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It's important to understand how signals flow in Pro Tools, so you always know where your signals are traveling within Pro Tools as well as if you send them out and back into Pro Tools. In this video, I'm going to talk about the inputs and outputs on tracks as well as the I/O Setup window. Let's look at this session here. On each track, we have an I/O section. Over here on the audio tracks, if we click the Input Selector, we see that we can choose from any of the interface connections or any of the buses within Pro Tools.
On the Output Selector, we can do the same. Choose any of the output selections for the interface or any internal Buses. On the MIDI track, the Input Selector refers to the MIDI controller that will be controlling or inputting MIDI on to this track. In this case, we probably just want to keep it on All, so that any MIDI controller that you have connected to your system will provide the input to this track. For the output, we probably want to change that because that is where you direct your MIDI signal to an instrument or a sound module.
In this case, we have some virtual instruments in this session and we can choose in this case, Boom 1-channel-1. So any MIDI information on this track will be routed to the instrument, which is inserted over on this track right here. And this is an instrument track. This is an interesting situation here where we have both an input and output for the MIDI part of the instrument track, which is up here. Notice that we have the All input right here and this is the same as the All input down here on the MIDI track. So this is the MIDI Input Selector for the instrument track and the Output Selector, which automatically goes to Boom when you insert Boom as an insert on the instrument track.
Below that, we now have the audio Input Path and the Output Path because instrument tracks have both a MIDI component and an audio component because the audio in this track is being created by this virtual instrument on the track, we don't actually have to choose an input because the input is already in the track. There is no external input coming into this track. So we can leave this as No Input. However, we do want to make sure that the output goes to our main outputs, which are chosen here as Analog 1 and 2. Now all outputs that are routed to Analog 1 and 2 will go to your main speakers or whatever you have connected to your Analog 1 and 2. This could also be headphones and if you insert Stereo Master Fader, that is routed through Analog 1 and 2. All of these tracks with Analog 1 and 2 as their outputs first go through this Stereo Master Fader track and this Fader controls the volume of all of the tracks in the session.
Now if you find that the input and output names don't match up with the interface that you have connected with your system, then you can go into the I/O Setup window, Setup > I/O. The session that I created that we are looking at here was actually made on an Mbox 2 but we are now using a 003. So these inputs and outputs don't line up with this interface that we have here. So, let's go down to the Default button and click that, and you will see that now we have the output labels for every output options that we have for the 003. If we go to the input, well these are incorrect, so we need to go to the Default and relabel those as well. We can go through all of these, the Insert, the Buses as well, and click Default, and now we have all the inputs labeled properly, all the outputs labeled properly the Inserts and the Buses.
Realistically, you'll only want to use this I/O Setup for two reasons. One is to reset the default I/O Setups in case you make a session with one studio setup like I did with the session here with the Mbox 2, and then open it with another interface that has a different I /O Setup. And the second reason to open the I/O Setup is to customize it for your own studio setup. So we can go over here actually and rename any of these Inputs, Outputs, Inserts, or Buses by simply double- clicking on the name. Let's say we want to call Analog 1-2 output, Speakers, so we know exactly where we are routing our signals. And maybe we want to go to the Input window and if we click this little arrow, we can name each mono part of the stereo input. Let's call this Vocal Mic and maybe we connect our Guitar always to Input 2.
So now we can create our own customized I/O Setup and once we have done this, we can actually export those settings and it automatically will save them to this I/O Settings folder that is within your Digidesign folder and we'll call this vocal guitar. I'll save that and I'm going to press OK. For now, I'll come back to this in a second and let me show you where this pops up in your Digidesign.
Within your Pro Tools folder, we have I/O settings and now we can see this vocal guitar.pio file, which is our I/ O Setup. Let's go back to Pro Tools and now I can see in the I/O that these have automatically changed. The first choice on the interface is the Vocal Mic. We can also choose Guitar and notice that the Outputs are now called Speakers instead of Analog 1 and 2.
Let's say we actually want to open up a different I/O Setting document. We can come in here to the I/O Setups and choose Import Settings and it will bring us right back to the I/O Settings folder. Let's choose Last Used. Open that up. It will ask you, if you want to delete existing unused paths. I usually choose Yes. Now it just so happens that the Last Use was the same one that we just created. So the names are the same. But if you have a different I/O Setup that would pop up here and all the names would be different or whatever that would be for that setup.
So now you know how to change your I/O Setup and create your own I/O Settings file. As you can see, Pro Tools offers a lot of flexibility in its signal routing using the I/O Setup window. Use it to your advantage to customize your I/O Settings.
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