If you are depending on MIDI as part of your Pro Tools workflow then here are 5 Pro Tools MIDI features worth knowing if you want to move fast and get songs in shape.
Make sure you know how the button in blue works, it’s the difference between MIDI overwriting or over dubbing a part. It’s ideal for building up complex rhythm parts, simply set a loop on the timeline and then it will keep cyckling around as you build up the part.
Mirrored MIDI Editing
Mirrored MIDI Editing is a godsend if you need to change a looped part of a performance but don’t fancy going through the whole song to change. With it turned on whenever you make a change to the original it does the same to any copies in the loop.
One of the most powerful MIDI features in Pro Tools in Real-Time properties, a feature that is often misunderstood. What MIDI real-time properties do is, as the name suggests, modify MIDI data on the fly and in a none destructive way. This means you can make live changes to the MIDI data, such as timing, duration or pitch, but still have the orginal performance intact. Turn any of them off and the original is still there.It also means you can make a copy of the MIDI from the track and copy it to another and have two versions of the same performance.
The Pencil Tool
The pencil tool is a really cool and powerful tool you can use in the MIDI edit window, it is great for entering notes. Did you know that if you select a note input value and choose the Line tool and then drag across the MIDI editor it inputs notes at that value? In a second you can have 4 on the floor kicks across an entire song, or 16 note hi hats. The other line types are great for drawing automation such as filter settings.
Back in the day (whenever that was) but for the purpose of this article I’ll say the early 80s, all MIDI input was step based, you couldn’t just play live and record it. We dreamt of a day when we could just record MIDI like audio, but what step input gave us (and still does) is the tightest performances around. It works as the name suggests, you select a note value and then step through one note at a time, plus any rests you want to add. It takes time, but if you want very tight drums or bass parts, or arps, then step input is your best friend. There seems to be a bug post Pro Tools 11 that may mean that Step input does not work.
More MIDI tips to come soon! Enjoy.