Learn the process of assigning a virtual instrument to an instrument track, get exposed to some of the virtual instruments that come with Pro Tools, and learn how to audition a virtual instrument from a connected MIDI controller. Also, learn trouble-shoot
- [Narrator] Let's continue to explore the differences between MIDI and instrument tracks by looking at how to use virtual instruments in our session, and how to audition virtual instruments from a connected MIDI keyboard. Virtual instruments are the software equivilants of external hardware synthesizers, or sound modules, and are available in Pro Tools in the form of real time plug-ins. We can add virtual instruments using inserts on aux input tracks or instrument tracks. In either case, the virtual instrument will need to be triggered by MIDI data being routed to it.
So, I'll start off by configuring a virtual instrument, using old school method of placing it on an aux input track. In this session, I've added an aux track here. And so, we'll use the insert at the top of the track to select a multichannel plug-in, and in this case, we'll choose, under the instrument category, the Mini Grand plug-in, which comes with Pro Tools. When the plug-in launches, we can see the instrument and click on the keys (piano playing) to hear the sound, and verify that it's playing back. Then, we can close the plug-in window to minimize clutter.
In order for the virtual instrument to play, it needs to have MIDI data routed to it. Now, traditionally, that would come from a MIDI track. In this case, we'll use the output selector, in the I/O section of our MIDI track, to rout to the plug-in. So, here's our MIDI track, and here's our I/O section. The bottom selector is the output path selector, and notice in this case, it's a MIDI output selector, unlike our other tracks that have audio outputs. And here, we'll select the Mini Grand that we instantiated earlier on the aux input track.
So, let's play back, to hear the results, and take a look in the edit window. (piano playing) - [Man] Time to evacuate. (piano playing) - [Narrator] So, that's one way we can use virtual instruments. A simpler method is to use an instrument track and place the virtual instrument directly on the track. This is easier and far more common for everyday use. So, let's switch back over to the mix window to set this up.
Here, we'll use our instrument track and click on the top insert to select the multichannel plug-in again, and instrument type. But, in this case, we'll choose Xpand2. Now, like Mini Grand, Xpand2 comes with Pro Tools. But, unlike Mini Grand, Xpand2 doesn't emulate just a single instrument type. Instead, it gives us an enormous palette of sound sources to choose from. To get started, we'll use the librarian menu to select from existing presets.
Librarian menu is up here at the top, where it's labelled Factory Default. We'll click on that and choose a sound from our folder of presets. In this case, we'll choose a brass sound, and I think I'll go with a hard trumpet sound. Once you've selected the preset, you can again close the plug-in window to minimize on-screen clutter. So, let's take a listen to that, but this time, let's solo the track to hear it in isolation. (trumpet playing) Great, so now that we have some virtual instruments in our session, we can use them to monitor while playing back and tracking from a connected keyboard or other controller.
I'm going to unsolo again, so we can hear all of our tracks. And, for starters, I want to audition playback from my connected MIDI device to verify the connections and make sure it sounds the way I want, in terms of playback levels and so forth. So, the question is, how does Pro Tools know which one of the virtual instruments to use for auditioning? Well, the simple answer here is it uses incoming MIDI from any record enabled track, and routes that MIDI to the virtual instrument used by that track. So, if I record enable the MIDI track, I'll get piano sounds from the Mini Grand plug-in.
(piano playing) Whereas, if I record enable the instrument track, I'll get a horn sound, a trumpet, (trumpet playing) coming from Xpand2. So, that's a quick run-down on how to use virtual instruments with MIDI and instrument tracks and how to audition the virtual instrument, using a connected MIDI controller. MIDI tracks must be routed to a sound source on another track, such as an aux input, while instrument tracks can host a virtual instrument, directly on the track, essentially combining the functions of a MIDI track and an aux input into a single track.
With either configuration, simply record enable the track to audition from a connected controller for setting levels and dialing in presents prior to recording.
- 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.