There may be times when you are working on a Pro Tools session and your running out of juice.
However, there are ways to reclaim some power which cost nothing, just a little time. Here are a few you may not know.
Use Pro Tools AudioSuite Plug-ins (Any Version)
A greatly overlooked feature of Pro Tools is the AudioSuite option for many of the plug-ins. Whilst many processes such as reverb and delay may be best live, cleaning up a vocal with a de-esser, or filtering the low end could be handle by an AudioSuite plug-in. Guitar amp modelling is notoriously processor hungry, once you have the sound you want then use an AudioSuite process to print the sound. No AudioSuite version of your plug-in? Then use the Blue Cat Patchwork to create one as seen here.
Use Pro Tools Offline Bounce To Freeze Tracks (Pro Tools 11)
If you are using a lot of virtual instruments then one way a lot of DAWs handle processor load is to freeze the tracks in place. If you have Pro Tools 11 then you can do this fast by bouncing them to disk and then reimporting them after bounce. If you are using Pro Tools 11 HD software then you can do this on a number of tracks at the same time.
Use Pro Tools Dynamic Plug-ins (Pro Tools 11)
If you have a session with lots of tracks and with elements that come in and out, for example synths just in the chorus, or a stack of vocals, then use the dynamic plug-in option. This means that when tracks are empty then your processor is freed up. You do need to make sure that the audio is only showing in each track when you need it. If like me you like all your audio to run across the whole timeline then dynamic processing is not going to work. So get slicing and see the difference it can make to your CPU power.
Use Pro Tools Disk Cache (Pro Tools 10 And 11 HD)
Disk cache places audio into spare RAM which then gives you a snappier Pro Tools timeline and reduces the load between the session and your hard drive. It’s a HD only feature so you either need Pro Tools HD hardware, or a version of Pro Tools with a Toolkit.
Bounce To Disk And Use The Stereo Mix (Any Version)
As a last resort, but if all options are off the table then you can simply use bounce to disk to create a stereo pair, or a set of stems and the carry on working with them. In the bad old 32 bit days of Pro Tools I would sometimes do this if I was building a track with a lot of virtual instruments. Thankfully now Pro Tools is 64 bit then this is less of an issue.
Of course many of these are workarounds, but if you are short of money or just need to get the job done then give these a try!