As mentioned before in Of Masters And Slaves, the main function of VE Pro is to host my large orchestral template. As promised in this blog post, here I will describe the contents of the template and how I work with it. In a future post, I will also post a tutorial how to setup tracks in Logic so that they can control instruments within VE Pro.


Six pieces for your listening pleasure!

It’s all about the music. So here’s music.
We have put six brand new pieces from two of our latest projects online so you can have a listen. Some of these pieces will eventually find their way onto the music page, but for now they are "blog-exclusive“.

1) Advertising:
Three tracks for a series of TV ads. First a slight Italian touch, then we’ve got a French jazz band and finally there’s a very English feel.

2) Racing Game:
Three tracks for a racing game. The tracks are loopable and will loop indefinitely until you stop the player.

We hope you enjoy these short pieces - check back for more music and tips and tricks soon!



For all of you who are into World Music.
The Sibelius Academy has sponsored a wonderful free sample library of a Kantele.
It comes with three mic positions and just sounds terrific - far better than many a commercial library I’ve heard.
You should definitively check this out at AJATAR Kantele.


Harrison Mixbus

Just a very quick software tip for those of you that are interested in mixing.
Harrison Consoles, makers of those large postpro-consoles have recently teamed up with the open source DAW Ardour to make a version of the application with their proprietary mixing engine built in. The application feels really god and allows you to do very organic mixes. So if you are looking for a nice DAW to mix your tracks in, this might be for you.
Check it out on their website.


Pro Tools Rig for Cheap

Since the original post, Avid has released Pro Tools 9, which no longer requires a Digidesign/M-Audio interface! You can now use any audio interface with PT, so some of the information in this post is outdated. The general way of using your slave with a second audio interface still holds true, though, only you can now choose whichever interface you like.

This is sort of an idea for all those monetary challenged people out there (like me), who nonetheless want to have a Pro Tools rig at their disposal.
As you might know, we use Logic Pro as our Main DAW, a choice which we are pretty happy with, but which sometimes leads to format problems, i.e. when we need to work on films for making the soundmix. The industry standard in this area is Pro Tools. But Pro Tools is sooooooooo expensive. No, it isn’t. Pro Tools HD is. But there’s more.

If you have your project ready as a Pro Tools file, with a certain certainty everyone can open it. You might know that there are cut-down versions of PT, namely LE and M-Powered. Besides the name, there is _no_ difference between LE and M-Powered and with Version 8 the differences to Pro Tools HD have shrunk, too. For most projects, an LE or M-Powered rig is absolutely sufficient. LE only runs with Digidesign audio interfaces, M-Powered only runs with M-Audio interfaces (hence the name).

The really cool thing is that LE or M-Powered can open PT HD projects and vice versa! That means, for most projects you can easily use a LE rig (i.e. for sound mixing and film post pro) and then give the whole thing to a large mastering house for the final touch.

LE and M-Powered are both very affordable and are a very good way into the world of Pro Tools. While we firmly believe in Logic for composing and recording, for post-production there’s just nothing better than PT.

Ok, so now we know that PT can be pretty affordable, but it gets even better!
You need a computer to run it on, right? Well, what about a nice slave PC that sits around in the corner if you are not composing with your template right at the moment? Right!!!
We fortunately had an old M-Audio interface lying around unused, so what we did was to hook it up to our Dell Slave which usually hosts our composing template and installed PT M-Powered. That way, when the Slave PC is not used for its slave labour, it serves as a PT rig.

To make this kind of „second DAW“ as pleasant to use as possible, there are a few nice things you can do:
- The PT rig can use the big studio monitors by connecting the audio interface’s SPDIF Out with a SPDIF In of the interface of the main machine. No sound quality is lost and you can additionally use the DSP power of your main machine! And you don’t need any additional gear.
- Master keyboards usually have both an USB output as well as a MIDI output. One of these can be hooked up to the slave = you can use PT to record MIDI data.
- Euphonix Artist controllers can control several workstations at the same time. If your main DAW is a Mac (as in our case) you can use it as a EuCon server, even if your second computer runs Windows. This is undocumented, but it works. Just install the Windows workstation drivers from the Euphonix website and make sure there’s a network connection between the Mac and the PC (there will be automatically one if you are using VE Pro on the slave). Then you can use the controller to control Pro Tools or any other DAW on the PC.
- If you log into the slave with Microsoft Remote Desktop or another RDC client (we use CORD), then you don’t even need a keyboard and mouse on the slave. Just tuck it somewhere safe where it is out of the way and noone will ever see there’s _yet_ another rig there :)

All this gives you a perfect Pro Tools rig, which can use all your studio hardware, including MIDI keyboards and hardware controllers!
And all you need to invest in is an audio interface (if you don’t already have one) and a license for PT.

Hope this helps :)

We are on Twitter!

Believe it or not... we have finally managed to arrive in the 21st century!
Which means, we have a Twitter account. Without further ado, here it is.


Sibelius Wiki

If you are using Sibelius for your notation work, you might be interested in our very own Unofficial Sibelius Wiki.
There you will find plenty of information, hints and tutorials to all versions of Sibelius. The Wiki is intended as a supplement of the Sibelius Reference and explains things that go beyond it.
Have a look and join our staff of editors!


Of Masters And Slaves

The technical side of composing music for media has become ever more complicated. Never before have the options to choose from been so rich.
Music technology allows composers to create very realistic renditions of their tracks that only a few years back would have been plain impossible in this level of quality.
This blog post sets out to explain how here at Novatlan Sound we have set up all this technology to provide for a stable and versatile working environment. In the future, more post like this will follow to explain other aspects of studio work.