Understanding The Quick Start Session Dialog In Pro Tools

03-14-2014 07:27 AM

When you first start Pro Tools there’s every chance that you are going to see the Quick Start Session Dialog window, I say every chance because there is an option to stop it appearing, you can see that in the bottom left of the image above. If this has been ticked in error or if you want to reinstate it, then go to the Pro Tools Preferences, Display and then tick the box marked ‘Show Quick Start dialog when Pro Tools starts’.
Quick Start Session Dialog In Pro Tools - Create Session From Template

This option (see above) allows you to use either factory or custom created templates for your session. A template is effectively and entire Pro Tools session without any content, although if you wish you can have content such as drum loops and MIDI parts, or even custom audio segments in a template. It includes tracks, busses, masters and plug-ins. If you want to save an existing Pro Tools Session as a template then simply go to File, Save As Template… and then follow the dialogue box to save it in an appropriate category, with or without the media. At the bottom of any new session you also get the Session Parameters (Click the arrow if you can’t see it) here you can set items such as sample type, sample rate and bit depth, this works for both Pro Tools Sessions created with and without a Template.
Quick Start Session Dialog In Pro Tools - Create Blank Session

This option allows you to create an entirely blank session but also allows you to edit the Session Parameters. These parameters are an essential part of setting up a Pro Tools session as they then determine some things that are not always easy to change later on in the process.

  • Audio File Type - This is where you choose .wav(BWF) or .aiff - however Avid advise selecting BWF to maximise compatibility between versions and platforms.
  • Bit Depth - Bit depth determines how much dynamic range you have when recording audio, it gives greater headroom and allows for a higher sound to noise ratio, it does however increase the amount of storage needed on your hard drive to record the audio. However with modern high capacity drives the chances of running out of storage space are unlikely, so our advice would be to record with a bit depth of 24bits. 32 bit floating point is also an option, which theoretically offers almost limitless headroom but in most cases remains unused by many of those recording on a day to day basis.
  • Sample Rate - Again this will allow for higher resolution recordings. In many cases music can be recorded at 44.1Khz and sound for picture at 48Khz. However some consider that certain instruments such as cymbals are captured better at higher sample rates.
  • Interleaved - This is a relatively new option that determines how Pro Tools will handle multi channel audio files, here you can choose to have Pro Tools handle (for example) a stereo audio file as one interleaved audio file rather than splitting the left and right audio files. This can help when editing or locating multi channel audio files in Pro Tools.

Quick Start Session Dialog In Pro Tools - Open Recent Session

This option gives you the chance to browse a recent history of sessions where you can load them. One small note, if your Pro Tools session crashes before it has been saved after creation then it will not appear in this list.
Quick Start Session Dialog In Pro Tools - Open Session

It doesn’t get much simpler than the final option, click OK and navigate to anywhere on your computer to open an existing Pro Tools Session.