Keith Everette Smith

Producer, Songwriter, Multi-Instrumentalist

Printing Your Programming

I just upgraded my studio computer to a Mac Pro 12 Core.  Pretty cool, huh?  It’s a beast of a computer which means I can do a lot of programming before I have to print tracks.  Even though I don’t have to print my programming, I still do.  As I go.  There’s something reassuring about knowing that the part I slaved over has made it safely to an audio track.  Too much can happen as you work to mess up your settings.  You could accidentally change it, Pro Tools could change it for no good reason, automation could get rewritten.  You get the idea.  

When I started as a producer I was not particularly good at file management.  As you can probably tell by reading my blog, I’m pretty nuts about my session’s organization.  It didn’t take long into my producer career I realized that I was going to be making a lot of changes to appease the artist, managers, parents, friends, etc.  Things like tempo changes, key changes, chord changes, etc.  I remember one time I was asked to change the a chord in our session.  I had already printed my sounds and guess what, I DIDN’T KEEP THE ORIGINAL SOFTWARE INSTRUMENT TRACKS!  How dumb did I feel when I had to say, “I’m sorry, I can’t make that change with the exact same sound.”  IDIOIT! 

You’re probably smarter than I am.  You probably keep your instrument tracks.  Another problem comes into play when you do not properly name your INSTRUMENT TRACAK and the FINAL AUDIO TRACK.  

Here’s what I do….

My instrument track is always named “DIST WURLI ORIG”

My final audio track is always named “DIST WURLI”

The main reason I do this is because Pro Tools will not allow you to name two tracks by the same name.  It doesn’t matter.  I do want to know the different.  If I had named the original instrument track “DIST WURLI” I couldn’t also name the final track something else.  It’d be some thing dumb like “DIST WURLI PRINTED.”  If I’m going to be looking at this track for the next few months.  It should have the the best name.  

So as I’m working, I name my instrument tracks with the tag “ORIG.”  When I’ve printed the track I then [hide and make inactive] the instrument track.  It will always be easy to find if ever I need to make a change and reprint.