How To Use Pro Tools

Alright, so you’ve decided to jump into Pro Tools, congrats! It may seem overwhelming at first. Remember, the recording process is more about capturing sounds as naturally as possible – not learning ten thousand features in a software program. The software mastery will come over time, so don’t fret (sorry, yes a little pun intended). This mini-tutorial should get you going in about an hour!

That said, I’ve created a series of videos that will get you on the right track using Pro Tools for demo recording as well as professional mixes. If you need help choosing an interface/pre-amp, check out this post. If you also need help connecting and configuring your computer and gear, check out this post. Here’s a quick video to help with hardware configuration:

Once you have your Pro Tools software installed and hardware configured, you are ready to go! Check out this post for setting up your first session. Remember, staying as organized as possible with your session setup and labeling is very important.  It may not seem important at first, but once you have 20-30 session saved, you will have more sanity and save a ton of time.

Here’s a video for setting up your first session and getting the first sounds recorded.

Starting with only a few track to get a basic recording completed will help.  Don’t be lured into creating 20 tracks to try and get everything at once.  4-6 tracks to start will suffice. In order to monitor your music as it’s being recorded, you will need to setup the playback engine.  The playback engine is the configuration that allows the signal to be sent back out to your interface, speakers and headphones.  Here’s a quick video to help.

If you can record a sound and hear it back clearly upon playback, you are in great shape!  This is 80% of the battle when getting started with Pro Tools. At this point, you should be able to start experimenting with Pro Tools and getting a feel for the most used features. If you are brand new to Pro Tools, be patient. The most important thing is to keep focused on the music.  Put the music and sound quality first and the technical stuff second.

To give you a more in-depth understanding of how to route the signal in Pro Tools, to perhaps add a reverb loop, here is a video about inserts, inputs/outputs and bus.

Alrighty, that should get you started! If you want a full course accelerated to get you on the fast track, check out my video course page.

Have fun and please subscribe for more free tutorials!