Pro Tools First 101: Basics and why you should or shouldn't use it

by: Hop Pole Studios

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[Music] ladies and gentlemen welcome I'm Adam Steele for the hot pole studios and today we're going to talk about pro tools specifically pro tools first so if you watching this video I'm guessing you're the kind of person who's just started getting into using digital audio workstations sound recording audio recording as a thing so you're not yet a professional or maybe you're just watching this video because you're interested in what from Pro Tools first is all about so what we're going to do today is we're going to talk about Pro Tools first specifically and not the larger versions of Pro Tools at least not in too much detail so I'm going to be doing this as a kind of a tutorial showing you how to get going with Pro Tools first and what it entails what it's got what it's not got and what the main thing is that it's free at least at least that the bit that you get is free that there are plenty of things associated with Pro Tools first that are not free and that's part of what we'll talk about today so as you can see in front of us this is the avid website this is the Pro Tools first page so if we go here you can see on the top right it says get it now for free you can have 16 audio tracks for inputs there are 20 plus plugins 3 project ah well let's talk about what that means in just a minute so the first thing that we're gonna need is to scroll down the page and actually download Pro Tools first so the first thing it's going to do when you click that ask for a pop-up we're gonna have to show that pop-up so you're gonna have to create an avid master account because I'm guessing you probably don't already have one that's free as well it's since we an email you verify your email address you fill in massive sheet full of details I mean if if you're not paying money for it they do want some sort of payment for this and the payment is data really let's be honest they want sticks they want to know way from how you plan to use it so that they've got all these numbers that they can show to shareholders and people like that that's got some worth to them and that you're not actually paying up some cash then step four this is an interesting one create a new I lock account I'll provide your I lock ID if you're just starting out with audio production you probably don't have an eye lock or a nighlok account if if you've not and you've not seen one this is an eye lock this is a generation 2 I lock the generation 3 is also now available you don't need one of these to run Pro Tools first which is good but there are two parts to the eye lock system one is this I lock dongle the other part is the software which if I bring got the eye lock license manager which you would have to download I'll blur out my email addresses and such but that's gonna come up if I plug in my eye lock right there it might take a second but it should come up there is so what my stick my dongle is it where has all my plugins activated right there as you can see I have quite a few but then I do did it do this for a living Pro Tools first is one of them and if you look when when you've signed up for a I lock account and then you will come back to this in a minute actually because you need to download the software you need to sign up for an hour lock account but then once you've done that you download and install Pro Tools first so you hit get started now you go through all the steps I've already done all of this to save time and also to get Pro Tools first working and make sure that I could find my way around it see what's limited yada yada yada so I can show you so I've gone through all this so then I installed Pro Tools first and as part of the installation it tried to install the software which I already had so no big deal you sign into it and if you've given avid your email address that your I like lysis one just attached to then one of the like when you sign into the I lock license manager but you probably had to restart this is the same for Windows and for Mac OS by the way this is entirely platform-independent this is the same either way Pro Tools first will have been sent to your I lock account you have to activate it now you have two choices and you see these icons here some of them have little lit up icons and some of them don't and if it's got the one on the left the very far left that's the I lock dongle that I use the next one is the old I lock one which a lot of companies don't use anymore and the next one this square one that's the computer icon you can actually activate and I lock license on a computer if the manufacturer of that plug in our software allows it a lot of them don't some of them do so as you can see here almost soundToys ones they do allow that but the slate everything bundle for example they don't so i'll just deactivate mine first which you won't do this is just so that I can show you step-by-step how to activate it because if you run Pro Tools first without an activated license it just won't work so if I click on the big blue bit up top again my email is obscured but it says how many licenses I have including trials and demos which is quite annoying and I've got a few hidden including things like I had a Pro Tools demo for the full version which still had to activate via I lock anyway Pro Tools first comes up here zero out of three activations used so I could actually activate this on three computers which is nice it means that I could then move from a laptop to a desktop machine and they were both work with the same account so I have to select it in here right click activate and then that takes a little while to come up you need some patience so pro tools first avid you have in my case two locations to select from that would be the computer's name or my dongle you would probably pick the one that's your computer's name in my case I'm picking the dongle confirm activation yes so that then means that that's active which means that when you then run the software the software will ask the islet license manager for an activation somewhere it will talk to each other they will sort it's their thing out and it will launch nice and simple talk a bit of getting there but this now means that when the software opens you don't have any serial numbers to put in you don't have to do any registration that was the registration and the reason that I use a nighlok dongle partly some of the plugins I use that's the only thing they support and partly I can then take that dongle out with all my licenses on it and plug it into another machine and carry on working which is great because that means that I can be in the studio or I could be working on my laptop and not have to pay for every software license twice anyway so let's type in Pro Tools first and open this up so and I have an audio interface and I highly recommend that you get an audio interface of some kind if you don't already have one oh this is just disappeared to the back it's scanning plugins which is a strange thing because it pretty much can't use any plugins except for its own inbuilt ones which is something that's worth talking about is I have all these extra plugins like the slate everything bundle and sound toys you can't use them in Pro Tools first be aware of that if you've not paid for a plug-in through avid marketplace you probably can't use it in Pro Tools first anyway back to the subject to the interface I am using an audience ID for I'm gonna hold it upside down here because it's held it's put into the computer on quite a short lead but this is plugged in to my streaming setup we usually just use the headphones I'm using a slightly more complicated setup which you don't need to worry about because it's unlikely that you're going to be doing things this way around but I've also got a an acoustic guitar plugged into channel 2 and a microphone plugged into channel 1 so I have the option of recording things where I am I am currently in what I call Studio B which is my home setup now this has come up with the dashboard the first time it opened it came up with a choice let's just cancel that for a minute so the first thing that you want to do is when Pro Tools first opens for the first time it will choose a playback engine in my case on Windows it can be windows audio device which is to say it'll just come out of your laptop or desktops general audio not the best but it's a workable solution if you're not going to be recording actual audio if you're just going to be using the MIDI virtual instrument side of things it works I also have a co 4 all installed which is a great way for getting low latency audio without an interface which sometimes again I'll use if I'm on the move and I quickly want to just check a mix and I don't have time or even if I just need to change something I don't have time to be getting out my interface and setting everything up and then in my case I have the Audient a CL drivers which are important for the audience interface because they are the most efficient way for the interface and the computer to talk to each other the sample rate there is a choice usually I go for 40 4.1 or 48 48 for film 44.1 for music generally speaking but again that is that is now set up and done if your hardware has a set of things like latency buffers all that kind of stuff you'll find that under setup and hardware and it's best to try and set all that kind of stuff up before you open your projects it just makes life that bit easier I've had experience in the past of Pro Tools not liking it when I make changes there in the middle of a project it can then refuse to play back it can crash need restarting and that's all the way up to the most recent Pro Tools 12 it can still be quite fiddly so let's go to create new now you can see in open I've already made a project called songwriter now if I got to create there are templates here which is a nice thing I guess especially if you're not someone who's used to using deer w's right from the off with a complete blank setup so I did the songwriter one so I'm gonna do that again so I'm going to click songwriter college songwriter - now you see it says one out of three projects here's one of the CAPTCHAs of Pro Tools first you're only allowed to have three projects which seems very strange to me considering that something like you know GarageBand allows you to have as many projects as will fit on your drive it just seems a little odd but that's avid for you and notice that here is an upgrade Pro Tools button as far as I'm aware as well you can't import a pro tool session in here I it says convert session I'm not sure what convert means from what to what but if I hit create and use this template this will then take a little while creating me a project making every track some inputs or outputs may become inactive because your audio hardware device has changed some inputs are missing don't need to save a detail report that's fine and here we have the two windows that pro tool revolves around and that is on the left here the edit window and on the right the mix window these are the two windows if you've ever seen my Reaper you toriel's and I've used Reaper a lot so I consider myself to be a fairly seasoned Reaper user and I've explained the kind of concept difference between edit and mix before where the Edit window is where everything goes sideways left to right and you can see all the notes you can see the audio whereas the mix window is everything the tracks are kind of vertical and they're designed more for you to be changing effect changing levels essentially mixing the two being very separate and one for recording the audio editing the audio making sure that each piece is played back properly and then the mix window if I was to make the mix window full screen so we can't see the Edit window and we just hit play I hit spacebar there we can see the meters going but we can't see the audio which means that we could work blind as it were which is the way that a traditional engineer would mix up a tape machine it can be a good way of thinking and this way we can look at the effects that are on each channel which are the inserts we can look at the separate channels that is to say in this case the sends the reverb the delay and the chorus are separate there at the end and we can decide how much of each track gets sent to those reverbs delays we've got the faders here so we can decide if we want something to be less loud for instance in this case I'm gonna make my drums less loud by sliding that down as I move a fader you can see there's a number below it that changes that's gone from 0 to minus 6.2 so roughly I've taken away 6 decibels of volume from the drums and if I play now hello

that's now quieter an interesting quirk of ProTools that's always kind of annoyed me I'm sure there's a way to fix it but I've never looked deep enough and is that as I change the volume of the drums as it's playing the meters don't change although you can see the master fader which is where everything goes in this case everything that would be sent to a mastering engineer cents a release comes out of the master fader you can see how I've turned the drums down they are quieter coming up the master fader I suppose in a way it's useful I know even when I turn to track down that it's got audio on there but it's not an accurate representation of what I'm hearing which is a thing so this the songwriter preset as we can see here comes with a drum track ready-made weird drums already on it which is unusual I thought for a template there's a bass track which is MIDI a piano track which is MIDI and then there's rhythm guitar lead guitar male and female vocal and a couple of extra audio tracks before the click track and all the extras at the bottom there which are for extra audio so with it being a songwriter preset this this kind of works for me it's a little stripped down it's a little simple but there's a lot going on at the top this is Pro Tools for you there's a lot happening on this top bar and it's probably worth me doing some explanation of what there is here so if I dragged tracks round I've what I'd first did is I selected the different tools at the top so there are different tools this is the hand tool and the hand tool moves things around then there's the waveform tool which can select a little section if there's WAV audio there and there will be in a second we'll get to recording some that can select a little section of it without moving it and then there's the trim tool which is how you make things larger and small let's undo that but yeah there you go you can make things shorter or if you click just above them you can have all three selected at once so that when you hover over a relevant part the relevant tool is selected so if I go further down on the waveform it's cut hand if I go further up it's got select forgot to the end it's got that trim thing going on there yeah and that makes it more useful so I almost always have that selected now if we hit play from the beat something it's worth mentioning now is there's the blue bar which is the time signature the green bar is the speed and then just below that is the transports as I call it I'm sure there's another name for it but it's called transport in most the AWS and where that blue arrow is when I click on an bar number that's where if I hit play it's going to play from so if I don't want to start the song all the way from the start maybe I just want to play a chorus which might be here I might click on the timeline there and then hit play and you'll see the bar move across the screen from that point so spacebar is one of my favorite keys it's start/stop saves me having to go up and reach for the play and stop every time enough to find it especially if I'm in the middle of doing something else it just saves me a lot of time click-click-click so we have drums if I was to double click on that that comes up at the bottom with if I make that a little bigger a MIDI editor where we can see I'm just gonna have to make this window a little smaller to fit on my screen which is a little strange because my screen is 1920 by 1080 but you can see [Music] if I click on the piano roll on the left the drum kits already set up with all the separate drums on each key if I click on one that highlights all the drums on that particular all the notes that are that particular drum it's probably the best way to explain it and if we look at the bottom you can see these little lollipop sticks or the diamond on the top those are the velocity those are how hard each drums being hit if they're higher up the drums being hit harder if they're lowered down that drum is being tickled the same applies for any MIDI instrument so the same applies for the virtual bass the virtual piano virtual any instrument virtual since you name it the I if I hit play boom bunk I can see the kick drum here and that that a rim bump on the snare I can see the length of them Bom Bom care Bom Bom Bom cap on and I can almost read them before they come up that's just a learned skill that's just visualizing what you see these big lines at the end of each bar so I can see the division of each bar so I can see 1 bar 2 bars 3 bars and 4 bars and so on and so forth at this point is probably worth talking about the speed the tempo so maybe the song is too slow for us so what we're going to do is look at the top so if we look at where it says meter that's 4 4 let's not change that but what we're going to do is we're going to change the tempo so where it says a quarter note is at 130 bpm that's the speed we were going up let's make it faster let's make it 150 if I just type in 150 and hit enter you see how all the MIDI just shrunk down then because everything's going past more quickly if I hit players will be faster

certainly quite a useful little trick and if you want to make quite an intricate part maybe an intricate drum part or an intricate piano part or whatever and you want to hear it broken down is maybe make the tempo a little bit slower listen to it so that you can hear it's been made right and then speed it up afterwards and get that feel you're after it's a nice neat little trick that I've used over the years so we now have a drum part and let's close down this MIDI editor so we're these three dots are here that opens up a little sub menu there are a lot more buttons here and one that's blue is MIDI editor so I can just click that and that gets rid of that transport transport is a separate window that essentially copies all this stuff from up here and if you working across two screens or a really big screen you can put that somewhere that's more efficient for you to look at it's a nice extra handy thing we don't need that because everything's up here in the Edit window might be useful if we're running the mix window though so what we might do is have the transport along with the Edit window that way we can see everything and still work so yeah on the Edit window I can now see those drums I can see where I'm stopping rewinding a little bit fast forward in a little bit and so on and so on and so on if we want to go back to here and track with a clip track the first thing we want to do is just under where it said tempo earlier there is a little button for hover over it says metronome I click that then hit play there's our click track which goes along with the tempo we've set and the count we've set personally I think that clicks sounds terrible so what we're going to do quickly is go over to the mix window and there is a track that says at the top of it is an insert inserts are either instruments or they're things like eq's compressors all the processing these stuff that you would put on a single track they all go in a row from the top downwards and so the first one here is called click - so we bring that up if we hit play you can see it blinking along with the click there so the volumes are here so we might make that first click little louder and you can change whether they're singles doubles is as follow meter so if I unclick follow meter I can change how the click sounds so if I make that these eighth notes I can make these more laid-back if you've got a drummer who prefers that or we can make it more intense if you got a drummer or a musician who prefers playing along with something that's a bit more what's the word you got someone who prefers playing with that eighth note beat which might be useful for things like odd time signatures as well there right there makes things simple but where it says classic click AK I really don't like the sound of this but if I change these there are a load of options in here so let's make it smooth thick and shaker for example

turn it back to follow Mita yeah there we go if we go follow meter when it's on follow meter mode the first beat of the bar is accented with the top one and the rest are all the bottom one marginally better I mean anything's better than that original jockey for me personally maybe it's because I've heard it for thousands of hours but it drives me insane and that little metronome button that was on the Edit window is also copied over on the transport once you've recorded your part with the click track if you decide then you won't actually hear the song without it you just click that again so it goes gray and that's done now let's add a bass track to this let's right click on where the little keys are and make it extreme now if I drag up and down on here we can see the number two the number one number three those are the octaves and so if you go down to the octave number one that's down here octave zero too far down sounds like octave three is too high up so that either sounds decent so how do we write in a bass part without actually playing it on a MIDI keyboard because let's say I don't have one for I mean right now where I am I don't happen to have a MIDI keyboard with me so what we do is the tools at the top of this one it's a draw so what we want is to zoom in let's make a bass note right at the start there's a whole bar long then make another one then a B then an E then a c-sharp and a B and another e so a nice simple pop song lay out dead simple so if we hit play from the start those are all a barolong just a bit boring but what I did there is I clicked with the pencil and dragged them out hit ctrl and said our Apple and Zed for undo now if you want to make them shorter you can you just don't drag the note out as long and wait on the top left where it says grit this is an interesting thing right here if I change the grid it's currently on one bar if I change up to a half note a quarter note you can see how the the division has just become much more fine let's get rid of that transport bar right now it's getting in the way if I hold down the Alt key I can zoom in and out with the mouse wheel which means I can see more detail or see less detail so I can now make notes much shorter so if I want to make something much more detailed I can and I'm just gonna leave this like it is for now because the point of this particular video is not composition the point of this video is getting yourself a practical beginning so let's do a similar kind of thing dragging out the bottom of this piano and this already has [Music] okay so in the third octave this already has the expand to plugin which is the instrument with the natural grand piano probably not the best piano sound you've heard but if you're just songwriting if you're getting ideas down does it matter I mean if it's just for you to listen to and appreciate then I'm sure it doesn't when it comes to professional releases it may be more important but at that point you'll probably be looking for better instruments better yeah you'll start buying things yeah so let's just zoom in and let's just draw a few of these in so that's bar one so that should now go boom boom one two three stop one two three stop one two three stop so let's open the MIDI editor for this and let's make that first note louder second note quieter by changing the velocity and that look the fourth no wow why not just because just because now if we look at them in the not in the MIDI editor window we can see I just click somewhere else with the usual tool you can see that the darker blue ones are the louder ones and the lighter blue ones are the softer ones so you can actually see it a glance which ones have really been hit and which ones are nice and soft useful so let's zoom out let's close that MIDI editor again because it's getting in our way now so what I'm looking to do is select these a copy and paste maybe will that work

on this track yeah so if I hit ctrl + C ctrl + V if you're on a Mac that's Apple C Apple V and what I'm gonna do is I'm just gonna pick copy paste this several times and use it as what's called the musical theory a pedal tonic so I'm just gonna have it play the same note over and over and over and over and over now over and over and what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna go to the mix window and just turn that track down a bit because otherwise it's gonna get really annoying also we've got a now looking at the mix window again we've got this reverb return delay and chorus which are on bus 1 2 + 3 4 and bus 5 6 which we can see all the sends here so I'm gonna send some of this piano to the reverb so if I click on the sends a to e where it says boss 1 & 2 that's what the reverb is and if I just turn that up oh you can you can hear how that's really reverb in now and do the same with three four to get some delay going [Music] okay I'm not a big fan of that delay sound but where that delay is on that channel is Maude dilly 3 if I click on it it's giving me a time so let's have a look at this let's keep this simple this this is the delay so it's going ding ding if I slow that down somewhat so I'm nearly 500 milliseconds and add some feedback which is the fbk so instead of going ding ding it goes ding ding ding ding ding ding and just keeps delaying a bit if I sink it yeah so it's synced to a note which is 400 milliseconds right okay so that's now got that ding-ding-ding-ding ding-ding-ding ding-ding-ding cool I think it's time to look at some audio tracks now because now we've got if i zoom back out we've got a drum track we've got a bass line and we've got a piano so where the pianos are these are getting in the way if I right-click on this I can change this to be small right click small and that puts them so they are just physically smaller so they take up less screen space so the next thing we want to do is I want to record a rhythm acoustic guitar I'm just gonna go and grab my guitar one second so I've plugged the jack from the pit so electric output on my acoustic guitar with the volume turned up into input two on my interface because that's the one that's got a DI channel ready so i can hear that through that microphone you can hear that but we can't see it in Pro Tools yet so what we have to do firstly is hit the record button ah can't be record enabled because it doesn't have an input and an output assigned so this track has an output assigned we can see it lit up is out one and two if I click on input it's giving me a choice so they can go into the interface and analog 2 is channel 2 so analog 2 is ready if I hit record ah I can see level so if I just set the gain on my interface using the game [Music] turn that down a little okay so that's ready to record [Music] so let's let's just make that base track bigger so I can see and remind myself what notes exactly we were using she use the hand tool does that allow me to I'll just drag the keyboard down moves a little too quickly for my tastes unless you're absolutely pixel perfect there we go done now if I was hit record [Applause] then I would be struggling to get my hand back to the guitar in time let's take that game down just a little more just to make sure firmly in the green zone we don't want to be anywhere near clipping the interface that's always bad so we've now got a track record enabled so we want to be right at the start of the track and I want it to give me some warning so I'm going to turn on the click and I'm gonna turn on right at the top there's this count off button which is gonna give me two bars so only during record two bars so what that's going to give me now is plenty of warning before it starts recording so that should go record then play one two three four [Music] [Applause] [Music] [Applause] [Music] [Applause] [Music] [Applause] okay and we hit stop and that is our rhythm guitar part so if I uncheck record enabled on that so we can't hear it coming through anymore which means that I'm then safe to unplug the guitar and put it over to one side actually no I'll not do that what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna do the exact same thing but with the lead guitar so what got to do the same thing again got to get used to this so interface analog to Mono get that recording just hit play just to listen back quickly

this is starting to turn out quite nice oh here the how the presets got some reverb and delay on it already that's nice okay so I'm gonna keep this lead relatively simple turn up my headphones volume a little bit

I'm just briefly gonna turn the microphone off so that you can hear just the output there [Music]


okay so that was a track let's make sure that record input are off now it can properly unplug that be rid of you for a few seconds okay so let's have a look quick listen back okay so doesn't sound amazing to me but this is where if we go to the mix window just solo s for solo on that rhythm guitar [Music] let's have a look at what plugins come with Pro Tools first kiss of course there aren't that many that come with it unless you start to pay this is where the trick of the magical the magical Pro Tools first comes in because it's one of those where it now becomes the ecosystem so let's start with the seven band EQ on this guitar and I'm just gonna add a little bit

take it away even curse that sounded an awfully add a little bit of low end around 200 Turkish add a bit of top 10k and take some away around that rattly 5k ish region also use a loaf high-pass filter there is turn that on and get that going to about 100 Hertz issue now I wouldn't expect if you're an if you are new to e queueing feet to move nearly this quickly this is more to give you an overview of what's possible and so let's put an after that EQ in the next slot let's go to dynamics and use a compressor limiter and see what we get so there's presets let's start the acoustic guitar preset see what that does not a great deal because the tracks not very loud so we need to move the threshold which is this little yellow arrow down a little [Music] and then maybe we'll bring up the gain a bit afterwards to compensate [Music]

let's take that annoying metronome off and then see how this sounds let's take out that lead guitar for a second and see how this sounds in context [Music]

okay it's getting there it's starting to feel a little bit mono centered so I'm gonna use the pan knob here to take that guitar off to the side of it [Music]

and I'm gonna do the same for the lead guitar let's just see will it let me see oh yes if I hold alt and drag these over it lets me copy them so I can copy the the effects on the rhythm guitar to lead guitar I'm gonna go into the reverb and add a load more and same on the delay and move the lead guitar over to the other side [Music]

so we're starting to build a composition here pretty useful so this is where it's going to get a little strange for a second because I'm going to record a kind of a scooby-doo but vocal just to prove a point and I'm not going to use the shotgun microphone that I've been using so far I'm gonna bring in this beast if I just drop it down okay there we go this is my se electronics x1a it's a very affordable microphone which doesn't mean it's bad is set for the money I think I paid 80 pounds for it's a great mic this is the XLR version which goes into an interface this is not the USB version I've never been a fan of USB microphones I don't think that they're generally speaking up to standard they've got quite a lot of noise on them and other problems if I just whip the foam guard off they're only really use the phone guard when we're doing podcasts and live broadcasts and things because it's a lot less messy than using a separate pop filter which I always use a pop filter in the studio because they also give you some distance from the microphone to measure from and are generally a bit more effective but it's more of a radio thing to use a big kind of sock like that because it it means that then you've got people who can get closer to the microphone so I'm going to hit record on well firstly on the male vocal I'm going to set the input to analog one because analog one on my interface is where this microphone is plugged in to you know turn the gain down and I made sure I got funtom power on 48 volts because this microphone needs it check whether your microphone needs 48 volt phantom power a lot of condenser microphones like this one do dynamic microphones generally don't and with rhythm ribbon microphones you can actually damage them anyway I'm going to turn the microphone that I've been using off and I'm going to bring in the other one one two one two one two one two there we go okay so that's got some latency on it yeah but that's that's to do with my settings in the ID for I think I can reduce that one second we're going to the ID set latency to you sick there we go that's much more reasonable 256 sample latency is not quite giving me a headache and I've not really used high latency stuff in a long time it really makes me it makes me have a sore head okay so if I turn there we go turn up the gain on my interface until I'm in the green but not clipping because clipping is about the worst thing that you can do because it's unrecoverable clipping in the analog domain anyway which is to say actually clipping in the interface generally a bad thing unless it's the specific sound you're going for which is unlikely so we've got input monitor on we've got an EQ which has already been set here which seems a little weird if I turn that off the bypass button one two one two one two one two okay so it's been set to give us a little bit of presence and a bit of thickness to poke out the mix and I'm not hearing any reverb or delay let's go back to the mix window and just turn these sends up one two there we go and a bit bit delay oh a lot less delay oh well there we go I just want it to be a little bit Spacey we don't want to be crazy it's one of the things that I find with a lot of artists is that generally speaking when you first starting out you use far too much reverb and delay I like to have some as what they call comfort reverb while I'm doing this kind of thing and then generally in the mix stage I'll take it down unless it's a deliberate effect anyway let's put the metronome back on just to give us that count we are back at the start and we only have this track with record enabled



these are somewhere time

[Music] okay so I'm gonna turn record off on that note and bring back the other microphone okay so I swing that out and there was a vocal it didn't sound amazing to me but then I am literally making it up on the spot like I said before it's not a composition tutorial this this the point of this is showing you how to get this working if you've already got a song in mind then Who am I to tell you what you're going to record [Music]

okay so let's tell that metronome off and the vocal doesn't sound amazing to me a couple of reasons firstly this EQ doesn't suit it all so if I put in a low-pass filter hundred and something Hertz that's a thing the high frequency the blue one here if I just crank that gain and press the input and it won't do anything until it's in let's see what that's got for us now [Music]

turn that orange one down the low-mids because that's not helping [Music] but it's quite common for me to take some out of 500 Hertz what I call the boxy frequency [Music] cool and I almost always I where it says like minus eleven point six that kind of thing here if you click those to get rid of them next time you hit play it will show you the loudest that track got to [Music] and yeah I can tell that vocals not particularly in tune but again not particularly relevant right now so on to dynamics compress a limiter let's look at presets vocal comp right so that's one point eight to one now we want we want to slam it a four to one it's got quite a fast attack which is why one and quite a fast release as well let's hit play and see how that sounds [Music]


[Music] okay so I've absolutely slammed the reverb on there and we've compressed it pretty hard you can see the red going down to minus 12 ish and I would personally prefer this to be some sort of analogue style fat compressor but considering this is free I consider this to be it is what it is [Music]

okay so something that's nice here is this little no sir can go a coup stick lead di in I can leave myself little notes here to remind myself how it was recorded are what needs or whatever you wouldn't leave whatever you would use these note spaces for in the comments I am for the main vocal rubbish one take so that's entirely up to you know this is pretty much coming up to that what I consider to be the limits of Pro Tools first I mean you can have up to 16 tracks in Pro Tools first which for a basic type of composition seems absolutely fine you can use for inputs at once which when I'm at home to be honest I don't think I've ever used that many let alone more than that when I'm in the studio of recording drums I'll use somewhere between 8 and 16 tracks at once but when you stacking them up which is the way that I tend to work it's not about how many inputs you have it's about the quality of your inputs which is where the Audion ID 4 is really coming up a winner for me for the small stuff and I've got all their Audient preamps in the studio going into the rme being set up well that's a separate thing and so the big the big problems for me are when I go to file and save I don't get saved as I don't get any options as to where to save it because it saves this in the cloud it saves it on avid service and it only lets you have three compositions that's it so you can't have more than three song ideas on this you can't have more than three songs that's the big problem for me I think the general idea behind of it doing that is to get you hooked on the whole Pro Tools thing and then you've got oh this is what I want but it's not doing enough I'll go and buy the full version of Pro Tools which is so expensive and all it does is lift restrictions really it doesn't give you anything more than this it just means that you can have more channels you can use plugins that you bought separately with the full version of ProTools but if you've not seen reaper allow me to make a suggestion Reaper is what I use day in day out and I've been using it for quite a long time now I think I bought Pro Tools Pro Tools 9 or something like that Pro Tools 9le awesome yeah around there maybe even Pro Tools eh I can't remember now I paid quite a lot of money for it when I was quite you're a young engineer and I just hated it and found it difficult to get around whereas Reaper and where Pro Tools first is free you'll run into limitations after three songs Reaper is not technically free you get a 60-day trial but if you're making 3 songs and that takes you more than 60 days then that's what but the thing is after the 60 day trial period for reapers ended it keeps on working it just it just keeps on going it does not you to buy it but I think it's $60 was the last that I saw and that's for the full fledged software which doesn't when you pay for it it doesn't unlock any features because they were all already there and it's so much more intuitive to me and like I said if you want to know how to use Reaper I've done a full set of 4 tutorials on using Reaper and I'll try and link that in the description because it's so much more productive to me avid are really in my opinion at least shooting themselves in the foot by crippling Pro Tools with Pro Tools first this much if they allowed you to save files locally if they allow you to have maybe 10 projects or 20 projects I can see it making people Pro Tools first users on a regular basis which means that as you then get some money and get a little more interesting get older or whatever it may be you are then much more inclined to buy Pro Tools but if I was just starting out now and I used this I'd be putting it down very quickly because the track climate is one thing and if you're an acoustic singer/songwriter you might find that 16 tracks is plenty that's fine the four inputs thing is limiting but generally again unless you work on an acoustic drum kit that's not particularly limiting three projects that's massively limiting and not being able to use external plugins is probably the biggest deal-breaker for me because my entire mix almost now revolves around the slate digital everything bundle which has every plug-in that I need I think I pay fifteen dollars a month for that that's you know not a great deal and the soundToys five bundle which I got a huge discount when they were doing this kind of trade-in thing and between those two I almost don't use anything else and I've used Pro Tools on some one system where I've been brought in to do a mix they the session was already in Pro Tools it wouldn't have been productive to export it from Pro Tools to another workstation so what I did is I just did install the slate plugins and the soundToys plugins and used them from inside pro tools and bang I was off and within I think 25 minutes I was up and running and working almost as quickly as I do in Reaper or in Cubase which is my other my kind of my second although you know why would you have a second in this day and age and generally speaking what you would do is you would give a WAV file of every separate track to an engineer which I don't think you can do in Pro Tools first no yet so let's just use the multi tool and select these can we export selected clips as files well at least we can export separate files that's something because you can't as far as I'm aware export this to big boy ProTools which is really stupid whereas you know GarageBand which is kind of logic but cut down you can bring a GarageBand file into logic and then make it kind of more professional from there just not being able to do that it just seems like they're cutting their own nose up despite the face which is absolutely bizarre but I think that I've shown you most of what a basic proto's and giving you reasons arguably not to use it but whether you use it or not is up to you so I hope you found this tutorial useful and all the steps that went into it so thanks for watching and please check out the rest of our channel if you haven't already it's hot pole studios and we do gear reviews we do more tutorials like this for different software we do we do all sorts of stuff bit gaming here and there but mostly stuff about you know mastering mixing we have our monthly guitar and tech news show where we talk about what's new what's come out new products new developments in the industry we also have our monthly hop cast which is guitar and tech news but me and my assistant good friend Christian talk about it rather than a news farmer more of a conversational detailed farmer which also is going to be going out as a podcast so check all that stuff out it's all coming and if you really really found this useful consider supporting us on patreon patreon comm forward slash hop pole studios again link will be in the description that's kind of a donation thing that really helps us to do more of these kind of videos because the more we're supported by you the more time we can spend helping out the wider audio community so thank you again for watching and I'll see you in the next video goodbye thanks for watching guys if you enjoyed this feel free to check out our other videos as you can find here or check out our Facebook and Twitter or our patreon page which helps us to make more videos like this thanks for watching and we'll

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Today's video is a tutorial on how to use the free new DAW software, Pro Tools First. It's quite limiting, and there are some hoops you have to jump through to get it downloaded and installed, and this is all covered in the video. The better alternative, Reaper, has tutorials which can be found through this link:-

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