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Track Presets In Pro Tools
Tips and Tricks
Track Presets in Pro Tools allow you to save your favorite track settings to quickly recall in any session. Whether for recording, mixing, or MIDI production, this powerful tool saves time and streamlines your workflow. Watch the video narrated by Master Avid Instructor Frank D. Cook, along with written step-by-step instructions, to see how easy it is to create your own track presets.
Track Presets allow you to save the particular settings and/or plug-ins on an individual track or groups of tracks. These settings can then be recalled whenever you create a new track. If you use the same effects plug-in chains, sends arrangement, or session data across Pro Tools sessions, Track Presets will greatly improve your workflow efficiency.
It’s common in music production, mixing, and post-production to use the same combinations of effects or other settings on a track. If you are a recording artist, you may be using the same audio effects chain on your vocal tracks, as those are the settings that make your voice sound best. If you are a mixing engineer working on a 10-song album, you may want to use the same processing on the drums throughout the album, maintaining sonic consistency on every song. If you find yourself using the same audio inserts, bus routing, audio/MIDI content, or other track settings across every Pro Tools session, you will want to know how to create and recall Track Presets.
Track Presets give you the ability to save an existing track in your session as a recallable preset. You have complete control over what kinds of parameters you want to save in your preset. Once you have saved a Track Preset, you can simply select it from the New Tracks dialog box to add it to your current session.
Here I have a mixed vocal track, complete with EQ, compression, saturation, reverb, and delay. If I like these settings for this particular vocal track and want to use these same settings for different sessions—or on multiple new tracks in the same session—I can create a Track Preset.
How To Create Track Presets
To create a Track Preset, select the track from which you want to save a preset, and do one of the following:
Right-click the track name and select Save Track Preset…
Navigate to Track < Save Track Preset…
Or - Use the keyboard shortcut Option+Shift+P (Mac) or Alt+Shift+P (Windows)
Once selected, the Save Track Preset dialog box will appear.
Pro Tools comes with a variety of existing Track Presets under the AVID category. To add a category of your own, click the Category Drop-down Menu and select Add Category. You may find it helpful to make a category of your own, called “My Presets” or something similar. This is what I’m going to do for my Lead Vocal Track Preset. In the resulting dialog box, select Track Presets from the Create In menu to create a new top-level category.
The Name of your new Track Preset will default to the name of the track you selected, but you can change it to whatever you like. The Save Track Preset dialog box provides various controls for selecting the attributes that will be stored within a saved preset, including checkboxes, tagging features, and the Track Data to Recall button.
Include Audio and MIDI Clips checkbox. Selecting this checkbox allows you to specify whether any recorded data on the track will be saved with the preset. For example, in a podcast post-production session, you may want to save a Track Preset that includes the audio clips for a music bed or advertisement.
Clips in Edit Selection Only checkbox. Selecting this checkbox lets you restrict the included media to any fully-selected clips within an Edit selection on the track. The start of the selected range will be placed at the start of the track when recalling the Track Preset.
Auto-Populate Tags from Track Data checkbox. Selecting this checkbox allows you to add tags to the Track Preset based on the track type and format, track name, and any plug-ins on the track. These tags will make your Track Preset more easily searchable within the Workspace.
Tags Field. In addition to the auto-populated tags, you can add your own customized tags to a preset. Simply enter a tag label in the field and press Return (Mac) or Enter (Windows).
Track Data to Recall button. Selecting this button will allow you to specify the track attributes and session data that will be recalled with a preset.
To customize the settings and attributes saved in your Track Preset, click the Track Data to Recall button at the bottom of the Save Track Preset dialog box.
To add or remove a certain setting from the Track Data to Recall box, simply select or deselect the checkbox next to the appropriate setting. This allows to fully customize your Track Preset’s saved attributes. Click OK when you are satisfied with your selections.
Recall Track Presets
Once you have saved a Track Preset, you can recall it in a variety of ways. You can recall the entire track included in a preset or just recall the insert or send assignments from the preset.
To create a new track from a Track Preset using the New Tracks dialog box:
Choose Tracks > New or press Command+Shift+N (Mac) or Control+Shift+N (Windows) to open the New Tracks dialog box.
Using the Track Type drop-down arrow, navigate to your desired category of Track Presets. If you have created your own category, it will appear here.
Select the desired Track Preset from the Preset pop-up menu.
In addition to creating entirely new tracks using your desired Track Preset, you can also recall the Inserts or Sends from a Track Preset to an existing track.
To recall Inserts or Sends from a Track Preset, do one of the following:
Right-click on a track name in the Track List, Mix Window, or Edit Window and choose Recall Inserts > Preset Name from the pop-up menu. All inserts and sends from the preset will be added to the selected track, starting at the current insert position.
Click on an Insert selector on a track in the Mix or Edit window and choose Recall Inserts > Preset Name from the pop-up menu. All inserts from the first track in the preset will be added to the selected track, starting at the current insert position.
Click on a Send selector on a track in the Mix or Edit window and select Recall Sends > Preset Name from the pop-up menu. All sends from the first track in the preset will be added to the selected track, starting at the current send position.
You can create Track Presets for a variety of production scenarios, expediting the mixing, editing, and production process. You can create a variety of categories for your Track Presets depending on the type of work your Track Preset is intended for. Experiment with your own workflow to discover functions that make sense in your sessions.
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Alex Thomen is a producer, composer, pianist, mixing engineer, and music educator. He attained his Master's Degree in Commercial Music Composition and Arranging from Belmont University in Nashville, TN and taught as an instructor in Music Production at University of Miami Frost School of Music. From small-scale chamber groups and rock bands to full symphonic orchestra, Thomen arranges, produces, and mixes for a variety of ensembles and styles. Thomen’s education and experience have helped refine his skills in contemporary music production for Film/TV/Games. From ambient, musical soundscapes to fantastical, orchestral pieces, television commercials, and more, Thomen’s creative output evokes a vast variety of moods, settings, and themes.
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