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In this video I'm going to show you how to connect the pieces of your Pro Tools studio system. First, if you have an already installed Pro Tools according to the directions that came with your software. For Pro Tools M-Powered and HD users, this process also involves authorizing your iLock key. If you have an external FireWire hard drive, plug that in first. Plug in the power and turn it on. Then connect it via FireWire to your computer.
Note that USB hard drives are not compatible for using with Pro Tools. They are not fast enough to keep up with all the audio data transferring. Instead, I recommend using USB drives for archiving your projects. Using an external FireWire drive or a second IDE, ATA or SATA drive for recording audio is highly recommended. You should avoid recording audio to the internal system drive on your computer. Not only will you get better performance from an external drive, you will also keep your audio files and your system software separated.
If necessary, format your hard drive according to the instructions for your computer type. If working with a Mac, use HFS Plus format. If working with a PC use NTFS format. Should you partition the drive? I personally don't think so. Partitioning is not really necessary these days as the gains really aren't worth the cost. I don't recommend doing it. Check Digidesign's compatibility page online for specific hard drive compatibility information.
Also, be sure to back up your data regularly. I have had many drives crash, some I have not backed up and it's painful to lose your musical ideas and your clients' projects. Next in the set of procedure is connecting your Digidesign or M-Audio interface. If your interface requires power like the 003, plug in the power first before connecting it to your computer, then turn it on. Only a few interfaces require power. Even though many of the interfaces come with power cables most interfaces get enough power from the USB or the FireWire port on your computer.
Now, connect your interface to your computer. Use the USB or FireWire cable that came with your interface. If you only have one FireWire port and you have connected your hard drive to that port, connect your interface to your hard drive instead of directly to your computer. Most FireWire drives have two FireWire ports. If your interface has a FireWire 400 connection and your computer or hard drive only has a FireWire 800 connector, you will need to purchase a cable that has a FireWire 400 connection on one end and a FireWire 800 connection on the other end.
With the interface connected, now you can launch Pro Tools. Pro Tools will not launch without having an interface connected to your computer. Pro Tools LE users will need to enter an authorization code to use Pro Tools for the first time. Instead of a code, Pro Tools M- Powered and HD users also will need to plug-in their iLock keys to an available USB port to authorize the computer to use Pro Tools. Let's talk about connecting instruments and mics to your interface.
If you want to record a mic, plug it into one of the mic preamps on the interface. Choose Mic as the input type. If it's a condenser mic be sure to turn on the phantom power button. That's usually labeled as the 48V button. This powers the microphone's diaphragm. Without this added power the mic will not function. If you want to record an instrument directly like an electric guitar or bass, choose DI as the input type and plug directly into the DI Input on your interface. To record a line level instrument like a synthesizer, plug it into the Line input.
If you have got a Midi Controller, you can plug it into the Midi ports on your interface or if it has got a USB connection you can plug it into your computer instead. Plug your headphones into the Headphone input on your interface and connect your studio monitors to the monitor outputs. If you have got a USB powered interface like the Mbox 2, use the mix knob on the front of the interface to mix the output signal from Pro Tools with the input signal from whatever you have got plugged into the interface.
If you have further questions about how to connect any device in your studio setup, consult the Quick Setup or Setup Guide that Digidesign provided with your interface.
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