While Pro Tools offers a vast range of tools to precisely edit regions within a session, one of the most underrated and unused features seems to be ‘Tab to Transient’ released in Pro Tools v7.4. As you can probably decipher from the title, this feature allows the user to jump to and from transient peaks simply by using the tab key; a fantastic tool that allows waveform accurate adjustments to be made as opposed to manual cursor placements. Combine this tool with the others available in the workstation and you can cut your editing time down by more than you might think.
So now we have an idea of what the tool is capable of but how do we activate it? Well the first way is by simply clicking the ‘Tab to Transient’ icon in the toolbar of the edit window (see image below), clicking it again will deactivate the tool returning it to normal whereby pressing the tab key will jump to the next region boundary.
With Pro Tools being known for its shortcuts and quick edit features, there is of course a shortcut which will toggle the tool on/offl without your hands ever having to leave the keyboard. While commands focus is enabled, hold CMD_OPT_TAB (mac) CTRL_ALT_TAB (windows) . You will notice the icon previously mentioned will become highlighted showing it is active.
As stated earlier, this tool can be combined with a whole range of other shortcuts to have you jumping around your regions and making any necessary adjustments in no time at all.
The tab key will move forwards to the next transient, but hold the option (alt in windows) modifier key at the same time and the cursor will now jump back to the previous detected transient.
Another very handy modifier key to use alongside tab to transient is the shift key, as you may know, holding down the shift key when ‘tabbing’ around in the edit window will select everything in its path, combine this key with the tab to transient functions and you will very easily be able to select the space between one transient and another, what you do with it is limited only by your imagination.
Despite the potential uses for this tool being far too vast for this guide, here are a few scenarios in which it may come in handy.
- Drum Editing – slicing beats to use as samples elsewhere or for drum replacement
- ADR Editing – to locate the exact starting point of a vocal phrase
- Removing empty region space before a transient
- Precisely aligning audio on two different tracks
- Place waveform precise memory locations
The only real limit that comes with the tool is that the transient detection threshold can not be adjusted, therefore generally only clear and definitive transients will be detected. This is rarely an issue in most cases however. Please keep us updated as to your success either by using the comments below or on Twitter.