How to Choose the Playback Engine and Hardware Settings
Choosing the Playback Engine and Hardware settings
After you have set up your Pro Tools gear and connected all the components, it's time to tell your computer what hardware you want to use with Pro Tools. As you can see here, I have already launched Pro Tools, and now I am going to go to the Setup menu and choose Hardware. In this dialog box, we can choose from any of the peripherals that are connected to our system. A peripheral refers to a device that you can use to listen through and record with while running Pro Tools. If you have a specific Avid Digidesign or M-Audio interface, such as the 003 shown here, you'll usually want to choose that.
However, you can also choose a third-party device. There are a few listed here. You can use a third party device with Core Audio device software drivers on Mac computers. Core Audio connects the audio streams between audio hardware and software applications like Pro Tools. On a PC, Steinberg's Audio Stream Input Output, or ASIO drivers provide the same function as Core Audio on a Mac, thus you can use third party interfaces with a PC with Pro Tools as well.
The Pro Tools Aggregate I/O is an option that enables you to use any of the available built-in input and output channels on your computer. This is only a Mac feature, and I will talk about this later in this video. Let's go back and look at the 003 interface. First, we have got the Clock Source. The Clock Source is the timing reference that all the digital gear in your Pro Tools system has to sync up with to ensure accurate playback and recording. The majority of the time you will probably leave this as Internal when using Pro Tools as the SyncMaster.
The only time to change this option is when you're syncing to another device that you'll want to have provide the timing reference. Below the Clock Source is the Sample Rate. What you choose here will be the default sampling rate when you start up a session with this interface, and I will explain sampling rate in a video later in this chapter. For the 003, we also have the Optical Format. There is an optical interface on the back of the 003 that you can choose between ADAT and S/PDIF.
On many of the other devices, you won't have this option here in the Hardware Setup. And below that, we have the Footswitch Control. If your Pro Tools interface supports a footswitch, you can tell Pro Tools what you want to do with it--whether you want to use it to record via punching in and out or use it for playback start and stop. Going back over to the Pro Tools Aggregate I/O, this is a Mac only option that enables you to use any of the available built-in input and output channels on your computer.
When using the Pro Tools Aggregate I/O, M-Audio interfaces, or any other third party interface with Pro Tools, you should click the Launch Setup App button to configure the hardware settings. The Launch Setup App button will start up the program or driver appropriate for your connected device. There is a wide variety of these, but the one that shows up for Pro Tools Aggregate I/O on a Mac is the Audio MIDI Setup. So here, I will choose Pro Tools Aggregate I/O. In this window, you can adjust the Clock Source based on the Built-in Line Input, Built-in Output, or the second Built-in Line Output.
There will be a variety of options here for you depending on your computer system's layout. And you can tell Pro Tools what you want to use with this setup by activating or deactivating these particular audio devices. Check off any of the audio devices that you will be using. You can even configure your speakers using this button down here. When you're done, you can quit this app, and you'll have your Pro Tools set up for your Pro Tools Aggregate I/O system setting, and you will also want to hit OK to finalize it.
So you can use a wide variety of interfaces--even on your own computer's built-in audio devices--as your interface with Pro Tools. Use the hardware setup to make the appropriate settings for your interface.
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