Friday, August 28, 2020

Print (record) Processing or Effects to a Track - Pro Tools


Recording (printing) processing or effects to a track can improve Pro Tools performance by reducing the number of running plugins and the computer resources (CPU & System RAM/memory) they consume. However, printing processing and or effects also limits your ability to make changes during the mixing & mastering process.

In the context of this discussion to record or "print" to a track means to permanently write an effect or processing to a track eliminating the need to use the plugin that generates the effect or processing.

Method 1: To "print" effects or processing to a track:

These directions assume you have already inserted the effects or processing plug-in on the track you want to print/write to. This process only works with plug-ins that are available from the "AudioSuite" menu (check first) located on the Pro Tools Menu bar. Method 2 listed below works with any plug-in.

Every plug-in has a small downward pointing arrow at the top of the plug-in window, to the right of the word "Preset". See image below.

Preset Dropdown Arrow on Pro Tools Plugin

  1. Select the track you want to print to by left clicking on the bottom half of the track.
  2. Open the plug-in you want to print to a track.
  3. Left click on the down arrow to the right of "Preset" then choose “Copy Settings”.
  4. Open a copy of the same plug-in inserted on your track, but select it from the “AudioSuite” menu on the Pro Tools menu bar.
  5. Left click the downward pointing arrow to the right of the word Preset and click on “Paste Settings”.
  6. Left click on the "Process" button at the bottom right corner of the plug-in window. See image below.

Pro Tools AudioSuite

  1. Remove the “in-line” plug-in from the track and you’ve got a bit more processing power to use for other things!

Method 2: To "print" effects or processing to a track:

  1. Create a new track using the same format as the track you want to print. If the original track is mono create a new mono track. If the original track is stereo create a new stereo track.
  2. Position the new track directly below the track you want to print.
  3. Name the new track using the original name of the track you want to print. Add the suffix .PR to indicate this is a printed track and NOT the original track.
  4. Set the input of the new track to an unused bus. Rename the bus "PRINT".
  5. Set the output of the track you want to print to the "PRINT" bus used in the previous step.
  6. Solo both tracks (press the yellow "S" solo button).
  7. Arm the new track to record by clicking on the red button on both the track and on the Pro Tools transport. This is the new track you created earlier.
  8. Press the Play (green triangle) button on the Pro Tools transport to begin printing/recording to the new track.

Verify the recording level of the new track. You can alter the level into the new track by increasing or decreasing the fader level of the original track. A good level to record at is -15dB.

The bus you choose as the PRINT bus should match the format of the track you want to print. If the track is stereo use a stereo bus. If the track is mono use a mono bus by choosing either the left or right side of a stereo bus.