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In this video, I am going to show you how to connect the pieces of your Pro Tools studio system. First, if you haven't already, install Pro Tools according to the directions that came with your software. This process also involves authorizing your iLok key, and that process is shown in another video in this course. 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're not fast enough to keep up with all the audio data transferring. Instead, I recommend using USB drives only 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.
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 Avid's Compatibility page online for specific hard drive compatibility information. Also, be sure to back up your data regularly. You wouldn't want to lose one of your musical ideas, or your clients' projects. Next in the set of procedures is connecting your interface, if you're using one. Pro Tools 9 doesn't actually require to use an audio interface.
However, if you're using one that 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 can get enough power from the USB or the FireWire port on your computer, and don't need to be plugged into an external power supply. 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've 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'll 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. 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 on the interface. If it's a condenser mic, be sure to turn on the Phantom Power button that's usually labeled with a 48 V above or below the button. This powers the microphones 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.
If you have a MIDI controller, you can plug it into the MIDI ports on your interface. Or if the controller has a USB connection, you can plug it into your computer directly. Plug your headphones into the headphone input on your interface and connect your studio monitors to the monitor outputs. If you have a USB-powered interface, like the Mbox 3, 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've got plugged into the interface. If you have any further questions about how to connect any device in your studio setup, consult the guides that Avid or your third-party manufacturer has provided with your interface.
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