Digidesign’s Pro Tools 8 comes with many helpful tools to help you in the mixing phase of your work. Whether trying to save time when planning your record and mix sessions, to get more visibility into available options for mixing, or to make your session go smoother by using expanded views, you will find that the more you know about Pro Tools, the more powerful it becomes. When getting ready for your next mix, try these tips and tricks to help you get more out of your mixing session.
When mixing a large session with dozens of tracks, you may find it helpful to set up a Pro Tools session from a pre-established set of recording and mixing templates. New to Pro Tools 8 LE is a Quick Start wizard (Figure 1), and within it, easy access to a large repository of session templates organized for easy selection.
Setting up a mix session can be cumbersome. You can quickly create a session with the tracks you need, automatically populated with commonly used plug-in effects, and sends and returns mapped to Auxiliary tracks to keep session size and your systems hardware resources down to a minimum when applying the same effect to multiple tracks. Session templates (pre-established, or templates you create and personalize to your liking) can help save all of the time it takes to add and configure tracks, label them, route them correctly, and add effects, which can be lengthy depending on what your needs are.
Use Groups to Mix Multiple Tracks at Once
When mixing a large number of tracks, it’s helpful to know how to use Pro Tools Groups. You can expose and group your tracks together by selecting the Mix window View selector (Figure 2) in the bottom left hand portion of the Mix window. This will open up the Groups section (Figure 3). Here you can create groups and select them for use while you mix. Aside from an option to create a new group, there are other helpful options here as well, such as Suspend All Groups, which will disable all groups when selected, and Display, which can help hide editing groups which are unrelated to your mix session and could get in the way.
To create a group, select New Group from the Groups drop down menu. The Create Group dialog box will open where you can name your group as well as add tracks to it (Figure 4).
If using Apple OS X, you can hold down the Shift key and click on each track you want to add, and then click the Add button to add them all at once instead of one at a time. You can select one at a time by mouse clicking on the track you want to add, or you can save even more time by clicking on a desired track, holding the mouse button down, and then moving your mouse to select multiple tracks at once.
In Figure 4, a drum mix group is created so that all of the recorded drum tracks are added to a group that when selected, can activate all associated tracks. The drums can be mixed individually at first until a good overall mix ...