NEW to ProTools, Need ADVICE

Discussion in 'Mixing & Song Critique' started by Greg Malcangi, Apr 1, 2001.

  1. Greg Malcangi

    Greg Malcangi Active Member

    Oct 12, 2000
    Gingerale wrote:

    Its hard getting the info that I want, everything seems to be rather disjointed, but I will try to ask the questions as conherently as possible, so you PT guys can understand me, the newbee.
    I want to get into PT, but avoid the whole 001/LE thing. I dont think I need mix plus, or any interfaces (ie 888, or ADAT links) because I want to use the new ADAT HD24 as my digital I/O (via ethernet ONLY, not lightpipe) mixed with 4 channels of Apogee Rosetta and 32 channels of Apogee IntelliDAC, so this setup will be reality in the next few months.

    Q1) What is the street price of a typical Mac 9600 (ala Ebay?) and a PT24 (not mix or mix plus) system? I want to upgrade the 9600 with the G4 card or whatever it is. What is required to tweak out the 9600, and what is this?

    Q2) What will my real world abilities be on a PT24 system (tracks and tracks withplug-ins? I use the WAVES PPII on my Native system now ( samplitude 24/96), so I want to use Waves & Bombfactory, and thats about it...Maybe if GML/Massenburg comes out with TDM plugs that will be good to.

    Q) How involved is the Data tranfer via ethernet from the computer to the Alesis HD24 (I understand that you might not know the complete protocols of the HD24, but its probably the most basic setup they could come up with)?

    The reason I want to mix the HD 24 in with the setup is mostly for playback and record stability. I will record to the Alesis, transfer it to the PT for processing (I might possibly get 48 tracks of the Alesis...can two ethernet cards be used at once?) and dump it back hopefully VERY quickly to the Alesis which will be going to a 32 channel analog console with lots of good Class A and discreet outboard.
  2. Greg Malcangi

    Greg Malcangi Active Member

    Oct 12, 2000
    Hi Gingerale,

    First off for PT to be able to process the audio it has to come in through the digi cards, not through ethernet. Ethernet just doesn't have the bandwidth for the number of channels you want. You will have to use lightpipe. With a PT Mix system the core card and each mix card can handle up to 16 simultaneous I/Os. So add up all the simultaneous inputs you want and that will tell you how many mix cards you will need.

    Q1) A 9600 + G4 card is not likely to be very stable and will not be supported by Digidesign. Bare in mind also that PT24 was replaced by PTMix 2 or 3 years ago. There are some compatibility issues with certain newer plugs on a PT24 system. I used to own a PT24 system and as far as I can remember the number of simultaneous I/Os are half of that offered by each PTMix card.

    Q2) I'm going on memory here, I believe a PT24 system can handle up to 64 tracks but to have plugs across all of them will require several farm cards. The exact number of cards required depends on your I/O needs and the number and type of plugs you use. For instance with Bombfactory's classic compressors you get one instance per chip on a Farm card but three per chip on a Mix card. I think there are 4 chips per Farm card but 6 on a Mix card. Also bare in mind that you current plugs are native versions. While these are still usable with PT5.1 a 9600 is going to struggle to process more than a couple of instances, you will need to get the TDM versions of your plugs.

    Q3) AFAIK the only way to do this would be to dump the data from your HD24 via ethernet to your computer and then "import" the audio files into PT. This is providing the files copied to your hard drive are in a format readable by PT (SDII, WAV or AIFF). You will then need to bounce your tracks down with the effects and then export them to the file format supported by the HD24 and copy them back across. This is obviously not an instant process.

    In short, I don't think you will be able to do what you want with a 9600 and PT24. You would be much better off getting a single processor G4 and then using a PT Mix+ with two ADAT bridges (lightpipe). This will give you 32 simultaneuos I/Os and plenty of processing across all those channels, futhermore transfer will be virtually instantaneous. With 48 channels you will obviously need another Mix card and ADAT bridge.

    This is quite a bit more expensive than your original plan but it's the only way I can think of to get the functionality you require.

    If it were me I would dump the HD24 idea altogether. Use a Mix+ system on a G4 and try to pick up 4 used 888/24s and a master clock generator like the Nanosyncs. This way you could feed your analog desk with 32 simultaneous channels from PT in real time. If you are talking about playback/record stability, this is one of the great strengths of PT TDM. I almost never get a crash, even when I'm trying to do something I know I shouldn't. In about 5 years of constant use I have never lost any files or had any sort of file or session corruption. Not many hardware boxes can compare with that.

  3. Sean Halley

    Sean Halley Guest

    The original 24 card has no DSP capability whatsoever, so you'll get a 64 track engine and some routing - that's it.

    It looks like you're looking into some outboard converters, so you could try this scenario as well: get a couple of old 888/16s. The A/D is only sixteen bits, but the AES (there's eight channels) will pass a full 24 bit stream.

    The older farm cards will do very little as far as newer versions of Waves are concerned. While the new cards have six chips and the older ones have four, some the chips are actually different. Some of the newer plugs require the newer chips - won't even run on an old farm. I believe that Direct Connect for instance, won't even run on an old farm.

    I had also heard that the HD24 is a proprietary audio format - but I can obviously be dead wrong. I would almost guarantee that the audio files - if not proprietary - will not be time-stamped. This means that after editing the files, you'd have to nudge them around to get them back to a similar place on the timeline, if you wanted to put them back into the HD24 for some reason.

    I would agree with Greg, with a big boy PT system you woldn't need the HD24. However, if you want to record externally, there are a couple other options you could consider. I work for Tascam, so I would be remiss if I didn't mention the MX2424, which does 24 tracks (or twelve of 96K). It uses Mac or PC drives, writes time-stamped SDII or time-stamped Broadcast Wave files, and has a baby MicroLynx synchronizer built in (among a bunch of other seriously pro features). The Radar 24 writes time-stampers I think, as do a couple of MUCH more expensive boxes.

    If you want to be compatible with everyone else, and still mix inside, you'll probably want to just go into at least a Mix system - I would gather that you'll have less heart/head aches.

    Also, the faster 9600's had a faster bus (100MhZ I think), but the G4 upgrade cards have proven a bit touchy. I run a Mix+ on an old 9500 with a G3 upgrade card in it with NO problems. Six slots is nice, but BOY what I wouldn't do for the new 133 Meg system bus!

    Hope that helps...

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