Pro Tools is my DAW of choice. I often work with large sessions, usually over 50 channels, plus auxiliary returns and masters. I try to be as efficient as possible, but try as I might, I usually end up with a very messy looking session. The regions list (known as the clips list now in Pro Tools 10) is usually full of nonsensical, badly named, bits of audio, and that's before I've even started editing.

Does anyone have any tips, or good work flow examples, for handling large sessions (or even small ones) efficiently? In particular, I'd be interested to know how other people make use of things like mix groups and window configurations in their work.

Here are some things that I have tried:

  1. Giving all my tracks names, so that regions appear with proper names in the regions list. This is a good start, but once you've applied a few AS plug-ins to a region, the name can get pretty messy.
  2. Putting several different tracks into the same channel, where possible, the idea being to make efficient use of the available channels. I don't like this much, because you end up with multiple instruments on the same fader.
  3. Regularly bouncing tracks down - for example, drums - into stereo tracks, the idea being to have fewer tracks on display. This comes at the cost of flexibility - if I decide to change my drum sound later, it can be a pain.
  • Make sure to filter the region list to hide everything you don't need. PS name your regions too.
    – Radiodef
    Dec 20, 2013 at 8:45

1 Answer 1


One very simple technique we use is to colour-code all tracks, which does make it very easy to see which are drums, for example, or guitar. By using say Red for drums, green for guitar, blue for vocals, and then shades of the primary colour for detail (eg pink for cymbal, deep red for kick drum)

It doesn't reduce the number of tracks, but it groups them visually in a very obvious way, which helps us.

  • @drmayhem, colour coding is something I've been using - but different shades for similar tracks/instruments isn't something I had thought of. Great tip!
    – JayP
    Oct 26, 2011 at 9:35

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