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Thread: the definitive Pro Tools FAQ - READ THIS FIRST!

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    the definitive Pro Tools FAQ - READ THIS FIRST!

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    ** This information was posted prior to the release of Protools 9 **

    In an effort to stem the number of repeat questions found in the PT forum, an FAQ has been put together to try and get some of the basic information gathered together in one post! If you think you have any questions and answers which should be included in the FAQ, please feel free to PM me and I'll add them to the list

    The Pro Tools FAQ

    Interfaces & Computers

    Q. Can I use my 3rd party interface with Pro Tools?
    A. No. Pro Tools LE will only recognise audio interfaces sold my Digidesign (00x, mBox family etc).

    Pro Tools M-Powered will only recognise M-Powered audio interfaces.

    Pro Tools HD will only function with HD Core and Accel cards - certain other "front ends" can be used for conversion.

    Pro Tools will recognise 3rd party MIDI interfaces.

    Q. Can I use my Digidesign interface with other programs?
    A. Yes. Digidesign hardware works with any software that uses ASIO, WDM, or Core Audio drivers. These can be found in the Support & Downloads page.

    Q. Can I use multiple interface with Pro Tools ?
    A. No, Pro Tools will only recognise one interface at a time, with the exception of PT HD. However, Pro Tools LE includes drivers for all LE hardware, allowing you to easily use a portable device like the MBox 2 on the road, and a 003 system in the studio, all with the same computer.

    Q. Which interface is best suited for my needs?
    A. In order to make this decision, it is important to have a firm idea of how many simultaneous inputs and outputs you'll require from your interface. For an interactive comparison of the available interface, have a look at this feature.

    Alternatively, here is a good round-up of what is currently available. (thanks to Bennychico11 for the use of his work! also check out his Pro Tools forum!)

    For M-Powered, not only do you need to purchase Pro Tools M-Powered on its own, but you'll also need a supported M-Audio interface. A list of these can be found here. Because of the extensive number of interfaces available, it is simply not possible to show this information in tabular form!

    Q. What is the difference between Pro Tools LE/M-P and HD?
    A. LE and M-P systems are native systems, which means they rely on your computer’s processor(s) to do the mixing, processing and routing of audio. They are geared toward home and project studios, and have a fixed amount of audio I/O, ranging from 2 to 18 simultaneous inputs and outputs, depending on your system of choice. LE’s sound quality is very high for a native system.

    HD systems are DSP-based. They offer dedicated processing power via DSP cards that work alongside your computer’s processor(s). This means that HD systems can do much higher track and plug-in counts than native systems like LE can.

    Pro Tools HD offers superior sound quality due both to its advanced audio interfaces and its exceptionally high-quality DSP-based mixer algorithm.

    HD systems are modular and can be expanded easily. This is a clear advantage in situations where large amounts of audio I/O and DSP are required.

    Q. Can I use computer X/Y/Z and what do you think of its spec?
    A. In regards to PCs running Windows, Digidesign are very strict with their hardware compatibility. Whilst your friend's machine might work with a none-endorsed piece of hardware, it is strongly recommended that you follow Digidesign's Compatibility webpage - this concerns not only hardware but also Operating Systems. Should you have a problem with your computer which contains unsupported hardware, Digidesign's support team will point their finger at that piece of hardware and wash their hands of the problem. An extensive list of hardware is also available here.

    In regards to Macintosh computers, by-and-large they are supported, however as new models and OS versions come out it is best to check the compatibility page to make sure your system is supported.

    Q. Will my 3rd party X/Y/Z plugin work with Pro Tools?
    A. Pro Tools LE & M-Powered will only run RTAS and AudioSuite plugins. FXpansion do sell an VST-to-RTAS wrapper which will convert your VST plugins to RTAS plugins. It can be bought directly from their website.

    In addition to RTAS and AudioSuite, Pro Tools HD will also run TDM plugins.

    Sessions and Exports

    Q. My friend recorded a session with Pro Tools version x.x but I'm running an older version. Is this a problem?
    A. This depends on the version you're starting in and your destination version. Use this page as a reference guide. There is handy feature in the "Save As..." dialogue box where you can save to previous versions, for example 8.x ---> 6.x. There are certain issues with going from v8.x to 7.x in regards to Elastic Audio, as set out in the previously-mentioned link.

    Q. I have recorded a song in Pro Tools, but want to mix in in a different DAW. How can I do this?
    A. There are a number of ways to do this. If your destination DAW supports AAF, OMF or OMFI, and provided you have DigiTranslator then you can export one of these files and import them into your destination DAW.

    If your destination doesn't doesn't support these formats or you do not wish to purchase DigiTranslator, then you can export your audio files. The easiest way to do this, assuming you have multiple regions on tracks, is to first consolidate your tracks:

    1) Select all your tracks, from the start of the session until the very end of the last region

    2) Consolidate your audio (Edit --> Consolidate or alt+shirt+3). This has now created continuous files from beginning to end, each named with track name it originated from.

    3) Find these files in session root/audio.

    However, this only exports the audio, and no automation/plugins/effects that may have been applied in the session.

    Q. What is an iLok and do I need one to run Pro Tools LE?
    A. An iLok is a USB dongle that stores authorizations for products like Music Production Toolkit, DV Toolkit, and various Pro Tools plug-ins. Pro Tools LE itself is authorized via an authorization code and so iLok key is not required to run Pro Tools LE.

    Pro Tools M-Powered does require an iLok. For more information, visit ilok's website.

    Using Pro Tools

    Q. What are Pro-Tools shortcuts/hotkeys?
    A. A list of hotkeys for Macs can be found here.

    A list of hotkeys for PC can be found [url=[/url]

    An easy way to learn the quick keys using Pro Tools' Keyboard Focus function (generally accepted to be the fastest way to us PT), without spending a fortune on the Digidesign keyboard, is to use EditorsKeys sticker set.

    Q. I can hear a delay (or echo) when I'm trying to record. How can I solve this?
    A. You need to turn the Hardware Buffer size down. This can be found under the "Setup" menu when you click on Playback Engine, and is labeled "H/W Buffer Size". You'll need to turn it down to, at the most, 256 samples, but some musicians may find it more distracting than others and may require it to come down lower than that.

    This buffer is in effect how much time the computer has to process audio before playing it back to you. If you have a very CPU-intensive session or have an underpowered machine, you may find that your computer struggles to play back at very low buffer sizes. It is recommended that once you are done recording, you turn the buffer size back up again.

    An alternative is to use the "mix" knob and monitor on headphones. The mix knob allows you to control how much of the input to your interface you hear compared to the output. As the input monitoring is before the audio hits the computer, there is no delay on it. Mute the track you are recording in Pro Tools, and use the mix knob to dial in as much of the input as you want to hear.

    Q. Pro Tools as started giving me a random error - what do I do?
    [i]A. First, try googling the error code - often something will come up. Also have a read through the DUC's Troubleshooting for MAC and for PC.

    A quick fix can be to trash your databases and prefs. If you're unsure about how to do this, there's a very useful tool called (surprisingly!) Pro Tools Prefs & Database Helper, a 3rd party piece of software which is very handy indeed - and free (although donations are welcome!).

    That's it for the time being! If you can think of anything else that needs to be added to these list, please feel free to PM me
    Last edited by MessianicDreams; 06-08-2009 at 03:36.
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