Video: Pro Tools Track Types Part 2 – The Master Fader

Yesterday I went through the first four track types in Pro Tools – audio, MIDI, instrument, and aux tracks. Today I want to delve into the mysterious master track, or master fader track.


In a typical Pro Tools session, you’ve got a bunch of audio tracks, a few instrument/MIDI tracks, and a couple aux tracks. The outputs of all these tracks are typically set to “Analog 1-2,” the main stereo outputs of your interface.

Internally, Pro Tools takes all these individual audio signals and combines them into a single pair of outputs. This is called summing.

When all of these tracks are combined, it’s very easy to clip the mix bus. None of the tracks have to even be close to setting off the clip light, but when they’re all summed together, there’s a good chance that clipping is happening underneath the hood.

How do we monitor this? The answer is the master fader.


Video: Using an Instrument Track to Build Background Vocals

Background vocals. They can make such a big difference in your music. However, a good background vocal takes some planning, especially if you’re doing a three- or four-part harmony. 

It’s best to figure out the arrangement before you begin recording. Otherwise, you’ll end up recording eight tracks of BGVs, only to decide that you don’t like the note choices. Suddenly you’re back at square one.

In this video I show you how to use an instrument track to build great background vocals. And yes, in this video I’m using Logic! You may have read my article on why I use Pro Tools, but for this video, I dug through the archives for a song I recorded in Logic that showcases this particular technique.

The same concept applies whether your on Pro Tools or anything else. Enjoy!


Check out my other videos here.

VIDEO: More Click Track Tricks

In my last two videos, I showed you how to create a click track in Pro Tools and how to customize your click track using Xpand

Before we leave the land of click tracks, there are a few more little tips I wanted to share. Enjoy!


Do you use a click track?

I came across a really interesting article today at called “In search of a click track.” In the article Paul Lamere analyzes various recordings — from the Beatles to Britney Spears — to discover which ones were recorded to a click track. It’s a good read, I’d highly recommend checking it out.

In all this click track talk, it’s important to remember that the music should come first. We should use a click track to enhance the song, not sterilize it. Sometimes it’s just appropriate to NOT use a click track. 

So, do you use one? Leave a comment!

VIDEO: How to Create a Click Track in Pro Tools

Today I’ve got more basic video on how to create a click track in Pro Tools. As I mentioned in The Importance of Pre-Production, recording your music to a set tempo is a good habit to develop. It may be helpful to read that article first, then watch this video.

Tomorrow I’ll be posting a video about how to get more sounds out of your click track. (Let’s face it, not everyone wants to have a wood block blasting through the headphones.) 

Do you use a click track? What advice or tips do you have? Leave a comment. 


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