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Creating a headphone (cue) mix

From: Pro Tools 9 Essential Training

Video: Creating a headphone (cue) mix

When you record into Pro Tools, you'll often be wearing headphones. Creating a good headphone mix is imperative to helping you capture the best performances while recording. For the most basic headphones 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 knob all the way down at first. Then press play in Pro Tools and turn up the headphone volume to a level that is comfortable, neither too loud nor too soft. The headphone jacks on your interface receive the main output.

Creating a headphone (cue) mix

When you record into Pro Tools, you'll often be wearing headphones. Creating a good headphone mix is imperative to helping you capture the best performances while recording. For the most basic headphones 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 knob all the way down at first. Then press play in Pro Tools and turn up the headphone volume to a level that is comfortable, neither too loud nor too soft. The headphone jacks on your interface receive the main output.

In this particular case, and in most cases, it's Analog 1 and 2. However, at the moment, we can't really tell what the overall volume level is coming out of Pro Tools. What we need to do is create a stereo master fader track, so let's do that; New > Stereo > Master Fader. Now we can tell what the overall volume is from this session, and we can control it with this fader right here, and this is the level that will feed your headphone jacks.

Monitoring the Analog 1-2 output is usually fine for just recording one person at a time, but getting the levels of each track in the mix is very important. When you record, the mix of 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's voice is too low in the mix, they might push their voices and go sharp to rise above the other instruments in the mix.

So try to get a good balance between instruments in the mix, and most likely you'll have to boost the instrument that you're recording just a little so it can be heard above the mix. Adding effects to the headphone mix can give a special energy to the instrument or create an inspiration for the instrumentalists or vocalists. Vocalist in particular like to have some reverb and/or some delay on their voices while they are recording, so I recommend setting up an effects loop for this purpose. We've already got one set up in here, so check it out.

These tracks are bussed on a send to this auxiliary track, where it's being affected by this D-Verb, which is a reverb plug-in. And you can set up multiple effects loops in this similar style for any kind of affects that you want to add. So what happens if you want to record more than one person at a time, and they 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.

Let's say you're recording a guitar player and a bass player at the same time, and they each want their own separate headphone mixes. We can use the main mix through Analog 1-2 for one of them and mix it the way that they want it. But let's set up a separate second mix for the other player. What I'm going to do is show sends F through J, and I'm going to up here, press Option on a Mac or Alt on a PC, and choose Output 3-4. That's Analog output three and four.

Go up to View and Sends F-J and choose Send J, so we can see the controls for each one of these tracks. And now I can build a completely separate second mix for the guitar player, and I can bring these levels up however we want. The final step here is to create a New Stereo Master Fader track, and it automatically goes to Analog 3-4, and we will use this track to adjust the overall output for this second headphone mix.

So to recap, we've got all 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 get a second headphone mix. Creating a good headphone mix--whether it's simply getting the right balance between the 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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This video is part of

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Pro Tools 9 Essential Training

106 video lessons · 11417 viewers

David Franz
Author

 
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  1. 13m 13s
    1. Welcome
      1m 16s
    2. Exploring the different versions of Pro Tools
      2m 30s
    3. Optimizing your computer before installing Pro Tools
      4m 6s
    4. Troubleshooting
      2m 18s
    5. Using the exercise files
      3m 3s
  2. 31m 3s
    1. Installing and authorizing Pro Tools
      1m 50s
    2. Connecting your Pro Tools system
      4m 1s
    3. Powering up and powering down
      58s
    4. Choosing the Playback Engine and Hardware settings
      4m 13s
    5. Optimizing Pro Tools performance
      5m 52s
    6. Utilizing Automatic Delay Compensation (ADC)
      1m 38s
    7. Setting essential preferences
      2m 35s
    8. Creating a Pro Tools session
      3m 43s
    9. Identifying elements in a session folder
      2m 33s
    10. Creating new tracks
      3m 40s
  3. 42m 9s
    1. Exploring the Edit window
      6m 52s
    2. Exploring the Mix window
      3m 11s
    3. Exploring the Transport and Big Counter windows
      2m 57s
    4. Using the Color palette and window arrangements
      2m 36s
    5. Investigating the menus
      3m 13s
    6. Understanding samples and ticks
      3m 34s
    7. Viewing and manipulating tracks
      4m 31s
    8. Selecting inputs, outputs, and buses
      3m 58s
    9. Selecting an I/O Settings file
      4m 12s
    10. Understanding signal paths and gain stages
      3m 46s
    11. Utilizing keyboard shortcuts and keyboard focus
      3m 19s
  4. 19m 31s
    1. Using DigiBase and the Workspace browser
      4m 22s
    2. Importing audio
      3m 1s
    3. Importing MIDI
      2m 46s
    4. Importing session data
      3m 44s
    5. Importing tracks from a CD
      2m 44s
    6. Importing video
      2m 54s
  5. 1h 0m
    1. Recording audio
      6m 14s
    2. Playing back audio
      10m 0s
    3. Creating a click track
      5m 25s
    4. Overdubbing and using the record modes
      8m 29s
    5. Recording with playlists and Loop Record
      4m 3s
    6. Punch recording and using the monitoring modes
      4m 17s
    7. Dealing with latency and ADC
      4m 58s
    8. Creating a group
      4m 52s
    9. Adding effects while recording
      5m 17s
    10. Creating a headphone (cue) mix
      4m 29s
    11. Assigning disk allocation
      2m 17s
  6. 1h 19m
    1. Understanding nondestructive editing and region types
      3m 3s
    2. Using the Selector and Grabber tools
      3m 29s
    3. Using the Trimmer and Scrubber tools
      8m 16s
    4. Using the Zoomer tool and Zoom presets
      5m 41s
    5. Using the Pencil tool
      2m 46s
    6. Using the Smart tool
      1m 28s
    7. Understanding the Edit modes
      5m 9s
    8. Arranging regions
      5m 33s
    9. Undoing an edit
      2m 8s
    10. Utilizing fades and crossfades
      7m 22s
    11. Building a comp track using playlists
      4m 50s
    12. Locking and muting regions
      2m 52s
    13. Special Edit window buttons
      6m 47s
    14. Creating an audio loop
      4m 13s
    15. Editing a voiceover
      8m 37s
    16. Using Elastic Time and Elastic Pitch
      7m 38s
  7. 19m 27s
    1. Working with region groups
      6m 39s
    2. Using time, tempo, meter, key, and chord
      5m 37s
    3. Creating memory locations
      7m 11s
  8. 30m 47s
    1. Setting up MIDI on a Mac
      4m 7s
    2. Setting up MIDI on a PC
      2m 13s
    3. Setting up MIDI in Pro Tools
      2m 37s
    4. Recording MIDI data
      3m 7s
    5. Recording multiple MIDI tracks with one virtual instrument
      2m 17s
    6. Recording options for MIDI
      5m 44s
    7. Using step input
      4m 14s
    8. Making a drum loop with MIDI Merge
      3m 36s
    9. Composing with virtual instruments
      2m 52s
  9. 54m 25s
    1. Using the edit tools for editing MIDI data
      9m 47s
    2. Editing MIDI data in the MIDI Editor
      8m 17s
    3. Working with the MIDI event list
      2m 13s
    4. Editing MIDI data with event operations
      8m 35s
    5. Quantizing MIDI tracks
      12m 16s
    6. Creating and using groove templates
      5m 35s
    7. Utilizing real-time properties
      3m 49s
    8. Using MIDI Learn
      3m 53s
  10. 17m 44s
    1. Exploring the Score Editor
      5m 56s
    2. Using the Score Editor
      5m 11s
    3. Setting up a score
      4m 48s
    4. Printing and exporting a score
      1m 49s
  11. 25m 45s
    1. Writing and editing automation
      7m 21s
    2. Drawing automation with the Pencil tool
      3m 58s
    3. Editing automation with the Trimmer and Grabber tools
      2m 26s
    4. Cutting, copying, pasting, and clearing automation
      4m 2s
    5. Turning automation on and off
      4m 0s
    6. Automating plug-ins and virtual instruments
      3m 58s
  12. 1h 33m
    1. Setting up a session for mixing
      7m 53s
    2. Setting up an effects loop
      9m 30s
    3. Working with plug-ins
      4m 33s
    4. Utilizing ADC while mixing
      9m 11s
    5. Applying EQ
      9m 25s
    6. Adding compression and limiting
      13m 27s
    7. Adding depth effects: Delay and reverb
      12m 45s
    8. Applying AudioSuite plug-ins
      4m 14s
    9. Bouncing down a mix and making an MP3
      5m 44s
    10. Setting up a session for mastering
      4m 36s
    11. Mastering a session
      7m 35s
    12. Bouncing down master recordings with Dither and Noise Shaping
      4m 52s
  13. 10m 6s
    1. Importing and displaying video files
      2m 42s
    2. Adding music, foley, ADR, and FX
      4m 32s
    3. Bouncing down video and audio together
      2m 52s
  14. 4m 22s
    1. Archiving an entire session
      4m 22s
  15. 52s
    1. Further Recommendations
      52s

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