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.
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Quick quiz: How many track types are there in Pro Tools?
Anyone? The correct answer is five. Surprising, huh? For some reason I had this idea in my head that there were more, but as it turns out, you only need five types of tracks to do pretty much anything in Pro Tools – Audio, MIDI, Instrument, Aux, and Master.
I think it’s a good idea to go over each track type, since there tends to be confusion among newer Pro Tools users as to how each track type is to be utilized
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If you’ve been around Pro Tools or any DAW for a while, you’ve probably come across the “Solo Safe” function. In this video I explain what it is and give a few examples of how to use it in a session.
What ways do you use solo safe?
Photo by theogo
Yesterday my wife had her wisdom teeth taken out. Poor thing. I got to play the part of “nurse” for the day. (Which is funny, since my wife is actually a nurse.)
She slept most of the day, so in between going on milk shake runs and preparing warm salt water for her to gargle, I spent some time in my studio.
I had a good time.
I’ve got several projects going on right now. For one of these projects I’m playing bass on a local artist’s upcoming record. The engineer gave me a hard drive of Pro Tools sessions, and I’m working my way through them.
My Fender Mexican Jazz Bass and I have been spending a lot of time together. I’m using a borrowed Chandler LTD-1 channel strip. Mmm…so nice. I love the tone I’m getting.
So why do I bring this up? Well, first of all, I think it’s important for you to know that I DO actually record music in my home studio.
Secondly, I noticed yesterday that I wasted quite a bit of time. I came into the day with the intention of getting a lot of work accomplished. Before I knew it, it was 5pm, and I had only finished two songs.
What’s the deal?
You may recall an article I wrote a few weeks ago dealing with productivity in the home studio. I’ll be the first to admit that I struggle to stay productive when it comes to my studio. I came up with that article (and the productivity tips that followed) because I constantly struggle to stay focused myself.
I need to revisit this concept regularly. I’m not going to rewrite that article here today. You can read it for yourself. What I want to do is explore the different areas of my home studio and expose those things that are inhibiting productivity.
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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.
It’s that time again. I’ve got three new questions, all Pro Tools related. (If you have a question, please submit it via the Ask Joe form.) Let’s dive in.
Martin R. wrote:
I have just recently installed Pro Tools 7.3 LE on to my Mac and I have an Iomega hard drive that I was going to use for recording however when I try to change the audio settings from ‘T’ to ‘R’ I get an error message which reads “IOMEGA cannot be designated as an Audio Record volume because it is not a valid audio volume.” Could you tell me what this means and if there is any way to use this hard drive for recording.
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Sean over at KeyofGrey.com posted a great article recently called “Why I Use Logic Studio.” The following post is in response to that article, so take a minute to read his article first. (Go ahead…it’s okay.)
What I liked about Sean’s article is that he gave his honest opinions about why he uses Logic. He also makes it very clear that he doesn’t use Logic exclusively. There are some tasks that he prefers to do in Pro Tools.
Having used both programs extensively myself, I feel that Sean paints a very realistic picture.
As you know (and as several readers have pointed out), I’m a pretty big fan of Pro Tools. All the tutorial videos I’ve done so far have been in Pro Tools.
So am I anti-Logic? Not at all! In fact, Logic was my primary DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) for a couple years. I got to know it very well. I even won a songwriting contest with one of the songs I recorded in Logic.
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You know those pesky little edit modes in Pro Tools? Those four little buttons at the top left of the Edit Window? What are they for? What can you practically use them for in a session?
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