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Q for Scott Humphrey - Pro Tools - the early days
Old 26th October 2009
Q for Scott Humphrey - Pro Tools - the early days

Hi Scott and thanks for agreeing to this Q &A.

As an early advocate of Pro Tools, can you take us through your progress, from tearing your hear out to the "ka-ching"! of record store cash registers for hits you have worked on?

(feel free to write your answer in gradual stages, dont want your fingers to drop off!)

Old 29th October 2009
special guest
🎧 10 years

When I first started using Protools 1.0 it consisted of 2 applications, Pro Deck (recording) and Pro Edit (editing) using the original 4-Input/Output interface and a Rodime 40MB SCSI Drive. One of the first sessions I ever used it on was Metallica's Black Album, to edit vocals, drums, guitars etc. It was nearly impossible to sync Protools 1.0 to the Studer A80 and Sony 3324 machines that were used on the session. I would freewheel the audio back to one of the 2 machines and use the Lynx synchronizer to offset the SMPTE code to put the edits back in sync with the track. I came up with a system to tune vocals by using Sound Designer to copy small snippets of audio into a new file and using the tune function in SD to adjust the pitch. I would then import literally a hundred small files into Protools and align the snippets underneath the vocal track. Next I would manually move all the pieces into the vocal track replacing the out of tune syllables with the new tuned bits. Lastly I would have to manually crossfade every single edit point as there wasn't a batch crossfade option in those days. Special thanks to Mark Jeffery from Digidesign for implementing that feature for me. This early version of PT was extremely unstable and could take 30 minutes to load a session or switch between Pro Deck and Pro edit. Sometimes the session file would self corrupt and it was gone forever. I'm not sure if there was a "Save As" feature in that early version but I remember getting really scared of losing hours or days worth of edits when the sessions got bogged down. It's amazing how far we've come with technology, and funny how so many engineers said that computers would never replace tape machines...Haha!!

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