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Can I Loop Record MIDI Playlists in Pro Tools?

Q: I’m recording a guitar part where I want to capture both the audio signal from the guitar and a MIDI signal from the Fishman TriplePlay system on the guitar at the same time into Pro Tools. I’m loop recording so that I can do a number of takes and then choose the best performance. When loop recording, audio playlists are created automatically. But with MIDI, each time the recording loops, the old data is erased and replaced. No new playlist is created. Help!

A: In Avid Pro Tools, new MIDI playlists are not automatically created when loop recording. Instead, you have a choice of two settings. The first is “merge,” which adds the new MIDI data in with the old MIDI data each time the recording loops — definitely not what you want here! This is great for overdubbing into an existing MIDI track. The second is “replace,” which deletes the previous MIDI data and creates a completely new clip on the playlist every time the recording loops. Again, this probably isn’t what you want.

There are two options for accomplishing your goal.

1. Instead of loop recording, stop after each recording pass and create new audio and MIDI playlists. It’s a little less seamless than loop recording, but it will get the job done.

2. It’s not obvious, but when you’re in “replace” mode for recording MIDI, the old data isn’t actually erased every time the recording loops, although it may look that way. In fact, the MIDI data for each pass is stored as a new Clip in the Pro Tools Clips browser, on the right of the Edit window. After you’re done loop recording, you could load each of those MIDI clips into a new MIDI track, so that you can audition them alongside your audio playlists to choose the best performance, as well as edit between the tracks to comp a final take.

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