Pro Tools: Cleaning and Editing Tracks


hi how’s it going I’m Ben Lindell and today I’m going to be showing you how to edit and clean your tracks in Pro Tools now this can be a tedious process that’s often overlooked by people but can actually have a direct impact on how your final product sounds so I’m going to show you a few examples where we’re going to remove unwanted noise and get rid of any clicks or pops so in order to speed this process up I’m going to be using the last shortcuts so I’ll explain those as we move along let’s get started first thing I’m going to do is change my cursor over to the smart tool and what this is going to do is add a bunch more editing functions to my mouse secondly I’m going to turn on command keyboard focus by pressing the AZ button over here what this is going to do is add a bunch of our editing keyboard shortcuts that are going to speed things up the first shortcut I’m going to show you is to zoom in by pressing T and a zoom out by pressing R this is going to help you navigate through your sessions quickly let’s move on to our first example I’m going to start with our lead vocal track now as you can see he didn’t start singing at the very beginning of the song so there’s a whole bunch of blank space there so let’s zoom in and see what’s going on to do so I’m just going to click here and zoom in by pressing T so it looks like there’s nothing there right wrong let’s zoom in vertically and find out what’s going on before you start singing just as I thought there’s a bunch of noise there even though it’s quiet once we start compressing this track it’s going to become more and more apparent it could be anything like AC Rumble dogs barking police sirens wife yelling at you doesn’t matter we don’t really want that in our track so to get rid of this I’m going to use a smart tool to trim it down and then add a fade to it to do so I bring my cursor to the left edge of the region and a smart tool automatically turns into the trimmer tool so I click and drag that to just before my singer starts singing and now I’m going to make a fade I’m going to do that by going to the top left corner and click and drag it’s important to put a fade in and out on every single region because if we don’t when Pro Tools jumps from nothing to some signal it’s going to generate it click and that’s what we’re trying to avoid now I need to find where my next edit is so to zoom out quickly on a Mac I’ll use option a or on a PC alt a it zooms to me out both horizontally and vertically now I can see that I have the same problem here as I did at the beginning of the session so let’s zoom in and fix this one up as well click here press T to zoom in alright so same thing at the beginning it looks like it’s fine but when i zoom in vertically you can see that there’s some noise so once again I’m going to use the smart tool go to the right edge of the region brings up the trimmer tool pull that back to just after where he stopped saying go to the top-right corner make a fade and there we go so I’m going to zoom out again using option A or alt a on a PC and find where my next edit is as you can see between these first two vocal regions it looks like there’s an edit so I’m going to click on that and zoom in pressing T so as you can see we have two regions right next to each other now here too when going from one region to another region Pro Tools may produce a click so to fix this I’m going to put a crossfade in between the two regions to do this I’m going to bring my cursor to the bottom of the edit and you see it makes a little crossfade icon I’ll just pull up to expand it out and there we go ok so I’ve shown you how to remove unwanted noise and create crossfades using a smart tool so now I’m going to show you how to do basically the same thing using just keyboard shortcuts we’re back in Pro Tools and now I’m going to clean up my tambourine track so I’m going to zoom in on the first hit by pressing T alright the trim off this unwanted noise using keyboard shortcuts I click where I want my region to start and I press a this is both on Mac and PC that removes all the region before where I put my cursor down now when I place my cursor again and press D it automatically creates a fade in to that point I’m going to zoom out a little bit and find the end of this region and do the exact same thing to zoom out I’m going to press R and find where I’m going to end my region zoom back in to turn from the end of the region I place my cursor where I want my region to end and press s to create a fade-out place my cursor again and press G and once again these keyboard shortcuts are only working because I’m in command keyboard focus now I want to remove all the noise in between my tambourine hits so I’m going to select from the beginning of this tambourine hit all the way to the end of this tambourine hit and press Delete now of course I need to create fade-ins and fade-outs so I placed my cursor and press G to fade out place my cursor here and press D to fade in so now I know how to clean a track using both the smart tool and keyboard shortcuts now it’s common in today’s sessions to find parts that are doubled tripled or even quadrupled so they all need the same editing so I’m going to show you a way to clean them all together here I have two vocal tracks that are singing the same exact part so I’m going to group them together to make editing them even easier to do so I select both tracks press command G or ctrl G on a PC give them a name now for the group type I’m going to select edit this will link the editing functions together but leave the mixing functions alone I’ll explain more about mixed groups in another video for now let’s press ok alright so let’s try it out I’m going to zoom in on these regions here I’m going to press a to trim the beginning of the region and S to trim the end of the region I’m going to place my fades using the smart tool as you can see I was able to edit both tracks simultaneously this is going to save a bunch of time so now you know how to edit multiple tracks at the same time using groups now I’m going to show you where the most common source of clicks and pops are that’s where punch ins are so I’ve got a few examples pulled up here I’m going to show you how to fix them here we tried to punch in on a word let’s take a listen to what the sounds like with no edits I won’t be on Mario did you hear that pop listen do it again I will be on Mario alright that’s a pretty obvious pop so to fix this I’m going to use the smart tool and create a crossfade let’s take a listen to it now I will be on Mario still sounds a little weird that’s because I put the fade in the van middle of a word so what I’m going to do is I’m going to move it around using the trimmer tool and see if I can find a better spot for my crossfade see what this sounds like I won’t be on Mario much better let’s listen to that again I won’t be on Mario so that’s it now remember don’t just put down a crossfade and forget about it listen to it and make sure that it makes sense if it doesn’t sound good move it around till you find the sweet spot here we have a punch in on my synthesizer track actually looks like it should be okay without any edits but let’s listen to it anyways mmm I think there might be a pop in there let’s listen again yep that is definitely a pop I’m going to show you another way to make a crossfade I’m going to select the area around the edit and press F create my crossfade let’s take a listen to that mmm that sounds a little weird to me let me move it with my trim tool and see if we can’t find a sweeter spot for let’s take a listen to it now yeah that sounds pretty good to me today I showed you how to clean your tracks using both the smart tool and keyboard shortcuts now I can’t stress to you hard enough how important it is to fade in fade out and crossfade every single region inside of your session I showed you some examples where even though it looked like no fade was necessary we could easily hear a click so I’m sorry it’s just non-negotiable so until next time which I swear will be much more fun

100 thoughts on “Pro Tools: Cleaning and Editing Tracks

  1. I've been using PT for almost 10 years without really digging into all keyboard shortcuts. This vid really made me wanna learn how to do it right. Thanx.

  2. Hey, thanks for this! I was wondering though what are the shortcuts for the trim and fade from left/right actions without keyboard focus?

  3. Awesome…:-) Thanks Dude…i'm checking your other videos as well..need some more information as well as how to properly export a song on whcih I have worked but needs to do some better editing because the volume of each instument is not coming out propoerly…the bass is too loud and i cannot seem to reduce the volume through the
    effects…:-(

  4. When you click a spot on the vocals the cursor goes exactly to that spot. When i click it goes to the closest 5 sec mark. preventing me from removing unwanted noise without cutting into my verses. What am i missing??

  5. Hi 🙂 Should I clean up each vocal take before making the comp? Or clean the comp?? I will be very happy if u give me your opinion asap, many thanks, 🙂 

  6. i don,t know how to know how to thank you. thank you would be lame …..that's really something on daw..Master Master Master

  7. Excellent tutorial. Straight to the point. No nonsense video. This is a perfect example of what a Pro at what he or she can teach us and make it to where it's understandable for all.           Thank you…

  8. Nice, keyboard focus is actually useful. Us Logic guys are always dissing Pro Tools. Btw, why camera did you use for recording?

  9. Great video man.  Keep them coming.  Clean, concise and to the point.  Other youtubers should take some hints from you!

  10. first thing i ever learned how to do when i started using pro tools.. its amazing how much cleaner the tracks sound afterwards! great video!

  11. Im having a problem with editing tracks on pro tools and it randomly just started. Every time I cut a piece of a track, the entire track moves backward instead of just removing the selected piece. Can anybody help me?? because this is extremely inconvenient

  12. At 3:31, he created a small crossfade in between 2 regions that was a large area. Couldn't a pop have occurred before or after X-fade? Perhaps it's smaller zoomed out, but if anyone knows the answer feel free to answer

  13. Every time I try to cross fade I get an error message that tells me "One or more fade requests are invalid due to insufficient data within the fade bounds. you may skip the invalid fade request(s, or adjust the bounds for those fades (where possible)." Wtf does that even mean and how to I fix it… >.<

  14. So….how does one Ripple Delete a clip? Like in Premiere. Anyone? For the unfamiliar with Adobe editing, I want to select a segment of a clip and "remove it" such that the right part of the clip slides to the left part, therefore eliminating the gap between the two clips created from the original one. I'm working on a narrative vocal track.

  15. Why did you use a crossfade on the two adjacent regions when you could have done "Heal Separation" or "Consolidate Clip" ? Just curious

  16. You are awesome! I couldn't figure any way how to combine two tracks into a continuous sound, but with fade in and fade out I was able to! While doing this I also figured out that I can cut the track to align with the ticks!

  17. Thanks A lot for putting this video it really helped me a lot I will recommend this channel to few of my Friends who are interested in learning Pro Tools.
    I would really appreciate if you can help us with a full session Mixing a Song.
    I know it totally depends on the what you wanna achieve but that would also be help to Amateur Like US.
    Giving this Video A Thumps UP.

  18. why isnt my separator and trimmer precise? what I mean by that is why is it jumping seconds instead of dragging where I exactly want my mouse to drag it?

  19. WOW, this is a really informative and easy to follow . Wish I would of found this channel last year,but am glad to have found it just the same,loving yer show!!!

  20. Great great video! Easy to understand and to the point! Would you care to explain the TCE tool? Thanks

  21. Love your work a your videos. But I can't help the fact that your voice sounds like you're drunk or on sleeping pills. Just joking, thanx for everything!

  22. WOW !!!!! TOTALLY GREAT VIDEO AND PERFECTED INSTRUCTIONS AND WISDOM – and no drama and wasting time. AWESOME !!!!!! and SUBSCRIBED !!!! WOOO HOOO !!!

  23. Ac rumble, police sirens, dogs barking, your wife yelling at you…. Classic!!! That's why I always did like your videos. hahaha

  24. I need help with the tracks like I want to get rid of the noise in the background but it gets part of my verse erased also. It really irritates me please help anybody

  25. How do you give fade in and out to multiple tracks simultaneously ? I saw someone do it with a command

  26. Thanks so much for posting this. I;ve been using Pro Tools extensively for quite a while, but the Smart Tools is something I (ashamedly) never delved into. I like to have very neat, clean, and orderly tracks and your tips saved me lots of time today. Thanks!

  27. thanks a lot man. this is very help me. 🤘🤘🙏🙏 can you help us again by make tutorial for easy mixing mastering for acoustic guitar and vocals only..? 😀😀 anyway thanks a lot for this video.

  28. ok quick question.. If you trim the part in the beginning to get rid of unwanted ac noise or dogs barking or what not, what about that same noise still going on in the background during the verse, or vocal or instrument pieces? just deleting the beginning and end doesnt address the noise in the middle? or inbetween breaths or during pauses? Is there a way to maybe highlight the first section, with all the rumble ac/dog barking etc, and then use the highlighted section as a base model, and highlight all audio tracks, and removes those same frequencies accross all tracks? that way those unwanted frequencies/sounds dont show up anywhere at all anymore, and it saves time manually looking for noisy parts. i do this with my recordings now, but i need to use 2 different software to remove the noise on the whole file. would be real handy if pro tools can do it in the same place.. and save me time! i use adobe audition now, to clean the vocals and do noise reduction… was looking for one program to do it all…

  29. It’s trimming a whole bar it’s not letting me trim just a lil piece it trims the whole bar anything i missed?

  30. Thanks for making this video. I was wondering if you have any tips for improving poor quality streaming audio. I’m an engineer of over 20 years but now since Podcasts have taken off I am getting the most unbelievably horrible sounding audio from the beginners. Specifically ZOOM conference call audio that they want to turn into a podcast.
    I am using Pro Tools Waves plug-ins: EQ, multi band compressors, gates, automation and a limiter limiter and Izotope noise reduction if needed and many times it seems to exacerbate the problem by reducing the dynamic range. Those things help but geez…
    With music you can get creative and go lo-fi to help things I was thinking about finding a plug-in that adds harmonics to possibly fill in some of the missing audio. Some of these people use Apple earbuds with the mic attached which is better than a laptop mic.
    I get many of them to get at the very least a USB mic and use Zencastr, which has huge drift problems that sound like word clock errors-pops and clicks.
    I’ve been getting great results by having each participant use the recording feature in QuickTime and syncing them up later however there are countless times I’m sent almost unusable audio and I was just wondering if you had any tips and tricks I could try?

  31. Having a community where you can ask questions & share your wins and struggles is super important to a healthy & happy remote work life! Check out the GUAVABEAN Freelancer Group 👉 www.facebook.com/groups/guavabean/

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