Start learning with our library of video tutorials taught by experts. Get started

Mixing and Mastering with Pro Tools
Illustration by

Using inserts and plug-ins


From:

Mixing and Mastering with Pro Tools

with Brian Lee White

Video: Using inserts and plug-ins

As I mentioned before, most mixing environments feature some sort of channel insert capability allowing the engineer to insert a signal processor or effect directly into the path of an audio signal in the Mixer. In the analog days, this meant physically patching a signal processing device through the mixing console's insert patch point, usually connected to some sort of patch bay, and running any additional effects inserts in series until returning the signal back into the Mixer's insert input.
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 14m 50s
    1. Welcome
      1m 12s
    2. The past, present, and future of mixing
      6m 20s
    3. Strategies for mixing and mastering
      5m 38s
    4. Using the exercise files
      1m 40s
  2. 40m 24s
    1. Mixing "in the box"
      5m 9s
    2. Setting up the studio: Speakers and acoustics
      13m 12s
    3. Staying organized: Effectively prepping the mix
      10m 50s
    4. Managing system resources during mixdown
      11m 13s
  3. 41m 39s
    1. Introducing the Pro Tools Mixer
      2m 24s
    2. Understanding mixer signal flow
      3m 42s
    3. Using inserts and plug-ins
      7m 4s
    4. Working with plug-in settings
      5m 1s
    5. Using sends and creating FX returns
      6m 55s
    6. Submixing with aux tracks
      4m 30s
    7. Using groups while mixing
      3m 46s
    8. Using master faders effectively
      8m 17s
  4. 21m 11s
    1. Conceptualizing the mix and making a plan
      7m 45s
    2. Using volume and pan to balance the mix
      11m 18s
    3. Knowing when to process: Mix problems vs. mix solutions
      2m 8s
  5. 1h 3m
    1. Understanding the mechanics of sound
      3m 53s
    2. Learning the basics of EQ: Frequency-specific level control
      4m 29s
    3. Using DigiRack EQ III
      16m 3s
    4. EQ strategies in mixing: Corrective vs. creative
      7m 18s
    5. EQ workflow example 1: Kick drum
      5m 39s
    6. EQ workflow example 2: Filtering loops
      5m 10s
    7. EQ workflow example 3: The "telephone" effect
      3m 7s
    8. Mixing tips and tricks for EQ
      17m 36s
  6. 1h 15m
    1. Understanding dynamics and dynamic range
      2m 1s
    2. Working with dynamics processors
      2m 57s
    3. Using the DigiRack Dyn III compressor/limiter
      10m 6s
    4. Balancing and shaping track dynamics
      3m 19s
    5. Using gates and expanders
      9m 22s
    6. Using de-essers to eliminate sibilance
      5m 47s
    7. Dynamics workflow example 1: Vocals
      10m 0s
    8. Dynamics workflow example 2: Drums
      9m 29s
    9. Mixing tips and tricks: Dynamics
      11m 37s
    10. Building parallel or "upward" compression
      7m 53s
    11. Reviewing dynamics concerns: How much is too much?
      3m 28s
  7. 47m 48s
    1. Using time-based effects to add depth and width
      3m 22s
    2. Using DigiRack D-Verb
      14m 27s
    3. Using the DigiRack delays
      9m 18s
    4. Mixing with reverb
      7m 59s
    5. Mixing with delays
      6m 19s
    6. Mixing tips and tricks: Creating mix depth
      6m 23s
  8. 18m 8s
    1. Working with the Creative Collection
      9m 8s
    2. Building distortion and saturation
      9m 0s
  9. 37m 33s
    1. Understanding automation
      4m 10s
    2. Recording real-time automation moves
      7m 6s
    3. Viewing and editing automation
      10m 17s
    4. Automating plug-ins
      7m 36s
    5. Automation strategies for mixing
      8m 24s
  10. 29m 31s
    1. Understanding the characteristics of a great mix
      7m 2s
    2. Working to reference tracks
      4m 35s
    3. Avoiding some common pitfalls
      7m 50s
    4. Building healthy mixing habits
      3m 36s
    5. Crafting your mix from start to finish
      6m 28s
  11. 1h 5m
    1. Understanding mastering
      4m 15s
    2. Bouncing the mix
      7m 9s
    3. Working with general mastering strategies
      8m 50s
    4. Using limiting and compression to maximize track level
      10m 57s
    5. Working with multi-band compression
      7m 9s
    6. Understanding sample rate, bit depth, file formats, and dither
      7m 30s
    7. Using Pro Tools for CD track sequencing
      10m 11s
    8. Compressing audio for the web
      9m 41s
  12. 44m 51s
    1. Tips for evaluating plug-in processors
      6m 51s
    2. Using EQ plug-ins
      5m 35s
    3. Using dynamic compression plug-ins
      11m 3s
    4. Using reverb and delay plug-ins
      10m 46s
    5. Reviewing additional plug-ins
      10m 36s
  13. 57m 18s
    1. Effectively using saturation/analog style effects
      13m 40s
    2. Setting up side chains
      7m 5s
    3. Master buss processing
      5m 34s
    4. Creating and using mix templates
      6m 54s
    5. Surround mixing
      6m 22s
    6. Dealing with plug-in delay and latency
      6m 26s
    7. Drum sample replacing
      11m 17s
  14. 32s
    1. Goodbye
      32s

Watch this entire course now—plus get access to every course in the library. Each course includes high-quality videos taught by expert instructors.

Become a member
please wait ...
Mixing and Mastering with Pro Tools
9h 18m Intermediate Aug 20, 2009

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

Once recording and editing are finished, audio engineers can take advantage of the training in Mixing and Mastering with Pro Tools to punch up the final output. Digidesign Certified Expert Brian Lee White covers all the basic mixing tools that every producer and engineer should know, from using EQ to add clarity and focus to using compression and limiting to maximize track levels within a mix. Brian stresses the importance of setting up a solid mixing plan prior to any work in Pro Tools, and gives advice on the best plug-ins for each stage of the process. Exercise files accompany the course.

Topics include:
  • Using the Pro Tools Creative Collection to add clarity, punch, width, and depth to a mix
  • Recording real-time automation moves for future replication
  • Building healthy and profitable mixing habits when putting a final mix together
  • Knowing when to process the audio of a track
  • Using saturation effects to capture that "analog" sound
  • Working with limiting and multiband compression during the mastering process
  • Dealing with plug-in delay and latency in a mix
Subjects:
Audio + Music Mixing Mastering
Software:
Pro Tools
Author:
Brian Lee White

Using inserts and plug-ins

As I mentioned before, most mixing environments feature some sort of channel insert capability allowing the engineer to insert a signal processor or effect directly into the path of an audio signal in the Mixer. In the analog days, this meant physically patching a signal processing device through the mixing console's insert patch point, usually connected to some sort of patch bay, and running any additional effects inserts in series until returning the signal back into the Mixer's insert input.

In the DAW era in Pro Tools while we can and do continue to use hardware gear via hardware inserts which I'll show you, we generally opt for the easier to manage and configure plug-in insert, which are often just virtual emulations of the hardware processors mixers have used for years. So plug-in inserts, what are they and what do they do? Well, first off, a plug-in is just a small software program or algorithm that runs inside of the Pro Tools Mixer and processes or affects the audio signal in a specific way.

A Mixer will use the signal processing tools to further effect tracks running through the Mixer when the Level and Pan controls are not enough. So simple example here, on the vocal, I'm using a few plug-ins. There is a Compressor plug-in and an EQ plug-in. To insert a new plug-in, I can simply click on an empty slot, choose from plug-in, and then choose the type of plug-in I want to insert, and there it is. And if I want to remove that, I can click to the left of a plug-in and choose No Insert.

I can also move these around throughout the 10 insert slots. So I can pull them down, up, I can even reorder them. Because these are in series, one processes into the next. The order will matter. So it's nice to be able to change these around and listen to the results. You can also copy a plug-in by holding down Option on the Mac or Alt on the PC and dragging. That makes a copy including the settings. Now, when we use plug-ins in Pro Tools, it's important to recognize the format of plug-in we are going to be working with.

So when you go shopping for plug-ins or you're looking to download some demos, you want to recognize the types of plug-in software that Pro Tools can use. In Pro Tools LE and Pro Tools HD, you can use RTAS or what are called Real-Time AudioSuite plug-ins. You can also use VST Format plug-ins via a VST Wrapper. A company called FXpansion makes one of these that basically just converts the popular VST Format into RTAS, so that you can use it in Pro Tools.

Now, in Pro Tools HD, we can exclusively work with TDM format plug-ins and these are plug-ins that are designed to run specifically on the DSP chips of the HD Cards. Now, once we've determined we are working with the right plug-in format, there are different types of plug-ins within Pro Tools in terms of routing mono or stereo or multichannel signals. So we have plug-ins that are mono-in, mono-out. We also have plug-ins that are Mono In/Stereo Out.

So if we look at the Reverb section here, I can see that there is a D-Verb(mono), which would mean a mono signal comes in and a mono signal goes out. Or D-Verb(mono/stereo). That means a mono signal comes in, but the plug-in then stereoizes the signal and gives you a left-right output. These can be really cool for stereoizing mono tracks in a mix. Now, on a stereo track, if I bring up a stereo track here, we have the option of using multi-channel plug- ins or multi-mono plug-ins.

Multichannel refers to stereo-in stereo-out. So all the processing is linked. Whatever you do to the left side is done to the right side. Whereas a Multi-mono plug-in, let me pull one of those up, is going to allow you to independently adjust the left and the right-hand side via the linking option. So if I uncheck the little chain, I can switch between the left and the right-hand sides, and make unique changes to each one. So in some situations, this can be beneficial. For example, for EQing something like a piano, very broad band, and the way that it's miked, you might have the bass notes on one mike and the higher notes on another mike.

You might decide to use different EQ curves for each one of those mikes, and a multi-mono plug-in can help you achieve this. So remember that plug-in inserts run in series and are pre-fader. That is to say that all this processing comes before it hits the volume fader on a given channel strip. So what that means for you in terms of processing is that when you set up a threshold in a compressor or a gate, which we'll talk about a little later, you don't have to readjust this if you adjust the volume level on the track after you've configured the plug-in.

And this is generally a good thing. Master faders however do have post- fader inserts and we'll discuss those a little bit later. Now, you can use hardware inserts in Pro Tools and a hardware insert would be an actual physical piece of hardware signal processing gear, like a hardware compressor or a hardware EQ. We can use these inline. How it basically works is we are going to take an output out of Pro Tools, feed it into our processing gear, and then bring it back in again, sort of in an effects loop kind of way.

Now, we are going to need an interface with more than just two outputs and two inputs to do this. So this isn't something I'm going to be doing on my Mbox, but something I could do on a 002, 003 or Mbox Pro. How this works, if I go to I/O on my Inserts, what I'm going to see our 1-2, 3-4, 5-6 and those refer to the physical outputs and inputs of my interface. If I were to choose 3 and 4, in this case, it would send the inline signal after it was processed by this last plug-in.

Out outputs 3 and 4 into whatever processing gear I was using, and then it would expected to be routed back into inputs 3 and 4. Now, if I don't make the patches correctly, I'm not going to hear anything out of this channel. When you use hardware inserts, Pro Tools is not going to be able to recall the settings on that gear. This may seem obvious, but it's actually kind of a big deal. You are going to have to write down those settings, or make sure it has some sort of recall situation on the device itself.

So a lot of times I opt for using plug- ins inside of Pro Tools because of the complete recall ability and the automation capabilities. So throughout the course, a variety of plug-in processors and techniques for using them in your mixes are covered. For more info on choosing and evaluating a new plug-in for your system, check out the tips for evaluating plug-in processors video in the additional topics section.

There are currently no FAQs about Mixing and Mastering with Pro Tools.

 
Share a link to this course

What are exercise files?

Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course. Save time by downloading the author's files instead of setting up your own files, and learn by following along with the instructor.

Can I take this course without the exercise files?

Yes! If you decide you would like the exercise files later, you can upgrade to a premium account any time.

Become a member Download sample files See plans and pricing

Please wait... please wait ...
Upgrade to get access to exercise files.

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Learn by watching, listening, and doing, Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along Premium memberships include access to all exercise files in the library.
Upgrade now


Exercise files

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

For additional information on downloading and using exercise files, watch our instructional video or read the instructions in the FAQ.

This course includes free exercise files, so you can practice while you watch the course. To access all the exercise files in our library, become a Premium Member.

join now Upgrade now

Are you sure you want to mark all the videos in this course as unwatched?

This will not affect your course history, your reports, or your certificates of completion for this course.


Mark all as unwatched Cancel

Congratulations

You have completed Mixing and Mastering with Pro Tools.

Return to your organization's learning portal to continue training, or close this page.


OK
Become a member to add this course to a playlist

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses—and create as many playlists as you like.

Get started

Already a member?

Become a member to like this course.

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses.

Get started

Already a member?

Exercise files

Learn by watching, listening, and doing! Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along. Exercise files are available with all Premium memberships. Learn more

Get started

Already a Premium member?

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Ask a question

Thanks for contacting us.
You’ll hear from our Customer Service team within 24 hours.

Please enter the text shown below:

The classic layout automatically defaults to the latest Flash Player.

To choose a different player, hold the cursor over your name at the top right of any lynda.com page and choose Site preferencesfrom the dropdown menu.

Continue to classic layout Stay on new layout
Exercise files

Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.

Mark videos as unwatched

Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.

Control your viewing experience

Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.

Interactive transcripts

Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.

Are you sure you want to delete this note?

No

Notes cannot be added for locked videos.

Thanks for signing up.

We’ll send you a confirmation email shortly.


Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

Keep up with news, tips, and latest courses with emails from lynda.com.

Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

   
submit Lightbox submit clicked
Terms and conditions of use

We've updated our terms and conditions (now called terms of service).Go
Review and accept our updated terms of service.