Community Member Steve Thompson wrote to us and told us about his workflow for moving entire Pro Tools sessions to other DAWs, we asked him to share it with the community.
The Problem Of Sharing In Pro Tools
Pro Tools 11 offers a great deal of new features but Avid seemed to have overlooked the ability to export your tracks as separate files in one action.
For most Pro Tools users this is not a problem as Pro Tools is usually the only place our audio is going to live.
However, for some users, especially those of use who collaborate with users of other DAWs, being able to fully export all the tracks in a session in one simple action, both audio and instrument tracks complete with effects, is a very useful feature.
Moving Tracks Between Pro Tools And Other DAWs
Anybody who has sent files from Logic Pro to Pro Tools can use it’s “All Tracks As Audio Files” (shift+command+e) option to export each track separately all at once. This feature also comes in handy in a number of other applications such as setting up stems for a live show.
If you need to do the same thing in reverse, from Pro Tools to Logic, you’ll be met with some resistance. You could try to export the files as OMF but your instrument tracks will not export and your effects won’t print. You could also solo each track and Bounce To Disk but that can get a bit tedious with a session that has more than 1 track. Since I often find myself needing to send stems to collaborators, but could never see myself working in Logic full time, I set out to devise a method by which I could export all of my tracks, quickly, both with and without the effects. You will need to do some setting up the first time but you will gain your time and energy back manyfold once you’ve taken care of things.
My Workflow For Exporting My Pro Tools Tracks
Starting with a blank Pro Tools HD session, head to your I/O settings. Open up the ‘Bus’ tab. Select all of the busses (except for those that are mapped to physical outputs) and press ‘Delete Paths’. Now press the ‘New Path…’ button. A New Path window will pop up. There are many possible configurations for this but for the sake of the exercise I suggest entering the settings found here.
Once again press ‘New Path’ and use the same settings but change the ‘path’ name to “Stem”.
At this point, feel free to rename any of the busses that do not begin with the word “stem”. For instance you may want to have a “Long Reverb” bus instead of “Bus 3-4”. You should save your new I/O settings using the ‘Export Settings’ option. It will be advantageous to use this as your default i/o setting from now on.
You’ll notice that the ‘Bus’ drop down menu is now divided into two parts. ‘Bus menu a’ will have your usual busses and ‘Bus menu b’ should have 64 busses that you’ll reserve for exporting audio.
Whenever you are ready to export stems, you’ll simply select all of the tracks that you’d like to export using either shift or command, then (shift+option+command+click) on a send that is free across all of those tracks. This should send each track to “Stem 1” “Stem 2” “Stem 3” and so on.
Finally press (option+command+b) to bring up the Bounce To Disk window. Here you’ll select the first bus that you’d like to export and press the plus sign a few times. Choose your settings and directory accordingly and bounce away!
Moving An Entire Pro Tools Session To Another DAW
All of your files will be neatly stored in one folder and ready to be shared via your medium of choice. I’ve only found two limitations. First, the audio files carry the name of the bus rather than that of the track. I’m working on an apple script that may be able to take care of that. Second, Pro Tools only allows 16 busses to be bounced at once. However, this is still much faster than bouncing them 1 at a time. If you have more than 16 tracks to export, you’ll just have to Bounce to Disk again starting from “Stem 17” and “Stem 33” and so on.
Hopefully I haven’t confused anybody too much, to export all tracks in one go you need to have a copy of Pro Tools HD as the ability to export multple stems is only possible in Pro Tools HD. I’ll be more than happy to answer any questions and may possibly put together a quick video to demonstrate this method.
Steven Thompson is an engineer working with US R&B acts such as Joe Thomas, Chico DeBarge, Arika Kane and Wanya Morris of BoysIIMen.
Would You Like To Be A Pro Tools Expert Contributor?
Do you have a story to tell, a point of view you think people want to hear, a review, tip or trick? Then why not join the growing list of Pro Tools Expert contributors, submit an idea and we will take a look and see if it’s something we think the community would find of value. Contact us here for more information Not all submissions are printed.
Images courtesy of Avid