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How To Loop Record In Pro Tools
Tips and Tricks
When you are recording, you may want to capture a variety of takes for a certain section of music. By looping a designated section of your session, you can record take after take without needing to stop and start over. Loop Recording is a useful option for quickly recording multiple takes over a section without losing spontaneity.
Loop Recording - Written and Video Tutorial Included
Perhaps you’re recording a guitar solo and want to record several takes, then edit together the best phrases of each pass. Or maybe you just want to capture a variety of takes that you will then sum together, such as background vocals. Loop Recording allows you to record over a section of your session continuously, so that you can efficiently record several passes and then edit them as you please. By looping a designated section of your session, you can record take after take without needing to stop and start over. Loop Recording is always non-destructive, so you can always undo any recordings you make.
A few things to know about Loop Recording in Pro Tools before we begin:
When loop recording audio, Pro Tools creates a single audio file that comprises all takes. Takes appear as individual subset clips in the Clip List and are numbered sequentially
If an audio record pass is interrupted before reaching the midpoint of the loop, the entire take for that pass is discarded
To start using Loop Record you must:
Set the Pro Tools record mode to Loop Record
Select the area in your Timeline to designate your record range
To set the Pro Tools record mode to Loop Record:
Select Options > Loop Record
Or right-click on the Record button and select Loop from the pop-up menu.
Additionally, you can use two keyboard shortcuts to turn on/off Loop Record mode:
Press  on the numeric keypad
When your record mode is set to Loop Record, you now need to make a Timeline Selection to set the desired loop range. This can be done by clicking and dragging in your Timeline Ruler, or by using the Selector tool and clicking/dragging in the target track’s playlist.
If you want to give yourself a bar or two of click track before the recording starts, enable and set a pre-roll time. Once enabled, the pre-roll is used only during the first record pass. Pre-roll times are ignored on each successive loop.
After recording multiple passes of audio or MIDI using Loop Record mode, you can access each record pass using the Alternate Takes menu. The clips that appear in the Takes List are determined by the currently active match criteria, so let’s set the criteria to filter out any unrelated clips.
Right-click your most recent take with the Selector or Grabber tool, and select Matching Alternatives > Match Criteria from the pop-up menu.
The Alternates Match Criteria window will allow you to filter the results that display in the Alternate Takes List. The Match Criteria can be filtered in the following ways:
Track ID – Shows only audio clips recorded to the current track, based on the track ID. Do not apply this filter when working with MIDI takes
Track Name – Shows only clips that share the same root name with the track.
Clip Rating – Shows only clips that have the same rating as the selected clip.
In addition, you can use Time Stamps as a way to specify the match criteria:
Clip Start – Shows any clips that have the same start time as the selected clip
Clip Start and End – Shows any clips that have the same start and end times as the selected clip. This ensures that the Alternate Takes List includes only clips that match the loop record range.
Within Selection – Shows any clips that are entirely within the Edit selection.
For my purposes, I’m just going to select the Track Name filter to show only clips that share the same root name with the track. I can now select any of my recorded takes, audition them, and determine the best one.
In addition, Pro Tools allows you to expand every take to New Playlists or New Tracks.
When expanding alternates to new playlists, the first playlist will contain your single audio file that contains all of your takes. The remaining playlists will contain each individual take. These individual takes are subset clips of the audio file in Playlist #1. If you are fluent in Playlist Editing, Expanding Alternates to New Playlists is a perfect option if you want to comp together pieces of each of your takes. If you need a refresher on Editing With Playlists watch the video below
You can use the option Expand Alternates to New Tracks to place each subset clip from your Alternate Takes on its own new track. This gives you full control over each record pass and allows you to process each take however you want. If you are recording background vocals using Loop Record mode, this is a perfect way to continue editing/mixing them after recording and sum them together.
Loop Recording is an extremely useful way to speed up your workflow while recording multiple passes over a single section. Maybe you’re planning to comp together the best phrases of multiple takes, expand every take to a new track for instrumental layering, or maybe you’re just tired of starting/stopping recording constantly, Loop Recording is a great tool to achieve your best recording.
ProMedia Training is the premier authorized Avid Training Center since 2002, having prepared more students in Pro Tools than any other organization. We teach Pro Tools on all levels as well as offer exam preparation for Pro Tools Certification exams for those studying audio engineering, recording, mixing and related multimedia training for musicians, producers, recording engineers, worship facilities and corporations. ProMedia has been leading the way in short term, Pro Tools Immersion courses which focus in all areas from beginner to advanced Pro Tools Applications. Our beginners learn the software for music production, recording, editing, audio engineering, and mixing. Our advanced users focus on cutting edge highly complex HDX systems, new concepts as well as workflow improvements. We also provide on-site training for corporations, Universities, Schools, and worship facilities where professionals can advance their skills while learning in their own working environment. ProMedia also participates in many of the musical associations and related organizations related to the recording arts including ASCAP, BMI, NAMM, TAXI A&R, Youth Organizations, NAB, Promo Only, and more.