In this video I'm going to show you how to connect the pieces of your Pro Tools system. First, if you haven't already, install Pro Tools according to the directions it 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 hard drive to record audio on to, plug that in first, plug in the power, and turn it on, then connect it to your computer. You can record to several different types of external hard drives, including eSATA, USB on a Windows system, or FireWire on a Mac system.
You can also record to SATA or SAS internal hard drives if they have the speed of 7200 RPM or more. Thunderbolt and SSD drives have not been officially supported by Avid at the time of this recording, but will likely be supported soon. Note that slower hard drive systems such as USB hard drives and RAID systems can be used with Pro Tools HDX and Pro Tools with the Complete Production Toolkit, because these systems load all the audio for a session into your computers RAM, and thus the speed of the drive does not come into play.
However, if you're running the regular native version of Pro Tools, you should run your sessions off of a fast internal or external drive. You should avoid recording audio to the internal system drive on your computer, this keeps your operating system and the audio files separated, and also improves the performance of your system. 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 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 backup your data regularly, you don't want to lose one of your musical ideas or your client's projects. Next in the set of procedures is connecting your interface, if you're using one. Pro Tools 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 your external power supply. Now connect your interface to the 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 the 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 or an adapter 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 with 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 and that's usually labeled with a 48V, either 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've 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 and connect your stereo monitors to the monitor outputs. If you have 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'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 at Avid or your third-party manufacturer has provided with your interface.
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