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The first step in having a successful Pro Tools experience happens before you even install Pro Tools on your computer. Before installing Pro Tools, check to make sure that your computer meets the requirements to run Pro Tools. Go to the avid.com site and choose Support & Services. I've chosen in here, this is the page. Now on the right side, under Pro Tools Support choose Knowledgebase. Use this site to check that your computer specs, operating system, hard drive, audio interfaces, MIDI interfaces, plug -ins, and third-party devices are all compatible with Pro Tools 10.
The biggest issues I've seen as a Pro Tools instructor involve incompatibility, and I absolutely recommend checking out this site before purchasing any additional hardware or software that you plan on using with Pro Tools, especially if you're buying a new computer. So let's look at where you want to find information on compatibility. If you scroll down this menu right here, you can see Compatibility. If we choose that and then hit Search, we'll see a whole list of system requirements, approved devices, and more. Let's click on the Pro Tools 10 System Requirements.
On this page, you can check to make sure that you're running a compatible version of your computer's operating system, as well as having the total system RAM necessary and an Avid-qualified computer. Minor version differences between the OS and Pro Tools can be all the difference between whether Pro Tools can run on your computer or not. Be sure to check this site often, as it will get updated as new hardware and software become available. Before installing Pro Tools, there are a few things that you can optimize on your computer to make sure that it runs really smoothly with Pro Tools.
On a Mac, you should turn off the Software Update. You don't want the operating system to update automatically to a version that's not compatible with Pro Tools. You should turn off the Energy Saver setting so that your computer and Pro Tools never go to sleep. Also, Pro Tools uses some keyboard shortcuts that are automatically assigned to the Mac operating system. So I recommend disabling or reassigning those shortcuts so that Pro Tools can use them. I would also disable Spotlight Indexing and Time Machine so that those processes aren't automatically running in the background because they can reduce the performance of Pro Tools.
I'd also enable Journaling which can yield higher performance from your hard drives. The specific steps on how to do these actions are listed in the Pro Tools installation instructions. Note that some of these steps may change as the Mac OS gets updated. To optimize a Windows system for Pro Tools, you should disable the User Account control and configure the system standby and power management settings to get the higher performance setting. You can also adjust the processor scheduling and disable Startup items to achieve even better performance.
The specific steps on how to do these actions are also listed in the Pro Tools installation instructions. Note that some of these steps may change as the Windows OS gets updated. Here are few more recommended optimizations that are applicable to both Mac and Windows systems. You should turn off any program that runs in the background. You should quit any program that's unneeded while running Pro Tools. And turn off any unused FireWire devices and nonessential USB devices. There may also be a few more that are listed on avid.com, so you should check their site for the latest info.
Now let's talk about hard drives. Here's a list of approved hard drives to use with Pro Tools. Avid strongly advises not to record audio to the internal system hard drive on your computer. That will reduce the performance of Pro Tools and can also interfere with the performance of your computer in general, not just with Pro Tools. Mixing hard drive types in your setup can cause performance issues. And SSD drives are not yet tested or qualified to use with Pro Tools at the time of this course's release.
Although it's likely that they will in fact be qualified soon. Again, check the compatibility page on Avid's site for the latest recommendations, and set the optimizations as shown here to get the best performance from your Pro Tools system.
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