A-Z Of Pro Tools - L Is For Latency, Linking, Locations, Latch And Loop Recording

02-14-2015 11:00 AM


The first L which springs to mind is the bane of all computer recording systems - Latency. In audio systems latency is the distracting time lag between input and output in a recording system, usually encountered most obviously when recording audio or midi while monitoring the output. I covered this is some detail in the Pro Tools Fundamentals series last year so follow these links if you want to review this subject in more depth: Managing latency part 1 and part 2.

While it feels odd to be linking to posts about linking, its important to know how be able to fix missing files by relinking to them. In my experience the most common reason why Pro Tools can’t find a referenced file is because a file has been added rather than copied to the audio files folder of the current project. There are lots of good reasons for adding rather than copying but I still advise people to leave the preference to automatically copy files in import checked. If you are unsure about this, most problems can be avoided by saving a copy and checking copy all audio files in the save copy dialogue. Some time ago Mike Thornton wrote a piece on Linking Media. There are other examples of linking things in Pro Tools, for example linking panner controls: Link Panners.


Although many of us refer to them as markers, there is more to memory locations than just marking locations on the timeline, read about some of the possibilities on using Memory Locations, we have an excellent Community Tip On Using Location 999 and another post offering ideas on Other Uses For Memory Locations.

Latch mode is one of the four principal automation modes in Pro Tools: Write, Touch, Latch and Read. There are other modes besides these but users of any DAW will be familiar with these four common automation behaviours. In Latch mode an automated parameter writes automation when touched and continues to write after it is released overwriting any underlying automation until transport is stopped. Automation is a huge subject and when I’m asked by people who don’t know much about Pro Tools just why so many professionals use it, I’ll always mention the advanced automation features of Pro Tools HD as one of the areas which really sets Pro Tools apart from the best known other DAWs. Of these four modes latch is probably the most interesting as it useful for a first pass but also when fine tuning a mix, it offers the convenience of Write without the potential disasters Write mode can invite. An example of one of the more advanced automation features Latch mode offers was covered in this Video On Auto Join recently.

Loop Recording

Loop recording is a crowd-pleaser, Its not new but its still one of those features which gets a wow from those who haven’t seen it before. Put simply it allows you to keep recording the same section over and over and keep all of the takes. This allows the player to get comfortable and experiment with different ideas over a repeating section but the real fun begins when you start comping your perfect take from all of the alternatives. If you’ve never tried it be aware that loop recording is not the same thing as recording in loop playback. There is a preference to create a new playlist from each pass which has to be ticked and most importantly of all, if you let a guitarist try this when tracking a solo remember to send the rest of the band home for the day, they won’t be needed again til at least tomorrow!