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Pro Tools: SoundFlow & Macros

The Soft Keys page in the Avid Control app.The Soft Keys page in the Avid Control app.

We explore some handy tools for making the most of macros.

Arguments about which DAW is best have always raged online, and aren’t likely to subside any time soon. For the army of working professionals who are quietly getting on with their work, one of the biggest strengths of Pro Tools is its speed. There are some areas where other DAWs are faster — I can create a tempo map faster in Studio One or Logic than I can in Pro Tools, for example — but for the things I do over and over again in a typical project, Pro Tools wins for me. Part of this is the UI, which is mature and streamlined, and part of it is the comprehensive set of keyboard shortcuts, which crucially aren’t customisable. While lots of people dislike this, a key part of the ubiquity of Pro Tools is the consistency of the interface and the shortcuts.

It only takes an intense session of vocal editing or drum tweaking for the value of a five‑second gain in an operation you perform hundreds of times a day to become painfully apparent. Small incremental gains can add up to very significant time savings. But there are other options for speeding things up besides the keyboard shortcuts. Take EuCon, for example. An S6 is an expensive item but they still sell. There is a reason for this...

Avid Control

Anyone who wants to extend their control over Pro Tools has a very capable free option available to them in the form of the Avid Control app. Paired with an Avid Dock and as many S1 control surfaces as you can afford, this makes an amazing control option for Pro Tools, but even on its own the app is useful. The Tracks page is quite literally a gift, the app is free, and for speedy track operations it’s very easy to get used to, but it is the Soft Keys which I’ll focus on here. The Soft Keys section of the Avid Control app (shown above) contains 150 pages of Soft Keys which offer single‑button control of any of the hundreds of ‘EuConised’ parameters in Pro Tools. This is the term for controls which have been added to the very extensive set of parameters controllable by EuCon.

The strength of Pro Tools is in its ubiquity and consistency of operation: once you know Pro Tools well you can walk up to any Pro Tools workstation and start work...

There is an understandable consistency of approach taken by Avid here. In the same way as the UI and keystrokes are consistent across all Pro Tools systems, so are the Soft Keys, and if you know where to find a particular soft key in Avid...

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