Digidesign Pro Tools 5.0
audio workstation software
In another step toward taking
the Pro Tools platform to the next level, Digidesign offers a major revision of
its Pro Tools digital audio workstation software. The upgrades in this new version
are few in number, but they are major in scope, with several new editing tools,
a refined user interface, optional video media support, MIDI sequencing and some
system extension refinements that improve overall performance. For this review,
I focused on music editing and MIDI features.
At the starting block
Pro Tools 5.0 comes on a new installation CD-ROMno online upgrade is available.
Users who bought Pro Tools|24 MIX or MIXPlus systems after April 19, 1999, are
eligible for a free upgrade. Otherwise, it costs $199. As a bonus, buyers of a
new MIX system receive a free TDM MIXpack consisting of Digidesigns D-Verb,
Focusrites d2 and Dynamics by Drawmer. Purchasers of MIXPlus systems also
receive Focusrites d3, Line 6 Amp Farm and Access Virus. (The first TDM-based
virtual synthesizer, Virus is awesome!)
Installation is routine. Double-click the installer application on the CD-ROM,
and a Pro Tools 5.0 folder is created on your hard drive. (I installed the program
on a Mac G3 266MHz desktop model outfitted with a 24 MIXPlus system.) Drivers
and extensions are updated automatically, no hassles. However, the preference
settings from my old version were not copied over. Unaware of this, I began using
5.0 and wondered why things werent responding normally (e.g., insertion
points acted oddly, synchronization was off, missing I/O labels, etc.). Fortunately,
I still had Version 4.2 installed; that was handy as a reference to remember my
preferences, which I manually re-entered into the new softwarea bit of a
Digidesigns ProControl worked fine with the new version and was a breeze
to set upsimply enable ProControl in the Peripherals window and youre
ready to roll. Getting Mackies HUI to function properly was a little trickier.
I set up HUI as a MIDI controller in the peripherals, as usual, but Pro Tools
wouldnt respond, reporting that it was unable to communicate with
HUI. Turns out, with the new MIDI features, HUI must also be selected as
an input device under the Input Device menu (which youll find in the main
MIDI menu, a new item on the menu bar). Once I had done this, HUI performed flawlessly.
This scenario will be the same for any MIDI controller.
A new version of TrackTransfer, Version 2.1, is installed with Pro Tools 5.0.
I depend heavily on TrackTransfer to swap tracks between sessions. Unfortunately,
Version 2.1 doesnt recognize sessions created with Pro Tools versions earlier
than 5.0. In order to use TrackTransfer on older sessions, they must first be
converted to 5.0. To do this, open the old session in 5.0 and execute a Save Asconversion
Better by far
There are several significant, though inconspicuous, interface improvements that
make the program a lot easier to operate. To begin, the Smart Tool button has
disappeared, replaced by a small, space-efficient, bar beneath the Trimmer, Selector
and Grabber tool buttons. Hitting this bar highlights all three icons and turns
the cursor into the Smart Toolpretty smart.
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© 2000 by Intertec Publishing. Reprinted with permission from Mix Magazine.