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Playing back audio

From: Pro Tools 9 Essential Training

Video: Playing back audio

Playing back audio seems like a no-brainer function in Pro Tools. Press the Play button on the Transport controls, and you're good to go. 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. So yes, you can press Play in the Transport controls and Pro Tools will play back. So let's do that that. (Music playing.) Press the Stop button, and that will stop Pro Tools. You can also use the Spacebar... (Music playing.) for stopping and starting, and you can press Play and Stop on a control surface.

Playing back audio

Playing back audio seems like a no-brainer function in Pro Tools. Press the Play button on the Transport controls, and you're good to go. 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. So yes, you can press Play in the Transport controls and Pro Tools will play back. So let's do that that. (Music playing.) Press the Stop button, and that will stop Pro Tools. You can also use the Spacebar... (Music playing.) for stopping and starting, and you can press Play and Stop on a control surface.

Now each time I've been playing so far in this video, we've been starting from the very beginning of the session. But what if we want to go somewhere else in this session? We can do that in a few different ways. First, I am going to select the Selector tool, and then I can place the cursor anywhere in the session, and Pro Tools will start from there. So, now I've put my cursor here and clicked, and now I am going to hit the Spacebar to start playing from that spot. (Music playing.) From this spot, we can also hit the Fast-Forward and Rewind buttons, and they will jump ahead by a measure each time we click.

(Music playing.) I can also bounce backwards with the Rewind. You can go into the Counter and type in the time that you want Pro Tools to start playing, and that will relocate the cursor, and then we can press Play from that spot. (Music playing.) We can select a specific area for playback in a number of ways as well. With the Selector tool still selected, I can click and drag, and that will select this area as the playback area.

(Music playing.) We can adjust the timeline selection start and end markers--these little blue arrows--by clicking and dragging on them, and then play back just that selected area. (Music playing.) I can also choose to Time Grabber tool, and if we click on a region, that will highlight the region, and that will become the playback area. (Music playing.) And we can even go up in here and choose an area that we want to have playback.

So when you enter in the time here, type in the number, and hit Return. And now we have one bar down here that's selected. (Music playing.) Now, let's talk about edit window scrolling. If we go to the Options menu, and look at this list of options for Edit Window Scrolling, we can see No Scrolling, After Playback, Page, and Continuous. Let me tell you what those mean. If you're playing back Pro Tools and the playback cursor reaches the right side of the screen on the Edit window-- that is, right over here--Pro Tools will respond differently depending on what scrolling option you've selected.

With No Scrolling, you'll see what happens right here: (Music playing.) The cursor goes beyond the screen, and you don't see it anymore. However, if we choose After Playback, let's see what happens. (Music playing.) It actually moves the whole view of the Edit window and centers the cursor right in the middle of the Edit window. What happens if we choose Page? (Music playing.) Pro Tools slides the entire page over as soon as the cursor hits the end of the page. And finally, Continuous, let's check this one out.

(Music playing.) The playback cursor is continually centered in the Edit window. I am going to scroll back to the beginning, and you'll see because of the Continuous setting that we have here, the playback cursor is at the very beginning of the session, but it's centered so we have this whole gray area to the left. If I hit the Return button, that's the return to 0 button--same as up here-- which sets the cursor to the very beginning of the session, and I am going to press Play, and you are going to see what happens.

(Music playing.) So the Continuous Edit Window scrolling starts sliding all the material to left. Now, let's talk about the playback modes. If we go over to the Play button and right-click it, you'll see four different playback modes. Let's choose Loop, and I'm actually going to go back to No Scrolling. So we have Loop Playback chosen and what that means is if we select an area, Pro Tools will loop that selected area.

(Music playing.) It loops it back around, and there's a number of ways to get in and out of Loop Playback. As I just showed you, you can right-click the Play button, you can choose it in the Options menu, there is also key commands where if you do Command+Shift+L on a Mac or Ctrl+Shift+L on Windows then you can start Loop Playback. Finally, if you Contol+Click the Play button on a Mac or if you Start+Click the Play button in Windows, then you can toggle the Loop Playback.

So, I am hitting Control on the Mac here and toggling between Loop Playback and regular playback. I am going to right-click the Play button again and choose Half-Speed playback. (Music playing.) That's kind of a fun option. What's happens here is the audio is played back at an octave lower, and it's half speed. However, MIDI, as you heard with the beat track, is not slowed down, nor is it pitch-shifted.

What you can do to activate half-speed playback is press the Shift button and then press the Spacebar, or you can actually Shift+Click the Play button. (Music playing.) Do you hear the difference? Now, you can use this Half-Speed playback if you want to learn fast passages of music, so maybe you want to learn a really fast guitar lick. Try this out. Another option for playback is the Prime for Playback.

I am going to select that here. When do you want to use Prime for Playback? Well, when you have a large number of tracks in a session, Pro Tools might take a little bit longer to start playback than usual. To avoid this, you can use the Prime for Playback mode. So you see that the Stop button is lit up, and the Play button is flashing. All you have to do is hit the Spacebar now, and Pro Tools will start playing. (Music playing.) Now, there is not too much difference here in the session, because this is 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 in Windows to enact Prime for Playback. The final play option that we have in Pro Tools is called the Dynamic Transport. We can choose that here again by right-clicking the Play button. When you turn that on, you'll notice that the main timescale here, which happens to be bars and beats, expands to double its size.

That means that we can actually grab this Play Start Marker right here and move that separately from what's selected as the playback area. Conveniently, we don't lose the playback selection. So what's cool about this is that I can start playing back at the end of the loop here and see how it sounds cycling back to the front of it like this. (Music playing.) So I can hear what the transition is from the end of this loop back to the beginning, and it sounds pretty smooth.

Again, there are options for activating this. We can go to Options and hit Dynamic Transport. You can also hit Control+Command+P on a Mac or Start+Ctrl+P in Windows to activate or deactivate the Dynamic Transport. You should note that enabling the Dynamic Transport mode automatically activates Loop Playback mode and deactivates Linked Timeline and Edit Selection. 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.

So, I am going to turn off Dynamic Transport and go to the Insertion Follows Playback button. I am going to activate that and put the cursor right here. (Music playing.) Now, something's different. The cursor actually moved to the end of where we stopped playing. (Music playing.) When insertion follows playback, it actually follows where you ended the last playback.

If we turn this off again, you'll see the opposite is true. (Music playing.) Playback stays where you were initially started it. So just be aware of this button, because it can affect how you play back your tracks. 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 you are familiar with Pro Tools.

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This video is part of

Image for Pro Tools 9 Essential Training
Pro Tools 9 Essential Training

106 video lessons · 11367 viewers

David Franz
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  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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