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How To Optimise Pro Tools Preferences

Avid Pro Tools Tips & Tricks
By Julian Rodgers

Organising plug-ins by manufacturer can help you find what you want more quickly.Organising plug-ins by manufacturer can help you find what you want more quickly.

The Pro Tools Preferences offer a surprising number of ways to configure operation to your tastes.

Pro Tools is often criticised for not being as customisable as other DAWs. Personally, I've always seen its fixed set of keyboard shortcuts as an advantage, providing a consistent set of keystrokes which are the same on every Pro Tools system, but it's not the only area in which the Pro Tools user has less control than is available in other DAWs. Another common complaint, for instance, is that Pro Tools doesn't allow you to customise its plug-in menus. This has recently been addressed in the new search features introduced in Pro Tools 2018, and it got me thinking about customising your Pro Tools experience and the options available in the Pro Tools Preferences. If you do want to tailor the program to your tastes, here are some tweaks you might consider trying.

Category Or Manufacturer?

There is no user-definable control over how plug-ins get displayed in the list that pops up when you click on an insert slot. This list is populated according to category (EQ, Dynamics, Reverb and so on) and manufacturer. The default sorting is by category, but if you have a reasonable number of third-party plug-ins it is definitely worthwhile switching on the option to display by category and manufacturer. For many years, the only way to instantiate a plug-in was to select it from this list, and finding a particular plug-in can be much quicker when you navigate by manufacturer rather than by type.

The search facility was introduced in Pro Tools 2018: click on an insert slot, start typing and a list of matching plug-ins or plug-in presets appears. Rather than making the plug-in list redundant, for me the search facility has...

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Published September 2019