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Review: Solid State Logic Pro-Convert 5 (Bonus Material)

January 9, 2009
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SUCCESSFUL SESSION INTERCHANGE

Even with all that Pro-Convert has to offer, project interchange can be difficult to get right. Rule number 1 is to test a conversion before you book a session that depends on it. Leave yourself time for the project''s originator to resave the project in a different format in case things don''t translate as well as you''d hoped.

Have realistic expectations. You should not expect your final mix to translate from Logic to Pro Tools, as the two treat signal flow in fundamentally different ways. You may get decent translation of track volume and pan but not much else. Because MIDI tracks and instrument tracks will not translate, you should save a Standard MIDI File (SMF) of your original project so you can import it into the destination DAW. Document instruments, patches, and important parameters so you can re-create the MIDI tracks. SMFs are also useful for transferring tempo maps.

Print any tracks that have critical effects in case a particular processor is not available elsewhere. Consider rendering all tracks to contiguous audio files starting from the beginning of the session; that''s the poor man''s OMF, and it will allow you to move your tracks between DAWs without additional cost or risk of mistranslation.

Split any stereo or surround tracks into individual mono tracks. Pro-Convert can do this for you with stereo tracks but not surround tracks. Convert any tick-based tracks to sample-based tracks in Pro Tools, and render any real-time pitch-shifted or time-stretched tracks.

If your project is under 2 GB, embed the audio media when saving an OMF. This will help ensure that the target DAW can locate the files and extract their attributes. This step is especially important for cross-platform transfers.

If possible, set aside a dedicated PC for Pro-Convert. Give it direct access to a big chunk of network drive space with which to work so you''ll never have to wait for projects to transfer to and from the PC''s local drive.

Document everything in the source session before converting it. Be sure tracks, files, and regions are named properly. Be sure the session''s hierarchy of folders and assets is in order. Keep notes about the session in a text file within the session folder. Consider taking screen shots of the original session so you''ll have a visual reference when the original host application is not available. Always use Broadcast Wave (BWF) files, regardless of whether you are working on a Mac or a PC. Stick to standard 24-bit PCM files so you won''t have to wait while hundreds of files are converted from floating-point.

Pro-Convert''s documentation has detailed suggestions for dealing with the various individual applications the utility supports. If you plan ahead and leave time for complications, you can always find a way to get your hard work from one DAW to another.

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