The ability to store track presets has been a big priority for many users for a long time. I have to confess this has never been something I’ve been keen to see introduced as, in the course of my work in education, I’ve seen track presets used inappropriately by so many novices. The example I have in mind is the library system in Logic Pro which I’ve always dreaded coming to Pro Tools. However just because I don’t like the system used in Logic doesn’t mean saving plug in chains is a bad idea and as we have seen with so many new features in Pro Tools, while Avid sometimes take their time, when they do introduce a feature they often do it better than the competition. So if this is a feature you would use if and when Avid introduce it, what workarounds exist today?
Import Session Data
The method recommended by Avid to load plug-in chains is to import the plug-in session data from another session. This works but the Import Session Data window isn’t the friendliest of places so I understand people’s desire to load chains of plug-ins in a similar way as they instantiate their plug-ins. The thing I’m less keen on is the idea of factory supplied “track presets”. Being able to save your own track presets I can understand but using other people’s is something I’ve never felt is particularly useful and for novices can be positively counter-productive.
One way around the lack of saveable plug in chains is to create a template session with all your regularly used plug in chains already created in a Pro Tools template. If you create a session with one of each of your regularly used plug-in chains already created but made inactive and hidden on tracks accessible from the tracks list than all that is necessary is to right click to duplicate the desired track, make the track active and to drag the clips to the new track or drag the plug ins to the existing track, whichever is easier. A little long winded but it works and its free.
Effects Rack Plug In
An effects Rack plug-in Like the Waves StudioRack only without the necessity for a SoundGrid server and available to any plug-in, not just Waves would offer a simple solution to the plug in chain issue. The possibility of sharing chains not only between sessions but also between DAWs is made possible by using a third party, platform agnostic solution. Luckily such a solution has existed for some time. Using Blue Cat Audio’s Patchwork plug in chains of VST or AU plug ins can be chained and stored. While its a little odd having to use non-AAX plug ins. most third party plug ins are available in multiple formats. The only thing is you can’t use the AAX only factory plug ins.
The Track Hack, discovered by community member Philip Nichols has been extraordinarily popular. Once it was noticed that a track preset type feature existed in Pro Tools First it was straightforward to hack the process and getting it working in Pro Tools. As for why this feature was introduced in Pro Tools First but not rolled out to Pro Tools, I can only suggest that because Pro Tools First was a new product and not backwards compatible with older versions of Pro Tools is was less constrained by the requirement to test retrospective compatibility. Pro Tools 12 can open a Pro Tools