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Pro Tools 10 Essential Training with musician and producer David Franz illuminates the process of recording, editing, mixing, and mastering in Avid Pro Tools, the industry-standard software for music and postproduction. The course covers recording live audio and adding effects on the fly, creating music with virtual instruments and plug-ins, editing for time and pitch manipulation, creating a musical score, and mixing and mastering a track.
Let's have a quick chat about several plug-in features that are handy to know when mixing, and really when using Pro Tools in general. First, I want to show you that we have ten inserts or ten places where you can put plug-ins onto one individual track. Right now, we are just showing inserts A-E, but if we go to View > Mix Window Views > Inserts F-J, we can show all 10. And as we add inserts down this row, that's how they are processed on the track, so the very first one is the one that is processed first.
So if I go down here and add another plug-in, let's say an EQ, then the track goes through the phaser first, then to the EQ, and then out the main outputs. When you have a plug-in open and then you open another plug-in like this, the first plug-in closes. If you want to have both plug-ins open at once, all you need to do is click this Target button. Now I can open the second one and have both of them open at the same time.
This also applies to virtual instruments, sends, and output windows. So if I wanted to have this Output window open, I would need to also deactivate the target to open up the second one. If you Shift+Click on a plug-in, a virtual instrument, a send, or an output window, it will open with the target already deactivated. So I am going to press Shift and click on Xpand here. You will see that the Target button is already deactivated. Close that.
If you Option+Click on a Mac or Alt+Click in Windows on the Close button in a plug-in, a virtual instrument, send, or an output window, all of each type will close like this. Let me go to the Close button and press Option on the Mac or Alt on the PC and both plug-ins close. You can do that also right here. You can click and drag plug-ins, virtual instruments, and sends from one position on a track to another, or from one track to another.
So I can click and drag this and move it, or I can click and drag it over to another track, assuming that it's the same number of channels. So I have two mono tracks here, as you can see by their fader, and thus I can drag from one to the other. If I press Option on a Mac or Alt in Windows and then drag, it will make an exact copy of this plug-in on the other track. Let's open up this plug-in and talk about Bypass.
Now bypassing a plug-in takes the plug-in out of the signal path. So if I hit the Bypass button, you see that the plug-in turns dark blue. Now you can use this feature to AB the effect, that is, to hear what the track sounds like with and without the effect. But you should note that bypassing a plug-in does not reduce the processing load on your computer. Conversely, making a plug-in inactive does take the plug-in out of the signal path and does not take up any processing resources.
The plug-in settings are still saved with the session though, so this is very handy. Let me go up here to the phaser, and I am going to right-click, and here I can choose Bypass or Make Inactive. I am going to choose Make Inactive. This is indicated here on the track by italicizing the name of the plug-in and graying it out. So now the plug-in is still on the track, but it's not taking up any processing power, and we can always just right- click again and make it active, and now it's back on the track, and it's taking up processing power.
Now you can bypass or make inactive virtual instruments, sends, and outputs, just like you can plug-ins. Now if you don't want to do the right- clicking, you can press Command on a Mac or Ctrl in windows to bypass, or you can hold down Ctrl and Command on a Mac or Ctrl and Start in Windows while clicking on an insert to make it inactive. Let me show you what an inactive plug-in looks like. If we open up the window, it just tells you that it's inactive.
Use these button pushes and key commands to become more efficient when using plug-ins, virtual instruments, and sends while you are mixing.
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