Mixing Features

Pro Tools Mix Wondow

The Mix window, while may have more "links" to other windows, is much more simple than the edit window. There are only a few things that a beginner needs to know. The main thing to remember is that in this window you are limited to doing global-like affection of the audio. That means that when you move a fader, it is affecting the entire track, globally, not just the point in the timeline you moved the fader—that will be left for when you automate a fader to a specific region, which is a little more advanced of a function. For more localization with your editing, you will turn to the powerhouse edit window.

The big slider things, as I'm sure you have already guessed, are the faders. They change the amplitude of the track being sent to the outputs or the master fader. They can be automated to move only at specific times of each song or be left as a global function. You have two ways to view the faders (as far as I/O are concerned anyway): Pre-fader, or post-fader. Pre fader shows you the volume level of the actual input signal coming into that track. Post-fader shows you the volume level coming out of the track as it is being sent out of the speakers. In Post-fader mode, you will see that little green bouncy thing get shorter as you turn down the fader. In pre-fader mode, the levels will not be effected by any movement of the fader.

The space above the faders will be tabs that most likely say something like "Mix/Line1" or something like that. That is where you set the input channel that corresponds with your hardware's I/O options. The one underneath that one most likely says something like "Analog 1-2". That is the output setting. Depending on your interface, you will have this option only, or more. You can also set the output to a bus, which routs it somewhere within the mixer. If you use this option, you will have to set the input of another channel to the same bus setting in order for you to hear anything out of the headphones.

And the big gray space above that is the sends area. This is where you can rout signal through a bus output, similar to the bus output on the main output tab below it, but in this pane you can use the bus in conjunction with the main output. This function is most often used to send certain amounts of signals to an auxiliary fader, that would hold a global reverb or delay insert. These can be set as either a mono or stereo send. And that is cool.

The space above that is where the magic happens. This is where you get to make all the cool sounds like distortion, add eq or compression, or even that amazing robot voice with your Autotune plugin that has become so annoyingly popular! (thanks a ton T-Pain...) A little aside—In this site, I've offered an overview of a plugin that I believe to be a great alternative to Autotune (not that Autotune isn't an amazing product). It has a very innovative method of editing and tuning not only vocals, but all sorts of instruments, but also the popular pitch correction function.

So, I think you should stick around to watch a few tutorial videos from the video tab above. I think it will be beneficial to those of you who are just starting out or even just a refresher course on what you may already know.