It’s that time again. I’ve got three new questions, all Pro Tools related. (If you have a question, please submit it via the Ask Joe form.) Let’s dive in.

Martin R. wrote:
I have just recently installed Pro Tools 7.3 LE on to my Mac and I have an Iomega hard drive that I was going to use for recording however when I try to change the audio settings from ‘T’ to ‘R’ I get an error message which reads “IOMEGA cannot be designated as an Audio Record volume because it is not a valid audio volume.” Could you tell me what this means and if there is any way to use this hard drive for recording.
Many Thanks
Martin

Hi Martin. If Pro Tools won’t let you change the drive from “T” to “R,” it may be because your drive isn’t compatible. You didn’t mention if it was firewire or USB. USB drives (even USB 2.0) are not supported with Pro Tools. They sometimes work, but they’re not officially supported by Digidesign.

If it’s a firewire drive, it needs to meet the following requirements:

  • Firewire 400
  • 7200 rpm
  • Oxford 911 chipset

Firewire 800 drives can work, but there are additional requirements. You can read all the details on Digidesign’s hard drive requirements pages for both Mac and PC.

Ismael R. wrote:

Hi Joe!
Ismael here. Just a question on ProTools. How do I get rid of all those plug ins popping up every time I start up ProTools?
Thanks!

Hello again, Ismael! What’s happening is that you installed certain “demo” plugins that have all expired. The plugin manufacturers are hoping you’ll buy the full copies. If that’s not the case, then you’ll need to delete these plugins from your system.

They’ll be inside the Digidesign folder on your hard drive. Just delete the ones you don’t want, and those windows will stop popping up every time you launch Pro Tools. I’m not sure exactly where these are on a PC, but here’s a shot of where to find them on a Mac. This is within the Applications folder.

plugins

Luis wrote:

Hey Joe I love your set up by the way. I was just wondering how much you spent on getting your whole studio together because am looking on getting something similar. I currently own an Mbox Mini, Rode NT2A etc..nothing big yet and as a sound engineer/artist I mostly focus on vocals and I wanna expand my studio. Im thinking on the Digi 003 maybe later on update to HD but for now is either the Digi 003, or do you think I should get the new Hypercontrol Axiom pro keyboard
which gives me access to faders and my whole Pro tools session (which i think would save me big bucks) and maybe update to a better audio interface like an Mbox 2 or MBox 2 Pro? Any advice???? HELP!!! Please!!! LOL and um I also wanted to ask you if you knew anything about the Avalon 737SP i know its for vocals but what exactly is it, and what exactly does it do??

Hope I’m not asking for too much..but thanks anyways Joe. Your doing a great job keep it up.

Hi Luis. First of all, I would only upgrade to the 003 if you really need more inputs, or perhaps if you want to have the fully-functional control surface. I LOVE my 003, but I rarely utilize all of the inputs.

The control surface functionality is really nice, but if you’re working with a set budget, I would focus on things that will make a difference in sound quality before focusing on convenience items like a control surface. If you choose to not go with the 003, the Mbox2 Pro would be a nice alternative. Pair that up with the Axiom or even a Euphonix MC Mix as your control surface, and you’ll be in good shape.

I’m glad you asked about a preamp, because a good pre can make a huge difference in the sound quality of your setup. The Avalon 737SP is a “channel strip,” which means it has a tube preamp, compressor, and EQ onboard. It’s a great unit. Sounds great on vocals and bass. Something like the Focusrite Liquid Channel may be worth considering, though, since it will give you emulations of dozens of different high-quality preamps in one box.

If you get a really nice preamp, then upgrading your microphone would be the next thing I would look at. The Mojave MA200 is an excellent choice for a good all-around tube microphone.

As far as your question about how much to spend? Generally speaking, if you can set aside $5,000, you can get a stellar Mbox-based system.

Hope that helps!

Thanks to everyone for your questions. If you have additional questions or suggestions, leave a comment!