Pro Tools 8 Essential Training
Illustration by Richard Downs

Playing back audio


Pro Tools 8 Essential Training

with David Franz

Video: Playing back audio

Playing back audio seems like a no- brainer function in Pro Tools. Press the Play button in the Transport controls and you're good to go. (Music playing.) Well, there are some additional playback options to consider that can be very helpful, and that's what I'll be discussing here in this video. Aside from pressing the Play button in the Transport window, you can also use the Spacebar. (Music playing.) Or, you can press Play on a control surface like the 003. But wait, there is more.
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  1. 12m 54s
    1. Welcome
      1m 16s
    2. Exploring the different versions of Pro Tools
      2m 30s
    3. Optimizing your computer before installing Pro Tools
      3m 51s
    4. Troubleshooting
      3m 1s
    5. Using the exercise files
      2m 16s
  2. 23m 41s
    1. Connecting your Pro Tools system
      5m 8s
    2. Powering up and powering down
    3. Optimizing Pro Tools performance
      6m 55s
    4. Setting essential preferences
      3m 42s
    5. Creating a Pro Tools session
      3m 56s
    6. Identifying elements in a session folder
      3m 2s
  3. 47m 10s
    1. Exploring the Edit window
      4m 51s
    2. Exploring the Mix window
      2m 21s
    3. Exploring the Transport and Big Counter windows
      4m 0s
    4. Using the Color palette and window arrangements
      2m 55s
    5. Investigating Pro Tools menus
      4m 37s
    6. Creating new tracks
      4m 10s
    7. Understanding samples and ticks
      3m 36s
    8. Viewing and manipulating tracks
      5m 54s
    9. Adjusting the I/O setup
      7m 7s
    10. Understanding signal paths and gain stages
      3m 50s
    11. Utilizing keyboard shortcuts and keyboard focus
      3m 49s
  4. 30m 45s
    1. Using DigiBase and the Workspace browser
      5m 6s
    2. Importing audio
      5m 13s
    3. Importing MIDI
      3m 56s
    4. Importing session data
      6m 17s
    5. Importing tracks from a CD
      4m 18s
    6. Importing video
      2m 57s
    7. Unmounting a hard drive
      2m 58s
  5. 1h 2m
    1. Recording audio
      5m 6s
    2. Playing back audio
      10m 31s
    3. Creating a Click track
      4m 53s
    4. Overdubbing and using the record modes
      9m 25s
    5. Recording with playlists and the Loop Record mode
      3m 6s
    6. Punch recording and using the monitoring modes
      5m 28s
    7. Dealing with latency
      4m 17s
    8. Creating a group
      4m 33s
    9. Adding effects while recording
      7m 41s
    10. Creating a headphone (cue) mix
      5m 35s
    11. Assigning disk allocation
      2m 13s
  6. 1h 26m
    1. Understanding nondestructive editing and region types
      3m 31s
    2. Using the Selector and Grabber tools
      3m 29s
    3. Using the Trimmer and Scrubber tools
      6m 57s
    4. Using the Zoomer tool and Zoom presets
      5m 14s
    5. Using the Pencil tool
      3m 27s
    6. Using the Smart tool
      1m 26s
    7. Understanding the edit modes
      7m 54s
    8. Arranging regions
      8m 38s
    9. Undoing an edit
      2m 3s
    10. Utilizing fades and crossfades
      10m 29s
    11. Building a comp track using playlists
      5m 28s
    12. Locking and muting regions
      3m 36s
    13. Special buttons in the Editing window
      8m 16s
    14. Creating an audio loop
      5m 11s
    15. Editing a voiceover
      10m 59s
  7. 18m 43s
    1. Working with region groups
      5m 47s
    2. Setting time, tempo, meter, key, and chord
      5m 46s
    3. Creating memory locations
      7m 10s
  8. 35m 30s
    1. Setting up MIDI on a Mac
      4m 25s
    2. Setting up MIDI on a PC
      2m 50s
    3. Setting up MIDI in Pro Tools
      2m 46s
    4. Recording MIDI data
      5m 24s
    5. Recording multiple MIDI tracks with one virtual instrument
      2m 15s
    6. Recording options for MIDI
      6m 27s
    7. Using step input
      4m 45s
    8. Making a drum loop with MIDI Merge
      2m 51s
    9. Composing with virtual instruments
      3m 47s
  9. 48m 41s
    1. Using the edit tools for editing MIDI data
      8m 23s
    2. Editing MIDI data with the MIDI Editor
      7m 20s
    3. Working with the MIDI event list
      2m 41s
    4. Editing MIDI data with event operations
      8m 25s
    5. Quantizing MIDI tracks
      11m 31s
    6. Creating and using groove templates
      5m 59s
    7. Utilizing real-time properties
      4m 22s
  10. 18m 51s
    1. Exploring the Score Editor
      5m 22s
    2. Using the Score Editor
      6m 33s
    3. Setting up a score
      4m 30s
    4. Printing and exporting a score
      2m 26s
  11. 19m 0s
    1. Utilizing the Time Shift plug-in
      7m 41s
    2. Editing with Elastic Time
      8m 30s
    3. Editing with Elastic Pitch
      2m 49s
  12. 48m 20s
    1. Working with Boom
      11m 23s
    2. Working with Xpand2
      7m 21s
    3. Working with DB-33
      6m 58s
    4. Working with Vacuum
      7m 55s
    5. Working with Structure Free
      7m 12s
    6. Working with Mini Grand
      3m 57s
    7. Using Midi Learn
      3m 34s
  13. 25m 56s
    1. Writing and editing automation
      6m 4s
    2. Drawing automation with the Pencil tool
      4m 56s
    3. Editing automation with the Trimmer and Grabber tools
      2m 9s
    4. Cutting, copying, pasting, and clearing automation
      4m 6s
    5. Turning automation on and off
      4m 25s
    6. Automating plug-ins and virtual instruments
      4m 16s
  14. 1h 40m
    1. Setting up a session for mixing
      8m 0s
    2. Setting up an effects loop
      9m 18s
    3. Working with plug-ins
      3m 53s
    4. Dealing with delay compensation
      6m 52s
    5. Applying EQ
      9m 19s
    6. Adding compression
      11m 17s
    7. Applying limiters
      2m 57s
    8. Using Gates and Expanders
      4m 40s
    9. Working with Side Chains
      3m 35s
    10. Working with De-Essers
      3m 4s
    11. Adding delay
      7m 34s
    12. Utilizing modulation effects
      4m 43s
    13. Adding reverb
      7m 5s
    14. Adding harmonic effects
      5m 7s
    15. Renting and purchasing plug-ins
      2m 2s
    16. Applying AudioSuite plug-ins
      5m 20s
    17. Bouncing down a mix
      5m 51s
  15. 25m 45s
    1. Setting up a session for mastering
      8m 56s
    2. Using plug-ins for mastering
      8m 48s
    3. Applying Dither and Noise shaping
      4m 5s
    4. Bouncing down master recordings
      3m 56s
  16. 19m 53s
    1. Importing and displaying video files
      4m 21s
    2. Adding music, foley, ADR, and FX
      12m 28s
    3. Bouncing down video and audio together
      3m 4s
  17. 4m 50s
    1. Archiving an entire session
      4m 50s
  18. 31s
    1. Goodbye

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Watch the Online Video Course Pro Tools 8 Essential Training
10h 30m Beginner Jul 10, 2009

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

Pro Tools 8 Essential Training unveils the inner workings of the industry-standard software for music and post-production. Musician, producer, and educator David Franz demonstrates all the concepts and techniques necessary for recording, editing, mixing, and mastering in Pro Tools 8. He teaches how to create music with virtual instruments and plug-ins, edit with elastic audio for time and pitch manipulation, create a musical score, and mix with effects loops. This course can help any music producer, sound engineer, or hobbyist become proficient in Pro Tools 8. Exercise files accompany the course.

Topics include:
  • Exploring all facets of the Pro Tools interface
  • Setting up Pro Tools hardware and software properly
  • Recording and editing audio and MIDI
  • Comping a track using playlists
  • Importing data and working with video
  • Working with automation and controller lanes
  • Applying dither
  • Archiving a session for storage
Audio + Music
Pro Tools
David Franz

Playing back audio

Playing back audio seems like a no- brainer function in Pro Tools. Press the Play button in the Transport controls and you're good to go. (Music playing.) Well, there are some additional playback options to consider that can be very helpful, and that's what I'll be discussing here in this video. Aside from pressing the Play button in the Transport window, you can also use the Spacebar. (Music playing.) Or, you can press Play on a control surface like the 003. But wait, there is more.

If you go to the Setup > Preferences and down here in the Operations page, we have the numeric keypad. We can use the numeric keypad for playback and stopping as well. So if we have the Transport checked off here that means you can press zero on the numeric keypad and you get playback. If we have the Use Separate Play and Stop Keys checked off, then you have to press Enter on the numeric keypad.

With Transport selected, you can also press Stop using the zero on the numeric keypad. There are other ways to stop as well. Pressing the Spacebar, or pressing Stop on the control surface. Each time I've been playing so far in this video, we've been starting from the very beginning of the session. But if we want to go to somewhere else in the session, we can do it in a number of different ways. Use the Selector tool and click anywhere and then press Play. (Music playing.) Or, you can grab the Timeline Selection Start Marker. So now we have the start and the end markers and this creates a selection of where we can play. (Music playing.) You can also use the Fast Forward and Rewind buttons in the Transport controls. (Music playing.) Now, I was just clicking-and-holding on those, but you can also individually click and you'll see here, they're bouncing from measure to measure. (Music playing.) We can also click into the Counters and set the time that we want. So if we want to start at measure 9, press 9, and then Return or Enter and you'll see the cursor move to bar 9. (Music playing.) We can also use the Selector tool to click-and-drag to create a specific area for playback. So, if I click-and-drag, I can select this one bar for playback. (Music playing.) We can also use the Time Grabber tool to select a region. (Music playing.) Now let's talk about Edit Window Scrolling. If I go to the Options menu and look at Edit Window Scrolling, there are three options: No Scrolling, After Playback and Page. First, I'll choose No Scrolling. I'll go back to the Selector tool and if I put the Selector down here and press Play, it's going to play beyond what we see on the page. However, Pro Tools is not going to react.

(Music playing.) That's No Scrolling. If I change it to After Playback, something different is going to happen when we stop it. (Music playing.) The cursor is now placed in the middle of the Edit window and this is where we had originally started playing back. So, I'll go back to the beginning here and then go back to where we started before, and let's change the scrolling again to Page view. Press Play and see what happens. (Music playing.) You'll see that it's scrolled to the next page, our playback was here and as soon as it hit the edge of the page, it scrolled to the beginning and placed the cursor at the beginning of the next page. Now Pro Tools HD and Pro Tools LE with complete production toolkit or the DV toolkit have some additional scrolling options, but I won't cover those here.

Let's move on and talk about the playback modes. If you go up to the Play button and right-click it, you'll see that we have four different options. Half-Speed playback is a really cool option. You can use it to learn how to play really fast passages of music. For instance, if you load up a really ripping guitar solo that has a lot of notes and you can't figure out what they are, you can use Half-Speed playback to play it back slower and learn what the notes are. Now note that audio is actually played back an octave lower with Half-Speed playback, but MIDI is not. (Music playing.) Notice how the bass is an octave lower, but the MIDI stuff stays right in the same octave. Now you can also activate half-speed playback if you Shift-click the Play button or press Shift and hit the Spacebar. Another option is Prime for Playback. When you've got a large number of tracks in a session, Pro Tools might take a little longer to start playback than usual and we can avoid this by using Prime for Playback mode.

If we right-click and choose it here, it will show us that it's primed for playback. It will have the Stop button lit up and the Play button will flash. (Music playing.) So, if you hit the Play button or press the Spacebar, like I did, it will start playback right away. Now we don't really see a difference too much in this session because it's kind of a small session, but if you had a lot of tracks and it was causing Pro Tools to react a little slowly, this would be a great option for you.

You can also Option-click the Play button on a Mac or Alt-click the Play button on a Windows machine to enact Prime for Playback. Let's move onto Loop Playback. If we right-click the Play button again, we can choose it here. That will show you the Loop Playback icon. There are a number of other ways that you can activate Loop Playback. If you go to the Options menu, it's right there. We also have a key command, Command+Shift+L on a Mac or Ctrl+Shift+L on a Windows machine.

You can also Ctrl-click on a Mac or Start-click on a Windows machine. So let's hear how this works. Solo the bass track and I'm going to actually double-click with the Selector tool to highlight this region. Now I'm going to hit Play. (Music playing.) It cycles through that loop. The final play option that we have in Pro Tools is called the Dynamic Transport. We can choose that by right-clicking the Play button, turning that on and you'll notice that the main time scale here, which happens to be Bars and Beats, expands to double its size. And that means that we can actually grab this Play Start Marker and move that separately from what's selected as the playback area. And we don't lose this selection.

So what's cool about this is I can start playing back near the end of this loop and see how it sounds, cycling back to the front of it, like this. (Music playing.) See, it starts here at the Play Start Marker and then loops around. So we can see if the loop transition works well. (Music playing.) Which it does, in this case. Now note that enabling the Dynamic Transport mode automatically activates Loop Playback mode if it wasn't already active. It deactivates the Link Timeline and Edit Selection and that's this button right up here. We'll talk more about that in another video. There is one more button in this area that I want to cover regarding playback and that's called Insertion Follows Playback.

First, I'm going to get rid of the Dynamic Transport and Loop Playback to show you this. Right-click, right-click again to get rid of both of those and then we're going to reactivate the Link Timeline and Edit Selection and then activate the Insertion Follows Playback. So when I drop my cursor in to playback now, you're going to see something different. (Music playing.) When I stop it, it stops and keeps the cursor where I stopped it as opposed to returning it to where I first started playing. So check it out again. (Music playing.) The cursor ends up here instead of back here. If I turn this off again-- (Music playing.) --the cursor returns to where I started it originally.

So as you've seen in this video, there are many more options for playback in Pro Tools than it may seem. You'll probably be utilizing most of these options in your normal workflow, the more familiar you get with Pro Tools.

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