How To Bounce Tracks In Pro Tools And Export For Mixing
I want to talk a bit about organizing your Pro tools tracks and getting them ready to send off to a mixing engineer. These methods only apply to when your mixing engineer is using a different daw than you are. If they are mixing in Pro Tools than you can send off your zipped session folder and they can carry on if they choose. With that said, I still prefer mixing in a brand new session so I ask my clients to send me tracks bounced to zero so i can create my own session.
Before we get into all the business of how to bounce tracks in Pro Tools and exporting make sure you do a proper pack up. The best way is to create a “save copy in” not a “save as”. A save as only duplicates your session file but not your audio or fades. A save copy in duplicates your entire PT folder. So create a new copy in and we will use that to prep for mixing. This way if you have to go back you have a copy to pull from.
How To Bounce Tracks In Pro Tools
In Pro Tools bouncing a track refers to creating a stereo file of the entire session. If you are looking at creating a brand new track in place from your edited regions, this is known as consolidation.
Before you consolidate all your tracks double-check all your edits to make sure nothing wonky is going on, that you have all your cross fades and fades in place. Consolidate the tracks, you first have to select all the regions you want to consolidate. You can do this by dragging your mouse and selecting all the tracks or Command A to select all. Double check that the highlight starts at 0 and extends as far as the farthest track in the session. If all is good go to edit and select consolidate. You can also use the consolidation short cut Shift+Option+3.
Name Your Tracks
After all the tracks are consolidated it is a good idea to check and rename all your tracks so it’s easy for the mixing engineer to know what he/she is working with. If you are sending a bunch of tracks named audio 1 etc… you are creating a lot of extra work for the engineer that is needed.
A really good way to organize your names is use a number system. So label your tracks starting 01 then 02 (example: 01 Kick). This way if they copy and drop the files into their session they will line up the way you have them in your session. Finally some kind of song title indicator in the name is also a nice little touch.
01 Kick songname
02 Snare songname
Export Your Tracks
Now it’s time to export your consolidated tracks. Select all the newly consolidated tracks and use the export short cut Shift + Command + K. Or use your clip list window and click on the drop arrow than select export clips as files.
An export window will appear, here you can select what your sample rate and bit depth. Make sure to set these to what ever you tracks were recorded at in the session. So if you recorded at 24bit 48kHz than use these settings.
Next select what kind of file format you will export these as. .WAV or .AIFF. Both of these are uncompressed high quality audio files and universal. I hear a lot on the internet that .wav or wave file format is better but both are fine.
Finally create a folder on your desktop or somewhere you will find it easy and export. That’s it, it will put your tracks that are ready into the folder and you are all done. After zip the file and send it via we-transfer or dropbox…or what ever you like you have successfully learned how to bounce tracks in Pro Tools.
What Is An OMF File
Another option you have is using a OMF file format. OMF stands for Open Framework interchange and can be really useful when using engineers are using different platforms. Especially if you are working between audio and video applications. Most major DAW’s are omf compatible, so if you want to send your global data like tempo map, markers, region positions etc…. You can export and send your session along with a omf file to the mixing engineer and they can open up the session on what ever they are mixing on and keep working.
To export a omf file you can select file, export, omf. There you can set your sample rate, bit depth and folder location. You have the option of sending all your audio embedded into the omf file as well. Select under audio media options, under media format select embedded.
How To Bounce Tracks In Pro Tools Final Thoughts
There are a few really good ways to export your audio but take the time and double-check everything. Remember that the person mixing your track is not a mind reader so be considerate. Even sending rough mixes or a list of reference songs can really go a long way. Detailed notes of each track can really save the engineer a lot of time. They are there to help you achieve your artistic vision so don’t be afraid to communicate and ask questions.
If you like this article check out my read on my favourite free DAW’s.