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Pro Tools 9 Essential Training with musician and producer David Franz demonstrates concepts and techniques necessary for recording, editing, mixing, and mastering in the industry-standard software for music and post-production. The course covers creating music with virtual instruments and plugins, editing with elastic audio for time and pitch manipulation, creating a musical score, and mixing with effects loops. Exercise files accompany the course.
In this video, I am going to show you the steps involved in recording audio into Pro Tools. I'll start from the very beginning, as if I'm coming to Pro Tools with a brand-new song idea. First, we need to create a new session, so I'll go to File > New Session. And we could start with the session from a template if we wanted, but I'm actually going to go to a blank session. So I'll choose WAV as my audio file type, I'll choose 16-bit/44.1 kHz as the sampling rate, and I'll use my last used I/O settings.
I'm going to name this. I'm actually saving this to the Desktop, but usually I would save this to an external FireWire hard drive. But the desktop is fine, just for this initial idea right now. So here we have the Edit window, completely blank, with no tracks. So I am going to create a new track. And I'm going to be recording an acoustic guitar, so I'm just going to create one new mono audio track, make it larger, by going to the bottom of the track here, and you'll see the icon for the cursor is this double arrow.
If I click and drag, I can make it taller. And while I'm here, I'm going to double -click the track name and change it to Ac Gtr, so that now when I start recording, the audio files will actually be called Ac Gtr, as opposed to Audio 1. Once I've created my track, I need to plug in my instrument into the interface, which in this case is the back of a 003, and I'll be going into the DI input. If you're recording with a microphone, obviously you go into the microphone input here.
The next step for me is choosing the proper input type on the 003 itself. So I'm going to press the Mic/DI button to toggle the input to the DI setting, which is the one with the light illuminated. That tells the 003 what type of input signal to expect. You may have a different process for this for your interface. Now back in Pro Tools, I want to check out that this track is set up for the right input and output. So I'm going to choose the I/O on this track, and check that we're plugged into the Analog 1 input path.
So I've plugged into the Input 1 of the 003, and that is the same input is Analog 1 shown here in Pro Tools. And the default output, Analog 1-2, is the one that will be going to my monitors and my headphones, so that's totally fine. And again, if you don't see this I/O section on the track, you can go over to this button right here, and choose it, or you can go up to View > Edit Window View, and choose I/O. The next step is that I want to go and check our hardware buffer size.
So I want to go up to Setup > Playback Engine, and the hardware buffer size I want to make as small as possible. And in this case, I can make it 32 samples. It's a very short amount of time, and what that does is reduce the amount of latency that happens when I'm recording. For those of you recording into a USB-powered interface, like an Mbox 3, you should turn the Mix knob all the way to the left to the Input side, to achieve zero latency monitoring. On some third-party USB devices, this Mix Control is software driven.
In that case go to Setup > Hardware, and click on the Launch Setup App button to adjust the mix level. Pro Tools users with FireWire interfaces, like the 003--which is what I'm using here--can actually choose Low Latency Monitoring from the Options menu. This will reduce the latency to the least amount that you can possibly have while using one of these types of interfaces. Now I'm going to cover latency in much more detail in another video in this course.
The next step is to choose the Monitoring mode. We can choose that from the Track menu. There are two options: we have Input Only Monitoring and Auto Input Monitoring. The one that you see here is not the one that is active. It's a little confusing, but if we choose this one now, Input Only Monitoring will be active. And you can see that indicated right here. That's the one that we actually want to be active at the moment; we don't want Auto Input Monitoring active, so we're going to just get away from that and not choose it.
It's a little confusing for sure, but we can at least check this over here and know which status we're in. So we're in Input Only Monitoring. I am going to talk in much more detail about the monitoring modes in another video in this course, but for this particular purpose, let's keep it in Input Only Monitoring mode. So we're almost ready to record. The next step is to actually record-enable the track. So we go over to the Record button and we hit the red Record button.
Now we need to adjust our input level, so we need to set our recording level, and that means that you need to start playing or singing into the microphone to see how large our signal is. (Guitar playing.) All right, that seems like a pretty good level. We don't want to peek it out, and we don't want it to be too soft. If you need to, adjust the gain knob, turning it up or down for the Input level on the track on your interface. So the last step now is to actually record.
So let's go over to the Record button, click that, and then I'll hit the Play button, and Pro Tools will start recording. When you're done, you can hit the Stop button or press the Spacebar. (Guitar playing.) Well, it wasn't the perfect take, but it will do, as a rough idea. Now, this may seem like a lot of steps just to start recording.
However, these steps will become second nature to you very quickly, and you'll be able to record into Pro Tools within just a minute of launching the program.
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