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Working with Xpand2

From: Pro Tools 8 Essential Training

Video: Working with Xpand2

Xpand 2 is a virtual workstation synthesizer that has almost everything you need to make about any kind of music. It's got multi-sampled instruments. It also employs various types of synthesis. Xpand 2 is multi-timbral, has up to four parts per patch or four individual MIDI channels, all with separate mix, arpeggiator, modulation and effects controls. In other words, this thing is powerful. Let's look at the interface. First off, we can check out all the patches. This thing has over 2300 patches broken down into 29 separate categories. At the top of the window we have the Smart Knobs. Smart Knobs are preassigned to the important parameters of a patch and they map to your MIDI controller so you can control these parameters easily.

Working with Xpand2

Xpand 2 is a virtual workstation synthesizer that has almost everything you need to make about any kind of music. It's got multi-sampled instruments. It also employs various types of synthesis. Xpand 2 is multi-timbral, has up to four parts per patch or four individual MIDI channels, all with separate mix, arpeggiator, modulation and effects controls. In other words, this thing is powerful. Let's look at the interface. First off, we can check out all the patches. This thing has over 2300 patches broken down into 29 separate categories. At the top of the window we have the Smart Knobs. Smart Knobs are preassigned to the important parameters of a patch and they map to your MIDI controller so you can control these parameters easily.

On the left side, we have A-D and the Easy button. The Easy button applies these same parameters to all of the parts that are listed down here and we have four different patches or parts listed down here. However, if we want to work on the controls for specific part A-D, then click A-D up here in the Smart Knobs and you'll get controls that line up better with their parameters. As you can see as I scroll through here, the parameters change depending on what the patch is down here.

To the right of the Smart Knobs is the Smart Display. This display shows information about the selected patch or part. To the right of the Smart Display is the Master Level control, which controls the overall output of Xpand. Let's dig into the Part controls. First we have the On/Off switch for this part and you can see that it's shown down here when we click on a button. So, I'm going to turn this back on and I'm going to select that part, and you'll see that it switches up here in the Smart Knobs as well and the info about this particular patch is there too. Here we have the MIDI channel, we can click on this and change it from 1-4. We'll keep it on 1. We have the category of the part and the actual part name.

To the right of that we have the Level, which we can control by just clicking-and-dragging. We have the Panning and we have FX levels. Turn these up and this sound will be routed down here to this effect, which is a Hall Reverb. All parts share the same parameters here. We can control each one separately. On the right side, we have Patch Edit parameter switches. We've got the Play or the main parameters. We've got the Arpeggiator parameters and the Modulation parameters. Let's check out the play parameters.

First we have the TR/Fine. That's transpose or fine-tuning and that will change the pitch transposing it or finally tuning it just a little bit, in sense, as you can see down here. The HI/LO Key sets the instrument range. Now, it's set to the entire keyboard, but we could use this to split the keyboard and assign certain ranges for each part. So, I could set this instrument to play in the bottom half of the keyboard and then this one to play at the top half if I wanted to.

In the Voice Mode, we can choose between Mono and Polyphonic, and if we choose Polyphonic, we can choose the number of nodes that we can play at one time. Finally, we've got the Pitch-Bend Range and this is how many semi-tones the pitch can be bent up or down. So we can actually go to 12 if we want, and let's have a listen to that. (Music playing.) Let's check out the Modulation parameters. First, we've got the shape of the modulation. In this case, we can choose a Saw waveform, a Square wave, whatever we want, Sines. We also can choose the destination of the modulation, so we can change the part's pitch, we can adjust the waveform in various ways, we can adjust the filter cut off, the volume and the panning. The Rate is the speed of the modulation wheels, modulation, and we can adjust that by clicking-and-dragging. The Depth is how much of the signal is affected by the modulation. We can also work with Aftertouch or Pressure in this section, but I'm not going to go into that here.

Finally, we have the Arpeggiator parameters, and this is one of my favorite things. I love Arpeggiators! An Arpeggiator triggers notes played in rhythmic patterns. Now some parts like Action Pads or multi-track arpeggiators that we can choose here, like here is the Action Pads, those will have arpeggiators already on. But if you don't have it already on, then you just need to click this button and turn on the arpeggiator. The Latch key allows you to play the arpeggiator after letting go off the key until playback is stopped or another node is played. Let's actually listen to this part with the arpeggiator on. (Music playing.) If I hit the Latch key, I can just hit the keys once and it will continue to play on until I stop it. (Music playing.) Note that a sustain pedal can act as a temporary latch switch that will override what's set here. And that can be very helpful for a hands-off control.

If we go over here to the Mode, we can choose which Arp pattern that we want, and there is a lot of different ones. You can see, we can choose the Disco Bass. Let's hear what that sounds like. (Music playing.) The Rate refers to the note value. If we choose 1, that's a whole note. 16 is 16th notes, and if we choose anything with a T on it, that's for triplets. Finally, let's talk about the FX. We have two FX available to us and we turn them on or off using these switches. If you click on the name of the effect, you can see all the various FX that have at our disposal. There are tons of them. Use these parameters to change the sound of the effect.

Over here, we have an interesting knob. This is where we can send a percentage of the FX 2 back into FX 1. We can use this to create special effects like sending a delayed signal into a reverb for an even more spacey sound. Xpand 2 is an incredibly powerful instrument. I've created entire pieces of music for all sorts of clients simply using this one instrument. I'm sure you're going to love using Xpand 2.

Show transcript

This video is part of

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Pro Tools 8 Essential Training

120 video lessons · 10805 viewers

David Franz
Author

 
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  1. 12m 54s
    1. Welcome
      1m 16s
    2. Exploring the different versions of Pro Tools
      2m 30s
    3. Optimizing your computer before installing Pro Tools
      3m 51s
    4. Troubleshooting
      3m 1s
    5. Using the exercise files
      2m 16s
  2. 23m 41s
    1. Connecting your Pro Tools system
      5m 8s
    2. Powering up and powering down
      58s
    3. Optimizing Pro Tools performance
      6m 55s
    4. Setting essential preferences
      3m 42s
    5. Creating a Pro Tools session
      3m 56s
    6. Identifying elements in a session folder
      3m 2s
  3. 47m 9s
    1. Exploring the Edit window
      4m 50s
    2. Exploring the Mix window
      2m 21s
    3. Exploring the Transport and Big Counter windows
      4m 0s
    4. Using the Color palette and window arrangements
      2m 55s
    5. Investigating Pro Tools menus
      4m 37s
    6. Creating new tracks
      4m 10s
    7. Understanding samples and ticks
      3m 36s
    8. Viewing and manipulating tracks
      5m 54s
    9. Adjusting the I/O setup
      7m 7s
    10. Understanding signal paths and gain stages
      3m 50s
    11. Utilizing keyboard shortcuts and keyboard focus
      3m 49s
  4. 30m 43s
    1. Using DigiBase and the Workspace browser
      5m 6s
    2. Importing audio
      5m 13s
    3. Importing MIDI
      3m 55s
    4. Importing session data
      6m 17s
    5. Importing tracks from a CD
      4m 18s
    6. Importing video
      2m 57s
    7. Unmounting a hard drive
      2m 57s
  5. 1h 2m
    1. Recording audio
      5m 6s
    2. Playing back audio
      10m 31s
    3. Creating a Click track
      4m 53s
    4. Overdubbing and using the record modes
      9m 25s
    5. Recording with playlists and the Loop Record mode
      3m 6s
    6. Punch recording and using the monitoring modes
      5m 28s
    7. Dealing with latency
      4m 17s
    8. Creating a group
      4m 33s
    9. Adding effects while recording
      7m 41s
    10. Creating a headphone (cue) mix
      5m 34s
    11. Assigning disk allocation
      2m 13s
  6. 1h 26m
    1. Understanding nondestructive editing and region types
      3m 31s
    2. Using the Selector and Grabber tools
      3m 29s
    3. Using the Trimmer and Scrubber tools
      6m 57s
    4. Using the Zoomer tool and Zoom presets
      5m 14s
    5. Using the Pencil tool
      3m 27s
    6. Using the Smart tool
      1m 26s
    7. Understanding the edit modes
      7m 54s
    8. Arranging regions
      8m 38s
    9. Undoing an edit
      2m 3s
    10. Utilizing fades and crossfades
      10m 29s
    11. Building a comp track using playlists
      5m 28s
    12. Locking and muting regions
      3m 36s
    13. Special buttons in the Editing window
      8m 16s
    14. Creating an audio loop
      5m 11s
    15. Editing a voiceover
      10m 59s
  7. 18m 43s
    1. Working with region groups
      5m 47s
    2. Setting time, tempo, meter, key, and chord
      5m 46s
    3. Creating memory locations
      7m 10s
  8. 35m 30s
    1. Setting up MIDI on a Mac
      4m 25s
    2. Setting up MIDI on a PC
      2m 50s
    3. Setting up MIDI in Pro Tools
      2m 46s
    4. Recording MIDI data
      5m 24s
    5. Recording multiple MIDI tracks with one virtual instrument
      2m 15s
    6. Recording options for MIDI
      6m 27s
    7. Using step input
      4m 45s
    8. Making a drum loop with MIDI Merge
      2m 51s
    9. Composing with virtual instruments
      3m 47s
  9. 48m 41s
    1. Using the edit tools for editing MIDI data
      8m 23s
    2. Editing MIDI data with the MIDI Editor
      7m 20s
    3. Working with the MIDI event list
      2m 41s
    4. Editing MIDI data with event operations
      8m 25s
    5. Quantizing MIDI tracks
      11m 31s
    6. Creating and using groove templates
      5m 59s
    7. Utilizing real-time properties
      4m 22s
  10. 18m 51s
    1. Exploring the Score Editor
      5m 22s
    2. Using the Score Editor
      6m 33s
    3. Setting up a score
      4m 30s
    4. Printing and exporting a score
      2m 26s
  11. 19m 0s
    1. Utilizing the Time Shift plug-in
      7m 41s
    2. Editing with Elastic Time
      8m 30s
    3. Editing with Elastic Pitch
      2m 49s
  12. 48m 20s
    1. Working with Boom
      11m 23s
    2. Working with Xpand2
      7m 21s
    3. Working with DB-33
      6m 58s
    4. Working with Vacuum
      7m 55s
    5. Working with Structure Free
      7m 12s
    6. Working with Mini Grand
      3m 57s
    7. Using Midi Learn
      3m 34s
  13. 25m 55s
    1. Writing and editing automation
      6m 4s
    2. Drawing automation with the Pencil tool
      4m 56s
    3. Editing automation with the Trimmer and Grabber tools
      2m 9s
    4. Cutting, copying, pasting, and clearing automation
      4m 5s
    5. Turning automation on and off
      4m 25s
    6. Automating plug-ins and virtual instruments
      4m 16s
  14. 1h 40m
    1. Setting up a session for mixing
      8m 0s
    2. Setting up an effects loop
      9m 18s
    3. Working with plug-ins
      3m 53s
    4. Dealing with delay compensation
      6m 51s
    5. Applying EQ
      9m 19s
    6. Adding compression
      11m 17s
    7. Applying limiters
      2m 57s
    8. Using Gates and Expanders
      4m 40s
    9. Working with Side Chains
      3m 35s
    10. Working with De-Essers
      3m 4s
    11. Adding delay
      7m 34s
    12. Utilizing modulation effects
      4m 43s
    13. Adding reverb
      7m 5s
    14. Adding harmonic effects
      5m 7s
    15. Renting and purchasing plug-ins
      2m 2s
    16. Applying AudioSuite plug-ins
      5m 19s
    17. Bouncing down a mix
      5m 50s
  15. 25m 44s
    1. Setting up a session for mastering
      8m 56s
    2. Using plug-ins for mastering
      8m 47s
    3. Applying Dither and Noise shaping
      4m 5s
    4. Bouncing down master recordings
      3m 56s
  16. 19m 52s
    1. Importing and displaying video files
      4m 20s
    2. Adding music, foley, ADR, and FX
      12m 28s
    3. Bouncing down video and audio together
      3m 4s
  17. 4m 50s
    1. Archiving an entire session
      4m 50s
  18. 31s
    1. Goodbye
      31s

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