Why Doesn’t Pro Tools Play Back My Selection?

Why Doesn’t Pro Tools Play Back My Selection?
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I got a call yesterday from my friend Ken, a singer-songwriter and music producer I’ve known for many years.  He was pulling his hair out - it seems his Pro Tools system had gone temporarily insane. No matter where he placed the cursor in a track, Pro Tools would play back somewhere else. Ken is quite skilled as a recording engineer, and he’s been using Pro Tools for a number of years, so he thought it might be something related to pre-roll. Unfortunately, toggling pre-roll on and off (command – K, in case you’re curious) made no difference. Pro Tools Booby Trap It turns out Pro Tools has a little booby trap built into it that a lot of people don’t know about.  Actually, it’s a very useful feature once you know about it, but it can be a bit of a nightmare if it catches you unaware. The feature in question is called “Link/Unlink Timeline and Edit Selection.” The button that turns it on and off looks like this: protools button

Normally, when you select some audio in Pro Tools and then initiate playback, it will play back your selection. When edit and timeline selections are unlinked, though, you can make separate selections for playback and for editing. This is what caused Ken’s problem: Protools timeline There are a few situations in audio editing and music production where it’s quite useful to work in this unlinked mode (more about that in another post), but most people spend 99% of their time working with edit and timeline selections linked. All you have to do is click on the button circled below: protools Now, when you make a selection (or if you just place the cursor in a track), Pro Tools behaves as you would expect – it plays back from the start of your selection. If you find you like working unlinked, or if you find yourself switching back and forth often, you can speed things up with the key command Shift + / (the Shift key plus the forward slash key), which toggles between the linked and unlinked modes.  Recording engineers who use Beat Detective a lot will get a lot of mileage out of this command. There you have it. If Pro Tools won’t play back your selection, check to see if Edit and Timeline selections are unlinked. Needless to say, Ken was pretty pleased to discover that there was nothing wrong with his Pro Tools system. With a click of the mouse, he was back in action. If you're interested in learning more about audio and recording, check out the Recording & Live Sound program at MMI!