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A click track in Pro Tools is a steady beat that is in sync with the session's tempo. Recording to a click track is a very common practice, and offers the promise of aligning tracks that may not have been recorded at the same time. Being a drummer, I usually have to record to a click in every recording session that I'm in. But I recommend recording to a click or a drum loop at a steady tempo, even when you are simply laying down a rough song idea. So let's do that. Let me create a new track, one mono audio track, and I am going to create a click track, which I can go to Track > Create Click Track.
I will expand that out. You can see that the Click Track plug-in is already inserted on this auxiliary track. Let's open that up. This is what the Click Track plug-in looks like. And if I press Play, we are going to hear what it sounds like. (Click track playing.) The reason we can hear that is because we have this click or the Metronome button activated.
That's in the MIDI controls. They are shown up here. Also right here in the Options menu, if we deactivate the Click, that is also deactivated here in the MIDI controls, and we'll turn that back on. If we go to this button right here, the factory default setting is that sound that we just heard. However, there are a few other options if we want. We can choose Cowbell 3, and I'll press Play. (Click track playing.) I'm not really sure how that's a cowbell, but okay.
I like the factory default sound a little bit better. Actually, there's a couple of other ways that we can turn off the click track if we don't want to hear it. I am going to press Play and show you the two options. So you can hit the Bypass button, (Click track playing.) or you can hit the Mute button on the click track. (Click track playing.) But the whole point of us putting the click track on here is to hear it. So let's record something to the click track. Before we do that, I want I should change the tempo of the song.
I don't want to record at 120. The song that I want to do is actually going to be at about 86 BPM. So by double-clicking this button here, I get the Tempo Change window, and I typed in 86, with the resolution of a 1/4 note. I click OK, and you see the grid change here, due to our change in tempo. Now, let's listen to the click, and it's at a different tempo. (Click track playing.) We can also change the meter if we want, and you can choose that here.
You can add a meter change. Now, I don't actually change the meter, but if you wanted to, you could type in something here and put it to a different location. You can also create a tempo change at some other bar than the beginning, if you click on that little arrow here and open up the Tempo Change box. But I'm happy with just keeping it at 86. So now, first I am going to rename this Ac gtr and record enable the track, and I am going to lay down my acoustic guitar to the click track.
(Music playing.) So, I just laid down my acoustic guitar track in time with the click.
Now, let me show you a few more things about the click track before we get out of here. If we go to the Setup menu, and down to the Click/Countoff, we can tell Pro Tools when we want the click to happen. We can say during play and record, only during record, only during count-off, and we can have a countoff that happens only when we are recording. We can also choose a different output for the click. We can use virtual instruments here or just have the simple click plug-in, and we don't have to change this output at all.
But I just want you to be aware of this Click/Countoff Options box. Also, if we go Setup > Preferences and we click in the MIDI tab, we can check this off in the Basics, Automatically Create Click Track in New Sessions. I like to have that on, so I'll keep that checked. So anytime you open a new session, Pro Tools will automatically create a new click track. Recording to a click ensures that you play along with a steady tempo, which is often a good idea when you're trying to flush out an idea to share with others or when you're going to be recording other rhythmic parts on the song.
I highly recommend that you record almost everything with a click track as a reference.
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