How to Use Volume Automation in Pro Tools

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Volume automation is a great weapon to have in your arsenal when mixing. Normally when you are mixing in real time, you are limited by your two hands. That means that at most you can change the volume on only two tracks at a time. But, what if you could program volume changes so that they happen precisely how you want every time the audio is played back, no hand required? That is exactly what volume automation lets you do. It's like having as many hands at your disposal as you need!

Things You'll Need

  • Pro Tools hardware
  • Pro Tools software
  • Create a new session in Pro Tools. Choose "File >New Session" from the main menu. A blank session will appear in the edit window.

  • Create a new audio track in Pro Tools. Choose "File > New Track" from the new menu. A sub-menu will appear.

  • Choose "Audio" as the track type from the sub-menu. A new audio track will appear in the edit window.

  • Record some audio. Press the Record button and record some audio into your new track. You can record guitar, vocals, anything you like.

  • Choose "Volume" from the track view selector. This will enable volume automation to be written to your track.

  • Click the pencil in the tools menu. A straight line will appear in the middle of your audio track.

  • Click your pencil tool at any point on the line.

  • Drag your pencil tool. Drag up to make the volume higher or drag down to make the volume lower. You can fine tune your volume adjustments by clicking the pencil tool multiple times along the line. Every time you click the pencil you create an automation breakpoint. With breakpoints you can adjust only the portion of the track that you want.

  • Play your track back. Once you are finished entering your volume automation, just click "Play." When your track plays back you will hear the volume changes as they happen "magically" at the points you set.

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