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Pro Tools 10 Essential Training with musician and producer David Franz illuminates the process of recording, editing, mixing, and mastering in Avid Pro Tools, the industry-standard software for music and postproduction. The course covers recording live audio and adding effects on the fly, creating music with virtual instruments and plug-ins, editing for time and pitch manipulation, creating a musical score, and mixing and mastering a track.
A group consists of one or more tracks that are grouped together. Groups are useful for editing or mixing several tracks in the same way, at the same time. To create a group, first we've got to select the tracks that we want in our group. So I'm going to go down here and click on this acoustic guitar track, and now I'm going to Shift+Click on this other track. So I'm going to press the Shift key and click. Now both of these tracks are highlighted. Another way to do that is to go up to the Link Track and Edit Selection button, click that, and now if I click and drag across these tracks, the track names become highlighted.
So now I actually just want these two tracks highlighted, and now I'm going to create a group. Track > Group, and the Create Group dialog box opens. You can also use the key commands, Command+G on a Mac, or Ctrl+G in Windows to open this dialog box. You can see that we've got a lot of options here in this dialog box and you should note that Pro Tools HD users and those with the Complete Production Toolkit will have some additional options inside of this dialog too.
So first we can name the group and I'm going to type in Ac Gtrs. Then we can choose the type of group and we can have it just be an edit group, a mix group, or both, and usually that's what you want to choose is edit and mix group. We can set the group ID, or we can just have Pro Tools choose it for us, and I'll just use the default. And then we can tell Pro Tools what we want linked within that group, so mutes, solos, send mutes, send levels.
And finally, we can decide which tracks we want in the group. Currently we have the acoustic guitar and acoustic guitar 2 tracks. If we wanted another one in there, we could just click on the name of the track and hit Add. Or if we want to remove it, we can click it here and click Remove. I'm going to go ahead and click the OK button and create our group. Our new group shows up here in the group's list and it's highlighted, which means that it's active.
And now if I go up to one of the tracks in our group to the Mute button here, I'm going to click mute, and you'll see both of the tracks in the group are muted. I can also adjust the volume on one track and all the tracks in that group will be adjusted as well. And if I change the track view, say from waveform to volume, all tracks in the group do the same thing. Now, if you temporarily want to suspend the group so that you can change something only on one track that's part of a group, you can hit the Ctrl key on a Mac or the Start key on Windows and adjust this parameter.
So I'm going to hit the Ctrl key here, or the Start key, and click this Mute button, and you'll see that this track up here stays muted, but the track that I just want to suspend from the group temporarily, is unmated. Now let's go down to the group's list for a minute. You'll see that not only do we have this acoustic guitars group that we created, we also have the ALL group, and that's present in every single session. We can just click it once to turn it on or click it once again to deactivate it.
And when you right-click on a group, you get a menu that shows up down here. I'm going to come back to that in one second. I want to go over to the Mix window and I'm just going to use my Key command to get over there, Command+= on the Mac, or Ctrl+= on a PC, and now we're looking at the Mix window. And when a group is active in the Mix window, you'll see it listed here, and there's even a color that's associated with the group that's shown here. Now, if you simply click on this button, you'll see that menu that we saw on the Edit window as well.
And we've got a number of things that we can apply to the groups. So we can choose which tracks, we can choose some attributes, and one of the ones that you'll probably use often, which I do, is the modify command. So if I click that, the Modify Groups dialog opens up, and let's say that we want to actually have the solos be linked within the group. So I'm going to check that off, and now hit OK. And so when I hit the solo, both of these tracks in the group are now soloed.
Now, in this case, in the Mix window, we don't actually see the mix groups. So I'm going to go down to this button here, the Mix Window View selector and click that, so it opens up the mix groups and now we can see them. Now, if I right-click on this group name, again this menu shows up. And one of the things that I really like to use here is the show only tracks in group. If I click that, now only the two tracks in the current group that I'm using are showing up. And sometimes this can be pretty handy if you're working on a session that has a lot of tracks and you just want to focus in on the group.
So I'm going to go back down here and right-click, and choose show all tracks to show everything in the session now. And while we're here talking about the groups, let's check out the group's list pop-up menu, and you'll see that we have a few options here. We can create a new group; we can display only the edit groups or only the mix groups or all groups; we can suspend the groups, which means that the groups become inactive; and we can modify groups, which will open up the Modify Groups dialog box.
We can also delete active groups. And so if I choose this to get rid of our group, you'll see this little dialog box. And deleting a group is not undoable. So if you're sure you want to delete it, then we can, and I'm going to go ahead and do that. So any track can be part of a group or multiple groups at one time. You should use groups to make your workflow more efficient while recording, editing, and mixing.
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