Comping is the process of recording multiple takes and selecting the best segments of each take into one ‘composite’ track. This can produce a perfect track from a series of imperfect versions. Many DAW’s have tools and special editing functions which allow for comping but if your DAW doesn’t, it’s just as easy to create multiple tracks (be sure to name them appropriately) and splice them together. Setting the grid to bars will allow for quick and seamless editing. Be sure to crossfade any pops and clicks that might arise at region boundaries. To finish a comp track merge/consolidate the track to ‘write’ the crossfades into the audio.
Pro Tools allows users to quickly create new ‘playlists’ for comping purposes. This is done by clicking on the small down arrow next to the track name (see Figure 1). This creates a blank track armed for recording and adds a number to the track name. When preparing for the comping process be sure to also create (and appropriately name) a new playlist for the comp track.
A handy tool while tracking is to add notes or to rate each take. To turn clip rating on go to View->Clip->Rating (make sure it’s checked). Rating each clip (1 – 5) is helpful when you don’t have time to write down notes between takes.
Playlists allows users to view all of the takes recorded for a single track. The waveform view is selected by default, to view playlists click waveform and select playlists. You will now be able to see every take recorded.
The playlist view allows you to solo each take within the context of the song. To add a portion of the clip to the comp track, simply highlight the area and click the up arrow. This will promote the selection to the comp track at the top.
Try using these keyboard shortcuts next time you comp.
– ‘P’ to move up a track (AZ shortcut mode must be on)
– ‘;’ to move down a track (AZ shortcut mode must be on)
– Shift – S to solo a take
– Ctrl + Alt + V promotes selection to the comp track
– Ctrl + Alt + Windows + Numeric 1-5 prints a rating number on the clip
– Ctrl + Windows + Click toggles between waveform and playlists view.