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Pro Tools: Under the Hood – Part 2

In part 2 of ‘Under the Hood’, we are going to go over Disc Allocation and Pro Tools’ built in database.

-Disc Allocation

In part 1 we discussed how to fix screwed up disc allocation using ‘copy and re-link’.  The goal, however is to avoid this step by setting up proper disc allocation.  The disc allocation window is in the ‘Setup’ menu.  In this window you can set the destination of any recorded files by using the dropdown menu on the right of each track.  Before starting recording, make sure you are recording to the drive and folder that you want to record to.  This is especially important if you have moved your session, as the disc allocation has probably not changed.

If you want to distribute the load evenly among all record drives (‘R’ in the workspace) you can choose “Use round robin allocation for new tracks.”  With this box checked all new tracks created during the session will be spread across all record drives. (I hate this mode! It creates a mess!)


In the workspace you can access the very powerful database feature of Pro Tools.  This is used to search through libraries of sounds such as sound effects or stock music.  To start using this feature you must first catalog your library.  To do this, right click on a drive or folder and select ‘Create catalog from selection.’ Pro Tools will then index your library for quick searches later.  This takes quite a while, so you might want to do it in small chunks if you have a very large collection to catalog.  Once the catalog is done building, you can search is using command+F to bring up the find dialog.  You can then audition sound effects, and then drag them into your session.

That’s all for this part of ‘Under the Hood’  More advanced database features, and peripherals are next!

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