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After you've setup your Pro Tools gear and connected all the components, it's time to tell your computer what hardware you want to use with Pro Tools. As you can see here, I've already launched Pro Tools and now I'm going to go up to the Setup menu and choose Playback Engine. In this dialog box we can choose from any of the peripherals that are connected to our system. A peripheral refers to a device that you can use to listen through and record with while running Pro Tools. If you have a specific Avid or M-Audio interface such as the 003 shown here, you'll probably want to choose that.
However, you can also choose a third- party device or any of the other ones that are shown here in the peripherals' list. And as you can see we have a number shown here, and your list or lack thereof, will certainly look a little bit different than this. Along with the interfaces made by Avid and M-Audio, you can instead use a third-party device with Core Audio software drivers on Mac computers. Core Audio connects the audio streams between third-party audio hardware and software applications like Pro Tools.
On a PC, Steinberg's Audio Stream Input/Output, or ASIO drivers, provide the same function as Core Audio on a Mac. Thus you can use third-party interfaces with a PC with Pro Tools as well. The Pro Tools Aggregate I/O is an option that enables you to use any of the available built-in input and output channels on your computer. This is only a Mac feature, and I'll talk about this later in this video. Now that I've chosen the playback engine that I want, the 003, I'm going to choose OK and then go back up to the Setup menu and choose Hardware, and in this dialog we have a few options that we can choose from.
First we have the Clock Source. The Clock Source is the timing reference that all the digital gear in your Pro Tools system has to sync up with to ensure accurate playback and recording. The majority of the time you'd probably want to leave this as internal when using Pro Tools as the SyncMaster. The only time to change this option is when you're syncing to another device that you want to have provide the timing reference. Below the Clock Source is the Sample Rate, and this is set when you create the session.
Because the 003 has an Optical input and output connection, we can choose what type of connection we want that to act as here. We can choose between ADAT and S/PDIF or SPDIF. The ADAT setting let's you use eight channels, while the SPDIF limits the connection to just two channels of audio. When using many other interfaces you won't have this option. Below that we have the Footswitch Control. If your Pro Tools interface supports a Footswitch you can tell Pro Tools what you want to do with it.
Whether you want to use it to a record, punching in and out, or using it for playback to start/stop. Let's click OK and go back to the Playback Engine. Now I'm going to change the Playback Engine to Pro Tools Aggregate I/O. If you're using just a Mac laptop computer and no other Pro Tools interface, this is what you want to choose as your hardware interface. It allows you to use the built-in input and output channels on your computer.
When I click on this, Pro Tools is going to actually need to reconfigure itself, and it shows you this dialog right here. Selecting this playback engine will automatically Save and Close your session. The session will be reopened when you are done changing settings. Are you sure you want to proceed? I'll click Yes, and Pro Tools will close down, and we'll have the Playback Engine here. We'll keep the same playback as we've chosen, Pro Tools Aggregate I/O and click OK. Pro Tools will restart, and let us know that our I/O setup has changed.
We can click No, because we don't need a detailed report. Now Pro Tools is open and ready to use with the new interface selection. So let's go up to Hardware, when using the Pro Tools Aggregate I/O and M-Audio interface, or any other third-party interface with Pro Tools, you should click on the Launch Setup App button to configure the hardware settings. The Launch Setup App button will start up the program or driver appropriate for your connected device. There are a variety of these but the one that shows up for the Pro Tools Aggregate I/O on a Mac is the Audio MIDI setup.
Now I'm going to click the Launch Setup App button and you'll see the Audio MIDI setup. I'm going to click over to the Audio Devices page, and in this window you can adjust the Clock Source between the Built -in Line Input, the Built-in Output and the Built-in Line Output. You can also adjust the Sampling Rate, but I would recommend letting Pro Tools do that and not changing it here. And you may see a variety of Audio Device options here for you depending on your computer system layout.
You can choose to tell Pro Tools what you want to use with this setup by activating or deactivating these particular audio devices. Check any of the audio devices that you will be using. In this case I just want to use these three. In this window you can even configure your speakers using this button down here. When you're done, you can quit this app. So I am going to go ahead and do that. And then click OK, and Pro Tools will be setup to use your Pro Tools Aggregate I/O system setting.
So with Pro Tools you can use a wide variety of devices, even your own computers' built-in audio devices as your interface for Pro Tools. Use the Playback Engine and Hardware Setup to make the appropriate settings for your interface.
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