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No matter what hardware you're using with Pro Tools, whether it's an Avid interface, a third-party interface, or simply your computer's inputs and outputs, you can utilize the I/O setup to customize your signal routing in Pro Tools. Go to Setup > I/O. The I/O Setup shows all of the signal routing available into, within, and out of Pro Tools in a convenient matrix format. It includes the names and paths for all the inputs, outputs, busses, inserts, mic preamps, and hardware insert delays.
On each page you can rename, reorganize, create or delete signal paths within Pro Tools. One good thing to start with is to actually click on the Default button, which will set up the default paths for this particular page, the Input page, for your particular interface. You can do that for every page if you want. Let's go back to the Input page. Renaming paths is a great way to customize your interaction with Pro Tools and make your sessions more organized, that's what I use this window for the most.
So I'm going to go down to this stereo input path, click there, so I open up the mono paths within the stereo path. I'm going to double-click Analog 1, and let's say, I've always got my vocal mic plugged into Analog Input 1, so I'm going to call this Vocal Mic, and hit return, and now let's saved as the name of that path. Let's go over to the Bus page, here we can route busses directly to outputs, and we can do that like this.
If we go down to Bus 1-2, if we click this right here, we can choose which output that we want this bus to go to, and let's say Analog 3-4 is where you want this bus to go to. Now this can be useful if we want to route a specific bus like Bus 1-2 directly out to Analog 3-4, if we're running it through external processors, or if we're trying to create multiple headphone mixes. Once you've created a personalized I/O setup you may want to export it so you can use it in other sessions.
So if we go down to the Export Settings button, click that we can save this as our own particular I/O setting. And that's saved in the IO Settings folder so it makes them very convenient for us to find them. You can also import settings and these will import from the IO Settings folder where we've just saved mine right here, df_iosettings. And when you click to import, you may see this warning, Delete existing unused paths? The default is No, but I often choose Yes, because if they're unused, we don't need them.
Every time that you import settings, it only imports for this particular page so this would just be for the Bus page. If we want to import input settings from another I/O settings document, we'll have to use the same procedure using the Import Settings button right here. Now, Pro Tools remembers the I/O settings for your particular system and the ones saved with your session. You can recall the settings from either if they're different. It just depends on whether you check the Sessions overwrite current I/O Setup when opened.
When this box is unchecked like this, Pro Tools recalls the I/O settings from the default routing saved with your system, based on your hardware setup. When this box is checked, which is the default setting, Pro Tools recalls the I/O Settings from the session instead of from the system, and just so you know, busses are always saved with, and recalled with the session, they are not saved with your system. So it's up to you whether you want to check or uncheck this, but I would recommend using the default.
So as you can see here, Pro Tools offers a lot of flexibility in its own signal routing using the I/O Setup window. Use it to your advantage to customize your I/O settings.
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