For any session in the studio to run smoothly, one of the key components is the routing in your DAW. A full understanding of the bus routing system in Pro Tools can save you a huge amount of time and, therefore, money.
In my experience, the most important part of working with your routing system is giving each path a name. It doesn’t matter if you think you’ll be able to remember that ‘Bus 43-44’ is the distorted reverb send for the lower harmony backing vocals, name it “BV DistVerb”. By doing this, you can find your buses much faster and confidently apply them.
The best way of naming your buses is to create the bus on the channel you want to apply it and then right click on the send and go to rename. A box will appear where you can type in your name for the bus. You can apply the same technique to your I/O buses as well.
Another helpful tip is to try and always keep the same order of your buses for each session you do. This also helps when you are trying to find your buses during a session. For example, if you need to use the Vocal Reverb and you know you would usually use “Bus 9-10” then you know where about on the list of buses you need to be looking. I will always make my sum buses the same order as my tracks. So the drum sum bus would be “Bus 1-2” and the bass sum would be “Bus 3-4” etc.… Once all my sums have been created I will then start making my reverbs and delays and other effects sends.
A great way of making sure that you always have the same routing set-up for each of your sessions is to create a template. This can be done by going to ‘File – Save as Template. This will create a .ptxt file, so each time you open it you will have the option to rename it and save it to another location as a new regular Pro Tools file but with all of the information, you saved to the template. This is a good way of also saving time instead of creating tracks, applying plug-ins, gain staging and changing aesthetics from scratch each time you start a new session.
In conclusion, making sure that you have your routing system properly set up to your own personal tastes before the start of a studio session will save you having to waste time changing bus names and trying to find out which number bus the vocal reverb send is. This is a valuable preparation that not only keeps a professional appearance to your clients and customers but also saves you time and money.
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