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When you are record into Pro Tools, you will often be wearing headphones. Creating a good headphone mix is imperative to helping you capture the best performances while recording. For the most basic headphone setup, plug in your headphones to the headphone jack on your interface. Some interfaces have two headphone jacks like the 003. Turn the headphone volume down all the way at first. You don't want it to be too loud when you put on your headphones. Then press play in Pro Tools and turn the volume knob up slowly to a level that's comfortable, neither too loud or too soft.
The headphone jacks on your interface receive the main output that is in this session, Analog 1 and 2. All these tracks are routed through Analog 1 and 2 and then they go through this Master Fader track, which feeds out the mix to the headphone jacks. And just monitoring the Analog 1, 2 or the main outputs is usually fine if you are just recording one person at a time, but getting the levels of each of the tracks in the mix is really important. When you record the mix in the headphones can either help or hinder the person recording in a few different ways. For example, if a vocalist's voice is too prominent in the headphone mix, the vocalist might sing a little flat and with less energy. However if the vocalist voice is too low in the mix, they might push the voice and go sharp to rise above the other instruments in the mix.
Try to get a good balance between the instruments and the mix and most likely you will have to boost the instrument that you are recording. So it can be heard just above the mix a little. When you are setting up a headphone mix, you can add effects to any instrument to provide either creative inspiration or to make the instrumentalist or vocalist feel more comfortable. Vocalists in particular like to have some reverb or some delay on their voices while they are recording, maybe even both. I recommend setting up an Effects Loop for this purpose and you can see the Effects Loop is already started in this session. I have got Sends routed to a D-Verb plug-in on this Aux track and if we want to set one up for the vocal track, I can choose the same bus which is Bus 1 and 2 and that will route a copy of this vocal track to the input of this auxiliary track where it will then be processed by the D-Verb plug in.
Now I talk about setting up an Effects Loop in another video in this course. So if you want to see the specifics, check that video out. So what happens if you want to record more than one person at a time and then each want their own personal headphone mixes? Well you can make as many separate headphone mixes as you like, the only limitation is the number of separate outputs you have on your interface. So let's say you are recording a guitar player and a bass player at the same time and they each want their own separate headphone mixes. So I have got these two tracks down here, the Lead Guitar and the Bass and I'm going to set up a mix for each one of them. Now one of them I can probably use just the main mix for. So I'm just going to feed the Analog 1-2 output to their headphone mix. But let's say I'm going to set up a separate mix for the guitar player. So I'll do it like this. First I'm going to choose to select the Sends F-J and I'm going to create this headphone mix using Sends.
So I'm going to go up to Send J right here, I'm going to press the Option key on a MAC or the Alt key on a PC and with that button held down, I'm going to choose the interface. I'm going to go to Analog 3-4 and that's going to put a Send that's routed to Analog 3-4 outputs on all of these tracks. Now to make this a little more clear, let's go to View Sends F-J and choose Send J. So now we can see the Send controls for all of these Sends and we can use these faders to create our own second mix here. So I'll turn these up a little, each of one these and we'll probably juice up the Lead Guitar because I'm sure the Lead Guitars, we'll want to hear that more. We can even use the Sends to send out the effects to the second headphone mix.
Now we are missing one step here, we need to create a new track and we are going to create 1 Stereo Master Fader track and that automatically defaults to Analog 3-4 as the output. So this track will control the overall output level to the second headphone mix. So to recap, we have got all of these tracks with Sends being routed to Analog 3-4, the second output and that's for our second separate headphone mix and all of these Send levels can be different than the main mix levels.
So that's how you set up a second headphone mix. Creating a good headphone mix whether it's simply getting the right balance between tracks for one person, adding effects or even creating multiple different mixes for multiple people recording at once is important for capturing the best recorded tracks that you can.
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