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Pro Tools IO and Playback Engine Audio Interfaces
Old 5th April 2019
  #1
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Pro Tools IO and Playback Engine

I've been struggling with IO in PT for quite some time. I basically need 2 versions of IO: I use an Apogee Ensemble and sometimes i like to mix ITB and use the PT master fader out to the Ensemble for monitoring. Other times i want to send all my PT tracks to my mixing board via the Ensemble and a couple Motu interfaces I have and then mix/monitor through my hardware console. Im having the hardest time understanding how to get this done...i know playback engine also comes into play here and sometimes i use the Ensemble and other times i use the PT aggregate. I select all the ins and outs and delete and then hit default and then i get all my ins and outs to my console but having trouble switching back and forth, etc. Could really use some help. Anybody out there doing this and have some tips?

Thanks

Jason
Old 5th April 2019
  #2
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Thank you for moving this! Makes more sense here
Old 6th April 2019
  #3
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jwh1192's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrjason71 View Post
I've been struggling with IO in PT for quite some time. I basically need 2 versions of IO: I use an Apogee Ensemble and sometimes i like to mix ITB and use the PT master fader out to the Ensemble for monitoring. Other times i want to send all my PT tracks to my mixing board via the Ensemble and a couple Motu interfaces I have and then mix/monitor through my hardware console. Im having the hardest time understanding how to get this done...i know playback engine also comes into play here and sometimes i use the Ensemble and other times i use the PT aggregate. I select all the ins and outs and delete and then hit default and then i get all my ins and outs to my console but having trouble switching back and forth, etc. Could really use some help. Anybody out there doing this and have some tips?

Thanks

Jason
Export Settings / Import Settings ... in I/O setup .. is this not wokring for you ??
Old 11th April 2019
  #4
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I guess its working for me. I think I just have a lot going on and not able to quite wrap my head around the best way of doing it. Theres a lot of moving parts between software and hardware. I got things more or less how I want them and exported the pio file so its easy to retrieve the config again. Just wish i understood better how it all fits together. The difficulty lies in wanting things setup two different ways depending on what Im doing. I just got a hardware console and sometimes Id like to mix down through it and use all my digital interface's outputs to channels on the board. Other times I want to mix ITB and use Pro Tools master channel coming out my Ensemble's outputs 1 and 2. I guess I just need 2 different IO configs and switch back and forth.

Thanks for reply.
Old 11th April 2019
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrjason71 View Post
I guess its working for me. I think I just have a lot going on and not able to quite wrap my head around the best way of doing it. Theres a lot of moving parts between software and hardware. I got things more or less how I want them and exported the pio file so its easy to retrieve the config again. Just wish i understood better how it all fits together. The difficulty lies in wanting things setup two different ways depending on what Im doing. I just got a hardware console and sometimes Id like to mix down through it and use all my digital interface's outputs to channels on the board. Other times I want to mix ITB and use Pro Tools master channel coming out my Ensemble's outputs 1 and 2. I guess I just need 2 different IO configs and switch back and forth.

Thanks for reply.
you could also create a template that has all the outputs to your Console, and then be able to mix in the box as well ..

you know about assigning more than one output to each track .. so you could have your Stereo Mix Setup .. and then still be using all your outputs for the Console ..

Just Hold the Control Key and keep holding it .. now click and select in the Menu .. you will see a Check Mark next to the Out / Bus assignments selected ..

i am on a Mac but it should be Control ...

make sense ??
Old 12th April 2019
  #6
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I hate the I/O setup, maybe my least favorite part of protools. It seems like it's constantly getting screwed up no matter how careful I am. And with multiple engineers in the facility, forget about it, constant source of trouble and late night tech support (that's me) calls.
Old 13th April 2019
  #7
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Originally Posted by Philter View Post
I hate the I/O setup, maybe my least favorite part of protools. It seems like it's constantly getting screwed up no matter how careful I am. And with multiple engineers in the facility, forget about it, constant source of trouble and late night tech support (that's me) calls.
Preaching to the Choir my friend .. i have never been a fan of the I/O setup and what happens when you bring in outside sessions from other setups that have different I/O setups ..

one day maybe ..
Old 14th April 2019
  #8
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I love the the I/O set up in Pro Tools it the best part to give me flexible multi-room setups. I switch between 6 different rooms with 6 completely different setups from a simple 2 track editing suite to a 96 Channel SSL room. to complex 128 channel I/O room
I have zero issues going between the rooms is flawless and extremely simple and seamless.
Old 14th April 2019
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by T_R_S View Post
I love the the I/O set up in Pro Tools it the best part to give me flexible multi-room setups. I switch between 6 different rooms with 6 completely different setups from a simple 2 track editing suite to a 96 Channel SSL room. to complex 128 channel I/O room
I have zero issues going between the rooms is flawless and extremely simple and seamless.
Oh yeah, it's easy if you're the one wiping out a place's defaults. It's the cleaning up after that sucks, especially when you have young guys on staff who don't run protools like masters. I think the default setting should be sticky, so the default comes up no matter what, unless you tell it not to. Because what happens at my place is, the visiting engineer leaves, and the next guy goes to open whatever he's working on, and stuff is greyed out, the mains aren't working even though they aren't greyed out, etc, outputs duplicated and dead in the i/o setup, etc. And diving into the I/O setup over the phone sucks. Good design would put simple and reliable on top, and give you the option to dig in deep if you need it. I/O puts complicated on top.

Last edited by Philter; 14th April 2019 at 04:02 PM..
Old 15th April 2019
  #10
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Umm. Load from session fixes that. It’s at the bottom of I/o setup.

Simple and reliable is the expectation that the i/o routing for a room/system is stable even when a session travels. Which is now how things are treated. But you also get the chance (with two clicks) to recall an exact last setup in case the room/system setup was F’d up by someone else.

I travel sessions between two setups in London (scoring stages), 4 in LA (scoring stages), and 4 in our facility (edit and mix), and 3 presentation studios and it takes less than a minute or two to change massively different room setups (that also change when i’m not there)
Old 15th April 2019
  #11
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This has peaked my interest...assigning more than one output to a track. This is what I think i need. I can use outs 1 and 2 of my Ensemble for master channel output of Pro Tools and use outs 1 and 2 as outputs to console channels? Obviously this cant happen simultaneously but theres some quick way of switching back and forth? Without closing session and import a different pio?
Old 15th April 2019
  #12
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrjason71 View Post
This has peaked my interest...assigning more than one output to a track. ?
Pretty sure you can set a track to multiple outputs already
Old 15th April 2019
  #13
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In Pro Tools, you've been able to assign more than one output to a track since as long as I can remember. Just hold down CTRL when selecting your additional outputs.
Old 15th April 2019
  #14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Philter View Post
Oh yeah, it's easy if you're the one wiping out a place's defaults. It's the cleaning up after that sucks, especially when you have young guys on staff who don't run protools like masters. I think the default setting should be sticky, so the default comes up no matter what, unless you tell it not to. Because what happens at my place is, the visiting engineer leaves, and the next guy goes to open whatever he's working on, and stuff is greyed out, the mains aren't working even though they aren't greyed out, etc, outputs duplicated and dead in the i/o setup, etc. And diving into the I/O setup over the phone sucks. Good design would put simple and reliable on top, and give you the option to dig in deep if you need it. I/O puts complicated on top.
Hi Philter. I feel your pain: i also run a busy facility and know what a hassle it can be to keep everyone clear on the I/O setups. We get a lot of Berklee students with essentially no studio experience beyond what they know from school, and so haven't the foggiest idea what to do when it comes to the I/O page in PT. I swear they just smash the Default button a couple times then call me to tell me my studio is broken.

I'm also a freelancer and bounce around between my own shop and a couple others, so I've developed my own methods that I think work pretty well for keeping all this stuff straight.

Anywho, if you're on a mac, try this: from Finder, select your studio's default I/O setting, and click 'get info'. From there, you can select "Locked" and the file can no longer be updated by a rookie engineer. I find that with this approach, the worst case scenario is they make their own IO setting and save it to my folder. In that case, if they're a regular, it can actually be worth keeping it around. Otherwise, it's easy enough to 86 it. Speaking of...

You should also check out the PT Prefs app (Free Pro Tools prefs trashing software) which will allow you to save your settings and restore them whenever you want. That way, if someone messes up your I/O settings somehow (or your prefs, or anything), you can one-click reset them to your studio's defaults.

Last thing: if you've programmed customized names for busses on your IO setup (eg - 'snare buss' or 'plate reverb'), i recommend doing the following: in the IO page, your first 128 slots should be busses 1-128 (generically named 'bus 1', 'bus 2', etc). Then, the following slots should be your customized names.

That way, when you grab the pull down menu on a channel to make an IO selection, you'll get two 'folders' of busses: the first will be your generic bus 1-128, and the second will be your custom names. I find this SUPER helpful for importing other engineers' sessions, and for freelancers who come to my shop and don't wanna use my naming conventions.
Old 16th April 2019
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pentagon View Post
Umm. Load from session fixes that. It’s at the bottom of I/o setup.

Simple and reliable is the expectation that the i/o routing for a room/system is stable even when a session travels. Which is now how things are treated. But you also get the chance (with two clicks) to recall an exact last setup in case the room/system setup was F’d up by someone else.

I travel sessions between two setups in London (scoring stages), 4 in LA (scoring stages), and 4 in our facility (edit and mix), and 3 presentation studios and it takes less than a minute or two to change massively different room setups (that also change when i’m not there)
You are not the kind of guy who struggles with it... Young guys do. That's what I'm saying, keep it simple on top, deep for those who need and know.
Old 18th April 2019
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Philter View Post
Oh yeah, it's easy if you're the one wiping out a place's defaults. It's the cleaning up after that sucks, especially when you have young guys on staff who don't run protools like masters. I think the default setting should be sticky, so the default comes up no matter what, unless you tell it not to. Because what happens at my place is, the visiting engineer leaves, and the next guy goes to open whatever he's working on, and stuff is greyed out, the mains aren't working even though they aren't greyed out, etc, outputs duplicated and dead in the i/o setup, etc. And diving into the I/O setup over the phone sucks. Good design would put simple and reliable on top, and give you the option to dig in deep if you need it. I/O puts complicated on top.
I don't have to wipe out anything - I just opened a mix session from our 9K room ( from a year ago) on my MBP with an Apollo Twin - session opened perfect hit the play everything worked zero work. The I/O routing is awesome FWIW I am using 2018.12 today the last time time session was opened it was v. 2018.1
Maybe you re overlooking something
Old 18th April 2019
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by T_R_S View Post
I don't have to wipe out anything - I just opened a mix session from our 9K room ( from a year ago) on my MBP with an Apollo Twin - session opened perfect hit the play everything worked zero work. The I/O routing is awesome FWIW I am using 2018.12 today the last time time session was opened it was v. 2018.1
Maybe you re overlooking something
Running 10hd. The less technical engineers working here don't have enough experience with pro tools io to reliably have it work. Left on my own I'm fine dealing with it, but I've been using pro tools since 1999. And it is not foolproof here when opening stuff from other places, regardless of whether session overwrite is selected. Often paths are duplicated and faders showing action but no sounds out the path, because it opened up on top of existing paths, etc. Or even better when paths are duplicated, both play out the mains, but some are missing from the final mix. Maybe this is all more foolproof in 12, I'll believe it when I see it. But this is real world experience here as studio manager. It's finicky and not fool proof and hard to explain to some engineers. It could be better implemented. You haven't had my experience, lucky for you.

Last edited by Philter; 18th April 2019 at 04:55 PM..
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