In part 12 of our Getting To Grips With Pro Tools series, we are going to take a look at tips for using and selecting plug-ins and presets, selecting presets, creating and recalled plug-in chains and audition plug-in presets easily.
If you are forever applying the same preset on a plug-in then you can set it as the Default setting for that plug-in so whenever you choose that plug-in it will have that preset pre-loaded. To do this, first make sure that the plug-in is set to default to the User Settings, which you can do from the Settings menu.
Now select your chosen preset and then go back into the plug-in Setting menu and select Set as User Default.
Although in the early days when you don’t own too many plug-ins, you won’t need to scroll to far down to select the one you want. Once you have more plug-ins, the list gets very long.
However there is a neat trick where if you click on your favourite plug-in in the list whilst holding down the Command (Mac) or Control (Windows) next time you look, it will be at the top of the list.
To remove it simply repeat the process and it’s gone!
Find Plug-ins Fast In Pro Tools
This is a premium video tutorial from Russ to show you how to use Favourites in Pro Tools. Once you know this you'll never go back!
Using Plug-in Chains In Pro Tools
The new Track Presets feature also allows for partial recall of a track preset making it great for saving and recalling plug-in chains.
In this free video tutorial, Julian demonstrates how thorough a job Avid have done in implementing this feature. These new workflow enhancements go beyond saving plug-in chains, though that is quick and simple to do, and allow comprehensive control over exactly what gets stored and what gets recalled. You can learn more about the new Track Presets and Plug-in Chain feature added in Pro Tools 2018 in our article Free Tutorial - How To Use The New Track Presets Feature In Pro Tools 2018.
How To Audition Pro Tools Plug-in Presets Without Using Your Mouse
It is possible to audition Pro Tools plug-in presets without using your mouse, simply by using the up and down keys on your computer keyboard and with a modifier key you can jump between preset folders.
This is particularly useful when auditioning synth sounds when playing, but it can be used for any kind of Pro Tools plug-ins, here’s how.
Open The Plug-In Settings Dialog
The plug-in dialog window is a handy feature in that displays in grid form all your saved presets and any shipped with the plug-in. If those presets are in folders then you can also navigate through those too. To open it use the button that looks like two rectangles on top of one another. See the red legend in the image above.
To Navigate The Plug-In Settings Dialog With Your Computer Keyboard
You can navigate around this folder using the up, down, left and right arrows on your computer keyboard.
To navigate to a new folder press the Command key on a Mac or the Start key on a Windows computer and then the up or down arrow key.
This tip is especially useful when using virtual instruments.
Free Tutorial - Tip For Comparing Plug-in Chains Using Keyboard Shortcuts In Pro Tools
In this free video tutorial we offer a nice tip to allow users to quickly AB alternative plug-in chains in Pro Tools. It's very simple but the best ideas tend to be simple...
Shift + Number Shortcuts
There were a number of really useful shortcuts introduced in Pro Tools 11 which revolved around bypassing and muting plug-ins and sends in the Pro Tools mixer using the shift key. To toggle bypass for all plug-ins in inserts A-E use Shift+2, to toggle bypass on inserts F-J use Shift+3. The important bit of this tip is that is you start with A-E or F-J bypassed and the other set of inserts enabled then by hitting Shift+2 and Shift+3 together then as one set is bypassed the other is enabled allowing AB comparison on all selected tracks.
Tip - What Does It Mean When Plug-ins Go Purple In Pro Tools?
Blue For Bypass, Purple For Partly Bypassed
The answer is that some plug-ins can be both bypassed and active at the same time. This is represented by the colour purple. This can be for two reasons:
Multi-Stage Plug-in with an inactive section
Plug-ins like Avid Channel Strip have multiple sections. Channel Strip has four: EQ, Filter, Dynamics and Volume. If the EQ or Dynamics sections are inactive but other sections are active the plug-in shows as purple.
Multi-mono plug-ins with an inactive channel
Any multi-mono plug-in can have its channels unlinked and if any of the channels is bypassed but other channels are not this partially bypassed condition is indicated by the purple colour.
Next time in Getting To Grips With Pro Tools we will look at Mix Groups. For mixing this can be a real time saver. If you create a group of all your drum tracks, then when you hit Solo on the Snare track all the drum tracks will be soloed.