Solo monitoring in Pro Tools without interrupting the mix

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Joined: 02/12/2009

Live remote recording with Pro Tools is a controversial subject. Personally, I think Pro Tools is not reliable enough, and is unnecessary for a multitrack-only (no live two-track mix) scenario. In most situations, I prefer to allocate the budget toward system stability, mic preamps and converters, rather than put the budget toward the mixing environment.

Ideally, your multitrack recording system is completely independent of your mix system. But of course, idealism often loses out to budget constraints. So, there are those who must use Pro Tools for location recordings. If you do use PT onsite, one of the biggest annoyances is how to solo a track while recording without interrupting your mix.

[For better soloing, I prefer to just send every track to an individual output and monitor on a real physical mixer. Of course this requires having PT interfaces and a monitor mixer with as many channels as your tracks in Pro Tools. ie, a 32-track recording requires 32 individual outputs routed from Pro Tools to a physical monitor mixer. When this isn't possible, the following trick should help.]

Here's a pre-fader solo trick to enable soloing without interrupting your mix. (Note: This for Mac OS X. On Windows, "Option" is "Alt", and "Command" is "Control".)

Make sure Sends View is enabled in the Mix window (Display > Mix Window Shows > Sends View).
Create a stereo aux track.
Assign a stereo buss in, and route its outputs to your monitor mixer/speakers.
Option-Click the Sends button on the track and select that stereo aux path to create duplicate sends on all tracks.
(optional: You can customize the sends view to minimize screen clutter, see "PT_Reference_Guide_6.1.pdf" pages 401-404.)
Command-clicking one aux send turns mutes/unmutes all of them except that one.

To solo a track, instead of clicking solo, command-click the aux send. (Optional: Get a multiple-button mouse and assign a button to "Command-click".)

But watch out: don't accidentally hold down option and command-click (with the intention of turning all sends off), because that's the shortcut for sequentially renumbering sends (and outputs, etc). (Not sure if that is undo-able!?!)

Save this session as a template to save time on future recordings.