Learn the startup sequence and Playback Engine settings.
- [Narrator] With the software properly installed, we are ready to launch Pro Tools. Before beginning work, there are a few additional items to consider and a few adjustments you may want to make once the software is running. Let's take a look at the proper start-up sequence to get Pro Tools launched and the options available in the Playback Engine dialog box to optimize results while the system is running. First off, you'll need to connect and power up any peripheral devices that you plan to use with Pro Tools prior to launching the software. This will include any external hard drives you will be using, any MIDI devices you might use with Pro Tools, and your audio interface, if you use one.
You will need to get these devices plugged in and running prior to launching Pro Tools. Also, as mentioned previously, you will need an iLok USB key for Pro Tools. This key is used to authorize Pro Tools, and Pro Tools will not run without it. Pro Tools 12 is compatible with both the second-generation and the third-generation iLok keys. So before launching, plug in your iLok key using any available USB port on your computer. Note that you will need to leave it plugged in while Pro Tools is running.
At this point, double-click the application icon in its installed location. You can also click on a shortcut on the desktop, or select Pro Tools using the dock on the Mac or the taskbar on Windows. Pro Tools will launch its startup sequence and, when finished, you'll be presented with the Dashboard. For the purposes of this discussion, we'll just dismiss the Dashboard by clicking on the Cancel button. And at this point, if you'll notice the Pro Tools menu at the top left of your screen and now we can open the Playback Engine dialog box from the Setup menu to configure our settings.
The Playback Engine will display your current audio engine, meaning the audio interface you currently have connected. If your audio interface is not displayed, you may see the Pro Tools Aggregate I/O as your selection on a Mac. Here, we're seeing other audio devices. Your list will likely be shorter, but any connected audio interface should show up in the list. If your audio interface does not show up, and you have verified that it's connected, that probably means you need to install a driver for the device.
In that case, consult the manufacturer's website for instructions. With the audio interface selected, the next thing we can look at is the hardware buffer size Now, in Pro Tools this setting is used to help minimize monitoring latency on record-enable tracks which can make it easier to record when you're monitoring playback from Pro Tools. The lower the setting, the lower the latency. However, this does reduce the time available for plug-in processing. So, low settings may cause issues if you need to use a lot of processing intensive plug-ins while recording.
I recommend selecting a low buffer size and adjusting from there. If Pro Tools if having trouble keeping up with playback, you'll get an error message indicating that you need to increase your hardware buffer size by returning to the Playback Engine. Also in this dialog box, verify that Dynamic Plug-in Processing is enable. This allows tracks with plug-ins on them to release their processing resources in areas where no audio present. With our settings configured, we can close the dialog box by clicking OK.
So, use the suggestions I've covered here when you begin working in Pro Tools. Always connect your devices prior to startup to make sure that they are available when Pro Tools is running, keep your iLok key installed, and adjust your Playback Engine settings to optimize performance while you work. Doing these things will keep your system running smoothly and prevent issues in your session.
- Getting started with Pro Tools menus, windows, and edit tools
- Creating a session
- Creating a click track
- Recording audio
- Importing audio and video
- Recording, viewing, and editing MIDI data
- Selecting and navigating within tracks
- Adding markers
- Editing clips
- Creating fade effects
- Mixing tracks and adding automation
- Backing up a session
- Bouncing a mix to disk
Skill Level Beginner
Q. This course was updated on 03/23/2017. What changed?
A. Challenges and solutions were added to chapters 3–10 and three videos were updated in the first couple chapters.