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Old 03-19-2018, 04:02 AM
Plec Plec is offline
Join Date: Jul 2017
Location: Sweden
Posts: 21
Default Using Pro Tools Non-HDX with an analog console for monitoring while recording

I've read quite a few threads on this but I still can't seem to get my head around it, or that people are willing to go to such weird methods getting this to work properly, or I'm just thinking about in a weird way.

Please, I need help with this!

So, when recording vocals (which is pretty much the only situation that this becomes a real issue IMO), the problem is that an artist on headphones will hear latency, as in phasing between her/his acoustically generated sound and that which comes from foldback when monitoring through the DAW. This is an issue even at 64 buffer size in my experience.

The whole problem could be solved if ProTools like Cubase (which I've used for 20 years) had totally separate record and monitoring functions. As in the record button had NOTHING to do with enabling the monitoring path if you so choose. Instead the entire functionality of ProTools is that it should be used with their HDX systems when recording OR the only exception that I've found is the UAD Apollo which actually has the use of PT's Low-Latency Monitoring function DISABLE the output of ProTools tracks in record which effectively solved the issue, which is a function that you should be able to have available in Preferences for ALL recording situations no matter what interface you're on IMO.

1. Disabling link between Playback and Record fader-levels in Preferences won't do the trick since in a perfect world you would like just being able to quickly playback what you recorded and punch in at the right time without any extra processes in between.

2. The most viable workaround to this that I've seen is that you would use the previous step and also copy what you recorded down to a new track which would be your "playback monitoring track" that would first need editing so that the artist hears the previously recorded take up to a specific point. This causes two issues.. the first is that this takes too long, even a few seconds more than necessary in certain situations destroys the flow of a session, and the other one is that when playing back you might decide to drop in at another point in time than you first thought which again messes things up for the artist and yourself.

If you use ProTools when recording as AVID intended, which is with their HDX systems you would not have an issue with this since you would just basically have no-latency monitoring when recording within the entire DAW structure, but for any other system except for UAD Apollo, this becomes an issue if you're trying to take care of monitoring outside the DAW in any other way unless you like to do a lot of manual muting and such while in the process of recording, which takes away focus from actually LISTENING.

So, does anyone have any new light to shed on this subject so far or is it the same old story?
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Old 03-19-2018, 04:56 AM
chrismeraz chrismeraz is offline
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 354
Default Re: Using Pro Tools Non-HDX with an analog console for monitoring while recording

This was a significant limitation of PT Native for a long time, and I don't believe there is anything Avid could have done about it. A typical HDX system has hundreds of processors dedicated to running your audio in and out as quickly as possible.

Nowadays, depending on the number of tracks and your processor power, (including number of cores, read/write speeds, and transfer bus speeds inside your computer), you can run PT Native sessions at a buffer of 64 or 32 samples. This, in principle would be enough to make PT Native behave like PT HDX, for low track counts and low plug-in counts... or so you would think.

HOWEVER, there are two additional limitations that must be taken into account, and in my limited experience these are going to slow you down even more than the limitations in your PC specs. They are:

1. The round-trip latency through your interface A/D/A conversion, and
2. The latency due to transferring information back and forth between your computer and your interface (this is NOT the same as the hardware buffer - the delay caused by this can be several milliseconds for USB and FireWire devices)

I believe a Thunderbolt 2 or 3 interface such as Focusrite Red or UA Apollo will make PT Native work just the way you would like it to, if everything in your computer is carefully sorted. I'm going to try it in a couple of months myself with a new Apollo 8. The Apollo is only Thunderbolt 2, but I will see if I can afford the new Thunderbolt 3 card. Shame those cards are so expensive... I hope UAD will exchange TB2 card for a TB3 card for a reduced fee.
Windows 10
Apollo 8
Pro Tools Native
i7 8700K, 32GB RAM

Last edited by chrismeraz; 03-19-2018 at 06:45 AM.
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