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11 Essential Pro Tools Tutorials

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Digidesign's Pro Tools is a powerful and popular digital audio workstation - a family of products ranging from software that suits the home hobbyist right up to full-scale commercial studios. In last week's article we explored Pro Tools and its features. This week, we will learn how to use it.

This article was previously published on the AudioJungle blog, which has moved on to a new format in 2010. We'll be bringing you an article from the AudioJungle archives each week.

Because of Pro Tool's popularity, there are plenty of tutorials around the Internet. Two key places to find tutorials are Youtube and Audiotuts+. Here are 11 tutorials that introduce how Pro Tools 7 and 8 work, and take us further into the deeper parts of the program. The tutorials are by people who know the program well: producers, well-known musicians, and a Digidesign product specialist.

1. AES'08: Digidesign Pro Tools 8

Phil Jackson is a musician, producer, and vereran clinician. He is also Digidesign's Technical Marketing Manager and product specialist. He showed Sound on Sound magazine around the new look and new features Pro Tools 8 at AES 08 in San Fransisco. He gives an excellent overview of the program.

2. Introduction to Digidesign Pro Tools- Part 1

Aaron Sternke is a Nashville producer, engineer, songwriter and frontliner who has worked closely in the studio with MercyMe (digital editing, engineering, background vocals), Third Day (engineering), Amy Grant (digital editing) and many others. He has received a Recording Arts degree from Full Sail in Orlando, FL.

Though this half-hour video is a couple of years old, it is still a very helpful basic introduction to Pro Tools. The video is also available from the Artistshouse Music website, but I had trouble streaming the video.

Part 1
Aaron explains the difference between Pro Tools HD and LE.

Part 2
Aaron looks at the available interfaces. When you buy the interface, you get the Pro Tools software, ensuring that hardware and software talk to each other flawlessly.

Part 3A
Aaron takes us through how to create a new session and new track in Pro Tools, and how to view inserts.

Part 3B
Aaron creates a click track, sets the session tempo, and creates a new track ready to record acoustic guitar.

Part 4
Aaron shows us how to record an acoustic guitar track.

If you found his introductory tutorial helpful, you may also like to watch Aaron's intermediate and advanced tutorials.

3. Digidesign Pro Tools - Music Creation Template

This fast-moving tutorial from Digidesign's product specialist, Phil Jackson, is more suited to those already familiar with audio recording.

Part 1
How to build a basic template, hide and show tracks, configure the click, and record drums using Expand.

Part 2
Creating more tracks with the Expand, Hybrid and Stylus plug-ins, using memory locators, and configuring reverb and delay.

Part 3
Changing grid and nudge values, options for viewing the track list and mixer, applying a template.

4. Pro Tools 8: Mike In The Studio

Mike Shinoda from Linkin Park gives us a brief look at what he likes about Pro Tools 8, and we see him using it in the studio.

5. Pro Tools 8 - MIDI Editor Window

Phil Jackson from Digidesign shows us around Pro Tools 7's MIDI editor.

Part 1
The available tools, recording tracks, quantizing, copy and paste, deleting unwanted notes.

Part 2
Viewing, hiding and unhiding tracks in the MIDI editor to see only the tracks you are working on, soloing tracks, inserting notes, split panes, making the MIDI editor follow the edit window.

6. Steve Vai interview with Pro Tools Lessons

Listen to Steve Vai explain how he uses Pro Tools. Topics covered include snapping two tracks to the same timeframe using Beat Detector, crossfading, creating one region out of several by consolidating, using the Battery plug-in to create a MIDI track, and using hidden tracks so you don't lose a take.

7. Top 20 New Features in Pro Tools 8 & How to Use Them

Mar 27th in Pro Tools, Recording by Bryan McAnulty

Top 20 New Features in Pro Tools 8 & How to Use Them

The upgrade to Pro Tools 8 includes many exciting enhancements, new features and plug-ins that add up to make music production easier than ever. Let’s take a look at the power behind some of the best new features. Continue Reading

8. 8 Easy Steps To Better EQ

Dec 3rd in Mixing & Mastering, Pro Tools by Mark Garrison

8 Easy Steps To Better EQ

Knowing how to use an equalizer is a fundamental skill for anyone working with audio, yet it is one of the most abused. Here are some tips and tricks for using your EQ more effectively. You’ll notice there are more don’ts than dos on this list; that’s because EQ is best when used in moderation.

Continue Reading

9. The Beginner’s Guide to Compression

Dec 8th in Mixing & Mastering, Pro Tools by Sean Vincent

The Beginner’s Guide to Compression

Compression is one of those studio processes that is all too often taken for granted and not used to its full potential. Today’s producers think nothing of inserting compressors on every single channel of their DAW when mixing, but old school engineers had to learn to make the most of only a few units of compression—and this made us learn them inside out.

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10. How to Quantize Audio in Pro Tools Using Beat Detective and Elastic Audio

How to Quantize Audio in Pro Tools Using Beat Detective and Elastic Audio

Oct 7th in Mixing & Mastering, Pro Tools by Bryan McAnulty

Have you ever wondered how modern rock bands get that really tight sound? The rhythms sometimes sound too perfect for even the best musicians to pull off. With today’s technology it is possible to easily quantize your audio tracks. This tutorial will teach you how to start correcting your timing by using beat detective and elastic audio in Digidesign’s Pro Tools software.

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11. Using Rewire to Expand Your Audio Toolset

Jun 8th in Ableton Live, Cubase, FL Studio, Logic Pro, Mixing & Mastering, Pro Tools by Mo Volans

Using Rewire to Expand Your Audio Toolset

As producing completely ‘in the box’ fast becomes the norm, it’s essential we maximize the potential of our computer set up. Of course, improving our computer hardware and investing in new sample libraries is one way to do this—but another is to seamlessly wire together our applications using Rewire.

Rewire is often underestimated and in many cases goes unused. Using Rewire correctly can actually expand your sound palette, avoid unnecessary rendering and even add extra processing tools to your DAW. Let’s take a look at how Rewire works, some of its history and a few situations we can use it in.

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