M-audio PRO Tools Essential
M-Audio - External
Just connect Fast Track USB to the USB port of your computer and you're ready to rock. Fast Track USB has an input for instru
Part Numbers: FASTTRACKUSBII, Fast Track USB II
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M-audio PRO Tools Essential
M Audio Fast Track Pro Tools MPowered Essential
User reviews and opinions
|CPPSlave||8:33pm on Sunday, August 22nd, 2010|
|Does this device have any real flaws? Lets address some real shortcomingsÂ of the iPad. The iPad is exactly what I expected, easy to use, very well executed so long as you understand that it is mainly a device to consume media.|
|nuf||10:20pm on Wednesday, May 5th, 2010|
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|withdrawn||7:57pm on Thursday, April 15th, 2010|
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Pro Tools M-Powered Essential
This guide is copyrighted 2009 by Digidesign, a division of Avid Technology, Inc. (hereafter Digidesign), with all rights reserved. Under copyright laws, this guide may not be duplicated in whole or in part without the written consent of Digidesign. 003, 96 I/O, 96i I/O, 192 Digital I/O, 192 I/O, 888|24 I/O, 882|20 I/O, 1622 I/O, 24-Bit ADAT Bridge I/O, AudioSuite, Avid, Avid DNA, Avid Mojo, Avid Unity, Avid Unity ISIS, Avid Xpress, AVoption, Axiom, Beat Detective, Bomb Factory, Bruno, C|24, Command|8, Control|24, D-Command, D-Control, D-Fi, D-fx, D-Show, D-Verb, DAE, Digi 002, DigiBase, DigiDelivery, Digidesign, Digidesign Audio Engine, Digidesign Intelligent Noise Reduction, Digidesign TDM Bus, DigiDrive, DigiRack, DigiTest, DigiTranslator, DINR, D-Show, DV Toolkit, EditPack, Eleven, HD Core, HD Process, Hybrid, Impact, Interplay, LoFi, M-Audio, MachineControl, Maxim, Mbox, MediaComposer, MIDI I/O, MIX, MultiShell, Nitris, OMF, OMF Interchange, PRE, ProControl, Pro Tools M-Powered, Pro Tools, Pro Tools|HD, Pro Tools LE, QuickPunch, Recti-Fi, Reel Tape, Reso, Reverb One, ReVibe, RTAS, Sibelius, Smack!, SoundReplacer, Sound Designer II, Strike, Structure, SYNC HD, SYNC I/O, Synchronic, TL Aggro, TL AutoPan, TL Drum Rehab, TL Everyphase, TL Fauxlder, TL In Tune, TL MasterMeter, TL Metro, TL Space, TL Utilities, Transfuser, Trillium Lane Labs, Vari-Fi Velvet, X-Form, and XMON are trademarks or registered trademarks of Digidesign and/or Avid Technology, Inc. Xpand! is Registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. This product is subject to the terms and conditions of a software license agreement provided with the software. The product may only be used in accordance with the license agreement. Product features, specifications, system requirements, and availability are subject to change without notice. Guide Part Number 9329-61710-00 REV A June, 2009
We're always looking for ways to improve our documentation. If you have comments, corrections, or suggestions regarding our documentation, email us at email@example.com.
Chapter 1. Welcome to Pro Tools M-Powered Essential. 1
Pro Tools M-Powered Essential Systems. 1 Pro Tools M-Powered Essential Capabilities. 1 How Pro Tools M-Powered Essential Differs from Pro Tools M-Powered. 2 System Requirements and Compatibility. 2 Conventions Used in This Guide. 3
Chapter 2. Installing Pro Tools on Mac. 5
Installation Overview. 5 Installing Pro Tools M-Powered Essential Software. 5 Launching Pro Tools M-Powered Essential. 7 Additional Software on the Pro Tools Installer Disc. 7 Uninstalling Pro Tools. 8
Chapter 3. Installing Pro Tools on Windows. 9
Installation Overview. 9 Installing Pro Tools M-Powered Essential Software. 10 Launching Pro Tools M-Powered Essential. 11 Additional Software on the Pro Tools Installer Disc. 11 Uninstalling Pro Tools. 12
Chapter 4. Configuring Your System. 13
Starting Up or Shutting Down Your System. 13 Configuring Pro Tools M-Powered Essential Software. 14 Optimizing a Mac System for Pro Tools. 20 Optimizing a Windows System for Pro Tools. 22
Appendix A. Hard Drive Configuration and Maintenance. 25
Supported Drive Formats and Drive Types. 25 Formatting an Audio Drive. 26 Partitioning Drives. 27 Hard Disk Storage Space. 30
Appendix B. Resources. 31
About the Pro Tools Guides. 31 About www.digidesign.com. 32
Pro Tools M-Powered Essential User Guide
Welcome to Pro Tools M-Powered Essential
Welcome to Pro Tools M-Powered Essential. This guide provides step-by-step instructions to install and configure Pro Tools M-Powered Essential software.
Pro Tools M-Powered Essential Capabilities
Pro Tools M-Powered Essential software provides the following capabilities: 24-bit audio resolution, at sample rates up to 96 kHz (depending on the M-Audio interface) Up to 16 total mono/stereo audio tracks, 4 Aux tracks, 8 Instrument tracks, 8 MIDI tracks, 1 Master Fader Playback of up to 16 tracks of mono or stereo digital audio, and playback of up to 15 tracks while recording 1 track (stereo or mono), or up to 14 tracks while recording 2 mono or stereo tracks. Normal and loop recording Up to 4 internal mix busses Up to 5 sends per track
Pro Tools M-Powered Essential Systems
The basic components of a Pro Tools M-Powered Essential system are as follows: M-Audio interface qualified for Pro Tools M-Powered Essential (included) Mac or Windows computer qualified for Pro Tools M-Powered Essential (not included) Pro Tools M-Powered Essential software (included)
For a list of qualified M-Audio interfaces and minimum system requirements, refer to the compatibility information on the Digidesign website: (www.digidesign.com/compatibility).
Processing with up to 3 plug-ins per track Undo or redo up to 10 operations Comprehensive set of RTAS effects and virtual instrument plug-ins Big collection of loops for music creation Torq LE, DJ software with ReWire technology
Pro Tools uses your computers CPU to mix and process audio tracks (host processing). Computers with faster clock speeds yield the best performance and more plug-in processing.
Chapter 1: Welcome to Pro Tools M-Powered Essential 1
How Pro Tools M-Powered Essential Differs from Pro Tools M-Powered
Pro Tools M-Powered Essential is a powerful, easy-to-use software application that allows you to create and mix music on your Mac or PC. You get to experience the look and feel of Pro Tools M-Powered with the simplified workflow of Pro Tools M-Powered Essential.
What Menus with Icons Mean
Certain Pro Tools M-Powered features are not available in Pro Tools M-Powered Essential. These features have an icon before their menu name in Pro Tools menus. This icon helps you identify them as non-supported features.
Display M-Powered Information dialog
Shuffle mode and Spot mode are the equivalent of menu items that have the non-supported feature icon.
Learning About Pro Tools M-Powered
You can learn more about Pro Tools M-Powered by going to:
System Requirements and Compatibility
Menu items with non-supported feature icons
When you select the menu item, youll see a dialog that tells you more about the feature. In the dialog you can move up and down between topics, or click Learn More to learn about other features in Pro Tools M-Powered.
Pro Tools M-Powered Essential can be used with a qualified M-Audio interface, running on a qualified Windows or Mac computer that meets the minimum system requirements. A DVD drive is required to use the Pro Tools Installer disc. For complete system requirements and a list of operating systems, hard drives, and third-party devices, refer to the latest information on the Digidesign website: www.digidesign.com/compatibility
To disable the non-supported feature icons, choose Help > Display M-Powered Purchase Reminders.)
USB MIDI interfaces work effectively with Pro Tools systems on Mac or Windows. Serial MIDI interfaces are supported on Windows systems only.
Conventions Used in This Guide
This guide uses the following conventions to indicate menu choices and key commands:
Only USB MIDI interfaces are compatible with Pro Tools systems for Mac OS X. Modem-to-serial port adapters and serial MIDI devices are not supported.
For a list of supported adapters, visit the Digidesign website at: www.digidesign.com/compatibility
File > Save
Choose Save from the File menu Hold down the Control key and press the N key Hold down the Control key and click the mouse button Click with the right mouse button
Hard Drive Requirements
Pro Tools M-Powered Essential can be used on your system drive. For optimal audio recording and playback, all Pro Tools systems require one or more Digidesign-qualified drives. For a list of minimum system requirements, visit the Digidesign website: www.digidesign.com/compatibility If you are using an ATA/IDE or FireWire hard drive, initialize your drive with the Disk Utility application included with Apple System software (Mac) or the Windows Disk Management (Windows).
The names of Commands, Options, and Settings that appear on-screen are in a different font. The following symbols are used to highlight important information:
User Tips are helpful hints for getting the most from your Pro Tools system. Important Notices include information that could affect your data or the performance of your system. Shortcuts show you useful keyboard or mouse shortcuts. Cross References point to related sections in this guide and other Pro Tools or M-Audio guides.
Always back up any important data on your drive before formatting it, as it will erase all data on the drive. For more information, see Appendix A, Hard Drive Configuration and Maintenance.
Software on page 10.
on page 11.
Chapter 3: Installing Pro Tools on Windows
4 At the Select Features dialog, do the follow-
ing: To install all Pro Tools application files (which includes the free plug-in suite and associated content), leave the Pro Tools box checked. To install additional loops and demo songs, check the Essential Audio Loops and Demo Song box. For more information, see Essential Audio Loops and Demo Songs on page 11.
1 Start Windows, logging in with Administrator
privileges. For details on Administrator privileges, refer to your Windows documentation.
staller disc for Windows in your DVD drive and do one of the following: If Windows AutoRun is enabled, a splash screen pic appears. Follow the on-screen instructions. or If Windows AutoRun is disabled, locate and double-click Setup.exe on the Installer disc.
Select Features dialog
5 Click Next. 6 Click Install.
In Windows Vista, a series of Windows Security dialogs may appear.Click Install on each one until they go away. In Windows XP, a series of Software Installation dialogs about the driver not passing Windows Logo testing may appear. Click Continue Anyway on each one until they go away.
7 Wait for the installer to finish installing all
In Vista, if the User Account Control dialog appears, click Allow.
3 When the InstallShield Wizard appears, fol-
low the on-screen instructions to proceed with installation and click Next when prompted.
components before proceeding to the next step.
8 When installation is complete, click Finish.
Pro Tools M-Powered Essential installation includes an option to install Essential Audio Loops and Demo Songs. The audio loops are pro-quality audio loops that you can use to quickly sketch out musical ideas. The demo songs let you see and hear many of the things youll soon be doing in Pro Tools. Once these loops and demo songs are installed, they can be found in the following locations: Programs\Digidesign\Pro Tools Essential Loops Programs\Digidesign\Pro Tools Essential Demo Songs
1 Double-click the Pro Tools M-Powered short-
cut on your desktop (or the application in Program Files\Digidesign\Pro Tools).
Use the Uninstall Pro Tools application to uninstall Pro Tools software from your computer. To uninstall Pro Tools from your computer:
2 Go to C:\Program Files\Digidesign\
Pro Tools\Pro Tools Utilities and double-click Uninstall Pro Tools.exe.
3 Click Next. 4 Click Uninstall to proceed with the uninstallation.
Configuring Your System
After you have connected your system and installed Pro Tools software, you are ready to start up and configure your Pro Tools system. Shut down your Pro Tools system in this order:
1 Quit Pro Tools and any other running applica-
Starting Up or Shutting Down Your System
To ensure that the components of your Pro Tools system communicate properly with each other, you need to start them in a particular order. Start up your Pro Tools system in this order:
1 Lower the volume of all output devices (such as speakers and headphones) in your system. 2 Turn on any external hard drives. Wait ap-
To quit Pro Tools, choose File > Exit (Windows) or Pro Tools > Quit (Mac).
2 Turn off or lower the volume of all output devices (such a speakers and headphones) in your system. 3 Turn off your computer. 4 For Pro Tools M-Powered Essential systems
that use hardware requiring external power, turn off the hardware.
5 Turn off any MIDI interfaces, MIDI devices, or synchronization peripherals. 6 Turn off any control surfaces. 7 Turn off any external hard drives.
proximately ten seconds for them to spin up to speed.
3 Turn on any control surfaces, such as
4 Turn on any MIDI interfaces, MIDI devices, or
5 For Pro Tools M-Powered Essential systems
that use hardware requiring external power, turn on the hardware.
6 Turn on your computer. 7 Launch Pro Tools or any third-party audio or
Chapter 4: Configuring Your System 13
Configuring Pro Tools M-Powered Essential Software
Pro Tools System Settings
In the Playback Engine dialog, Pro Tools lets you adjust the performance of your system by changing system settings that affect its capacity for processing, playback, and recording In most cases, the default settings for your system provide optimum performance, but you may want to adjust them to accommodate large or processing-intensive Pro Tools sessions. For some M-Audio interfaces, you can only change the Hardware Buffer Size in M-Audio interfaces control panel (while Pro Tools is closed). For more information, see Pro Tools Hardware Settings and M-Audio Control Panel on page 18.
Hardware Buffer Size
The Hardware Buffer Size (H/W Buffer Size) controls the size of the buffer used to handle host processing tasks such as Real-Time AudioSuite (RTAS) plug-ins. The H/W Buffer setting can also be used to manage monitoring latency.
I/O Setup dialog for Pro Tools M-Powered Essential (M-Audio Fast Track Ultra shown)
2 Click the Input, Output, Insert, or Bus tab to display the corresponding connections. 3 To change the name of a path or subpath, dou-
Do not use the Mac OS X automatic Software Update feature, as it may upgrade your system to a version of Mac OS that has not yet been qualified for Pro Tools. For details on qualified versions of Mac OS, refer to the latest compatibility information on the Digidesign website (www.digidesign.com/compatibility).
ble-click directly on the Path Name, type a new name for the path, and press Enter.
4 Click OK.
Turning Off Software Update
See the Pro Tools Reference Guide for more information on renaming I/O paths.
To turn off the Software Update feature:
1 Choose System Preferences from the Apple menu and click Software Update. 2 Click the Software Update tab. 3 Deselect Check for Updates.
Backing Up Your System Configuration
After configuring your system and Pro Tools, you should save an image of your system drive using a backup utility (such as Norton Ghost). By doing this, you can quickly restore your system configuration and settings if you encounter any problems.
Turning Off Energy Saver
To turn off the Energy Saver feature:
1 Choose System Preferences from the Apple
Under Spotlight Show Spotlight search field Show Spotlight window
menu and click Energy Saver.
2 Click the Sleep tab and do the following:
For a complete list of Pro Tools keyboard shortcuts, see the Keyboard Shortcuts Guide (Help > Keyboard Shortcuts).
To disable or reassign Mac OS X keyboard shortcuts:
1 Choose System Preferences from the Apple menu and click Keyboard & Mouse. 2 Click the Keyboard Shortcuts tab. 3 Do one of the following:
Set the computer sleep setting to Never. Set the display sleep setting to Never. Deselect Put the hard disk(s) to sleep when possible option.
Setting Processor Performance
To set the Processor Performance:
2 Click the Options tab and set Processor Perfor-
Deselect the Mac OS X options that conflict with Pro Tools keyboard shortcuts. or Assign different, non-conflicting keyboard shortcuts to the corresponding Mac OS X options.
mance to Highest.
Disable or Reassign Mac Keyboard Shortcuts Used by Pro Tools
To have the full complement of Pro Tools M-Powered Essential keyboard shortcuts, you need to disable or reassign any conflicting Mac OS X Keyboard Shortcuts in the Apple System Preferences, including the following: Show Help menu Under Keyboard Navigation Move focus to the window drawer Under Dock, Expos, and Dashboard Automatically hide and show the Dock All windows Application windows Desktop Dashboard Spaces
Reassign Spaces Keyboard Shortcuts
If you want to use Spaces, you should reassign the Spaces keyboard shortcuts to avoid conflicts with important Pro Tools keyboard shortcuts. You can reassign Spaces keyboard shortcuts to use a combination of modifier keys (Command+Option+Control+Shift) in addition to the default Spaces keyboard shortcut assignments to avoid these conflicts. To reassign Spaces keyboard shortcuts to use modifier key combinations that do not conflict with Pro Tools keyboard shortcuts:
1 Choose System Preferences from the Apple menu and click Expos & Spaces. 2 Click the Spaces tab. 3 Ensure that Enable Spaces is selected.
4 Press and hold Command+Option+Con-
To enable journaling:
1 Launch the Disk Utility application, located in
trol+Shift and select Control+Option+Shift+Command+F8 from the To activate Spaces pop-up menu.
5 Press and hold Command+Option+Con-
2 Select the volume in the left column of the
trol+Shift and select Control+Option+Shift+Command+Arrow Keys from the To switch between spaces pop-up menu.
6 Press and hold Command+Option+Con-
Disk Utility window.
3 Click Enable Journaling in the toolbar.
trol+Shift and select Control+Option+Shift+Command+Number Keys from the To switch directly to a space pop-up menu.
Optimizing a Windows System for Pro Tools
To ensure optimum performance with Pro Tools M-Powered, configure your computer before using Pro Tools hardware and software.
Disabling Spotlight Indexing
The Mac OS X Spotlight feature automatically indexes files and folders on local hard drives in the background. In most cases, this is not a concern for normal Pro Tools operation. However, if Spotlight starts indexing drives while recording in a Pro Tools session with high track counts for an extended period of time, it can adversely affect Pro Tools system performance. You may want to disable Spotlight indexing for all local drives before using Pro Tools for big recording projects.
For Mac System Optimization, see Optimizing a Mac System for Pro Tools on page 20.
Before configuring your computer, make sure you are logged in as an Administrator for the account where you want to install Pro Tools. For details on Administrator privileges, see your Windows documentation.
Disabling Spotlight indexing also disables the Find function in Mac OS X.
To disable Spotlight indexing:
1 Choose System Preferences from the Apple menu and click Spotlight. 2 In the Spotlight window, click the Privacy tab. 3 To prevent indexing of a drive, drag its icon
To ensure optimum performance with Pro Tools, configure the following settings before using Pro Tools hardware and software.
When you are finished changing Windows system settings, restart your computer.
Enabling your computer's DMA (Direct Memory Access) frees up CPU bandwidth so your computer can do other Pro Tools tasks. In most cases the DMA option will already be set correctly, as Windows detects and activates DMA mode by default.
from the desktop into the list.
Enabling Journaling for Audio Drives
To yield higher performance from audio drives, enable journaling.
To enable DMA for any IDE hard drives:
1 Right-click Computer (Windows Vista) or My
To configure Windows Power Management (Windows Vista):
1 Choose Start > Control Panel. 2 Double-click Power Options. 3 In the Power Options window, select High Per-
Computer (Windows XP).
2 In the left-hand pane of the Computer Man-
agement window under System Tools, click on Device Manager.
3 In the right-hand pane, click the plus (+) sign
4 Click Change plan settings. 5 In the Edit Plan Settings window, click Change
to expand IDE ATA/API Controllers.
4 Right-click on the Primary IDE Controller and se-
5 Click the Advanced Settings tab. 6 For each device, do one of the following:
advanced power settings.
6 In the Power Options dialog, reveal Hard disk >
Turn off hard disk after.
7 Click the Setting option. 8 Select the value in the Setting (Minutes) field and press Backspace on your computer keyboard. 9 Press Enter. The hard disk setting changes to
Always back up any important data on your drive before formatting it, as it will erase all data on the drive.
Appendix A: Hard Drive Configuration and Maintenance
FireWire Hard Drives
Digidesign recommends qualified FireWire drives and (on Windows systems) a qualified FireWire host adapter. For complete information on track count and the supported number and configuration of FireWire drives, visit the Digidesign website at: www.digidesign.com/compatibility
2 Click the Erase tab.
IDE/ATA/SATA Hard Drives
A qualified internal IDE/ATA/SATA drive may be used as a dedicated audio drive. For complete information on track count with internal drives, visit the Digidesign website at: www.digidesign.com/compatibility
Disk Utility (Mac OS X)
3 Select the drive you want to initialize in the
column on the left side of the window.
4 Choose the Mac OS Extended (Journaled) format.
Formatting an Audio Drive
Do not choose the Case-Sensitive format option. Pro Tools will not operate properly with case-sensitive formatted drives.
5 Type a name for the new volume. 6 If you plan to connect the drive to a Mac OS 9 computer, select Install Mac OS 9 Drivers. 7 Click Erase.
Formatting Mac Audio Drives
For optimum performance, audio drives should be formatted as Mac OS Extended (Journaled). To format an audio drive:
The drive appears on the Desktop with the new volume name.
Formatting Windows Audio Drives
For optimal performance, audio drives should be formatted as NTFS.
4 If the volume is Unallocated, do the following:
Pro Tools only supports Basic drive types. Do not convert the drive to a Dynamic type.
To format an audio drive:
In the Disk Management window, Rightclick the hard drive you will use for audio and choose New Partition. In the New Partition Wizard window, click Next. When prompted, select the partition type.
Computer (Windows XP) and choose Manage.
2 Under Storage, choose Disk Management.
Digidesign recommends using Primary partitions, instead of Extended partitions.
Follow the on-screen instructions to select a partition size and other partition settings. When prompted, choose a file system. For optimum performance, audio drives should be formatted as NTFS. Select Perform a quick format. Make sure Enable file and folder compression is not selected. Set the Allocation unit size to Default. Click OK.
Disk Management window (Windows XP)
3 If the volume is Healthy, do the following:
Defragment Now button.
The Defragment Now command defragments all your hard drives. This can take a lot of time, especially on systems with multiple drives. Advanced users can use the command line tool Defrag.exe to defragment individual drives. See your Windows Vista documentation for more information.
To defragment an audio drive (Windows XP):
1 Right-click My Computer and choose Manage. 2 Under Storage, choose Disk Defragmenter. 3 In the Disk Defragmenter window, choose the drive you want to defragment 4 Click the Defragment button and follow the
on-screen instructions. When defragmenting is complete, close the Computer Management window.
Hard Disk Storage Space
Mono audio tracks recorded with 16-bit resolution at 44.1 kHz (CD quality) require approximately 5 MB of hard disk space per minute. The same tracks recorded with 24-bit resolution require about 7.5 MB per minute. Stereo audio tracks recorded with 16-bit resolution at 44.1 kHz (CD quality) require approximately 10 MB of hard disk space per minute. The same tracks recorded with 24-bit resolution require about 15 MB per minute. Table 2 lists the required disk space for certain track numbers and track lengths, to help you estimate your hard disk usage.
Table 2. Required hard drive space for audio tracks (44.1 kHz and 48 kHz sessions shown)
Number of Tracks and Length
16-bit at 44.1 kHz
5 MB 50 MB
16-bit at 48 kHz
5.5 MB 55 MB
24-bit at 44.1 kHz
7.5 MB 75 MB
24-bit at 48 kHz
8.2 MB 83 MB
1 mono track, 1 minute 1 stereo track (or two mono tracks), 5 minutes 1 stereo track (or two mono tracks), 60 minutes 24 mono tracks, 5 minutes 24 mono tracks, 60 minutes 32 mono tracks, 5 minutes 32 mono tracks, 60 minutes
600 MB 7 GB 800 MB 9.4 GB
662 MB 7.8 GB 883 MB 10.4 GB
900 MB 10.5 GB 1.2 GB 14 GB
991 MB 11.6 GB 1.3 GB 15.4 GB
Whether you are new to Pro Tools or just starting out with your new system, we encourage you to read and utilize the many guides that Pro Tools provides. There are also useful online resources available, giving you everything from Pro Tools tips to Pro Tools answers.
Usually, references to Pro Tools M-Powered in the guides are synonymous with Pro Tools M-Powered Essential.
This documentation can be found in the following locations: Mac Applications/Digidesign/Documentation Windows C:\Program Files\Digidesign\ Documentation
Helpful Online Resources
Once you get going, here are some helpful online resources: Get useful information, help, and tips from the worldwide community of Pro Tools users at Digidesign User Conference (DUC). Go to: http://duc.digidesign.com For questions about installation, visit Digidesigns online Answerbase. Go to: http://www.digidesign.com/answerbase If you cant find your answer on the DUC or Answerbase, contact Digidesign email support. Go to: http://www.digidesign.com/tsr
To view or print PDF guides, you can use Adobe Reader or Apple Preview (Mac only).
The Digidesign website (www.digidesign.com) is your best online source for information to help you get the most out of your Pro Tools system. The following are just a few of the services and features available. Product Registration Register your purchase online. Support and Downloads Contact Digidesign Technical Support or Customer Service; download software updates and the latest online manuals; browse the Compatibility documents for system requirements; search the online Answerbase; or join the worldwide Pro Tools community on the Digidesign User Conference.
Cache Size 17 Clean Uninstall (Mac) 8 Clock Source 18 CPU Usage Limit 15
I/O Setup 19 IDE/ATA requirements 26 Ignore Errors During Playback/Record option 16 installing Pro Tools Mac 5 Windows 10
DAE Playback Buffer Size 17 DMA option (Windows), enabling 22 drive formatting Mac 26 Windows 27 drive maintenance 25 drive requirements 3
journaling (Mac), enabling 22
key commands 3
Energy Saver (Mac), turning off 21 M-Audio Control Panel 18 Minimize Additional I/O Latency option 16
FireWire requirements 26
optimizing hard drives 28
hard drives drive formats 25 FireWire requirements 26 formatting 26, 27, 26 IDE/ATA requirements 26 maintenance 25, 28 optimizing 28 partitioning 27 requirements 3 space requirements 30 Hardware Buffer Size 14 Hardware Setup dialog 18
partitioning hard drives 27 Playback Engine RTAS Processors setting 14 plug-ins multiprocessors 15 RTAS Processors setting 14 power management settings (Windows) 23 Pro Tools capabilities 1, 14 installing (Mac) 5, 10 removing (Windows) 8, 12 processor performance (Mac) 21
removing Pro Tools Windows 8, 12 RTAS Processors setting 14, 15
Safe Uninstall (Mac) 8 Software Update (Mac), turning off 20 Spotlight indexing (Mac), disabling 22 Startup items (Windows), disabling 24 system optimization (Mac) 20 recommended optimizations (Windows) 24, 22 shutting down 13 system settings Cache Size 17, 18, 15 Hardware Buffer Size 14 I/O Setup 19
uninstalling Pro Tools Windows 8, 12 User Account Control (UAC) disabling 24
DIGIDESIGN 2001 Junipero Serra Boulevard Daly City, CA 94014-3886 USA
TECHNICAL SUPPORT (USA) Visit the Digidesign Online Support Center at www.digidesign.com/support
PRODUCT INFORMATION For company and product information, visit us on the web at www.digidesign.com
Intro to Pro Tools
Pro Tools M-Powered Essential
Welcome to Pro Tools M-Powered Essential
Read this guide if you are new to Pro Tools or are just starting out making your own music. Inside, youll find quick examples of how to record, compose, mix, and produce your own music in Pro Tools. One quick question: Have you installed Pro Tools yet? If not, follow the Essential Quick Setup instructions or your detailed Essential User Guide to install Pro Tools M-Powered Essential software. For instructions on how to install your M-Audio interface, follow the instructions that came with it. Install the hardware drivers and connect the interface before installing Pro Tools. Support for Pro Tools M-Powered Essential is available only at Digidesign User Conference (DUC) and through Digidesign email support. Go to: http://duc.digidesign.com or http://www.digidesign.com/tsr
Connect Headphones or Speakers
You have to be able to hear your music, so plug in some headphones or speakers to your M-Audio interface.
For detailed instructions on how to connect your M-Audio interface to headphones or speakers, follow the instructions that came with it.
Listen to a Demo Song
To get started, you can use any of the demo songs included with Pro Tools to see and hear many of the things youll soon be doing in Pro Tools. They also give you sounds to play so you can test your headphones or speakers. These demo songs are automatically downloaded onto your system when you install Pro Tools M-Powered Essential. To open a demo song:
1 Make sure your M-Audio interface is connected to your computer and powered on. 2 Launch Pro Tools M-Powered Essential by clicking its icon in the Dock (Mac) or double-clicking its icon on your
3 From the File menu, select Open and navigate to the default location of the demo songs. They can be found at the following
locations: Mac Applications/Digidesign/Pro Tools/Pro Tools Essential Demos Windows C:\Program Files\Digidesign\Pro Tools\Pro Tools Essential Demos
In addition to the Filtered Dream Essential, there are other great demos to check out: Be There (male vocal with a fully produced version and a basic version); Salvation Essential (female vocal); Essential Loop Demos (instrumentals based on the included loop content).
1 Intro to Pro Tools M-Powered Essential
Play and Listen
To play a demo song:
1 On your M-Audio interface, turn the headphones or speaker monitor level fully down to be sure your volume is at a low enough level.
For more information about headphone and monitor connections and volume control on your specific interface, refer to the interface-specific instructions that came with it.
2 To start and stop Pro Tools, press the Spacebar, or click the Play and Stop buttons on-screen. (These buttons are located at the top of the Edit window; you can also have them appear in their own Transport window by choosing Window > Transport.) Stop Play Stop Play
Stop and Play controls in Edit windows Toolbar (left) and Transport window (right)
3 While the session plays, gradually raise the volume on your M-Audio interface. 4 Explore Pro Tools while the demo plays: Use the zoom and Track view controls to zero in on different tracks.
Click to select the Zoomer tool and then drag-select to zoom in. (Double-click the Zoomer tool to zoom back out again)
Click the Horizontal and Vertical Zoom buttons to adjust size and length of what is shown in tracks
Click the Track Options selector and choose a display height 5 Next, click the Window menu and choose Mix (Window > Mix). The Mix window shows tracks in vertical channel strips.
Intro to Pro Tools M-Powered Essential 2
The Edit window and the Mix window are the two main work areas in Pro Tools. Throughout the rest of this guide, youll see examples of both windows being used for different types of production work.
6 Press the Spacebar or click the Stop button to stop playback. 7 When youre through checking out a demo song, choose File > Close Session.
The demo songs are great examples of completed, finished projects that have been arranged, edited, and mixed. You dont need to return to the demo songs for anything else in this guide, but you might want to check them out again later, after youve been introduced to a few more Pro Tools features. To return to the demo songs or any recent session, click File > Recent and choose the demo song (if it is still one of your most recently opened sessions), or choose File > Open and open it that way.
Bring in a Song from a CD
This section lets you see how to create a new Pro Tools session and then import a song from a CD. You can create a new session after you launch or when you first launch Pro Tools. To create a new session:
1 If you already have a session open, choose File > Close. 2 Now choose File > New Session.
New Session dialog
3 In the New Session dialog, choose Create a Blank Session, then click OK. 4 In the Name the Session dialog, choose where you want to save the session, and then name it and click Save. 5 After Pro Tools opens the new session, choose Window > Edit so the Edit window is displayed. It will look something like this:
Region List Transport window
The Edit window, with the Transport window showing in the foreground
3 Intro to Pro Tools M-Powered Essential
To import a song from CD:
1 Put the source CD into your computers CD/DVD drive. 2 In Pro Tools, choose Window > Workspace to open the Workspace browser. 3 In the Workspace browser, click the Audio CDs Expand/Collapse icon to show the files on the CD. 4 Click an item (track) to select a song on the CD.
Tip: Click the speaker icon to audition a selected song; press the Spacebar to stop.
5 Drag the item from the Workspace to the open area in the middle of the Edit window; Pro Tools will create a new audio track
containing the song. The song will appear in its new track where you let go of the mouse.
You can also drag items from the Workspace to the Region List and then later drag them into the track area. This lets you create a collection of audio (regions) for later use in different tracks or even the same track.
6 Close the Workspace browser, then press the Spacebar to begin playing back the song in Pro Tools (see Play and Listen on
Make an Audio Edit
In this example well show you how to do a simple edit to change where a song starts. To show this, well use a song where the drummer is heard counting off the tempo (18.104.22.168.3.) before the song starts. Heres what this song looks like in Pro Tools.
In the picture, the two waveforms let you visualize the different sections. We can take advantage of this what you see is what you hear aspect of Pro Tools to be able to quickly silence the countoff by trimming the beginning of the song.
Intro to Pro Tools M-Powered Essential 4
1 Click to select the Trim tool (located in the toolbar). 2 Click in the track after the countoff and before the start of the song (youll see the cursor display the Trimmer icon). Drag left or right to fine tune the location. Trim tool song start
3 For future reference, you can untrim the song by clicking and dragging the song start back to the left with the Trim tool. Youll see that the previous audio (the countoff) is still there. This is a small example of how Pro Tools lets you edit non-destructively.
Creating a Composition With Loops
This section shows how to create a simple composition using audio loops.
Loops are audio files that have musical performances meant to be repeated to create sections of a composition. They could be WAV or AIF files.
To import audio loops:
1 If the Pro Tools Essential Loops browser is not already open, choose Window > Workspace to open the Workspace browser. From the Workspace browser, navigate to the default location of the loops. They can be found at the following locations:
Mac Applications/Digidesign/Pro Tools/Pro Tools Essential Loops Windows C:\Program Files\Digidesign\Pro Tools\Pro Tools Essential Loops
2 Click the Audio folders Expand/Collapse icon to show the files. 3 Click to select the loop you want to preview. 4 Click the Preview button to audition the selected loop. (Make sure that the Audio Files Conform to Session Tempo button is
still highlighted. This ensures that the file can be conformed to the session tempo, which is 120 BPM by default.) You can also click the speaker icon to audition a loop. Click around different areas of the waveform file to hear different parts of the loop (like near the beginning, middle, or end).
Preview button Audio Files Conform to Session Tempo button
Tip: There are many musical styles represented in the loops collection. Inside each folder are more folders containing instruments for that style. Experiment, have fun, and come up with unique musical combinations!
Loop being previewed
Previewing a loop in a Workspace browser
5 Intro to Pro Tools M-Powered Essential
containing the loop. Make sure you drag the loop all the way to the left of the open area (so that the audio begins at the start of the new track and on beat).
Dragging and dropping a loop file from a Workspace browser in the Track list
6 Minimize the Workspace browser, then press the Spacebar to begin playing back the loop in Pro Tools. 7 In the Edit window, create a couple more new tracks by dragging in more loops. If necessary, use the Grabber tool to move the
new loops so that they all start on beat.
Moving new loops all the way to the left of a track
Changing the Tempo
You can change the session tempo to speed up or slow down your song. To adjust the tempo:
1 Choose View > Rulers > Tempo. See where it says Tempo in the Edit window? Click on the plus symbol (+) that appears next to it. Then type the tempo you want in the Tempo Change dialog and click OK. Click the Add Tempo Change symbol (+)
Default tempo is 120 BPM 2 Press the Spacebar or click the Play button to listen to your audio play back at a different speed. Press the Spacebar again or click
Stop when done listening.
3 Play around with changing the session tempo again on your composition.
Intro to Pro Tools M-Powered Essential 6
Duplicating a Loop
You can easily repeat loops, making a longer composition from one loop. To create longer compositions with a single loop:
1 Select a loop (or region) you want to duplicate. 2 Choose Edit > Duplicate. The material is placed right after the loops end point.
Press Control+D (Windows) or Command+D (Mac) to Duplicate any selected loops (or region).
3 Press the Spacebar or click the Play button to play back the new composition. Press the Spacebar again or click Stop when done
Playing back a series of duplicated loops in an audio track
This section shows how to connect a microphone and record yourself singing or playing an instrument. In the last section, you imported a song from a CD. Once you get comfortable with a mic in this section, you can go ahead and record yourself singing over a song you like.
Connect a Mic
To hook up a microphone:
Plug a mic into a Mic input of your M-Audio interface.
For more information, refer to your the instructions that came with your M-Audio interface.
Create a Track
Pro Tools tracks are where audio, MIDI and other elements get recorded and edited within a session. Before you can record, you need to create one or more tracks. To prepare an audio track for recording:
1 In a Pro Tools session, choose Track > New. 2 To record a single mic or instrument (as in our example), set the New Track dialog for 1 Mono Audio Track, and click Create.
Creating a new mono audio track
If you want to record two inputs at once, create one or two new tracks depending on what youve got plugged in and what you plan to record:
To record two different sources (such as one vocal mic and one electric guitar), create 2 Mono Audio Tracks. This lets the two input signals be recorded simultaneously, and be edited, processed, and balanced independently.
To record a two-channel stereo source (such as a stereo keyboard, or the left and right outputs from a DJ mixer), create 1 Stereo Audio Track.
3 Make sure the Mix window is open by choosing Window > Mix.
7 Intro to Pro Tools M-Powered Essential
4 In the middle of the new tracks channel strip, notice where it says In 1 (Mono). This shows which Input channel (Input 1
or Input 2) is assigned to this track. (To specify a different input channel, click the Input Path selector and choose the other channel.)
Input Path selector
Record a Performance to a Track
To record an audio track:
1 Click the tracks Record Enable button.
Record Enable button
Record enabling a track in the Mix window
2 Sing into your mic, and watch the meter in the Pro Tools track while you raise the gain control knob on the M-Audio interface.
This lets you listen to your incoming signal so you can set your levels. (Dont move the on-screen fader to try and adjust your level input because it isnt going to have any affect; Its only for setting your playback level.) Turn the gain control knob up until you see the on-screen track meter show green most of the time, or yellow for your louder passages. If the track meter shows red, gain is too high; lower the gain control. If you barely see green in the track meter, gain is too low.
3 In the toolbar (or in the Transport window) click the Return to Zero button to jump back to the start of the session, then click
the Record button. This tells Pro Tools that youre happy with your levels and are ready to record (think of this as a master record enable button).
Return to Zero Play Record
4 Choose Window > Edit so you can watch what happens when you record.
Intro to Pro Tools M-Powered Essential 8
5 When you are ready to start recording, click Play or press the Spacebar. To stop, press the Spacebar or click Stop. Heres what
Pro Tools looks like after a track has been recorded and the transport has been stopped.
Stopping the transport while recording a track
If you want to use a click track/metronome, see the Using a Click (Metronome) section on Page_28
Listen to Your Work
To play back a recorded track:
1 Click the tracks Record Enable button again to take it out of Record mode. 2 Click Play in the Transport window or press the Spacebar to start playback. 3 When you want to stop, press the Spacebar or click Stop.
Record More Tracks To record another track:
1 Choose Track > New and create 1 Mono Audio Track. 2 In the new audio track, click its Input path selector and choose the same input (In 1) you used before. 3 Next, click the track Record button, just like you did on the first track. 4 In the Transport window, click the Return to Zero button to jump back to the start of the session, then click the Record button
(the button flashes) to arm Pro Tools for recording. When you are ready to start recording, click Play or press the Spacebar.
5 Press the Spacebar again to stop playback.
Using a Virtual Instrument
This section shows you how to work with Structure Essential, a plug-in you can use to build beats and compose music.
The Structure Essential Virtual Instrument Plug-in
Structure Essential is a virtual instrument plug-in, which means it makes sound. It's installed automatically during the install. Heres how to start utilizing its many high-quality instruments, sound effects, and other sounds.
Set Up a Track
You add Structure Essential to your sessions by inserting it on a specific type of track called an Instrument track. To create an Instrument track for Structure Essential:
1 Choose Track > New. In the New Track dialog, click the pop-up menu that says Mono and choose Stereo, then click the pop-up menu that says Audio Track and choose Instrument Track. Leave the other settings as they are and click Create.
Creating a stereo Instrument track
2 Choose View > Mix Window to display the Mix window.
9 Intro to Pro Tools M-Powered Essential
3 Click the track Insert selector near the top of the Instrument track and choose Structure Essential Instrument from the sub
Insert selector Structure Essential
Inserting Structure Essential on a Stereo Instrument track
4 You can play Structure Essential and audition sounds by clicking the on-screen keyboard.
See those greyed out notes on the on-screen keyboard that some patches have? Grey out notes have no sound associated with them.
5 Play some notes on your on-screen keyboard using the mouse. If all is well so far, you are hearing a signal from the default Sine
Wave patch (listed at the top of the Patch list).
Sine Wave patch
The default Sine Wave patch
Loading a Patch
Now lets load a sound. You can load patches using the Patch menu.
1 Go to the dual-arrow icon and click Structure Essential from the menu. Select a patch from the list of patches; each patch rep-
resents an instrument that can be played. Patches are pre-configured settings files, and theyre a great way to see examples of what a plug-in can do.
2 Click on the on-screen keyboard to listen to the sound.
List of patches
Click the dual-arrow icon to navigate to the list of patches, then choose an item from the list.
3 Make music by doing one of the following:
If you have a MIDI controller already connected, you can record yourself playing Structure Essential. For information (and a refresher on using the Record Enable button and the Record button) see Compose with a MIDI Controller on page 11. or To see an example of how you can compose without a MIDI controller, see Make Beats and Compose without a MIDI Controller on page 12.
Intro to Pro Tools M-Powered Essential 10
Using a MIDI Controller/Keyboard to Compose
MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) data isnt audio, so it has no sound of its own. MIDI is just a way for musical devices, such as virtual instrument plug-ins, MIDI controllers, and MIDI sequencers, to talk to one another. You must have a MIDI controller/keyboard when creating a MIDI recording (or MIDI sequence). To create a MIDI recording, there must be a MIDI instrument (real or virtual) available to trigger notes (or other data). Hardware MIDI instruments connect via MIDI cables to the MIDI inputs and outputs on your audio interface or MIDI interface. Virtual MIDI instruments are inserted as plug-ins on instrument tracks in Pro Tools and accessed directly from within Pro Tools. For purposes of this guide, we'll focus on Structure Essential, the virtual instrument that comes with Pro Tools M-Powered Essential.
Compose with a MIDI Controller
Here well show you how to compose with a MIDI controller/keyboard. To Record MIDI on an Instrument Track:
1 Make sure your MIDI controller/keyboard is connected either to an M-Audio interface with MIDI cables or directly to your computer with a USB cable. (See your interface guide for detailed information on connecting your interface to your computer.) 2 Repeat the steps to create a stereo Instrument track and insert Structure Essential on it (see Using a Virtual Instrument on
3 Choose a bass patch that you like. 4 Select Options > MIDI Thru. (Verify that MIDI Thru is checked, if not select it.) 5 Click the Record Enable button to enable the Instrument track for MIDI recording. 6 In the Transport window, click Return to Zero to start recording from the beginning of the session. You can also record to a se-
lection in a track or from the cursor location in the Edit window.
7 Click the Record button. 8 Now play your MIDI controller/keyboard and hear the bass sound. 9 When you are ready to start recording, click Play or press the Spacebar. To stop, press the Spacebar or click Stop.
MIDI data in the Instrument track
10 Click the track Record button again to take it out of record enable and play back what you just recorded.
Using a Click (Metronome)
A click track (also known as a metronome) gives you a steady time reference while recording tracks. Pro Tools M-Powered Essential comes with a specialized click track named Click that has the Click plug-in already inserted. To use a click track:
1 Choose View > Mix Window to display the Mix window. 2 At the top of the track, select the Click plug-in.
11 Intro to Pro Tools M-Powered Essential
3 In the Click plug-in window, click the Librarian menu and pick a sound. You can pick a cowbell, sidestick, and other common
Picking a sound for the Click Track
4 Select View > Transport > MIDI Controls to view the MIDI controls in the Transport window. 5 Click the Metronome Click button so its highlighted blue.
Highlighted Metronome button
6 Now click Play in the Transport window or press the Spacebar to listen to the click.
Make Beats and Compose without a MIDI Controller
You can make beats and compose in Pro Tools using just the mouse. To create notes:
1 Close or move the Structure Essential plug-in window, then choose Window > Edit so you can see the Instrument track in the
2 Click to select the Pencil tool (its in the toolbar).
3 In the Edit window, select Grid from the Edit mode buttons.
Snap to Grid mode enabled
Make sure you have the Snap to Grid mode enabled. When you draw in your drum (and other) notes in Snap to Grid mode, they are in time.
4 Click the Track View selector for the track and select the Notes format from the menu.
Click for Track View pop-up menu
Instrument track in Notes format
Intro to Pro Tools M-Powered Essential 12
5 Now click in the main Instrument track to pencil in some notes.
The small horizontal bar created with each mouse click is a MIDI note. The location and length of each note determines when, and for how long, youll hear the sound.
6 When youre ready to listen to the note pattern you created, change the Pencil tool to the Selector tool in the Toolbar, click in the track before your first notes, then press the Spacebar.
Edit a Note
In this example, we will lengthen a note. To lengthen a MIDI note:
1 Repeat the steps to create a stereo Instrument track and insert Structure Essential on it (see Using a Virtual Instrument on
2 Choose a patch that you like. 3 Click to select the Trim tool (located in the toolbar across the top of the Edit window), and then use it in your Instrument track
to click-and-drag the right edge of the MIDI note out to the right to make it longer. This leaves the note selected (highlighted).
Trim tool being used in a track
4 Press the Spacebar to start playback, which will start from the current selection (in this case, the MIDI note we lengthened). You should hear the sound play for the duration of the MIDI note.
To compose a rhythm from scratch:
2 Choose a drum kit patch that you like. 3 Now, pencil some notes in on the new drums track. Heres what our example session looks like after we added another
Structure Essential track to the loop track we set up previously.
Two long notes (for a loop)
Three different notes (kick, back, and hat)
4 To add a bass line, create another track, insert Structure Essential, then load a bass tone.
13 Intro to Pro Tools M-Powered Essential
Mix and Change Your Sounds
Your Pro Tools M-Powered Essential system comes supplied with a wealth of plug-ins that you can use to change the sounds youve recorded. This section shows two examples of how to use plug-ins to process your sound. Were going to show you how to use compression on one track, then well apply reverb to a bunch of tracks. Lastly, to finish up our song, well apply a fade out to the ending.
Compression is a way to smooth the dynamics of a track (make your soft and loud parts sound less uneven). Its one way to make a vocal sound more intimate. To apply compression to a track:
1 Choose Window > Mix. 2 In the top part of the track, click the first Track Insert selector and choose Compressor/Limiter Dyn 3 (mono) from the Dynamics sub-menu. Pro Tools inserts the Dynamics 3 Compressor/Limiter plug-in on your track and opens its plug-in window.
Inserting a plug-in on an audio track
3 Press the Spacebar to start playback. 4 In the plug-in window, click the Librarian menu (shown below) and choose an available Settings File (preset) from the list.
5 Choose other presets and you can hear what their settings do to your sound. Try out different plug-ins to start learning about
the different colors you have at your disposal. (The electronic Essential Plug-ins Guide is accessible from the Help menu, and its a great place to learn more about EQ, delay (echo) and other types of effects.)
6 Press the Spacebar again to stop playback.
Reverb is a great effect for vocals; its what can make you sound like youre in a big concert hall. One of the best ways to incorporate reverb in your mix is in a send-and-return configuration. Send/return makes it easy to send multiple vocal tracks or instruments to and through the same single reverb effect. To use reverb on one or more tracks:
1 Choose Window > Mix.
Intro to Pro Tools M-Powered Essential 14
2 Click the Send selector on your vocal track as shown below and choose Bus 1-2.
Send A Selector
1 Use the Selector to click-drag the length of the session in the Timeline (or on a track). If you make no selection, your entire ses-
sion will bounce from start to finish.
Session audio selected and ready to Bounce to Disk
Intro to Pro Tools M-Powered Essential 16
2 Choose File > Bounce to > Disk.
3 In the Bounce Options dialog, do the following to create a CD-compatible 2-track of your audio:
Choose Outputs Choose BWF
12 as the Bounce Source.
(.WAV) for the File Type. Interleaved for the Format.
Choose 16 for the Resolution and 44.1 kHz for the Sample Rate.
Digidesign also offers an MP3 Export Option that lets you bounce directly to MP3 format. Check the DigiStore on our website (www.digidesign.com), or contact your Digidesign dealer if youd like more information. To learn more about the Bounce to Disk dialog, see the Pro Tools Reference Guide.
4 Choose Convert after Bounce, and click Bounce.
Bounce options (shown set to create audio CD burnable tracks)
5 In the Save Bounce As dialog, name your bounce and pick where it should be saved, then click Save. Pro Tools begins bouncing
to disk. Pro Tools bounces are done in real time, so you hear audio playback of your mix during the bounce process (you cannot adjust any Pro Tools controls during a bounce).
After Mixdown, Mastering
After the bounce is completed, you will have an audio file that you can convert to MP3 using most common CD burning software. Converting to MP3 lets you listen to it on your iPod, post on your site, or send via email. Or, use your burner software to write the file to an audio CD that can be played on standard CD players. Listening to a reference CD in an environment other than your studio is a time-tested, professional way to see how your mix translates to other systems or listening environments.
We hope this quick introduction has inspired you to make music with Pro Tools. To learn more about any of the topics presented, start with the Pro Tools Reference Guide. Search for any terms youre curious about. You can also watch any of the video tutorials included with your package or online at the Digidesign website (www.digidesign.com).
2009 Avid Technology, Inc., all rights reserved. This guide may not be copied in whole or in part without the written consent of Avid. Product features, specifications, system requirements, and availability are subject to change without notice. Avid, Digidesign, and Pro Tools are registered trademarks of Avid Technology, Inc. in the U.S. or other countries. Other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. Guide Part Number: 9329-61707-00 REV A June, 2009
17 Intro to Pro Tools M-Powered Essential
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