Old 09-09-2021, 02:38 AM   #1
Jennifer
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Default Extracting audio from old Pro Tools projects

hi folks

I think someone here might know the answer to my current puzzle, which is about Pro Tools audio formats!

I have some old projects in Pro Tools 5.1.1 on an old G4 Mac, and I'm beginning to transfer those over to recreate in Reaper.

I realise that one method to retrieve the audio is simply to get Pro Tools to bounce it one track at a time, e.g. to WAV, and sometimes that's going to be the best way (e.g. if I had already edited together snippets from multiple takes).

But where it's a case of "here are a dozen raw takes, would be good to have them all available in the Reaper project even if I don't use them all in the end", it would be much quicker and more convenient just to be able to grab the original audio files.

These original audio files are visible in the file system on the old Mac. The file listing has columns for name, date modified, size and "Kind". Under "Kind", they're called "Pro Tools(R) LE Document".

In the old Pro Tools manual, I found a bit which says

==
Sound Designer II

This is the native format for Macintosh-based Pro Tools systems.
==

On the Reaper "About" page, here's the list of file formats it can accept: ACID, AIFF, AVI, BWF, CDDA, EDL, FLAC, KAR, MIDI, MOGG, MOV, MP3, MPEG, OGG VORBIS, OGG OPUS, QT, RADAR, REX2, SYX, W64, WAV, WAVPACK, WMV

So...

a) Would I be correct in guessing that when it says "Pro Tools(R) LE Document", it actually means they're in the "Sound Designer II" format? and that that isn't one of the ones Reaper can use? Or is there any chance they're already in one of the compatible formats even though it doesn't look like it?

b) If they're not already compatible, is there a simple way to convert their format to one of the ones Reaper can accept? Any recommended conversion software, pref not too expensive?

c) If so, and if I have the choice of multiple destination formats, which one would you pick? (I'm thinking probably WAV or AIFF for future compatibility in other contexts, but maybe I'm missing a better option)

Thanks for any advice!
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Old 09-09-2021, 04:33 AM   #2
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These files will certainly not be compatible as they are - There's this for an SD2 converter but it's Windows based. and 16 years since last update so who knows if you'll get it working on current WIndows!!

http://www.railjonrogut.com/sdTwoWav.htm
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Old 09-09-2021, 05:55 AM   #3
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I have this page bookmarked, hope it can help answer your questions.

https://www.pro-tools-expert.com/hom...signer-2-files
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Old 09-09-2021, 06:17 AM   #4
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If the files all start at the same point you can simply drag/drop them into a Reaper project. Convert them to wav or flac if you want to. (Can't remember if Reaper reads .sd2) SD2 is basically a WAV with a little bit different header.

If the files have bits that start in the middle of the song and you really need the Protools session to place the audio items in the correct edited spots, AATranslator is an app that will convert the project to Reaper and preserve audio item locations on the timeline. And also preserve track volume/pan envelopes. You're on your own for bringing back any old plugin settings and that kind of stuff. The last time I had opportunity to use AAT it (the last version I have) ran in OSX with Wine, FYI.
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Old 09-13-2021, 02:51 AM   #5
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If the OP wants to PM me we can see about giving some assistance
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Old 09-13-2021, 06:43 AM   #6
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Yeah I ran a large PT Mix Plus rig for many years with same old SDII files and back many years ago when I was on Cubase and not on Reaper yet maybe like 2007 or 2006 (Reaper wasn't around yet) I used that app Stella645 mentioned to move my files..

now cleaning stuff out of the studio I'm now and I found bunch of old Seagate SCSI drives I used in my Glyph sled chassis but have no way to read from SCSI now.
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Old 09-13-2021, 08:37 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by serr View Post
If the files all start at the same point you can simply drag/drop them into a Reaper project. Convert them to wav or flac if you want to. (Can't remember if Reaper reads .sd2) SD2 is basically a WAV with a little bit different header.

If the files have bits that start in the middle of the song and you really need the Protools session to place the audio items in the correct edited spots, AATranslator is an app that will convert the project to Reaper and preserve audio item locations on the timeline. And also preserve track volume/pan envelopes. You're on your own for bringing back any old plugin settings and that kind of stuff. The last time I had opportunity to use AAT it (the last version I have) ran in OSX with Wine, FYI.
I second the recommendation to try AATranslator.

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Originally Posted by Runaway View Post
If the OP wants to PM me we can see about giving some assistance
This is the creator of AATranslator. They are very helpful and really can help you on your way.

Ironically it's actually easier to unpack these sd2 5.x sessions now than it would have been back when we were still running 5.x Pro Tools.
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Old 09-18-2021, 01:40 PM   #8
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Thanks all! I've just been browsing the AATranslator site and it does look like a very useful thing, which would probably be considerably quicker for me than any other option, worth the money if I can get it working OK.

It wouldn't be a problem for me to install it on a Windows machine. The actual Pro Tools data is on a Mac, though. Would I just copy the whole lot onto a FAT-formatted stick in order to take it to the Win machine? I seem to think that in my recent reading, I saw a warning somewhere about Pro Tools audio files being multi-part and potentially losing bits when you copy them around, does that ring a bell with anyone? Or anything else to watch out for?

Also, is there any kind of manual or tutorial for using AAT I wonder? as it seems to have a fair number of tick-box variables to set when you're doing the conversion, & I'd like to be sure I understand what I'm choosing :-)

Tips for porting from Cubase to Reaper welcome too, although the Pro Tools stuff is more important at the moment. Can't remember off the top of my head which version of Cubase it was, can have a look if it makes a difference.

Thanks again for any more wise words :-)
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Old 09-18-2021, 02:29 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
Thanks all! I've just been browsing the AATranslator site and it does look like a very useful thing, which would probably be considerably quicker for me than any other option, worth the money if I can get it working OK.

It wouldn't be a problem for me to install it on a Windows machine. The actual Pro Tools data is on a Mac, though. Would I just copy the whole lot onto a FAT-formatted stick in order to take it to the Win machine? I seem to think that in my recent reading, I saw a warning somewhere about Pro Tools audio files being multi-part and potentially losing bits when you copy them around, does that ring a bell with anyone? Or anything else to watch out for?

Also, is there any kind of manual or tutorial for using AAT I wonder? as it seems to have a fair number of tick-box variables to set when you're doing the conversion, & I'd like to be sure I understand what I'm choosing :-)

Tips for porting from Cubase to Reaper welcome too, although the Pro Tools stuff is more important at the moment. Can't remember off the top of my head which version of Cubase it was, can have a look if it makes a difference.

Thanks again for any more wise words :-)

Follow up the offer in post #5.
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Old 09-18-2021, 04:27 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
Thanks all! I've just been browsing the AATranslator site and it does look like a very useful thing, which would probably be considerably quicker for me than any other option, worth the money if I can get it working OK.

It wouldn't be a problem for me to install it on a Windows machine. The actual Pro Tools data is on a Mac, though. Would I just copy the whole lot onto a FAT-formatted stick in order to take it to the Win machine? I seem to think that in my recent reading, I saw a warning somewhere about Pro Tools audio files being multi-part and potentially losing bits when you copy them around, does that ring a bell with anyone? Or anything else to watch out for?

Also, is there any kind of manual or tutorial for using AAT I wonder? as it seems to have a fair number of tick-box variables to set when you're doing the conversion, & I'd like to be sure I understand what I'm choosing :-)

Tips for porting from Cubase to Reaper welcome too, although the Pro Tools stuff is more important at the moment. Can't remember off the top of my head which version of Cubase it was, can have a look if it makes a difference.

Thanks again for any more wise words :-)
Yes you can copy the media to a PC and you will be fine.
Best thing would be to DropBox or WeTransfer the session and media to me (I have sent you me email address) and I will do the conversion.
Yes there are lots of options but the defaults are usually the best.
AATranslator comes with lots of doco.
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Old 09-27-2021, 01:28 PM   #11
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Default File suffix mysteries

Update for those following along - I have bought AAT. Thanks to those who recommended it, and Runaway for the advice :-)

My next question is about file suffixes, in the context of Pro Tools files & AAT.

On the Mac (where they were originally created), none of my Pro Tools files seems to have a suffix. However, the Mac knows what they are anyway. The icons are correct: session files are shown with the little yellow-edged Pro Tools logo, audio files are shown with a little pic of two wave-forms, one red and one blue. Also, with any of them, if I right-click and ask the Mac "Get info", it reports "Kind: Pro Tools® LE Document".

Over on the other computer, Win 10 evidently doesn't know what the files are - it just knows they're files.

What I brought over to the Windows machine today as a trial was one directory, containing
- one Pro Tools session file
- alongside that, a subdirectory called Audio, containing all the audio files for that session.

At first, AAT couldn't find the session file, even when I explicitly told it where to look. Aha, I thought, that's probably because the filename doesn't have a suffix.

I renamed the session file to add .pt5 as the suffix.

.pt5 was actually a guess, in that the AAT page listing all the possible formats (https://www.aatranslator.com.au) said .pts is also a type of Pro Tools v5 file, and I'm not sure what the difference is. But, anyway, it seemed to work: AAT then found it and offered to convert it.

However! AAT still hadn't found the audio.

I went ahead anyway just to see what happened. It's produced a Reaper file with the right name, which opens, but (unsurprisingly in view of what AAT had reported along the way) is empty - it hasn't brought any audio along.


Questions - probably mostly for Runaway, but I thought I'd ask them here, and then they're out in the world for the next person running into the same thing :-)

a) When I renamed the file to have a suffix, is that what enabled AAT to find it, or was that coincidence?

b) Supposing that was the right thing in principle, is .pt5 definitely the right suffix, or is there a possibility that it's really .pts and I should've put that instead?

c) Should I be adding suffixes to the audio files as well? Or would that actually be a bad idea because the original session knows them by their un-suffixed name?

d) If yes, what should the suffix be for those? I think (as discussed above) that they must be SDII, so, .sd2? Or is there any chance they're actually something else?

e) Should AAT be finding the audio files via relative addressing, as long as they're in the same relationship to the session file as they originally were? (which they currently are)

Thanks for any more guidance :-)
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Old 09-27-2021, 07:44 PM   #12
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Do you have access to a working version of Pro Tools? If so then you could open and resave the .pt5 sessions to something newer and in the process convert the audio to something that is not sound designer 2 (WAV or AIFF). You do this by opening the session and then selecting File/Save Copy In. Under this menu you can save a new session with all the audio converted to the file type of your choice.

AAT supports pretty much any session version you create from there.
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Old 09-27-2021, 09:12 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
Update for those following along - I have bought AAT. Thanks to those who recommended it, and Runaway for the advice :-)

My next question is about file suffixes, in the context of Pro Tools files & AAT.

On the Mac (where they were originally created), none of my Pro Tools files seems to have a suffix. However, the Mac knows what they are anyway. The icons are correct: session files are shown with the little yellow-edged Pro Tools logo, audio files are shown with a little pic of two wave-forms, one red and one blue. Also, with any of them, if I right-click and ask the Mac "Get info", it reports "Kind: Pro Tools® LE Document".

Over on the other computer, Win 10 evidently doesn't know what the files are - it just knows they're files.

What I brought over to the Windows machine today as a trial was one directory, containing
- one Pro Tools session file
- alongside that, a subdirectory called Audio, containing all the audio files for that session.

At first, AAT couldn't find the session file, even when I explicitly told it where to look. Aha, I thought, that's probably because the filename doesn't have a suffix.

I renamed the session file to add .pt5 as the suffix.

.pt5 was actually a guess, in that the AAT page listing all the possible formats (https://www.aatranslator.com.au) said .pts is also a type of Pro Tools v5 file, and I'm not sure what the difference is. But, anyway, it seemed to work: AAT then found it and offered to convert it.

However! AAT still hadn't found the audio.

I went ahead anyway just to see what happened. It's produced a Reaper file with the right name, which opens, but (unsurprisingly in view of what AAT had reported along the way) is empty - it hasn't brought any audio along.


Questions - probably mostly for Runaway, but I thought I'd ask them here, and then they're out in the world for the next person running into the same thing :-)

a) When I renamed the file to have a suffix, is that what enabled AAT to find it, or was that coincidence?

b) Supposing that was the right thing in principle, is .pt5 definitely the right suffix, or is there a possibility that it's really .pts and I should've put that instead?

c) Should I be adding suffixes to the audio files as well? Or would that actually be a bad idea because the original session knows them by their un-suffixed name?

d) If yes, what should the suffix be for those? I think (as discussed above) that they must be SDII, so, .sd2? Or is there any chance they're actually something else?

e) Should AAT be finding the audio files via relative addressing, as long as they're in the same relationship to the session file as they originally were? (which they currently are)

Thanks for any more guidance :-)

I've been using AAT to transfer some old Pro Tools Free sessions (remember that version?) . I ended up getting an old iMac that could run OS9 and installed PT Free.

I copy the project and Audio Files folder to a thumbdrive. When I open it in Windows 10, I have to show hidden folders, go to the Resource Fork folder and rename THAT file with the PT5 extension.

Next step is adding ".SD2" to all the audio files.

Then it's as simple as pointing AAT to the PT5 file, telling it where the SD2 files reside, and where to save the Reaper project and WAV files that were converted from SD2.
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Old 09-27-2021, 09:46 PM   #14
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I copy the project and Audio Files folder to a thumbdrive. When I open it in Windows 10, I have to show hidden folders, go to the Resource Fork folder and rename THAT file with the PT5 extension.

Next step is adding ".SD2" to all the audio files.

Then it's as simple as pointing AAT to the PT5 file, telling it where the SD2 files reside, and where to save the Reaper project and WAV files that were converted from SD2.
I did not know we could see those resource fork folders on Windows 10. You learn something new every day if you're lucky.

Thanks citizenkeith.
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Old 09-28-2021, 08:16 AM   #15
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Progress!

It turned out the two things I needed to do were:

a) rename all the audio files to have .sd2 suffixes (thanks citizenkeith for verifying that)

b) rename the session file to .pts. Yes, the guess of .pt5 was wrong after all! even though AAT had managed to do something on that basis!

In the output, all the audio is alongside the session file, so AAT hadn't kept the directory structure - but it didn't mind it. And it didn't seem to mind me not renaming the Resource Fork.

Now I have the whole thing running in Reaper, which is extremely pleasing :-)

=

Next puzzle is, the playback isn't quite right yet.

In a way, it kind of doesn't really matter on this one, because it wasn't a finished project and I was going to do some more editing anyway, so having all the original audio available in Reaper is the main thing. AAT would still be worth the money even if some details don't transfer perfectly (as I have a ton of old projects to bring over, and even this much automation will save me a lot of time). And I know there are limits to AAT which might not be solvable, due to incompatibility between all the different standards it has to deal with. But I do plan to puzzle over it some more and see if I can figure out a way to have more of the details come over the same.

What I've noticed so far:

- The takes which run straight through in one go seem fine.

- Where I had used pieces of various different takes to put together a composite vocal, some of those snippets are coming out correctly, and some not.

Initial theory, I think what might be happening is something along the lines of: Reaper is calling the correct audio file, but Pro Tools also knew which bit of that file was meant to be appearing in that item. Like, Pro Tools knew an amount of time to offset from the start of the audio file, and Reaper doesn't know that so it's just playing the snippet from the top of the raw audio. (Though that wouldn't explain why some of them are OK!)

I'll have to do a more careful A/B comparison between the Reaper version and the ProTools one before I can formulate a better theory on what exactly the discrepancy is.

If that sort of thing rings any bells with anyone, I'm interested :-)
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Old 09-28-2021, 08:23 AM   #16
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I have a faint memory of the scenario where the file extension was erased from the name but I can't remember the cause. I have a very clear memory of the issue where Protools would corrupt it's proprietary file ID that it stored in the resource fork of the file. When that happened you couldn't even point Protools to the file by name when it was right the f' there. Nope! Needed the unique ID (that it likes to corrupt). We don't do file names!

Right, so it turns out that AAT can successfully restore a Protools project in Reaper that even Protools itself has no ability to ever open again. So this app would be useful to Protools-only users for session recovery.

The other Protools trick it liked to do was to corrupt the audio file itself by dropping a single byte. That would put the audio data out of sync. A single 24 bit sample is 3 bytes. You see where that's going. You'd have to insert a byte into the file with a hex editor to recover if you didn't have a backup. (Like if you just recorded it and didn't get to make a backup before another Protools crash.)

Reaper was sure a lot of happiness and light after all that! Protools may have been first but they sure crashed and burned when computers came up to speed and native processing took over.
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Old 09-28-2021, 09:13 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
Initial theory, I think what might be happening is something along the lines of: Reaper is calling the correct audio file, but Pro Tools also knew which bit of that file was meant to be appearing in that item. Like, Pro Tools knew an amount of time to offset from the start of the audio file, and Reaper doesn't know that so it's just playing the snippet from the top of the raw audio. (Though that wouldn't explain why some of them are OK!)

I'll have to do a more careful A/B comparison between the Reaper version and the ProTools one before I can formulate a better theory on what exactly the discrepancy is.

If that sort of thing rings any bells with anyone, I'm interested :-)
That theory sounds plausible. Non-destructive editing in Reaper works the same way, when you split a file the file on disk is not really affected but Reaper keeps track of which part of the file to play in what item. I guess PT does the same thing, and then this information is stored in the *.pts file (just like Reaper stores its info in the *.rpp).

As for why some snippets play as expected while others do not, maybe this is AAT not handling all cases of PT non-destructive editing when translating to Reaper format?
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Old 09-28-2021, 09:59 AM   #18
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The Protools sessions I've converted over placed the item fragments in the proper places. I'm going to suggest that the files not being properly placed had some corruption of the time stamp. (Because of course I'm going to suggest the root cause was PT corrupting a file!)

Past me wishes future me would have been there to slap some sense into me and have me render stems back then!
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Old 09-29-2021, 05:57 AM   #19
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What I've noticed so far:

- The takes which run straight through in one go seem fine.

- Where I had used pieces of various different takes to put together a composite vocal, some of those snippets are coming out correctly, and some not.

I experience the same thing with Pro Tools Free projects. Something is going on with older sessions, I just don't know what!

Quote:
Originally Posted by serr View Post
I'm going to suggest that the files not being properly placed had some corruption of the time stamp.
I don't think so, unless I have a hard drive full of corrupt PT files that play fine on PT, but don't quite translate to Reaper with AAT.
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Old 09-29-2021, 09:09 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
a) When I renamed the file to have a suffix, is that what enabled AAT to find it, or was that coincidence?
Yes it is

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
b) Supposing that was the right thing in principle, is .pt5 definitely the right suffix, or is there a possibility that it's really .pts and I should've put that instead?
Hard to know without knowing exactly which version of PT it came from.
If PT v5 then it will probably be PT5 but if PT v6 it will be PTS

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
c) Should I be adding suffixes to the audio files as well? Or would that actually be a bad idea because the original session knows them by their un-suffixed name?
I would try without the suffixes - it really depends on what is in the PT session file - easiest thing would be to send me the session then I can advise better

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
d) If yes, what should the suffix be for those? I think (as discussed above) that they must be SDII, so, .sd2? Or is there any chance they're actually something else?
Probably SDII or SD2

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
e) Should AAT be finding the audio files via relative addressing, as long as they're in the same relationship to the session file as they originally were? (which they currently are)
Possibly but if it came from a Mac then probably not.
Easiest thing is to create a subfolder below the session file called 'audio files' and place the media there

I can better advise if I can see the session otherwise it is all ifs, buts and maybes ;-)
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Old 09-29-2021, 09:19 AM   #21
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To answer most replies in one go - it is much easier to advise and assist if I can see the session in question.
While I've seen most versions of PT there are still releases that I have not had an example of and sometimes PT changed something minor in these old versions and we don't know about it.
It could be something between say PT v6.4.3 and PT v6.4.4 and then they go and change it back again in PT v6.4.6
So especially with these really old versions unless it is brought to my attention we don't know about it.
That is not to say it gets fixed but we certainly can't do anything about it if we don't know about it ;-)
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Old 10-02-2021, 10:53 AM   #22
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OK so I've taken up Runaway's offer to look at a Pro Tools session!

Updates in the meantime:

I did another round of experimenting.

Correction from up-thread: I didn't need to add the suffixes to the audio files. That was an illusion caused by sequence of experimenting. This time round, I made the session file suffix be .pts before trying a transform, and AAT was able to recognise all the audio files as .sd2 without me telling it.

(On the first experiment, I'd added audio file suffixes before realising I had the wrong suffix on the session file. Probably if I'd done that the other way round, it would've worked - although AAT didn't mind that I'd added the suffixes.)

On opening this second translated file in Reaper, similar results as before: the audio is there, but not necessarily in the right place.

I still haven't done a really careful A/B comparison of the Pro Tools original versus the Reaper translation, but just from a bit of looking around and listening-back, I don't think it is only that it's calling the wrong subsection of the original audio file (my first thought, see up-thread). There are also some "items" which start in somewhat wrong places - though I think all roughly in the right place / right sequence, just displaced a little bit.

And a weird thing which the first experimental transfer didn't have but the second one did: the muting of the tracks is linked, so that I can't unmute just a couple of tracks. I think the behaviour was, it would let me unmute one, but then if I tried to unmute another, all the rest would come with it. I suspect this is probably an accidental activation of a Reaper setting which I'm not familiar with - some kind of grouping.

Thanks to Runaway for taking a look!
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Old 10-06-2021, 07:49 AM   #23
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Pretty sure everything is sorted out now - it looks like a corrupted installation of AAT
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