When it comes to setting up a session in Pro Tool there are a few things that you should know. These tips will be a great help to those of you starting out on Pro Tools and looking to get to grips with it as well as more intermittent users that might pick up a few tips, which I didn’t realise they could do.
Before you do anything it is always best to know what you are going to be producing. This will determine the types of tracks that you will need to create.
To create tracks go to Track > New. The shortcut for this is (shift+⌘+N). Once you have opened up the new track panel you can hold down ⌘ and use the left and right arrows to switch between mono and stereo and the up and down buttons to change the type of track you want to create. You can also type in the amount of that certain track you want to create. The plus button enables you to add different types of tracks without having to repeat the process.
This would be my initial starting point for most demo tracks that I make. One Instrument track for my MIDI drums and then 5 audio tracks: 2 for guitars, 2 for vocals and 1 for bass.
The next thing to do is to keep organized. You should find yourself doing this constantly throughout the session to ensure you don’t lose track of the session. To start with you should name your tracks by clicking on the current name of the track, which will allow you to put in your new name. So ‘Inst 1’ might become ‘Drums’. Hold down the ⌘ key and use the up and down directional buttons to quickly move along the tracks to rename them without having to click on each track individually.
Another great way to keep your project organised is to colour your tracks. You should come up with a set of colours, which you apply to your tracks throughout all your sessions. This will keep the assigned colour memorable. So for example, my drum and percussion tracks are always yellow. Click on the bar to the left of the track name and this is will make the colour panel appear. Simply choose you colour you wish to assign to the selected track.
The next step would be to create your Aux tracks for the session. In this case, I would create the following:
- Drum Sum
- Bass Sum
- Guitar Sum
- Vox Sum
- Vox Delay
You may want a separate reverb for your vocals or even a delay for your guitars, but for this example I have only created one of each. It is also a good idea to colour your Aux tracks differently from the other tracks but still similarly enough to know how it is related. This is down to personally preference however.
Once you have created and arranged all your tracks how you feel most comfortable with them it is time to start adding content.
You may also like to read: Pro Tools Tutorial: Efficient Routing in Pro Tools