All Posts by Kevin Ward

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What do I use to De-ess a vocal?

I know you’ve had this problem. You get the vocal sounding bright enough, then you notice that the “S” sounds and “T” sounds are making your ears bleed.


The solution to this problem could be a de-esser. I’ll show you how to use one in an upcoming post. Finding the right de-esser is the trick though. They are definitely not created equal. If the de-esser you are using is not doing the trick, you can try another kind of de esser… they all sound different.

I use the Pro Tools version usually. Massey has one, but I don’t like it so much. I used to have a Waves rennaisance DeEsser that I though was the best… now I use the C4 (Waves) to get rid of those pesky “S’s”.

tip: the waves C4 usually works with the default setting or the “Pop Vocal” setting works well too

One thing that I’ve noticed people doing (who have more time to mix than I do) is manually go in and fade the esses down with the pencil tool… (ouch) … mind-numbing if you ask me, but what ever gets the job done.

I have noticed that once I get the sibilance taken care of, my track may sound a little dull again. Sometimes you can add an eq AFTER the de esser just to brighten it back up.

Let me know what de-esser or other way that you take care of sibilance.

Til next time


Where did my F keys go?

Are you wondering why your F1, F2, F3 function keys are not working since you upgraded?  I mean F1 used to mean “shuffle mode” in Pro Tools, now it dims my screen.  I used to have a fancy shortcut programed for F8, now it starts iTunes.

Make sure the box is unchecked if you want your pro tools shortcuts back

The cure could be as simple as a system preference on your mac.  Just go to the Apple menu (top left) then navigate to system preferences, keyboards and then make sure that the “Use all F1, F2…” is unchecked.  You should be back in the business of flying through Pro Tools shortcuts with the greatest of ease.

Update on my “Mix Like a Pro” Class

A few weeks ago, I asked the subscribers to my mailing list [you can sign up here] what I could do to really offer something valuable to them.  The overwhelming response was things like:

  • Mix evaluations
  • One on one time
  • Get to ask questions about mixes as I did them

So I decided to put a program together to do just that.  It’s called the “Mix Like a Pro” class.

The interaction is GREAT.  These guys are on FIRE.  It’s exciting to see.  I’ve given them a Pro Tools session to mix, they’ve seen me mixing on it and we’ve had an extensive question and answer session as well as some bonus interviews.

One thing I incorporated into the class was deadlines.  They turned in their mixes last Friday and I’m now in the process of listening and giving them feedback.

If you think you would be interested in a class like this, be sure you sign up for the mailing list and I’ll let you know when the next class starts to form.

Common DAE errors and their causes

???I’m encountering an error in Pro Tools this morning.  While looking around for a solution, I came across this list of “common” Pro Tools Errors.  I figured that if it helped me, hopefully it will help you too.

Source: Digidesign Users forum

K Onyx Error Bad DSP Chip on the core card. Replace core card

Kernal Panics Out Of spec RAM Replace RAM

DAE Error-1 Inserting a Maxim Plug-in after changing Sample rate

DAE Error-6 Launching pre-6.2 version Protools with an HD Accel card. Update Protools to 6.2 or later version.

DAE Error-7 When using drives formatted as Mac OS Standard. Format drives in Mac OS Extended.

DAE Error-35 OMFI Media Files folder on a Unity volume contains illegal characters.

System Error-37 Bad File Name,illegal Characters. Trash Digidesign Database folder on root level of each hard drive.

Error-44 Importing a video track into AVoption XL 5.3.1 Reinstall the Protools and AVoption XL software.

Error-48 Operating System Error Having a backup or second install of OS X on any of the drives attached to your Mac can cause this error.

DAE Error-51 Protools does not launch in Classic Mode. Startup in OS 9.2.2 in order to use versions of Protools.

Error-608 Program error occurred. New Session or Open Session dialog should remain in the foreground until it is closed.

Program Error-2048 Could not complete the “bounce to disk” command on a movie longer than 30 minutes. This is a known issue that will be fixed in future updates.

Error-2804 When loading Control 24/Pro Control/Fader Pack/Edit Pack. Reinstall Controller personality file from Protools installer CD-ROM.

Error-5000 When verifying authorizations after installing Protools 6.2.2 Install updated Plug-ins.Also this can occur if the Ownership & Permissions settings for some of the disk drives or the Applications Support folder are set improperly.

DAE Error-6027 Audio too dense. There are too many short audio regions.

Error-6031 RTAS Plug-in crash. Increase Hardware Buffer Size.

Error-6042 PCI bus too busy. If the PCI gauge in the System Usage window is peaked,reset the PCI bus.For sessions at 192 kHz, use Playback Engine sizes of 24 Voices or less.

DAE Error-6042 PCI bus too busy. Download Aurora Igniter driver.

Error-6074 When running HD Accel hardware in 32-bit chassis. Use Playback Engine sizes of 5 DSP,medium voices,or less.

DAE Error-6086 With Digi 002 on Mac OS X. Lower buffer sizes when working with many plug-ins.

DAE Errors-6086-6093-6097 Setting the CPU Usage Limit above 95% may cause this. Reduce the number of active Plug-ins.

Error-6087 During Playback in Windows XP and Protools 6.4 Change the display color quality bit depth from 32 bit to 16 bit.

DAE Errors-6089-6085-9093 Increase or decrease the Hardware Buffer size. Drive is set to operate in PIO mode.Set drive to operate in DMA mode.

DAE Error-6097 002 goes offline briefly. Incoming clock signal is adjusted up or down beyond the 002’s acceptable sample rate limits.

DAE Error-7053 When trying to use a Demo Plug-in. The Demo Plug-in has expired.

DAE Error-7059 When instantiating a Bomb Factory BF76 plug-in in Protools 6.3 or 6.4 This is a known issue with BF76 version 4.0.1 on Windows XP only.It will be resolved in a future release.

DAE Error-7077 Make sure you are using the correct mixer plug-in. Drag the Stereo Mixer and Surround Mixer from the Protools installation CD-ROM into the plug-ins folder on your hard drive.

DSP Error-7204 Not enough free DSP. Remove TC Tools 3.7 from the plug-ins folder and install 3.6

DAE Errors-7201-7202-7203-7204-7205-7206 Hardware configuration problem. Seat all cards and cables firmly.

Error-7204-6003 Free Bomb Factory 4.0 Free Bomb Factory 4.0.1 Plug-ins Installer fixes this.

Error-7400 Insufficient resources to open plug-ins. Change the Read and Write permissions of the B4,FM7 and Battery plug-ins.

Error-9006 DAE is low on memory when using Quickpunch in a 96k session. This is a known issue in Protools 6.1

DAE Error-9014 Digidesign hardware is either not installed or in use by another application. Remove all Startup items except for Digidesign and PACE.Go to System Preferences/Classic and disable”Start Classic when you login.

DAE Error-9019 When using Protools Avid MediaNet. This error will only occur the first time Unity Volume is accessed.

DAE Error-9035 This can occur for many reasons. Unsupported SCSI card.Audio files were manually removed. Corrupt fades. 31 character limit, International characters. Hard drive is near capacity.

DAE Error-9060 This can occur for many reasons. Protools does not support software RAID arrays. Corrupt audio files. Bad Volume Bitmap on audio drive. Remove Jaz drive from SCSI bus. Disable Journaling on record drives.

DAE Error-9073 This can occur for many reasons. Make sure Energy Saver is set to Never. 2gb file limit is reached during recording to Firewire drives. If Auto Delay Compensation is on,turn it off to free system resources.

DAE Error-9128 Sessions with sample rates of 96k or higher. Set the Hardware Buffer Size to 512 or more.

DAE Error-9131 UNIX File System is not supported in Protools 6.4

DAE Error-9132 When attemting “Bounce to Disk”. Bus the appropriate tracks to the appropriate number and format of audio tracks and record.

DAE Error-9136 During Playback CPU usage is spiking. Go to System Preferences>Energy Saver>Options,and set Processor Performance to Highest.

DAE Error-9140 FireWire extentions were installed by mistake. Disable 3rd party FireWire extention.

DAE Error-9155 Sessions with sample rates of 96k or higher. Set the Hardware Buffer Size to 512 or more.

DAE Error-9162 Digilink cable is incorrectly connected to Core/Accel cards. Reseat all cards and cables.

DAE Error-9204 Installed bad Drawmer Dynamics Plug-in from Protools 6.2 CD. Please use Protools 6.1 CD.

DAE Error-9735 Protools has reached the end of it’s timeline,or has been in continuous play for longer than the maximum time limit. The maximum time limit for Protools depends on the session sample rate.

Error-14051 Unexpected Authorization occurred. The iLok client software is not installed on the system.

DAE Error-1103 Unable to acquire audio hardware. Lowering the playback engine from 64 voices to 32 voices may resolve this. In Protools 6.4 with AVoption V10, 48 voices is the maximum number of supported voices.

Error -1133 Digidesign hardware is in use by another application. Close all applications, reboot and restart ProTools

Error -6101 CPU overload error has occured. Increase HW buffer size in playback engine or remove some plug-ins.

Error -1123 TDM flex cable error. This error may also pertain to an incompatibility problem with DSP chip latency between multiple HD Accel DSP cards. Replace TDM flex cable. Re-seat HD Core and Accel cards. Change the order of Accel cards attached to HD core. Replace bad HD Accel DSP card.

Error -4 ProTools encountered an error while allocating voices. As a result not all audio tracks were voiced. Go to playback engine, re-allocate additional voices.

Error -36 Unable to create new audio file on drive because of I/O error. Repair permissions on boot drive w/Disk Utility. Check permissions settings on all record drives.

Kevin Interviews mixing pro Joe Carrell for Mixcoach

This is the first in a long series of interviews that I will be conducting for  I wanted you guys to hear a couple of working mix engineers talking shop and giving INVALUABLE insight into mixing and running a studio.

Be sure and comment below if you like this kind of interview….

Question: What’s a question that you would like ANY Music Business Professional to answer… I’ll try to ask everybody for you.



Also check out Part Deux!

Surgical EQ on a vocal track- how to use notch eq to correct proximity effect

Justin from YouTube was having trouble getting a vocal EQ’d.  He used a High Pass filter on the vocal, but he said that it thinned out the vocal too much.

Justin sent me a sample of the vocal so that I could assess what the problem was.  What we discovered was that he recorded the vocal too close to the microphone and the track had a bump at around 200hz.  I’ll show you exactly what I did to fix it.

If there’s a question that I can answer for you, please leave a comment below and I’ll try to coach you through it.

To your success,

Kevin – MixCoach

Repairing a sustained note in Pro Tools 8

Learn the difference in a note cycle and a vibrato cycle in this video. I was dealing with the pitch on a fiddle track at the very end of the note. The repair came off beautifully.

Let me know how you’d fix a note like this.