Pro Tools Tip: Sharing Between Sessions

What can you do when you want, or need, to bring something from one Pro Tools session to another? Joe Albano explores how to share between sessions in this must-know article.  

There are a lot of situations where you may find that you want or need to bring something from one Session into another Session. Settings from plug-ins are one example'"you may have created the perfect delay or effect in a particular song, and now would like to re-use it in another song. Or you might have created the perfect fade-out with automation, and want to re-use it. Or you may have two different recordings of the same tune, in different sessions, and you'd like to try an audio track from one version in the other'"complete with edits and fixes.

Plug it in

Well, there are a number of ways that elements of a Session can be shared between Sessions. For plug-ins, it's easy. Every plug-in, including third-party plugs, has its own folder for settings. Besides any factory presets you might find there, you can store your own settings, via the Presets pop-up at the top of the plug-in header. These settings will then be available to that plug-in in any other song, via the pop-up menu just below. Easy as pie..

Saving and loading user settings in Pro Tools plug-ins

Saving and loading user settings in Pro Tools plug-ins.

Import Session Data

But what if you want to bring in a whole chain of plug-ins from a track in another song? Or the audio from a track, along with edits, playlists, and automation? Well, for that, you can turn to Pro Tools' Import Session Data command.

This powerful Import feature gives you the ability to selectively bring in just about anything you need from another Pro Tools Session. Once you choose the Session file you want to Import from, you're presented with a dialog box with a very comprehensive set of options.

The Import Session Data dialog box

The Import Session Data dialog box.

The top sections deal with the technical aspects of sharing data'"particularly audio data'"between Sessions. The technical info of the source Session is listed, so you'll know if there will need to be any conversions made, to get that data playing properly in the current (destination) Session. For example, if the Sessions are not at the same Sample Rate, you'll have to enable SRC (Sample Rate Conversion), and set it appropriately. 

Make it Musical

There are also options as to where, in the timeline of the destination Session, any audio or MIDI data will be placed'"this can be set in musical values (bars/beats) or realtime (min/sec, SMPTE).

Import options for SRC and timeline placement

Import options for SRC and timeline placement.

Media Options

Under Media Options is a very important choice'"whether to copy any audio (and video) files to the destination Session's Audio Files folder, or to leave the audio where it is, in the original (source) Session's Audio Files folder, and access in from there. If the destination Session is in that same folder, then 'Link to source media'

Joe is a musician, engineer, and producer in NYC. Over the years, as a small studio operator and freelance engineer, he's made recordings of all types from music & album production to v/o & post. He's also taught all aspects of recording and music technology at several NY audio schools, and has been writing articles for Recording magaz... Read More

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