Review Feedback: PT 12's Track Commit

After the original review of PT 12 and Track Commit ran, I received a letter from multiple Grammy-winning engineer Joe Chiccarelli. Here, he shared his thoughts on Track Commit and such time-saving digital recording tools in general.
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In the May 2016 installment of my regular Pro Audio Review column in Pro Sound News, I discussed one of my favorite new features of Pro Tools 12, Track Commit. Basically, Track Commit allows its users to free up resources on tracks by ‘printing’ them offline, which has had even more benefits than I thought when first using it. Looking back even one version of Pro Tools (v11), to “commit” a track was a multistep process involving bouncing a file to disk (rendering) and re-importing.

As a composer, doing so was essential for several reasons. I would often print MIDI tracks so I would not bog down my processor, especially with any of the orchestral libraries I use. It was a hassle of a process, and definitely took up more of my life than I’d like to admit. The other reason was so I could hand tracks off to people who may not have the same software instruments and/or plug-ins.

Now, to commit a track, simply select a track (or as many as you like) and either choose Commit from the Track dropdown menu, or right clicking on the Track Name and doing the same. At that point, the dialog box appears, allowing options for customizing the feature.

After the original review of PT 12 and Track Commit ran, I received a letter from multiple Grammy-winning engineer Joe Chiccarelli. Here, he shared his thoughts on Track Commit and such timesaving digital recording tools in general.

Rich,

I trust you are well. I just thought I would reach out to you. I saw your article about the new Track Commit feature in PT 12. So far I am loving PT 12 and all its new features. However, I must say there are subtle audio differences in sound when a user “Commits” versus “Freezes” versus uses Live Plug-Ins versus Bouncing Via Bus.

As you may know I am always a bit skeptical about any new digital feature. I have not used Bounce To Disk in some time because of its detrimental effects on the audio track. I do not use the Consolidate feature because of the way it dithers a track.

In the past if ever I had a track with lots of plug-ins that were eating up too much DSP or an special effect that needed to be printed because of its unique quality, I would bus it to a new track with the effects printed. I would then have to shift it several samples back in time due to the bus delay. In using the Track Commit feature, I find there is a subtle difference in the audio quality. It is in the ears of the individual engineer to determine how much this difference bothers him compared to the sound of the live plug-in. I agree with you. There are so many times that several plug-ins on a track will eat up way too much DSP, at that time this feature is a life saver.

My suggestion to you is to never trust any digital system. Just because it can perform a task it does not mean it can perform a task without any negative effects on the audio. I would simply suggest that before anyone Commits to any task in digital they should take a serious listen before pushing any button.

I guess this all just means I can still hear above 15 kHz!

All the Best,

Joe Chiccarelli