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Pro Tools: Using Avid Channel Strip

Avid Pro Tools Tips & Techniques By Julian Rodgers
Published February 2023

The transfer curve in the dynamics section differs from the 45‑degree line of most compressor plug‑ins, but it shows the same information, and lets you adjust the threshold and ratio simply by dragging at different points on the line.The transfer curve in the dynamics section differs from the 45‑degree line of most compressor plug‑ins, but it shows the same information, and lets you adjust the threshold and ratio simply by dragging at different points on the line.

We take a tour of Avid’s surprisingly deep Channel Strip plug‑in.

Pro Tools Intro has broadened the potential appeal of Pro Tools to a whole new audience. Its predecessor Pro Tools First was free, but despite this, it struggled to get traction with the new users it was designed to engage. Fundamentally, this was because it came with too many limitations to its core functionality. Less restrictive options were available to the new user, so many went with other choices.

The feature set of Intro is just about right, given that you can’t expect Avid to create a free offering which is too close to the accessibly priced Pro Tools Artist. However, when looking at the bundle of plug‑ins it ships with, I can’t help thinking that with all of the effort which is being made to make third‑party plug‑ins easier and quicker to use, one important plug‑in in particular isn’t the friendliest of propositions for novices. And if you want to use Pro Tools Intro to its fullest potential, this plug‑in is too important to pass over. I’m talking about the Avid Channel Strip.

AAX To Grind

Pro Tools Intro ships with what looks like a fairly generous selection of AAX plug‑ins. Ignoring the utility plug‑ins like Trim, Time Adjuster and Click II, and some of the creative effects like SansAmp, Mod Delay and Pitch II, what we’re left with is EQ and dynamics processors, many of which duplicate parts of the Avid Channel Strip. However, while I have no issue with the venerable EQ III, I wouldn’t really recommend the Dynamics III compressor/limiter, especially to a new user. It’s rather prone to distortion and as such is rather unforgiving. There is the BF76, but again I’d never recommend an 1176 plug‑in to someone with little experience. Fixed threshold and backwards attack and release controls are all fine once you know, but I wouldn’t think of it as anyone’s ideal first compressor.

The Avid Channel Strip is derived from a Euphonix design, and in terms of facilities and sound, is truly excellent. But I have to say, it’s not friendly to the new user. It has a busy UI with some design features that are easy to miss and others that are easy to misunderstand. Considering you’re likely to be spending a lot of time in this plug‑in, it’s worth getting to know well. Here are some tips to help you...

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