Page 1

Audio Suite Basic Reference Guide

About This Reference guide The Audio Suite Basic workshop teaches students how to use the Digital Aquarium’s Audio Recording Suite. The primary focus of the workshop is to show students how to use the Pro Tools software, the industry standard for music recording and mixing. In addition to covering the important functions of Pro Tools, the workshop also shows students how to use the studio microphones, the MIDI keyboard, the Roland Drum surface, the microphone preamps, the headphones, the mixer board and the CD burner. This guide is not an all-inclusive explanation for the Pro Tools 8 software program. Completion and certification of the workshop is required for Audio Room reservations.

About the Instructor Cleopatra Adedeji is a highly experienced Pro Tools user and instructor. For more than four years, she has provided well-versed instruction and coaching in Pro Tools at the Digital Aquarium. She is better known as the international recording artist NAIRA. To contact her and learn more about her dynamic work in the recording industry visit online at:

Step 1: getting Started

To open the Pro Tools 8 LE program, do one of the following: 1. Choose ProTools from the Applications Menu on your Mac.

Menu on your Mac.


2. Go to Dock Bar and double click the Pro Tools icon from the Finder Window (Fig. 1). In Pro Tools, work files are called sessions. A session contains data describing how it should be played and displayed. To start a Pro Tools Session: Fig. 2

1. Go to the FILE menu (Fig. 2) and choose New Session . 2. From the New Session window, choose Beginners Blank Session. 3. All Pro Tools projects should be stored in a destination folder within “Audio Space”. Click “Audio Space” (Fig. 3) under the DEVICES menu of the Choose a Folder window. 4. Once in “Audio Space”, click New Folder (Fig. 4) to create a folder to store your project in. 5. Name your folder and select SAVE to save your session in that folder. Fig. 3

Fig. 4


Mix Window Some basic functions of a Track are controlled with the MIX window (Fig. 5) . Go to the WINDOWS menu to display the MIX window. Each individual track has its own set of buttons and options in the MIX window: S (Solo), M (Mute), R (Recording Enable), Audio Input Path Selector, Pan Knob, and Inserts A-E. Inserts are plug-ins for sound effects. There are 10 inserts for each track. Here are seven plug-ins that NAIRA suggests: (EQ’s) provides clarity (Dynamic) provides compression (De Essor) provides virtual popfilter of sounds like (p’s,sh’s,t’s,etc) (Pitch Shift) provides autotune/pitch manipulation (Reverb) provides vibration or resonance ( deep, full. echo) (Dry Vocal) removes reverb (Wet Vocal) provides reverb with other special effects See (Fig. 6) on the next page to view the Plug-In menu. See (Fig. 7) on the next page to view the interface menu. You must mouse click Interface to select an Input.The Audio Room’s Input Options: (Microphone) Line 1 (Drum Pad) Analog 5 & 6 (Keyboard) Analog 7& 8 (Headphones) Phones 1 & 2 (Speakers) Monitor


Mix Window Fig. 5 Fig. 7 1








9 8

1. Insert Plug-ins 2. Audio Input Path ( command option click to reveal) 3. input menu ( click right arrow to reveal) 4. Pan knob 5. Record enable Arm 6. Solo Button 7. Plug-in menu ( click right arrowto reveal) 8. Track Notes ( control click to enter) 9. Links Panel 10. Volume Control 11. Mute Button


Fig. 6


Step 2: TRACKS Fig. 8

Since Pro Tools is a “Track” based software program, you must create “Tracks” to be fully operational. The following types are available: audio, Auxiliary Input, Master Fader, VCA (Voltage Controlled Amplifier) Master, MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface), Instrument, and video. The Audio Suite Basic workshop focuses on audio files. You can have multiple tracks in your Pro Tools audio session. Each track appears as a layer in the edit window. Pro Tools can also import audio files that have been downloaded from the Internet. These audio files will automatically appear in a folder called DOWnLOADS. To find files downloaded from the Internet, go to the FINDER also called the desktop and choose Downloads. To import an audio file, go to the FILE menu (Fig. 8) and select Import. A browser window will appear, allowing you to choose the area in which your file is located. Please take care that all your files are stored in a folder located in “Audio Space”. Choose “New Track” from the TRACK menu (Fig. 9) to create a new track.

Fig. 9

For Guitar or Voice recordings,choose Mono and Audio Track (Fig. 10).

Fig. 10


Recording You can use the microphone, drum pad, and keyboard to input or record additional audio to your session. To begin recording in Pro Tools, select an Input and choose one of the following steps: Fig. 11

1. Press the 3 key on the small number keypad located on the far right side of the keyboard (Fig. 11).

2. Choose the TRANSPORT window (Fig. 12) from the WINDOW menu and press the Record/Play button on the TRANSPORT window (Fig. 13) .

Fig. 12 Fig. 13

3. Click the downward arrow from the top right corner of the EDIT window to reveal the EMBEDDED TRANSPORT (Fig. 14), then select the Record/Play button. Fig. 14


EDIT WINDOW Audio tracks are displayed visually as “waveforms” (Fig. 15) and can be edited in the EDIT window. Regions are different segments of track. To create a region on a track, follow these steps: 1. Mouse click with the Selector tool on the area where you want to split the track. 2. Select “Separate Region” from the EDIT menu. The EDIT window (Fig. 16) will allow you to edit your track(s) with modes and tools. Go to the WINDOWS menu to display the EDIT window. Fig. 15

Fig. 16


Fig. 17

Pro Tools has four edit modes (Fig. 17) which affects the movement and placement of audio, how commands like Copy and Paste function, and how the Edit tools work. To select an Edit Mode, mouse click a mode button from the upper left side of the EDIT window. Each mode is explained in the following: Shuffle: Moves, trims, deletes, cuts, or pastes within a track but is constrained by other regions. This means that placed regions in a tack automatically snap to each other. Using the Trimmer tool will move subsequent regions. It is good practice to lock this mode to prevent changes in track time alignment. To lock out Shuffle mode you must be in any other mode other than Shuffle then press the Command key while mouse clicking the Shuffle button. A locked icon will appear on screen and you must press the Command key while mouse clicking this icon to unlock it (Fig. 18) . 7


Fig. 21

Fig. 19

Slip: Makes nudging left, right or moving regions anywhere within a track or to other tracks easy. It is good practice to choose this mode when you want the Trim, Selector,Grabber, and Pencil tools to work without any restrictions to placement in time (Fig. 19) .

Fig. 20

Grid: Provides two operations in one, relative (units) and absolute (grid boundaries). Makes the regions that are moved, trimmed or inserted “snap” to the currently selected absolute Grid value, or to relative increments on a time grid defined by you (Fig. 20) . Spot: Moves waveforms and regions to your specified locations i.e. bar, measure, time, and sample (Fig. 21) . 7

Fig. 22 1






TOOLS (Fig. 22) 1. Zoomer: Use this to select a zoom view of a track . 2. Trimmer: Use this to trim regions and region groups. 3. Selector: Use this to highlight a section of a track’s waveform. 4. Grabber: Use this to select, separate, or move regions on tracks. 5. Scrubber: Use this to scrub or move through track material’s time duration. 6. Pencil: Use this to manually enter MIDI notes on a track or to draw Automation data. Automation data is any adjustable measurement like volume levels, panning, and plug-ins. 7. Smart tool: Use this as a multi purpose tool by combining the Trimmer, Selector, and Grabber tools. 8

EXPORTING To export your final draft of a session: Go to the FILE menu and choose “Bounce to” and “Disk” from the submenu (Fig. 23) . Once the Bounce window (Fig. 24) opens, make sure to choose the options listed. Fig. 24

Fig. 23

Bounce Source: Choose Analog 1-2 (Stereo) Choose a File Type. Some examples of File Types: (.AIFF)* Industry standard for DVD/Film. Apple Computer file format. (.WAV)* Industry standard for CDs. Microsoft’s Audio file format. (CD) Will record your project to the CD in real time and will automatically change the Bit Depth to 16 . (MP3) Adjustable compressed format. This fromat is not available in the Pro Tools version of the Audio Suite. Use iTunes to convert your file to a MP3 format. (SD II) Acronym for Digidesign’s Sound Designer II high quality digital audio file format. Used for Mac to Mac transfer or from one program to another. (QUICKTIME) Apple’s system extension for control of time-based events, such as digitized video movies, and digitized sound. Format: Choose stereo interleaved Bit Depth: 16 Sample Rate: 44.1 KHz Conversion Quality: Good Conversion Option: Choose Convert After Bounce *Most Frequently Used Format


Additional Resources

1. Mixing In Pro Tools - A Beginner’s Guide. September 22, 2009 2. Home Recording on a Budget. September 22, 2009 3. Setting Up Your Home Studio Space. September 22, 2009 4. Tricks of the Pros. September 22, 2009 5. Home Recording. September 22, 2009 6. Pro Tools 8 First Look: Overview Of Pro Tools 8. September 22, 2009 7. Pro Tools Reference Guide. November 9, 2009. 8. How to Make Music In Pro Tools. November 9, 2009. +Tools 9.

What’s New in Pro Tools. November 9, 2009.


Audio Suite Basic  

Quick guide for using software and hardware in the Digital Aquairum Audio Suite