Hey guys,

I don't really have an easy set-up way of monitoring in the record room (where the talent and mics are) over speakers.

Sometimes in fight scenes, the talent wants to have the headphones off. This means I need to lead him in with beeps/guide tracks via a speaker. But then he may switch back quickly to headphones and I need to be quick and on the ball about switching.

The only way I could conceive of doing it was to make totally new tracks with the guide tracks on them and assigning them to the same voice (Pro Tools) as the record track - thus whenever the record track is recording, there is no guide track playing. But, this means I have to have duplicate guide tracks in the session and it can get a bit cluttered up.

Does anyone have a similar and hopefully simpler method of monitoring set-up for your ADR recording sessions? For both Speakers and Headphones? I'd like to keep as much of it in the box as possible.

Thanks - Ryan

2 Answers 2


Try this:

Have your production track, beeps track and playback track all routed to headphones and room speaker on diff (postfader) sends within the session.

Keep the fader for the production -> room speaker send visible in the session.

Set the beeps and production track to a low but audible level with the track faders. Leave the playback track at unity.

When recording a take, pull the production -> room speaker feed down during the beeps and leave it down for the duration of the take. After the take, option+click the send fader (not the track fader) to return it to unity. This will return the production playback level to the low but audible level you set before.

To play back a take, move the good take up into the playback track, cue and playback the line, and during the beeps pull down the production TRACK fader instead of the speaker send. This will kill the production track everywhere.

If your actor has his headphones on, just leave the production track send to the room speaker all the way down and work the track fader during takes.

If you have someone in the room who doesn't want to hear production during takes, then you can do the headphone feed PREFADER and work the track fader in the room.

ADR cutting is often about making sure that everyone involved is hearing the appropriate thing at the appropriate time.

I once had a session where I had a headphone feed for the actor (low beeps, low production throughout), one for his voice coach who was on the stage next to him (low beeps, no production ever), one for the line producer who was wearing headphone in the control room behind me (moderate beeps, loud production, loud takes and playback-for checking sync), and a mix in the room for me and the film director (beeps, production lead in, no production during the take-so he could listen for performance).

Also this actor was the lead, this was a big budget animated feature where millions had already been spent on animations synced to the guide tracks, we had every one of his lines to do, this was a comedy so timing was key, and I had the actor for very limited amount of time. IOW, I couldn't waste time not knowing what was going on in every headphone feed I had running.

It was pretty intense, but very rewarding once I had finished. That's probably the most complex an ADR setup can become, but you have to be prepared for the varying levels of complexity between that and what we just discussed.


  • wow... thats pretty intense, Rene. Commented Jul 12, 2010 at 7:01
  • @Rene Wow! Someone who knows what I'm up against! I'm interested in what mic you used and how it was placed in what type of room for that recording you describe. Your work is right up my alley and exactly what I do for a living.
    – Utopia
    Commented Jul 13, 2010 at 1:42
  • go here and click on pictures 1 and 11 to see our main ADR cutting room: dallasaudiopost.com/Studio/studio_profile.html Typically we cut with an MKH60 and a sanken wired lav. For the intense session the producers brought a pair of MKH50s and we literally tape measured the distance at 8" and 16", and put a mark on the floor for the actor.
    – Rene
    Commented Jul 13, 2010 at 14:08

I've only done ADR once. So I probably have more questions than answers. But if I'm understanding this right, then can't you just bus the audio signal of the guide track (I assume this is a moveable region of audio containing 3 beeps signalling the actor when to start his/her lines?) simultaneously to the cue send as well as the speakers? This way, the actor gets his cue to start whether or not he his headphones on.

I assume he wants the headphones off at times in order to get into the moment. I also assume that you're not letting the scene play out over the speakers otherwise, you'd be recording what's coming out of the speakers. But if you select the region that's being recorded on one track after the guide track plays its signal from a separate track and going to the speakers in that talent's room as well as to the headphones via cue send, then you shouldn't have to bounce back and forth at all.

  • The thing is the person wants to hear himself as he records and doesn't want the audio to shut off when he has headphones. When it's over speakers it has to shut off or else the mic will pick it up.
    – Utopia
    Commented Jul 13, 2010 at 1:35
  • And the actors take off their headphones because we are recording efforts and breaths for a fight scene and the headphones make noise when they move around and make punching motions and such.
    – Utopia
    Commented Jul 13, 2010 at 1:36

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