist as the client, keeping in mind that there are many other types of clients who enlist the services of a music producer.) Recording artists are people first and foremost, and are often complicated people at that. In addition to possessing the requisite technical skills, a producer needs skills of communication, empathy, intuition, and logic to bring forth a recording that powerfully communicates the musical "vision" of the artist. Read more »

Live Mixing vs Studio Mixing: It's All Relative.


Anyone who has ever tried to mix recorded music knows that it can be a confusing process. You think your mix is sounding great, then the next day you play it in the car and it's totally whack. There are a lot of reasons for this, but I want to focus on one in particular that is extremely counter intuitive. 

The main task of mixing recorded music is to balance the relative volume of the sounds in your mix. We all have the ability to perceive relative volume; it is simply ascertaining whether a given sound is "louder" or "quieter" relative to another. Mixing live music is also about adjusting the relative volume of the sounds or instruments in your mix. But, among others, there is a significant difference in a live mix. A live mix is also greatly concerned with the absolute volume of the mix elements.

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The DAW and the End Of Time

In the last 15 years there has been a major change in how popular music is created and therefore how it sounds.  I believe that the core of this change is that the traditional connection between time and music has been radically altered. This change has been driven by the adoption of the digital audio workstation (DAW) as the default platform for music production.

To illustrate, let's consider the iTunes top 100. The vast majority of songs on this list were never "performed" by musicians in the way that we usually think of a performance. They were cut and pasted together in the computer. Even genres like Country or Metal, which have strong traditions of musicianship, are now created in this way.

As a further example of how different music production has become, many  of the "sounds" that you hear in contemporary pop music are not only cut and pasted performances. Some are actually never sounds until the moment you hear them! They were created by "virtual instruments" inside the computer, which generate only data, not sound. Read more »

When MP3s Come Back To Bite

As a music creator I strive for maximum sound quality in my recordings. In this quest I've been known to obsess over minute details of digital audio sampling theory, or become convinced that I must have the latest expensive gizmo for my projects to have the "big label sound." Sometimes though we miss the forest for the trees, and there are simple issues causing major havoc with our sound. Since this is my first post I thought I would write about a such a scenario that is happening all to frequently. I call it Audio Viral Infection. Symptoms include fuzzy hi-hats, collapsed dynamics, and all around poopy sound. What is going on here?  Read more »