How to get my old Pro Tools Mac projects to work with my new Pro Tools for PC?
April 21, 2009 11:26 AM   Subscribe

Pro Tools Mac to Pro Tools PC. How can I successfully transfer Pro Tools LE 5.1.1 sessions kept on Lacie Pocket HDs like this, formatted for use with old Macs (OS 9.2) for use with my Pro Tools Mbox2 Micro (which I think is running LE 7.4) on my laptop PC (Windows XP)?

I've looked at the digidesign pages but I'm not very technical at all, and I don't even know where to start. I suspect that the hard drives with FireWire are formatted to work with Macs not PCs (I've heard something called FAT 32 mentioned?).

I'd be equally happy if people could point me to where I could find someone who I could pay to do it for me, so long as it wasn't fiendishly expensive. I'm in Edinburgh Scotland, but also I'm often in London. What might really help is being able to find a Pro Tools specialist who could advise me on the best way forward, as the organisation I work for has developed an IT policy which is hostile to Pro Tools but I need to keep my archive projects viable and accessible and want to keep editing on it at home for some projects where it is the best answer. Thanks!
posted by Flitcraft to Technology (7 answers total)
Not sure if this is exactly the info you're looking for, but: I regularly send Pro Tools sessions back and forth with a couple of different studios, each of which is running a different Pro Tools version than I am. I run an MBox2 setup on a Mac Mini, and the ones I send sessions back and forth with run on a Mac and a PC, and both are huge HD systems.

I have never had trouble getting the HD sessions to run on my LE system, nor have they had any problems. Once or twice, the HD sessions will bog down my system (there are warning boxes to click off when you first open the sessions). So, as a matter of course, my practice is to open the session, then immediately "save a copy" of the entire session on my hard drive, making sure to check the boxes to copy all session data, all audio files, etc. Then I use the saved copy rather than the original file that my collaborators sent over.

Saving a copy of the session seems to always do the trick. I also regularly back up sessions by saving a copy onto a USB (non-firewire) hard drive that is usually hooked up to my PC, just by unplugging it from the PC and plugging it into the Mac for the backup. Never had any problems doing that.

So, unless there's some technicality that I'm not aware of that would prevent this, my recommendation is to: Have a USB hard drive that you know will work with both your Mac and your PC, plug it into your mac, save all sessions as copies, making sure you check all the boxes to include all session data, audio, etc., and then plug that into the PC. You should be good to go. (Unless I'm missing something - IANAPTTSP - I am not a pro tools technical support professional).
posted by The World Famous at 11:53 AM on April 21, 2009

I don't use Pro Tools on PC but I can at least answer part of your question. Personally, I would take the LE 5.1.1 sessions to a place where the have a newer OS X version of PT LE running (7 or 8). Open the session there and save it in the newer OS X format. There used to be a checkbox that says insure Mac/PC compatibility, I believe it is automatic after PT 6.9 or so.
Copy the session to a jump drive that is formatted fat32 and move to your PC.

Option 2-
Download MACDRIVE and your PC will read mac volumes flawlessly.

Good luck,
Let me know how you make out and if I can help further.
posted by Studiogeek at 12:00 PM on April 21, 2009

Also, on original sessions, make sure you bounce tracks with plugins or RTAS instruments on them down to audio unless you have the same plug-ins on your PC system (doubtful 8-10 years later).
posted by Studiogeek at 12:11 PM on April 21, 2009

Your issue isn't so much ProTools, it's just Mac vs PC. Macdrive does work really well, but I'd also recommend you start backing up to DVD or some other form of universal media so you won't have any compatibility issues in the future.

I dream of a day where OS and harddrive formats no longer conflict.
posted by toekneebullard at 1:18 PM on April 21, 2009

Thanks StUdIoGeEk! I like the sound of Macdrive, so I'm going to run that past my more technically-minded other half and see if he'll help me with it. It'll be about a week before he can come up, and we'll have a crack at making it all work then.

Myself and one of the engineers tried something very like your suggestion, The World Famous, but for some reason it didn't work, perhaps because we're running such an old version on old Macs. Many thanks though, and I'll let you know how it goes!
posted by Flitcraft at 7:39 PM on April 21, 2009

It turned out that the key to this was saving things on a FAT 32 drive and if I converted the audio files to Aiff format (rather than Wav or SDII) in 'save session as' then I could transfer sessions back and forward between Mac and PC, enforcing compatibility. I don't know why that last bit worked but it did. Many thanks!
posted by Flitcraft at 5:18 PM on August 1, 2009

Sorry that would be 'save a copy', as The World Famous was saying.
posted by Flitcraft at 5:21 PM on August 1, 2009

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