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Working with plug-in settings

From: Mixing and Mastering with Pro Tools

Video: Working with plug-in settings

In the past, engineers had to use complex recall sheets to manually record and recall the settings of analog gear in their studio. Sometimes taking hours to recall a complex mix. Fortunately today, all plug-ins in Pro Tools support a built-in librarian system for storing and recalling settings or presets. These presets allow you to quickly access a preset sound for that plug-in and are a great way of working across multiple sessions. For example, having the same EQ on a singer across multiple songs.

Working with plug-in settings

In the past, engineers had to use complex recall sheets to manually record and recall the settings of analog gear in their studio. Sometimes taking hours to recall a complex mix. Fortunately today, all plug-ins in Pro Tools support a built-in librarian system for storing and recalling settings or presets. These presets allow you to quickly access a preset sound for that plug-in and are a great way of working across multiple sessions. For example, having the same EQ on a singer across multiple songs.

So if we look at a plug-in, I'll look at the plug-in on the KickBus track, the EQ. We can see that every plug-in in Pro Tools is framed by the same plug-in window, and here in the center, I have the Librarian menu, which allows me to access all of those presets that came built-in to that plug-in. So if I wanted to access one of these Kick Drum presets, like Kick Monster, I could select that and it would recall that setting for that specific plug-in. Now many plug-ins come with these built-in presets.

They are called factory presets from the manufacturer. They can be great starting points for using the plug-in in a Mix. However, you're going to get the most use out of the preset system when you start saving and recalling your own presets, right. To save a preset, you can make any adjustments to the plug-in and right above the Librarian menu is the Presets menu, I can choose Save Settings As to save a new setting, and give it a name. Now we'll see that show up at the bottom of my list.

Now I could also organize these into subgroups, if I Save As again, I could even create a new folder, and save that in that new folder, so I can organize them in sub-categories. Now anytime I want, I can call up that preset just by going to the Librarian menu, and checking that box there. Now to modify a setting, all I need to do is make my modifications, again from the Preset menu, choose Save Settings as opposed to Save As, and that will update that.

And you see I get the little Compare button that lights up there, and what that allows me to do is compare my last change with the actual preset. So you can see it italicizes the preset name whenever you've made a change, and you can choose to go ahead and save over that if you like. You can also lock the settings file, which would force you to create a new settings file on the system. Now if I wanted to delete this settings file, I could choose Delete Current Settings file. And if I wanted to see where they lived on the hard drive, I could go to my Finder, and the settings files actually live under Library > Application Support > Digidesign > Plug-In Settings.

So here are all the plug-ins installed on my system and all of the plug-in settings file. So if I go to the EQ 3.0 folder, I can see those ones that I saved, I can even choose to delete it, right here. So plug-ins in Pro Tools can be told to recall a user default rather than a factory default. This is a great way when working with plug-ins that you have a specific setting that you use over and over again. What I can do is call up the setting, and choose Set As User Default.

Now I want to go down and click on the Preset menu again and choose Settings > Preferences > Set plug-in Default to User Setting. Now every time I bring up this plug-in, the EQ 37 band, it's going to recall the preset bass eq, which I defined as the User Default. And again, this is great if you want to recall the same setting every time with your plug-ins. So some general tips for working with plug-in settings. You want to remember that plug-in settings are stored and recalled only within the specific plug-in they are created for. So for example, you cannot recall a setting from the DigiRack Compressor into a Waves Compressor or a McDSP Compressor.

Even if the settings from the compressor sort of map one-to-one, they are not going to match with each other. Now these factory presets that I talked about, remember they are great starting points and they often showcase some of the special features of the plug-in. But you want to remember that the person designing the preset had no idea about your tracks and what they sounded like. So you can't assume that just because a preset is labeled great for vocals that it's going to work great on your vocal. And sometimes people do this and it's just kind of a train yrack.

But 95% of the time, I find that I need to tweak at least one parameter after loading a factory preset, even if it is appropriate for the track I'm working on it. I'm still usually tweaking some preset or another. So plug-in presets are a great way to store and recall your favorite ways of using specific plug-ins across sessions and tracks, and often times these built-in presets are great starting points. So try storing your own presets. When you come to an interesting sound, even if it's not going to work in the current context, you never know when it might be useful and plug-in presets are great for doing that.

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This video is part of

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Mixing and Mastering with Pro Tools

77 video lessons · 9200 viewers

Brian Lee White
Author

 
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  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

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