Welcome to Pro Tools Expert a huge community for users of Avid Pro Tools for both music and post production. With over 3 million visits a year, we’ve grown to be the place to come for training, resources, tips tricks and news. We offer advice for users of all versions of Pro Tools both current and legacy formats. We’re independent and are not affiliated with Avid or their associated companies.
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We have spoken a lot recently about some Pro Tools basics that every Pro Tools user should know about. In this FREE Pro Tools video tutorial Brian Lee White explains how essential it is to organise a Pro Tools session.
This video is a part of the entire series ‘Pro Tools Mixing and Mastering’ one of the many training series for Pro Tools from lynda.com
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We get a lot of questions to the Pro Tools Expert podcast every week, many of which fall into the same categories again and again. These can often be solved by knowing some Pro Tools basics, these are 8 Pro Tools basics you can’t afford to ignore.
Some will make your system work better and some will help speed up your workflow, consider them the essentials to having a much more productive life with Pro Tools.
Knowing how to set-up your audio engine in Pro Tools is the difference between smooth operation with low latency or stuttered playback and cryptic error messages that are going to bring you to tears. Take time to learn how to set this up, this differs between different version numbers and between Pro Tools and Pro Tools HD/HDX systems and different machines. Some of it is down to trial and error, but as a rule of thumb you are aiming to keep your Playback Engine down to the lowest amount of samples possible when recording to reduce latency, without Pro Tools falling over. When you mix you can push your samples up to the max when you need as much power as possible and latency is no longer an issue.
The I/O set-up is where you tell Pro Tools what connections your audio interface has, these directly link to your channel input and outputs. If you get a dialogue telling you that you can’t record because you have no audio inputs, if you get this then make sure you have the right audio interface set in your Audio Engine (see our first point) and then a quick fix is to click the Input Tab and hit Default and then click the Output Tab and click default, in many cases this should get you up and running. Check out our guide here
Pro Tools uses different track types that are most approprate for your needs, they are;
- Audio Tracks - These are for recording audio from mics and line inputs etc.
- Aux Input - These can be used for effects returns and sub groups internally or for external inputs into Pro Tools from hardware devices that you do not need to record and want to keep live.
- Master Fader - This is where all the audio ends up in a mix, you can add processing such as compression, dither and of course check your final output is not clipping.
- VCA Master - HD systems only, VCAs are used to control the volume on a set of tracks
- MIDI Tracks - Used for recording MIDI information to be sent either to internal instrument plug-ins or external MIDI hardware.
- Instrument Tracks - A combination of a MIDI track and an AUX Input track allowing the user to record MIDI and playback the audio of a virtual instrument on one track.
- Video Track - Yep you guessed a track for the playback of video.
Knowing what track to use will help keep your sessions tidy, speed up your workflow and in many cases may also save your system power. Check out our guide to Pro Tools Instrument tracks here and our guide to Aux Tracks here.
As part of our FREE Pro Tools video tutorials James takes a look back at an older session which was recorded live. He shows you some of his tips and tricks to bring a lifeless drum sound up to date.
Russ shows you how to take any beat and make it do what you want - no plug-ins required!
In this session learn about how using the 4 different edit modes can enable you to become a power editor in Pro Tools.
The session explains and demonstrates the best uses for using the Shuffle, Spot, Slip and Grid edit modes.
Russ shows how knowing some of the fundamentals in Pro Tools get help you become a remix Ninja.
In this tutorial James shows you a way to edit and process a snare drum track to get the very best from two different playing styles without the use of mix or plugin automation.
Russ takes a moment to edit a festive audio track and shows you his shortcuts and tricks for hi-speed audio editing.