This tip from Steve Peach warrants a post all by itself. Steve says…
I am amazed how many times I see people in tutorials creating separate midi and aux tracks to access the additional outputs from multi-channel VI’s or external sources.
Many do not seem to realise an “Instrument Track” in Pro Tools is simply a MIDI track and an auxiliary track combined, which can be routed independently. What this means is that Instrument Tracks do not always have to have a Virtual Instrument inserted to work. You can do many other useful things with Instrument Tracks.
- Say you have a drum sampler, such as Battery or Structure, and you want to put each drum on it’s own channel in the mixer. Easy, you just insert the sampler on the first Instrument Track and then create more empty Instrument Tracks for each drum sound. Then, in the “Instruments” panel for each empty Instrument Track, you can assign the MIDI Out to the correct channel on your sampler plug-in. Then, on the I/O section, you assign the Audio input to one of the separate Audio Outs of the sampler. Then you have your MIDI Out and your Audio Return on the same channel/Instrument Track without creating separate Aux and MIDI channels, and without having to create a new instance of the sampler for each track.
- You can even create instrument channels for external hardware synths. Simply set the MIDI Out to your hardware synth, and set the I/O input for that Instrument Track to whatever inputs on your audio interface you patch your synth into. If you have several hardware units, a good way to work is always have them patched to the same inputs. That way, you can create a track preset for them using the “track presets hack,” and creating an Instrument Track for your hardware is just as easy as creating a VI track. If you then want to bounce it, simply route the output of the Instrument Track to a new Audio Track and record.
This is a much cleaner way of working, so that your MIDI and your audio are all on the same channel strip without cluttering your Mixer or Edit windows. This technique is especially useful when hosting VIs in VEPro as you have your MIDI and your Audio return all on the one track; it’s much easier to keep track of and less confusing.
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