The Pro Tools 12.4 update is a minor update relative to the Pro Tools 11 update which saw substantial change to the operating platform it was built upon (from 32 bit to 64 bit). Such a change had significant positive impact on the operating efficiencies of the DAW; but unfortunately, the Pro Tools 11 update also had significant impact on all users, forcing them to comply with updates of third party plug-ins, some of who were very slow to respond with the upgrades, despite having been provided a long lead time of several years from the manufacturers (Pro Tools and Logic Pro to name at least two). I for one was disappointed at how few, and how long it took many of the third party manufacturers to finalise their updates. Some to this day have still not upgraded, forcing me to sacrifice my investment in their product, and repurchase from alternative 64 bit providers.
However, as that was about twenty months ago, it is now time to welcome Pro Tools 12.
Changes with Pro Tools 12.4
The most exciting change from a Pro Tools’ user’s perspective is, Pro Tools 12.4 now allows:
128 tracks of audio and 512 instrument tracks (in Pro Tools 12 native)
track input monitoring (in Pro Tools 12 native)
advanced metering (in Pro Tools 12 native)
AFL/PFL solo mode option
MIDI to audio commit
However, there are more systemic changes in Pro Tools 12.4 – four levels of changes in fact – that can result in greater efficiencies for Pro Tool’s User’s.
The first level of changes include:
Pro Tools subscriptions
AVID apps manager
In application plug-in purchase
Pro Tools 12.4 comes with the option of purchasing or subscribing to Pro Tools in a variety of ways, to accommodate the user’s particular budget. Additionally, Pro Tools now offers a free light version for those aspiring Pro Tools users who either do not have the funds yet, or want to trial Pro Tools prior to purchasing it.
The AVID apps manager is a great innovation that allows for your Pro Tools application and your AVID based plug-ins to be automatically updated when you start up Pro Tools (providing you are connected to the internet). I have found that it is best to let the AVID apps manager complete its’ updates prior to beginning a session.
The in application plug-in purchase feature of Pro Tools 12.4 now allows you to purchase or rent AVID plug-ins, from within your DAW session.This is particularly useful when you are working with other Pro Tool’s users who send you their session to complete a task, but have used certain AVID plug-ins that you do not own. The in application plug-in purchase feature allows the user to navigate through the session drop down menus to rent or purchase the particular plug-in that your peer has included in the session, for the period you need it for.
The second level of changes include:
the use of templates for new sessions
new blank sessions
opening recent sessions
showing or hiding the dashboard on dashboard at start-up
The new dashboard window in Pro Tools 12 replaces the (up to Pro Tools 11) Quick Start window. Whilst it is similar to the Quick Start menu in function, the new layout has two tabs – Create and Recent.
The Create tab allows you to create a new Pro Tools session, with choice of creating a session from a template, or opening the a new blank session, selecting the session parameters that you are needed.
Some the template sessions include Blues, Drum and Bass and Dubstep.
Additionally, under the Recent tab, you can choose to open one of your recent sessions.
This dashboard window can be bypassed at start up by de-selecting it (check box in the bottom left-hand corner.
The third level of changes include:
metadata inspector window
The metadata inspector window allows you to update specific details regarding a Pro Tools’s session, such as the title, the artist’s name, contributors, and session location. Other information such as the sample rate, bit depth, date created, date modified and session bpm are also listed in this window, but can not be edited.
The fourth level of changes include a range of I/O Setup Improvements. These are:
changes to the output and Bus pages
unlimited Bus Paths
subpaths for output paths
downmix and upmix output busses to outputs
session interchange and I/O mapping
using keyboard modifiers when enabling or assigning output busses
audition path improvements
AFL/PFL path improvements
restore from session
I/O Settings files automatically created and reconciled for different playback engine
organise track I/O menus by preference
importing I/O settings from session files
I/O setup setup in session notes
Pro Tools 12.4 introduces unlimited bus paths. 24 bus paths are created by default, but additional can be added.
The I/O Setup mappings are saved to both the system and the session, allowing for quick adaption when opening a session with different I/Os to what the session was created with. Pro Tools 12.4 allows the user to import the I/O Settings from either the session files (.ptx) or the I/O Settings file (.pio); and then open the session in both the original I/O Setting configuration or the newly mapped I/O Setting configuration. Routing subpaths for outputs are now possible in the Setup/I/O window, as is the capacity to quickly down or upmix by mapping to alternative outputs when you are playing back your session on a different interface or console to that you originally mixed it in. Additionally, both the Monitor Path and the Audition Path will be automatically mapped when you playback your session on an alternative system. These changes enable greater mobility of Pro Tools across multiple users and locations with greater efficiency.
In Pro Tools 12 HD, there are AFL/PFL path improvements allowing any available output path to be used, and for mismatched channel widths, the path is automatically down or up mixed to the selected channel.
AVID. 2015. What’s new in Pro Tools version 12.4 New York: AVID
All other images courtesy of David L Page Accessed 12th December, 2015
This blog is a continuation of a series. See here (Page 2015a) for the previous blog.
Year 2015: 3rd Observation
Upon further observation and reflection, I realised my praxis consisted of two distinct, yet significant elements – that of my practice, and that of self.
Figure I – 3rd Observation (Page 2017)
Development of Praxis 4
As I reflected on my decision-making process, it became more apparent that in many ways I had two practices: the practice of my music endeavours; and the practice of my self. In Praxis version 4 (figure II below), I laid out what was central to my study, my practice on the left (blue section), and depict that manner in which I cycle around and around that practice with the circular lines around the outside of that blue section.
Figure II – Praxis version 4 (Page 2015b)
Acknowledging my observations and reflections that occasionally I deviate from here, questioning my motivation to practice, I drew a dotted black line from the blue section to the green section towards the bottom of the chart. Further acknowledgement of my observation and reflection immediately following questioning my motive, led me to accept that I then generally spend some time away from my practice, within my self; immersing within my self – my thoughts, feeling and emotions, considering my past, my life experience, my life decisions and my desired future. As this process is generally engaged in away from my practice, away from my practice site, I chose to depict this process in a very different colour – pink – and in a separate section, to the right of my practice section. I observed that I cycled around my self in reflection, questioning my self across a relative short time compared to the time I spent in my music-making practice, before returning back to my practice (black line from base of self (pink) section, returning to the top of the music-making practice (blue) section.
Research Study Question, and Focus Questions
Nearing the end of my first year, as a result of discussions and my preliminary investigations my research study topic was narrowed to be:
Contemporary DIY music-making practice and the practitioner self
As this praxis developed, I had developed some simple questions that related to each of the elements, that I thought may help me to maintain my focus whilst I was engaged in this research study process:
Music style: what I am making?;
Location: where am I making it?;
Technology and Workflow: how am I making it?;
As I progressed on this journey, I found my self occasionally leaving the parameters of my music-making practice, and consider my motive for practice.
Motivation: why am I making it?;
I would then tend to become quite introspective, and consider my self – my thoughts, feeling and emotions, considering my past, my life experience, my life decisions and my desired future – relative to my music-making practice.
Self: who is making it?. That is, who am I ?
Having developed Praxis version 4, I now understood that a central aspect of my research study – in addition to the practical and aesthetic choices and decisions I make whilst cycling around and around my practice – was going to be for me to observe, comment and even perhaps describe my motives and share some of the internal dialogue that I often have away from my practice, but as a direct result of having engaged in my music-making practice. I was starting to arrive at the understanding that whilst this journey into my self would occur as a separate practice to my music-making practice, it was in the larger picture, part of the same practice: an integrated, holistic presentation that necessarily included both my music-making practice and the practitioner self.
Self and Motivation
As I delved deeper into the literature and considered my practice, I realised both the significance of the elements of motivation and self upon my practice, and the lack of conscious consideration I had made of these in version two (2) of my praxis, and the superficial consideration of the element of self I had made in version three (3) of my praxis. In terms of current literature on music-making practice, seldom is either motivation or self discussed relative to music-making practice. Rarer still are studies of practice conducted that include the practice, the motivation, and the practitioner self.
Additional to these simple focus questions, I developed my research study question to be:
Research study question: In contemporary DIY music-making practice, what effect does motive and creative technologies have on creative production?;
Four (4) sub-questions to my research study question were formed:
Sub-question 1: what is the relationship of the elements of music-making practice within the digital virtual environment. That is, are these elements within my music-making practice independent of each other, or are they in actual fact interdependent?
Sub-question 2: what is my motivation to practice music?
Sub-question 3a: how does my music-making practice contribute to the concept of my self?, and
Sub-question 3b: how does my self-concept shape my music-making practice?
In essence, I was starting to concern my self with the question:
To what degree is music a modality of self?
Stages of Music-Making
My praxis v4 saw the acknowledgement of five (5) stages of my music-making practice:
Nine (9) Motives for Music-Making
I also determined through reflection that I had drawn on nine motives for practice at various times in my music-making experience:
Discovery – to use music-making practice as a medium for exploring, attempting to do something which you haven’t done previously;
Technically – to use music-making practice as a medium to practice one’s craft, and technically develop one’s craft skills;
Social – to use music-making practice as a medium for social interaction purposes, to connect to others;
Affectively – to use music-making practice as a medium to express or connect to emotion;
Aesthetically – to use music-making practice as a medium for expression or engagement in something artistic or of beauty;
Creatively – to use music-making practice as a medium for action, just to do;
Physical – to use music-making practice as a medium for physical expression, for exercise;
Commercial – to use music-making practice as a medium for income generation purposes;
Educational – to demonstrate specific music-making practice to my students, live or in preparation.
As the contemporary DIY music practitioner, I was preparing to engage in the creation and production of five (5) original compositions, with the theme of each composition being representative of some aspect of my life: past, present or future envisioning. The practice-led research study will allow the multiple stages of cultural production, from creation to production to release, to be tracked and captured using multiple methods, for the intended purpose of critical reflection and reflexive action by the researcher-self. I will investigate how my EP’s are uniquely shaped through the relationship that exists between: technology, music style, workflow, creative location, and motive in what most now operate within, a digital virtual environment; and, how my music-making practice contributes to the concept of my self; and in turn, how my self concept then shapes my music-making practice. Within each of the music-making practice projects (Project 1 and Project 2), I will be concerned with the conditions that exist, what options are available, what decisions are made, what workflows result, and what output is achieved. I will consider my motive (or motives) for music-making practice; the outcome (or outcomes) desired, and investigate to determine whether these are in fact typical within the field of music and sound, or whether they are typical of recent motive discussions in the developing discipline of contemporary DIY music-making practice. I will research, source and if required, develop valid industry-acceptable standards to measure my music-making practice against. On a more personal level, the research study will explore the degree to which my music-making practice exists as an expression of the self, and in turn, how a greater understanding of self shapes my music-making practice.
This blog series is planned to continue next month with Doctoral Pilot Study – Part 1a (Page 2015c). It is intended for this blog series to continue on a regular basis as I progress through my doctoral research project.