The wait for note button on the transport bar in Pro Tools is one of those things I sometimes forget about. if, like me, you record audio far more than you record MIDI it is easy to treat the two as the same but MIDI is not the same as audio and there are more ways to start a solo recording than setting up preroll or a count off and hurrying to your keyboard controller.
How To Set Wait For Note
There are two ways to prime the transport to wait for note. Either click on the wait for note button in the Transport window or at the top of the Edit window if currently displaying the MIDI transport controls. The other way to set it is to hit F11 but this will only works if the preference “Use F11 Key For Wait For Note” is checked. On a Mac the usual caveat also applies that the function keys are actually being used as function keys as opposed to OS specific duties.
When primed, if the transport is put into record, and the relevant MIDI or instrument track is record enabled, then the record and play buttons will flash waiting for a MIDI note. Actually not just notes, any MIDI CC message will have the same effect as a note message. As an experiment I held a note, put the Pro Tools transport into record and then released the note. As expected the transport went into record in response to the note off message.
Why Not Use A Count Off?
If you prefer using a count off or pre-roll then that is of course fine but the nice thing about using wait for note is that, especially if your keyboard is a little way away from your Pro Tools system then rather than Pro Tools dictating when record will start, you decide. I used to avoid using it as using Wait For Note and Count Off are mutually exclusive - you can only use one or the other, so my preferred way of using Wait For Note is for the first note isn’t part of the performance, it is just a trigger for the transport. A couple of bars intro in record helps get the beginning of the performance comfortable.
What About Pre-Roll?
Wait For Note can be used to punch in and if a pre-roll value is set then wait for note will trigger the pre-roll and recording will happen at the end of the pre-roll. Of course MIDI recording has got a lot more forgiving since the introduction of Retrospective MIDI record.