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Once you have added all your mastering effects, tweaked each individual song to create a cohesive sounding final product and edit all volume rights for any fade-ins or fade-outs, then you are ready to bounce the final master tracks so you can burn them on to a CD, DVD, or create MP3s. To begin the bouncing process, first select the exact amount of time that you want to bounce. I usually create markers at the start or end of each song and highlight the area between the markers, like this. Right now, I have got this entire region highlighted. So if I click the Marker Add button, it's going to add one right at the very beginning of that region.
Now I can zoom in and figure out exactly where I want the ending marker to go, drop that right in there and add the marker. I could just highlight this whole region if I wanted to as well, but if I want to actually add a little bit more to the beginning or to the end, some empty space, then this is a good way to go using the markers. So if I click on the start marker, I'll press Shift and click on the end marker, that's going to highlight this entire area that I want to bounce.
Now one thing you need to be sure about with this end marker is that you don't want to cut off any reverb or delay tails or any fade-outs, and you also don't want to have any extra unwanted space at the end of the track too. So make sure that you put both the end and the start markers in the right spots. Now we are going to go to File > Bounce to > Disk. When we are bouncing a file that we want to put onto a CD, we can choose either WAV or AIF as the File Type. The Format should be Stereo Interleaved, the Bit Depth should be 16, the Sampling Rate 44.1. So in the mastering session, you are going to have to bounce each song individually and they bounce in real-time.
Now what if you want to create a high resolution bounce? Well, if your session is at 24 bit, you can just change that and the Sampling Rate as well and bounce that down for a higher res version that you can put onto a DVD or a super audio CD or any other high res format. If you want to create an MP3, just choose MP3 from the File Type and I would actually change this down to 44.1 kHz for the Sampling Rate. MP3s make an audio file that's about give or take ten times smaller than the original file size and that's a great option if you want to share your music over the Internet.
So I'm going to switch this back to a WAV file and keep it at 16 bit. So this is a CD ready file that I'm about to create. Click Bounce and I can save this as the master and this will begin to bounce in real-time as soon as I click Save. And I'm going to skip that stuff in this movie. Now one thing that Pro Tools cannot do is burn CDs. You will need a third party application like iTunes, Roxio's Toast or Peak by BIAS for that. Use one of those applications to assemble the tracks in the right order and make sure all the timing information is correct. Then burn your master CD. Of the three products I listed only Peak can create cross fades where track number changes between the two tracks, so use that software if you need to do that.
So after you have bounced your tracks, burn them to a CD or put them on a portable hard drive like an iPod and listen to them critically in many environments and through many playback systems to make sure that they translate well over all systems. If they do, then you have succeeded in mastering your tracks using Pro Tools.
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