The most basic, and the first, step towards learning Pro Tools
is to create a session. Everything that you do productively will usually be
inside a session. Creating a new session in Pro Tools is very easy.
Open Pro Tools and go to the Quick Start dialog
box, which has various options to start the session. In Pro Tools 12 and above,
the Dashboard replaced Quick Start, although the options that they provide are
almost the same.
The first option that you see in Dashboard is to create
a new session. In the Type option, choose Session to create a new
If you’re using the cloud to sync and collaborate sessions, select Project.
This option requires you to sign in to your cloud account and create a new
For the sake of simplicity, I’ll be using the Session option.
The next step is to name the session. Ensure
that you name the session in a way that is easy to you and to any other person
viewing the session.
I always follow the naming scheme of Artist Name–Song/Project
Name–Month & Date. This way I can easily find the session more easily
than using an arbitrary name for the session.
After you’ve given the session a relevant name, choose
whether you want to create the session with a template or a blank
Choosing the Create from Template option gives a list of templates that Pro Tools provide by default. Template groups include Guitar, Music, Post Production and Songwriter.
Each group has various templates that you can use for your
session. Select the one that best suits your needs.
You can create new templates with tracks and settings
that you frequently use, so that you can create new sessions with this template.
To create a new session template, open or create
a project and set the tracks and other settings how you want them to be. Once
you finish setting these parameters, go to File > Save as Template.
Select the setting for File Type between .WAV
AIFF, or Audio Interchange File Format, is a format that made
by Apple and widely supported in macOS.
WAV format is more common and supports
both Windows and macOS.
Using .WAV format helps you solve compatibility issues
and can has wider support than AIFF.
If you’re working exclusively on macOS
and don’t collaborate with others on any projects, it is safe to use the AIFF
format. If, however, you share the project with others and want to maximise
compatibility, use .WAV format.
Bit-Depth is a very crucial part of creating a session. Choose between three bit-depths:
- 24-bit, and
- 32-bit float
To reduce the size of the files used in the session, 16-bit is
recommended. This reduces the load on the system and is practical for CD
mastering and other purposes where the end medium is CD. Use this bit-depth
when the number of tracks in the session is less and there aren’t many plugins
on the tracks.
24-bit is used for music production and voice processing
sessions where there are more plugins and more tracks.
uses a lot more hard disk space than 16-bit files. If the hard disk is fast
enough to handle the big file sizes and processing, I suggest using this
format as the default.
32-bit floating bit-depth helps when there is a lot of
processing done on the files and the number of tracks in the session is larger.
This takes up much more hard disk space than the other two bit-depths. Using
this bit-depth will help reduce clipping and makes processing smoother.
value is appropriate for fast hard drives and powerful computers that are able to process the larger files. Pro Tools versions below 10 will not support 32-bit float
Change the bit-depth of the session later, if required, and
the files are automatically converted to the specified bit-depth.
the bit-depth of a session, press Ctrl-2 on the number pad and change the value
in the bit-depth column.
Use the Session dialog box from Setup
to change the bit-depth.
48kHz Sample Rate
The most commonly used sample rate is 48kHz, which is used
in almost all digital domains.
The file size is standard compared to other
sample rates. This sample rate is frequently used in film and TV productions,
so if you are doing ADR for a movie or a trailer, ensure you use
this sample rate.
This sample rate is also supported in DVD and other newer
versions of discs.
44.1kHz Sample Rate
When the end medium is an audio CD or a normal data CD, it
is wiser to use the 44.1kHz sample rate. This reduces the size of the file and
it supports the CD format. When mastering music for CDs, use this format for
Since audio CD supports only 44.1kHz 16-bit audio files, it is
best to use this sample rate for music and voice-overs.
88.2kHz and 96kHz Sample Rates
88.2kHz and 96kHz sample rates are higher in both resolution
and file size. These sample rates are double the normal sample rates, but if
you plan to do heavy processing on the tracks, use this sample rate.
For these sample rates to work properly, Pro Tools needs to have the correct hardware and equipment setup.
176.4kHz and 192kHz Sample Rates
176.4kHz and 192kHz are higher sample rates that take up a
lot of hard disk space, but will make the processing easier and smooth.
support is needed for this option.
This list contains the input-output settings available
for the session. Choose any of the default settings or create a new
setting and use it.
To create a new I/O setup, open Setup > I/O. Make any necessary changes to a previous setup or delete everything and start
from scratch. Once you are done making changes to the setup, export the setup
using the Export Settings option and give a suitable name to it.
Now, when you create a new session, you can choose the newly
created I/O Setup and use it for the session.
If you’ve already set the folder for creating the session, set it the Location placeholder. You can change the
location of the session by clicking on the Location button.
To save the
session in any other folder, select the Prompt for Location option. This is the option to create the session in any other folder or to create
a new folder to save the sessions there.
The most recent ten sessions can be opened using the Recent
tab. To clear this list, go to File > Open Recent > Clear.
To open any other session, select Open from Disk.
In this tutorial, I’ve shown you how to create a session in
Pro Tools and the various options on creating a session.
Ensure that you
keep in mind what the bit-depth signifies and the sample rate that is required
for the session. Keeping the correct parameters according to the project on which you are working helps you to improve both workflow and productivity.
Once you have set everything, click on the Create
button and start making something awesome.