MIDI to Audio in Pro Tools

This Pro Tools and MIDI tutorial will show you how different Pro Tools features compliment each other in an everyday, professional, Pro Tools music creation workflow that uses both MIDI and audio.

Working with MIDI in Pro Tools

If you’re composing your music using MIDI in Pro Tools, chances are, at some point, you’ll want to record your MIDI sounds sources onto Audio tracks. Especially as your project is getting closer to the mixing stage, or if you’re working with limited CPU resources and virtual instruments.

I’ll be showing you a straightforward, tried and true method for this workflow. Along the way, I’ll add some extra mini-lessons that will shed some light on the more commonly asked questions surrounding this topic.

Objectives

In this tutorial, you will

  • Create a New Pro Tools Session
  • Customize the Edit Window display
  • Use the Digidesign A.i.r Xpand Virtual Instrument
  • Learn how to set “good” record levels
  • Use Busses to route audio signals
  • and much more…

Requirements

To get the most out of this tutorial, the following are highly recommended:

  • Pro Tools 7.1 or higher
  • Digidesign A.i.r Xpand Virtual Instrument
  • The ability to get MIDI into Pro Tools, via a controller keyboard

Step 1
Create a New Pro Tools session by launching Pro Tools. Select New Session from the File menu.

MIDI to Audio in Pro Toolssmpt tut 10 001c

For this tutorial, you can leave the default settings of the New Session dialog as-is. Just type a name for the new Session in the “Save As” field and hit Save.

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You should now have a New Session with no tracks in it – like so.

MIDI to Audio in Pro Toolssmpt tut 10 001
Step 2
Navigate to, and click on the Track menu and Select New… from the list of menu items.

MIDI to Audio in Pro Toolssmpt tut 10 002
Step 3
In the New Track dialog that appears, create one MIDI track by selecting MIDI Track from the Track Type drop-down menu (as pictured). But don’t hit “Create” just yet.

MIDI to Audio in Pro Toolssmpt tut 10 003
Step 4
Still in the New Track dialog window, use the Add Row button – (the plus sign at the far right) – to add three more tracks. Use the the two drop-down menus in the middle of the New Track window (called the Track Type and Track Format menus) to configure the tracks as follows:

  1. Stereo Aux Input
  2. Stereo Audio Track
  3. Stereo Master Fader

Once you’ve done this, check to make sure your New Track dialog looks like the picture (below this paragraph) and then hit “Create”.

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Step 5
In the Edit Window, your session should now look something like this.

MIDI to Audio in Pro Toolssmpt tut 10 005a
Step 6
At this point, let’s just take a few moments to customize the Edit Window. This tutorial is written with everything being done in the Edit Window and this step will help ensure that we’re both looking at the same thing in Pro Tools.

First, let’s make our I/O Settings visible in the Edit Window. We can do this by navigating to the View menu, selecting the Edit Window sub-menu and then selecting I/O from the menu items.

MIDI to Audio in Pro Toolssmpt tut 10 005
Step 7
We also need to make our Inserts visible in the Edit Window. We can do this by navigating to the View menu, selecting the Edit Window sub-menu and then selecting Inserts from the menu items.

MIDI to Audio in Pro Toolssmpt tut 10 006

Ok – now your Edit Window should be the same as what I’m looking at during this tutorial. Here’s what my screen looks like.

MIDI to Audio in Pro Toolssmpt tut 10 007
Step 8
On the Aux Input’s first Insert, instantiate (“insert”) the Xpand plug-in by selecting Xpand from your plug-ins list drop-down menu.

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MIDI to Audio in Pro Toolssmpt tut 10 008 b

MIDI to Audio in Pro Toolssmpt tut 10 008 c
Step 9
Assign the MIDI output of the MIDI track to the MIDI Input of the Xpand by doing the following:

  • Click on the output tab of the MIDI Track

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  • Select the Xpand 1 – Channel 1 from the MIDI Output tab’s pop-up menu

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Step 10 The default patch on the Xpand! Instrument is a pad sound called “Shimmer”. It has a really slow attack time (meaning it takes a few seconds before the sound is at full volume). So, for the purpose of this tutorial, I think we should use a patch with a little more attack – like an Acoustic Piano.

On the Xpand, the word patch refers to a combination of up to four individual parts (A,B,C, and D), or sounds. The sounds are layered together to produce a richer overall sound, called a patch. The Xpand has over 1000 preset patches that utilize around 500 combinable parts.

At the top of the Xpand plug-in interface, click on the Plug-In Settings Select Button. It’s the little button with two overlapping squares.

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When you click on the Plug-In Settings Select Button, the Plug-In Settings Dialog opens. It will look something like this…

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At the top-left of this window, you’ll notice drop-down folder selector/menu. (On my system, it always defaults to the “Action Pads” folder.) Click on this Selector to reveal a list of Xpand Patch folders. Navigate down the list to folder “13. Acoustic Piano”.

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Now, the plug-in setting dialog will show you a list of all the different acoustic piano patches included in your Xpand library. Click on one that you want to work with and then click Done.

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Step 11
Record enable the MIDI Track by Clicking the Record Enable button.

MIDI to Audio in Pro Toolssmpt tut 10 010

and use on of the following methods to start recording:

  • Press Command+Spacebar (Mac) / CTRL+Spacebar (Win)
  • Press the number 3 on the numeric (ten keypad) keyboard
  • Press the F12 key
  • Click the Record, then the Play button on a Pro Tools Transport

MIDI to Audio in Pro Toolssmpt tut 10 011

Step 12
With Pro Tools recording, play four or eight bars of something on your MIDI keyboard.

If you don’t have a MIDI keyboard connected to your Pro Tools system, you can download this Pro Tools session. It includes everything in the tutorial up to this point and has some MIDI already recorded on the MIDI track.
Step 13
When you’re finished playing in some midi from your keyboard, hit the spacebar to stop recording.

Click on the Record Enable button on the MIDI Track to disarm Recording on that track.
Step 14
Now that you’ve got some MIDI recorded, it’s a good idea to have a quick listen – just to make sure it’s playing back as you expect.

Using your computer keyboard, play the session back by hitting the Return key to go back to the start of the session, and then hit the Spacebar to play.

You could also click on the Return to Zero button in the Pro Tools Transport window…

MIDI to Audio in Pro Toolssmpt tut 10 013a

…followed by the Play button.

MIDI to Audio in Pro Toolssmpt tut 10 013b

Step 15
Before we can record the audio signal from the Xpand onto the Audio Track, we’ll need to route the Aux Input’s output to the Input of the Audio Track.

First, locate the Audio Output Path Selector on the Aux Input. It’s located in the I/O section that we added to our Edit Window earlier. Here’s what it looks like:

MIDI to Audio in Pro Toolssmpt tut 10 014a 300x252.

Click on the Output Path Selector. The pop-up menu will give you the option of choosing either “Interface” or “bus”. Mouse over to bus to reveal a list of your available busses.

Select Bus 1-2 (Stereo)

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By the way, you could use any available bus that you wanted to. There’s nothing special about Bus 1-2. It’s just the first available one, so we’re using it here.
Step 16
Ok – so we’ve got the Output of the Xpand track routed to Bus 1-2. But we still need to tell Bus 1-2 to travel to the Input of the Audio Track.

Locate the Audio Input Path Selector on the Audio Track. Just like the Aux Input, the Input and Output Path Selectors are located in the I/O panel that we added to the Edit Window earlier. Take a look…

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When we click in on the Audio Track’s Input Path Selector, we’ll be given two options again; “Interface” or “bus”.

Mouse over the “bus” option and then select Select Bus 1-2 (Stereo) from the list.

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Where we’re at so far…

Ok, so now you’ve got the MIDI part done. You’ve successfully set-up the MIDI routing and the Xpand instrument, recorded a MIDI performance and checked it, and then configured the I/O so that you’ve now got the output of the Xpand going into the Input of a new audio track, ready to record. Perfect!

Now, in the next set of steps, we’re going to put Pro Tools into Loop playback mode, discuss and set some recording levels, and then actually record.

Step 17
I’ve only recorded four bars of midi in my session. I want to put Pro Tools in Loop Playback mode so my short, four-bar passage plays repeatedly. That way I can take as much time as I need to check and set my levels.

To put Pro Tools into Loop Playback Mode, do the following:

Navigate to, and click on the Options Menu. Select Loop Playback from the list of items.
Of course, you could also use any of these shortcuts:

  • Shift+⌘+L (Mac)
  • numeric keypad #4 (Mac/Win)
  • Control-Click on the Play button (Mac) / Start-Click on Play button (Win)
  • Right-Click on the Play button (Mac / Win)

MIDI to Audio in Pro Toolssmpt tut 10 018
Step 18
We’ve enabled Loop Playback. But it requires that you have a Timeline Selection made so that Pro Tools knows where your loop starts and ends. An easy way to create a Timeline Selection that corresponds to a single region is to click on the region on your MIDI track’s playlist with the Grabber Tool.

If your MIDI track is currently in “Notes” view, you’ll need to change it to “Regions” view before clicking on it with the Grabber

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Click on the MIDI track’s Track View Selector and select Regions from the drop-down menu. This will change your MIDI track to “Regions” view.

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Now you can easily single-click on the region to make a selection. This is the selection that will loop during playback.

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Note: If clicking on the midi Region on the MIDI track playlist doesn’t create a Timeline Selection for you, check to see that you’ve got the Link Timeline and Edit Selection feature enabled.

The Link Timeline and Edit Selection button is located the black Edit Window bar that runs along the top of Edit Window.

Check to make sure the Link Timeline and Edit Selection button is enabled (outlined in blue), then try Step 18 again.

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Step 19
Record Enable the Audio Track by clicking on the Record Enable button on the audio track. Press the spacebar to start playback.

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Step 20

As the MIDI track is looping over and over, toggle the audio track in and out of Record Enable. Notice that you only hear the Xpand with the audio track Record Enabled.

This is because you’re hearing Xpand playing back through the audio track’s input and output.

It’s important to recognize that the meter activity on the audio track is showing it’s input volume – that is, the level the you’ll be recording. To demonstrate this point, pull the Audio track’s fader all the way down. Notice that the meter is still showing the exact same activity.

MIDI to Audio in Pro Toolssmpt tut 10 020b

This brings a very important point into focus. Pro Tools channel faders do not control input (record) levels.

Rather, a track’s channel faders only ever control the track’s Output Level. The volume levels going into the track are always set at the source of the signal (ie: a hardware mixer, a microphone pre-amp, a synth, and so-on.

In the case of this tutorial, our sound source is a virtual instrument on an Aux Input. That means that there’s at least five different places where we can control (in varying degrees) the level of the signal being sent to the input of the Audio Track. They are:

  • Master Output Level Control in the Xpand Plug-In Interface
  • Part Output Level Control in the Xpand Plug-In Interface
  • Output Fader Level of the Aux Input where the Xpand is inserted
  • MIDI Velocity
  • MIDI Volume (MIDI Controller #7)

MIDI to Audio in Pro Toolssmpt tut 10 017aMIDI to Audio in Pro Toolssmpt tut 10 017bMIDI to Audio in Pro Toolssmpt tut 10 017cMIDI to Audio in Pro Toolssmpt tut 10 017dStep 21

There’s allot that can be said about all the different stages of signal flow and the ways to control output vs. input levels for the best results. But for this tutorial, we’re going to pass on the advanced concepts and use a practical level-setting method using two basic controls.

  • Master Output knob on the Xpand interface
  • Output fader of the Aux Input

Start by clicking-holding on the Master Level control of the Xpand. Drag the knob up/down or left/right to adjust the overall volume of the Xpand. As you do the relative value of gain being added will be displayed in the Xpand display screen.

If you’ve added +6dB of gain with Xpand’s Master Level, yet still need some more gain to achieve a better recording level, then move onto the Aux Input’s output fader to push an even “hotter” signal out along Bus 1-2 to the Audio track’s input.

MIDI to Audio in Pro Toolssmpt tut 10 021MIDI to Audio in Pro Toolssmpt tut 10 021b

What IS a good level? As a general rule, what you’re aiming for when recording into Pro Tools is a clean and strong signal that doesn’t clip. It’s ok if a track has quieter portions, too. But on average, you want the loudest parts of the signal peaking somewhere in the range of -6db to -3db on the level meters. That’s where the level meter in Pro Tools fades from Green to Yellow.MIDI to Audio in Pro Toolssmpt tut 10 016

Step 22

Double-Click on the Audio track’s Track Name label to reveal the Track Name dialog.

Naming your Audio tracks before recording onto them is the way to go. I consider it the easiest way to ensure that I don’t end up with a bunch of audio files with meaningless names like “audio1_01″, “audio2_01″ when I’m working. I think you will, too.

MIDI to Audio in Pro Toolssmpt tut 10 022bMIDI to Audio in Pro Toolssmpt tut 10 022Step 23

Yes! It’s time to record!

So, make sure you’re Audio track is still Record enabled, hit Return to make sure you’re at the start of the session and start recording using one of the following methods:

  • Press Command+Spacebar (Mac) / CTRL+Spacebar (Win)
  • Press the number 3 on the numeric (ten keypad) keyboard
  • Press the F12 key
  • Click the Record, then the Play button on a Pro Tools Transport

When your recording is done, hit Spacebar to stop recording.

Click the Record Enable button to disable recording on the track.

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A little tip. When setting your Timeline selection to record, make sure to add extra time to the end of your selection to allow the decay of reverb or delay effect to be recorded properly.

Step 24

Now that you’ve finished recording the Xpand part as audio, you can make the Aux Input and the Xpand plug-in Inactive. This will free up the CPU resources that they were using while giving you the option making them Active again if you need to. You won’t lose any settings at all.

Right-Click on the Aux Input track’s Name (Track Label)

Select Make Inactive

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Step 25

Now that the Aux Input and the Xpand are Inactive, and you’re not using the MIDI track at the moment, it’s not a bad idea to Hide them from view. This will keep them in the session, available at any time. But they won’t taking up valuable screen real-estate.

Click on the Aux Input track label to select it

Shift-Click on the MIDI track label to add it to the selection

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Right-Click on the MIDI track name to reveal a mini-menu

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Select Hide

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Comments

  1. Pro Tools Enthusiast says:

    Very well done with all these screenshots! Bookmarked the site to see what future updates will bring.

    Cheers

  2. Nice tips my friend.

  3. Learn me more professional in Pro Tools.

  4. thanks heaps

  5. Very valuable tutorial here, but I would add a little something!
    Correct me if I’m wrong but you’re working with PT 7.4 and the alternative way to get this job done is to use an Instrument track instead of an Aux and MIDI.
    I’m aware that at the end of the day it won’t make any “audio” differences, but I personaly find this way easier to handle.
    Also during the level calibration on purpose to “print” the track, setting the plugin level quite low (let’s say -10dB), setting the “under fader” section to peak (Control Click), then play all the track to check the peak, then raising the plugin level until the peak level reach the -6 to -3 dBFS (just a rough mathematical).

    Thank you again for this great tutorial which helps loads beginners to reach a proper sound.
    Cheers

  6. Dorian ~ Thanks for sharing your insights. Glad you like the tutorial.

    Yes you could use an Instrument track as an alternative to a MIDI+Aux track. I’ve met allot of users who love using Instrument tracks.

    Funnily enough, I prefer using the MIDI+Aux track combo instead of Instrument tracks. I find it easier because I feel it makes the way I relate to the mixer more consistent by keeping all my mute and solo buttons uniform through the session. That saves me time in the long run. Especially when using multi-timbral instruments.

    Your suggestion to use the control-click (to display the peak value below the fader) is an excellent tip, too,

  7. Nick Saladino says:

    Hi,
    I bought pro tools about a year ago and the guy at store said it was pretty easy to use if I bought the pro tool book, he was wrong. I tried to figure it out and at first it worked, but then the sound would not come through, but I could see the meter jumping, so I knew something was recorded. What I would like to know if I set it up like your saying here would that solve the problem? Thank You

  8. Just got Pro Tool 7.4 with MBox 2 Mini. I cannot work out how to allocate hard disk. This problem is highlighted when I try to record. I would really appreciate any help. Many Thanks

  9. Ian ~ I’m not sure I understand exactly what the problem is.

    Assigning a hard drive to record to is done in the New Session dialog window when you first create the session.

    But have you checked the workspace browser to make sure the drive you’re using is not set to P or T? It should be set to R (for record).

    There’s quite a few variables at work when it comes to troubleshooting any problem. But when Pro Tools stops you from recording, it’s fairly common that users inadvertently have their Record volume (drive) set to Playback or Transfer volume in the workspace browser (found under the window menu).

    Do you know about the DUC?

    The Digidesign User Conference is a good place to look for help on these kinds of support issues. You can find it here: http://duc.digidesign.com/

  10. Mateus Garcia says:

    thank you very much brothers this tips help me to start.
    I have more question to you? my keyboard is a roland fantom x6 , i have windows vista, and protools le 7.4 when i record on midi hows to change that to audio could you give a steps,please

  11. FINALLY I found a tutorial that actuall helps on the whole midi in pro tools thing. THANK YOU SO MUCH! No other tutorial whether in Pro Tools or on youtube or by searching google has helped so much, finally it just got to the point made sense and I was able to learn and achieve!! I only hope other people who are struggling can find it :-D

    Jerry

  12. Yeah man good job on this tutorial. I just got a radium 49 and it really helped. This is the only good one on the internet.

  13. Cheers mate!
    I agree with Jerry. Could’nt find anything anywhere on the net to help with this basic intro to recording my midi. I’m using PT 8 by the way but even then I could figure it all out with the helpful screenshots.
    please set up more lessons!!

  14. Hi,

    Thank you for this site, it helps a lot.

    On this particular tutorial everything works for me except when I record to the audio track, nothing is recording? I can hear the midi track but nothing is recording to the audio track, what did I miss?

    The work around I’m using is to bounce each midi track then import it back to audio track?

    I don’t like to do this work around, I’d like yours to work, please advise.

    Thank you!
    Joel

  15. Joel ~ I can only guess what’s happening…

    Are you sure that you have bussed the output of the Aux Input Track to the input of the Audio Track?

    This is covered in Steps 15 and 16. If this step was missed, you would hear the MIDI track, but not have the audio recorded (as you described).

  16. Thanks for your quick response Chris,

    I believe I’ve tried bussing the tracks as you suggested and I’ve tried bussing it every ways that I can :) but I couldn’t get it to record for some reason?

    but on your other tutorial, you mentioned something about renaming a output track to ‘Print’??? I will try that tutorial and see what happens. I will let you know.

    anyways, just FYI, I only have a simple setup, mini mbox with axiom 25 hooked up via USB using Xpand.

    Thanks Man!
    Joel

  17. This was amazingly helpful! Thanks so much.

    I have one strange thing happening. When I connect the Output of the Aux Input to the Input of the Audio Track I can’t hear the midi playing. However, the level meters are working and the track records. I can hear it once I hit record but not when I just Record Enable.

    Any ideas?

    FYI, for some reason my busses start numbering at 5-6 instead of 1-2 so I’ve used 5-6 instead.

    Thanks!

    Rob

  18. Rob ~ Input Only Monitoring allows you to hear the input of the record track when it’s record enabled.

    Auto Input Monitoring let’s you hear the input ONLY when you’re actually recording.

    You’ll need to change your set-up to Input Only Monitoring.

    Depending on which version of PT you’re using:

    Operations Menu (older version 6).
    Track Menu in PT 7 & 8

    (Not in front of PT at the moment, so I might be off on which menu it is).

    Also – you can use the shortcut option+K (mac) and alt+k (win) to toggle between the two modes.

  19. AHA! Thanks Chris.

    I’ve never encountered an app that reacts so differently with one little press of a button.

    Cheers!

    Rob

  20. Anonymous says:

    EXACTLY how do I control my virtual Instruments, in Pro Tools (every channel) ..Using my MPC3000

  21. Guy Romain says:

    I have been unable to to use the presets in plug ins in protools. How do I get them back. I am using protool 7.4 (upgrading soon) on power mac g5. Thanks for your help. your site helped..

  22. Chris- this little detail I just cant figure out how to. First, let me paint the canvas.
    My rig: PT 8.0 MAC Pro w/ HUI. Works well; only issue I am seeing is that I cannot “audition” an audio track unless I have it recording. In other words- if I recorded a piano track; drums, etc. Now I want to record a guitar; when I arm that track and hit “play”, unless I actually record it; I can’t hear it.
    Seems this issue I noticed when I upgraded the software. Anyhow, I just don’t know how to set it to allow me to “audition” while on playback. Please advise.

  23. Pro4one ~ Have you set your monitoring mode to Input Only Monitoring? It’s in the Track menu.

  24. pro tools in 20 minutes only !!!! great job

  25. Chris- how can I set up the inputs to allow the inputs from 3-4 to be used? Might seem basic, but… please help!

  26. Pro4One ~ Nothing’s too basic. Just select the desired Inputs (3-4, 5-6, etc) from the Input tab on the track you’re recording on.

  27. Nicki and Tony says:

    Thank you very much…Chris…you rock! We are new to Pro Tools and have been trying to figure this out for the last 3 days. We have been searching everywhere (i.e., manuals, google, etc.) and this tutorial is the only thing that has actually supplied any answers. Very well done, clear, and to the point. Thanks for all your work!

  28. Probably a dumb question but I cannot figure out how to patch change my software synths.

    Say I want to change sounds at a B section of a tune on Absynth for instance. I can see that there is all this Patch Change stuff in Pro Tools but how do I implement it? And without affecting the original MIDI I recorded in the A section (i.e. volume, etc..) Thanks for any help.

    PS: I should add that I am talking about Instrument tracks and MIDI tracks also.

    • DB ~ Thanks for the question. You can insert MIDI Program (“Patch”) Changes commands into your MIDI or Instrument tracks a number of ways in Pro Tools. One way is to Insert them using the drop-down menu in the top right hand corner of the MIDI Event List. Select Insert → Program Change.

      I’ll be covering the details of this in some upcoming tutorials.

      (Thanks for your patience).

  29. Very good. Helped me alot!

  30. Ian Carter says:

    Great tutorial Chris. I’m new to Pro Tools 8 LE and have an iMac [the new big one], Eleven Rack and a set of M-Audio monitors. I have a bunch of synths left over from the 80′s that I’m looking forward to integrating into the basic setup.

    Reading your tutorial got me on the right road to getting the Alpha Juno 2 up and running. The Korg M1 is next and then I’ll have a go at the the Roland D50.

    Only stuck one one thing at the moment. When I record a second MIDI track it messes up the program changes on the existing track. What I’m trying to end up with is a 3 or 4 MIDI tracks – each playing different programs back through the Alpha – got any ideas what I need to do? Cheers, Ian

    • Ian ~ Yes I know exactly what the problem is. The Alpha Juno 2 is a Mono-Timbral device. That means it can only play one sound at a time via MIDI.

      Your goal of having three or four MIDI tracks triggering the Alpha Juno 2 at the same time can’t be accomplished.

      However, you could do the first track, then print it as audio on an audio track in Pro Tools. Then move onto the second track, same thing. And so on.

      You’ll encounter the same problem with the Roland D-50, too. The M1, on the other hand, is 8 parts multi-timbral and you’ll be able to accomplish your goal using that instrument.

  31. Ian Carter says:

    Hi Chris, thanks for your quick response and of course – you are right. I shall now go sit in the “guy – who didn’t read the manual” corner [mmm...looks like I'm not alone :-) ]. OK – I did what you suggested for the Alpha – works a treat. I’ll get the M1 happening asap. Keep up the good work and thanks again. Cheers, Ian

  32. Thanks again. Why do you have to use an Audio track? Why not just use the MIDI track?

    • Adoney ~ You’re Welcome.

      You don’t have to record the MIDI parts as audio if you don’t want to. However, there’s a number of benefits to committing your MIDI tracks to audio.

      1. You free up CPU that a Virtual Instrument can take up
      2. If you are using a hardware sound module, recording it as audio ensures you’ll have a working version of the session even if the hardware (which is sometimes borrowed, rented, or broken) isn’t available
      3. You have a version of the session that you can share with other people who probably don’t have the exact same setup as you
      4. …and so on

      Of course – there’s also benefits to keeping the tracks happening as MIDI tracks, too. So there’s no rule. Just benefits to each way of working.

      I go back and forth several times during the course of a session depending on the need of the moment: work with MIDI tracks → turn them into audio and deactivate (but keep) the MIDI tracks → realize I need to tweak something and re-activate the MIDI track again, work with that for a while → record that tweaked version as audio, etc.

  33. This is a ridiculously basic question, but I’ve switched to Pro Tools from Cubase LE. Can you please tell this idiot (being me) how to resume recording in the middle of a track? For example, if I want to re-take half of the track. If I hit stop (or space bar), it’s defaulted to go back to the beginning and start recording from there. Is there a setting I’m missing? I’m running Pro Tools M-Powered Essential on a Mac.

    Thank you for your help.

    Glenn

    • Glenn ~ It’s actually a really good question because there are certain modes and features in Pro Tools that can make it behave counter intuitively. The Link Timeline and Edit Selection button may be disabled on your system. This is the button just below the Grabber Tool button in the Toolbar. When it is activated you can simply click with the Selector Tool anywhere on the track and you’ll be able to start playback or recording there.

      Tip: The work flow you are describing would benefit greatly from using the Pre and Post Roll times on the Transport.

  34. Every time I change the fader value on the AUX or Master Fader the fader just resets itself back to the original value! Any clues?

    • Lisa ~ Sounds like you may have written some automation to the track without knowing it. In short, you can do one of two things:

      1. switch the track from Read to Off using the Automation mode selector (located just below the Solo and Mute buttons on the track channel)
      2. clear the automation that you’ve written using the Edit → Cut Special → All Automation function. You’ll need to be sure and select the portion of the track where the automation is currently written and if you’re not sure where that is just yet, this option wouldn’t be as good as the first.
  35. What must I do so that ProTools records sys excl messages. I have Kore 2 and when I play with all the knobs it doesn’t record. Only the notes….

  36. This question is for Chris Bryant, or anyone that has an answer:

    I have Pro Tools 8, a Roland Fantom x6, a digidesign interface, and a midi to USB cable. I am trying to record into Pro Tools what I have already recorded on my Fantom. I have the midi to USB chord set up correctly, and I have the settings in Pro Tools set so that all I have to do is select 8 bars, hit spacebar, and the Pro Tools will receive the audio from the keyboard.

    My only problem is that it does not pick up the first millisecond of all of my tracks. For instance, I go to record the kick drum into Pro Tools, but the very first kick drum is cut off in the middle, while the rest sound just fine.

    Can someone help me?

    Thanks!

    • Joe ~ Without really knowing the ins-and-outs and finer details of your setup, it’s tricky to say exactly what’s happening. So, my best suggestion in the meantime is to just insert a bar of blank space at the beginning of the pattern in the Fantom, then record 9 bars, and trim the excess off of the start of the region when you’re done. Then consolidate the edited region or Export is as File if you need it as a Whole File.

      Also, MIDI timing is not sample accurate. I tend to expect sample-sized, or even millisecond offsets when tracking MIDI instruments. Perhaps even more so if you’re triggering the MIDI instrument from Pro Tools via USB and then recording the audio output from that MIDI instrument into a Pro Tools Audio Track (via and USB interface, perhaps?). Just saying that what you’re experiencing – if it’s a one millisecond offset – is not totally uncommon.

  37. MIKE COZAD says:

    Is there a way to separate notes from a single midi track in PT 7.4 and record them to separate audio tracks? Example: I have all of my drums on one midi track and now would like to separate them to individual audio tracks to control dynamics and panning of bass, snare, cymbals, hyhat, toms, shaker,etc.?

    • Chris Bryant says:

      Hi Mike ~ You could use the Select/Split Notes feature. It’s available under Event Operations.

  38. Ruby Leali says:

    Hello Chris

    I’m enrolled in a film/video music/scoring class. Unfortunately I have no knowledge of how Pro Tools works. I would like to learn more about how to add music to my markers. Also, do you know where I can download a free copy Pro Tools LE 8. I saw quite a few on the internet, but weird things come up. Thank you for your help.

    Jara

  39. This tutorial is a great resource. I have a question/problem, and it may be an easy fix. I am using Pro Tools M Powered. Windows 7 64-bit. I have an Akai MPD26. I use EX Drummer for drum sounds. I want to use my Akai to make drum beats loops in Pro Tools. I can get the Akai to connect and manually play the pads, but I cannot get the Akai to work in record mode, as I see everyone online has been able to do. Do I need to adjust settings? Do I need to get additional software? I am at a loss. I am obviously new at this, so please forgive my ignorance if this is an easy thing. Thanks.

  40. This is a fantastic tutorial. Thanks so much! I’ve got a question. Any help you can provide will be greatly appreciate!

    I’m using an MBox2 and ProTools 8 (LE). I have successfully been able to sync my keyboard so that my pre-recorded keyboard sequences play in sync with the tempo of the MBox2. And I can successfully record MIDI from the keyboard. I can also hear the keyboard when I’m playing it through the Mbox2 monitor outputs.

    However, when I try to record audio from the keyboard I get a loud hiss of white noise. I’m guessing it’s got something to do with routing, but I haven’t figured it out yet. As soon as I activate the record button on my audio track I hear the white noise. It’s not coming through the MBox, because I can turn the Mbox inputs down all the way and it doesn’t affect the levels of the white noise.
    It’s very strange. I can hear the keyboard play through the MBox (that’s how the monitors are set up). But I can’t get ProTools to record audio from the MBox. It doesn’t change when I change my audio inputs (unless I change them to “bus,” which silences the white noise but doesn’t give me audio — however, when I do that, there’s no sound through the keyboard; the only sound is through the Xpand2).
    I love the Xpand2, but I want the sound samples/patches from my keyboard.
    Here’s how it’s routed now:

    MIDI input = ALL (to receive notes from keyboard sequences)

    MIDI output = MBox2, Port 1 (to send sync to keyboard)

    Aux 1 insert = Xpand2

    Aux 1 input = TR 626 (my drum machine, when I hooked it up, the ProTools read its ID and stopped showing me the MBox2 input option — However, I think I have successfully recorded audio through MBox2 despite the fact that the input menu says TR 626).
    If I change my Aux input to Path 1, I still get the white noise. (I created Path 1 using Setup, I/O, new path, through the MBox 2).

    Aux 1 output = Bus 3-4

    Audio input = Path 1 (if I change it to TR 626 I still get the white noise).

    Can you help me figure this out? I’d greatly appreciate it! Thanks!
    Jason

  41. Jim Marshall says:

    Excellent tutorial, I learned a few things right away. I followed your steps to turn a MIDI track into an audio track. The signal registers at the input of the audio track, but I can’t get it to record. I am baffled, help.

    • Chris Bryant says:

      Hi Jim –

      The signal from the MIDI sound source is registering on the input meters of the audio track, and yet when you press record nothing is being recorded?

      Can you give me any more details?

  42. Mickey Keys says:

    This is Pro tools made easy. I commend you sir. How do I route the different patches in xpand2 when working with drums to different mixer channels for mixing.

    • Chris Bryant says:

      @Mickey –

      Xpand2 is a single stereo output instrument that does not support individual outs.
      You could copy the first instance of Xpand2 to additional Aux Input tracks and get mix control that way (using multiple Xpands).

      Or you can print the tracks as audio and then mix them as discreet audio tracks.

      Otherwise, you must use the internal mixing capabilities of Xpand2.