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NAMM Sneak Peek


How can I take a Pro Tools session and open it in a different DAW program?

Unfortunately, there is no simple way to do this. Since pro Tools is a proprietary system, it is difficult to incoprate its sessions into other programs. There are esentially 2 methods to achieve this.

Method 1: Translating with DigiTranslator

The DigiTranslator is a separate utility for Pro Tools that allows the import and export of OMF files. Many applications also have OMF capabilities, so importing an OMF file created from another DAW into Pro Tools will very accurately recreate the session, including MIDI files, audio files, plugins that are accessible to both systems, etc. Also, Pro Tools will be able to save a session as an OMF file, allowing that session to be imported into another application.

Please see article 31615 for a description of OMF files.

Method 2: Savin’ Waves

The other, less elegant, method is to simply save all audio and MIDI files separately from one program, and import them into the other. The key here is to make sure every audio file is imported with timing intact. This is not usually done unless:
* the exact start position is logged, and the new file is specifically placed exactly at that location, or;
* all files begin at the exact same time.

The second option is generally the easier way, and can be accomplished by consolidating/exporting/bouncing/rendering each audio and MIDI file separately. Since most applications automatically import file to begin at the start of the session, it is best to consolidate these file to all begin exactly at the beginning of the session. So, for example, if a guitar solo enters at 2 minutes, 23 seconds, 346 milliseconds into a project, consolidating that file will have it begin at “0” and insert 2 minutes, 23 seconds, 346 milliseconds of silence before it. Importing this file into a session automatically ensures it is placed exactly where it was originally.

Luckily, in pro Tools, this function is actually called “Consolidate.” Other DAW programs will have different names for this option, while sme may not have it. In that case, exporting, bouncing or rendering a file will accomplish the same thing. Make sure when you do this to solo each track separately, or else the rendered files will be mixes of several tracks. MIDI files will need to be handled in a similar way.

The downside to the consolidated audio file approach is that plugins and plugin setting do not get translated. These will need to be manually recreated, or else saved as presets and imported along with the raw audio and MIDI files.