Having chosen your interface, software, computer and hard drives we now turn our attention to how to set up our computer and get Pro Tools authorised.
Configuring Your Computer
Avid make some fairly detailed recommendations about how to set up your Mac or PC to work well with Pro Tools. Their Troubleshooting guides in the Avid Knowledge Base give detailed guidance about what doesn’t play well with Pro Tools on both platforms.
A few of the more obvious recommendations include turning off automatic OS updates. This is because Pro Tools isn’t immediately compatible with the latest version of the OS, so don’t upgrade your operating system until Avid has approved it if you want a quiet life!
On Mac OS X, for example, the default keyboard shortcuts conflict with Pro Tools shortcuts, so go to System Preferences and turn off all the shortcuts in both Dashboard and Exposé. Likewise, in Spotlight you need to turn off the two shortcuts at the bottom of the window, as they conflict with the Record shortcuts in Pro Tools. While in System Preferences, turn off Energy Saver too — Pro Tools really doesn’t like the hard drive to spin down whilst it’s running! But do take the time to follow all the recommendations in Avid’s Optimisation Guides.
Authorising Pro Tools
Most versions of Pro Tools now won’t run without using an iLok which is a special kind of dongle which acts like a key enabling you to run your software. No key - no working software. This is a USB device that holds licences for most Pro Tools software and plug-ins. It is a multi-platform device and the original one, usually blue, but there are both red and green ones around, can hold up to around 100 licences. Then there was the 2nd generation iLok could hold around 500 licenses but had problems with USB3 ports. The latest 3rd generation iLoks are made from metal and work perfectly with USB3. You can have software installed on a number of machines but it will only run on the system you have the iLok plugged into.
There is also now the option to use the iLok Cloud feature, which does away with the need for a physical iLok but does require a reliable internet connection. Check out our tutorial How To Use Pro Tools Without An iLok - Pro Tools 2018 iLok Cloud.
Some lower value software supports iLok machine authorisation, but most higher value software including DAWs like Pro Tools don not support machine authorisation.
Most plug-in manufacturers use iLok to protect their software from piracy. Once you have any software that uses iLok, you will need to register and open an account with iLok.com and then download the iLok License Manager. With the License Manager and this account you can keep track of your licences (‘assets’); when you buy plug-ins on-line, the suppliers will often deposit your assets into your iLok account and then you transfer them onto your iLok. Check out our article iLok - Setting Up Your Account, The License Manager And Activating Protected Software. For more information and how to use and set up your iLok and iLok account go to our dedicated iLok Help And Resources pages.
In the next part, of Getting to Grips With Pro Tools, we will take a look at how to create your first session.