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Once recording and editing are finished, audio engineers can take advantage of the training in Mixing and Mastering with Pro Tools to punch up the final output. Digidesign Certified Expert Brian Lee White covers all the basic mixing tools that every producer and engineer should know, from using EQ to add clarity and focus to using compression and limiting to maximize track levels within a mix. Brian stresses the importance of setting up a solid mixing plan prior to any work in Pro Tools, and gives advice on the best plug-ins for each stage of the process. Exercise files accompany the course.
The Pro Tools Mix window is where we'll spend most of our time during mix down and acts as the core environment and utility for combining all the individual audio tracks into a common output. So what is the Mixer anyways and why do we need one? If we didn't have a Mixer, we would need effectively a speaker for each track in our session and that wouldn't be very practical. So what the Mixer does is it combines all the tracks of our session into a stereo format to send out to our speakers and it also gives us some basic level and pan settings for each signal as it's added to the mix.
So historically, you would have your multi-track tape machine and those individual tracks we fed into a large format recording console and then summed down into a stereo output. The Pro Tools Mixer takes the audio you can think of from the regions from our Edit window that's sort of our tape machine, and combines it into a single stereo or surround in some cases, signal to feed to our hardware output of our interface and into our speakers. The Mixer servers as the environment for adding signal processing tools like plug-ins and output gear and also allows us to route signals around the Mixer submix tracks, route sends and returns and things like that.
So the Mixer in Pro Tools is much like an analog mixing console, only it's going to grow and shrink in response to the size or track count of our session. So each channel represents what we call a channel strip. Each channel provides 10 inserts. Right now I'm only showing 5. And ten sends, again, I'm only showing 5. If I wanted to show more, I could say View > Mix Window Views and add my additional 5 Inserts or 5 Sends. Now I can also show each channel strip as a breakaway fader by clicking next to the Output, on the little Fader icon.
And each channel strip is going to provide metering for our signals as they route to the system and give us a basic level and pan control. So when we add tracks to the mix, we have the ability to adjust our level and pan as they're being summed onto the mix bus. So over the next few videos, we're going to take some time to familiarize ourselves with the Pro Tools Mixer and its resources, and sort of understand the ins and outs of the mix environment inside of Pro Tools, and this is really the first step towards crafting a great mix in the box.
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