Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Sony Acid Pro 7 | Legendary application for loop-based music creation

The legendary application that started loop-based music creation, ACID Pro 7 is a DAW powerhouse that combines full multitrack recording and mixing, MIDI sequencing, and looping functionality for a seamless studio production environment. More creative partner than production tool, ACID Pro 7 software inspires like nothing else. With its Transparent Technology™ design, ACID Pro 7 software removes typical barriers to the creative workflow so you can effortlessly transform ideas into real results.

Sony Creative Software Inc.

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Customizing the Toolbar

Vegas™ Pro, ACID™ Pro, and Sound Forge™ Pro, along with the consumer versions of each, feature toolbars that give you a variety of buttons to access your most often-used tools. We've populated those toolbars with default buttons that we think you'll use most often, but we also realize that everyone works differently and the buttons one editor finds useful are not the same as those of another editor. For that reason, we've made it possible for you to completely customize your toolbars. In this section, we'll take a look at how toolbar customization works.

We're going to work through this topic in Vegas Pro, but the techniques are similar in all of the other applications as well, so you'll get a lot out of this discussion no matter which program you use.

When you open Vegas Pro for the first time, the toolbar contains the buttons you see in Figure 1. What each of these buttons is and does is not really important for this discussion. Instead, we're going to concentrate on managing these buttons: rearranging them, removing them, adding new ones, and so on.

Figure 1: This figure shows the default button configuration in the Vegas Pro toolbar.

To manage the buttons in the toolbar, choose Options | Customize Toolbar. The Customize Toolbar dialog box, shown in Figure 2 gives you all the tools you need for making the changes you want to your toolbar.

Figure 2: The Customize Toolbar dialog box gives you the tools you need to manage your toolbar.

The Available toolbar buttons list presents all of the buttons that are not currently showing in your toolbar, but that you can add to it if you want to. Scroll though the list and note all that it has to offer. Note that buttons for Vegas Pro scripts show up in this list, so if you have a script that you use quite often, you can add a button for that script to your toolbar.

The Current toolbar buttons list shows all of the buttons currently contained in the toolbar. You can use the Add and Remove buttons to move buttons from one list to the other.

For example, say you frequently lock and unlock events on your timeline. To lock an event, you activate the event's Lock switch. With the Lock Event button you can do this easily, instead of right-clicking the event and navigating into the menu structure to access the Lock switch.

Select the Lock Event button from the Available toolbar buttons list. Click the Add button. This moves the Lock Event button from the Available toolbar buttons list to the bottom of the Current toolbar buttons list. Now look at your toolbar. In Figure 3, you see the Lock Event button is now the last button in your toolbar.

Figure 3: The Lock Event button now appears as the last button in the toolbar.

You'll also notice that the toolbar has separators that define sections of related buttons. The Lock Event button is in the same section as the What's This Help button. The two aren't related, so it would make sense to put them into separate sections of the toolbar. To do this, select Separator from the top of the Available toolbar buttons list and click Add. This adds a Separator to the bottom of the Current toolbar buttons list. Note that the separator option does not disappear from the Available toolbar buttons list the way the Lock Event button did. This indicates that you can add as many separators as you need.

The separator doesn't sit in the correct position. We need it before the Lock Event button instead of after it. You can move a separator and any button and place it wherever you want it in your toolbar. In this case, we want to move the separator up one position.

Select the Separator from the Current toolbar buttons list. Click the Move Up button. Now the separator sits above the Lock Event button in the Customize Toolbar dialog box and—as shown in Figure 4—in the toolbar you see that there is now a separator between the What's This Help and Lock Event buttons. You can use the Move up and Move Down buttons to rearrange your buttons within the toolbar to set them up exactly as you need them.

Figure 4: A separator now exists between the last two buttons in the toolbar.

You can put a button directly into any position in the toolbar and thus avoid having to move it around to get it to the right position after you've added it. For example, say you want the New Video Track button to appear between the Automatic Crossfades and Auto Ripple buttons. To accomplish this, first select Auto Ripple from the Current toolbar buttons list. Now select New Video Track from the Available toolbar buttons list and click Add. This adds the new button above the selected button in the Current toolbar buttons list and in the toolbar you now see the New Video Track button between the two others.

When you're done experimenting, click the Reset button if you want to return your toolbar back to the default configuration. Or, leave things arranged the way you have them. Click the Close button to finalize your changes and get to work!

The Customize Toolbar function is just one more way that Vegas Pro, ACID Pro, Sound Forge Pro, and our other software titles give you the flexibility you need to work in the way that is most efficient for you.

Adding a MIDI File

Mixing it Up with New ACID Pro 7
by Craig Anderton

Although ACID Pro 7 software adds many new features, one of the most significant is a virtualized "hardware" mixing console. As ACID Pro software became more sophisticated—it's not just about audio looping anymore but MIDI and soft synths too, all of which can increase the track count—the familiar channel strips toward the track view's left could no longer comfortably accommodate mixing dozens of tracks in complex projects.

Enter the new Mixing Console, which is also a treat for dual monitor setups; with two 1280 x 1024 monitors, up to 37 channels can fit across the screens.

ACID Pro 7 in all its glory on a dual monitor setup.

This is great for mixing. If you're editing and mixing, another option is to "float" the mixer and place it in one monitor, with the track view in the other. But my favorite aspect of the mixer is how easily it can be customized, so here are my seven favorite options.

1. Change mixer height. Dragging up or down on the mixer's top splitter bar increases the height of both the faders (excellent for fine level adjustments) and meters (better resolution).

2. Channel List. The Audio Properties menu (the leftmost drop-down menu on the mixer's toolbar) is a comprehensive way to control mixer characteristics. Check "Channel List," and an overview of all tracks appears toward the left. Shortcut: Click the arrow under the "M" in Mixing Console (upper left) to show/hide.

3. Easy group edits. In the Channel List, shift-click to select contiguous channels and/or Ctrl-click to select any channels; edits made to one selected channel affect all selected channels. This is handy for, say, bringing up the levels of just the drums, or increasing the reverb send on all vocals.

4. Easy track show/hide. In the Channel List, unchecking a track removes its graphic representation in the mixer. When you've done several takes on different tracks and settle on one or two, you can show only those tracks—but if you change your mind, you can always show any hidden tracks.

5. Easy mixer section show/hide. The shortcut buttons to the left of the channel strips let you show only audio tracks, only MIDI tracks, only buses, etc. Laptop fans: Maximize screen space by showing only what you need to see.

6. Be the boss of your meters. There are three channel widths; when narrow, the meter is a single, uncalibrated "LED" meter. Default widens the meter and adds calibrations; wide splits the meter into individual left and right meters.

Different channel widths affect the meter displays.

The meter's context menu lets you change meter range and other characteristics. For example, to clear all clipped meters, select all tracks in the Channel List, then right-click on a meter and choose "Reset Clip." Note: If you click on the Meters shortcut button, the meters sit above the faders and take up the entire width of the channel strip. This is useful if all you want to do is monitor activity or clipping.

7. Resizeable Insert Effects section. Not only can you show multiple effects, you can manage effects from within this section—show, bypass, remove, call up presets, etc.

Extending the effects section's height reveals the four FX in channel 5.

Pretty cool, eh?

Three Effects Options in Acid Pro 7
by Craig Anderton

Plug-in effects are a crucial part of today's musical projects, and Sony Acid Pro 7 software's new Mixing Console makes it easy to use plug-ins. But note that Acid can insert audio plug-in effects in three different ways; it's important to understand which option is most appropriate for the sound you want.

Insert FX plug into a specific channel, and affect only that channel. Common insert effects include Compressor, Distortion, Delay, Chorus, and Flange/Wah-Wah, although almost any effect is potentially useful. Adding more effects connects them in series (e.g., one effect's output feeds the next effect's input).

To add an effect from the Mixing Console view, click in a track's empty Insert FX field, then choose an effect from the pop-up menu. Or, double-click on a field containing an effect of opening the Audio Plug-In window, where you can add or delete effects.

Master FX insert in the mixer's master bus, after the separate channels have been mixed together. Therefore, master effects (like EQ and compression) process the entire mix, not individual tracks. Compression can give more "punch" and apparent level — for example, Sony's Wave Hammer plug-in is a great master effect. Equalization determines the overall tone; using broad response curves generally gives a more natural sound with mixed audio.

Buses A, B, and C (toward the right) each have different effects inserted; the send levels for tracks 54-56 are sending various amounts of signal to these buses. Double-clicking on an effect's field opens the Audio Plug-in window (left), where you can add or delete effects.

Aux Bus FX plug in to buses. Acid Pro's Mixer can include virtual buses, which "pick off" some of a track's signal (the amount depends on the Channel Send fader). In addition to the master bus, which carries the mixed output of all tracks, buses can also serve as auxiliary (or send) buses. Any channel can send some signal to one or more of these aux buses. This signal's source can be pre-channel fader, so the level going to the bus doesn't change when the track fader changes, or post- fader, where bringing down the fader also brings down the level going to the aux bus. Aux Bus FX are usually set to wet (processed) sound only — the channel faders provide the dry sound.

Why use aux effects rather than insert effects? If you want to process several channels with the same effect, it's more efficient to load a single aux effect instead of inserting the same effect multiple times in multiple tracks. For instance, when adding reverb you can mix in varying amounts of signals from particular tracks, thus varying the amount of reverb applied to those tracks. Also note that with Acid Pro, you can even assign the output of a bus to another effects bus, not just the master bus.

Reverb is a common Aux Bus FX, but try other options. Tempo Delays, by creating echoes in time with the music, can "glue" tracks together rhythmically. A little bit of distortion can add grit to selected tracks, and chorusing imparts an ensemble effect to whichever tracks feed it.

And finally, once you've put your plug-ins in the right places, don't forget the most important point of using them: Be creative — and have fun!

3 Steps to mastering the ACID Pro Chopper window
by Gary Rebholz

As with all Sony Creative Software applications, there are many different ways to approach editing in ACID Pro and ACID Music Studio. One tool that might be underutilized in your workflow is the Chopper window. In this article, we'll look at the Chopper and give you an idea of how you might use it in your next project.

The Chopper basically enables you to do what it sounds like it enables you to do: namely, chop up audio files into pieces and add those pieces to your project. Any tasks you can perform in the Chopper can be done in other ways, but there are times when the Chopper might give you a more flexible, efficient, and creative workflow. Follow these steps to start using this powerful tool.

Step 1: Adding a file to the Chopper

This is a rather obvious step because you won't get far if you don't first add a file to the Chopper window! To add a file, the file must first appear on a track in your project. So, add a loop to a new track in your project. In your main timeline, place the cursor where you want to insert the first piece of the file from the Chopper.

Right-click the event in your timeline that holds the file you want to open in the Chopper and choose Select in Chopper from the menu.

Step 2: Selecting a portion of the file

The file now appears in the Chopper with all of its contents selected. Notice that the main timeline contains a solid (but empty) box with a thin arrow over the top of it. The box corresponds to the amount of space the event will take when you add it to your project from the Chopper. The Arrow represents the amount of time down the timeline the project cursor will move after you add the file piece. Right now the box length matches the arrow length, but this isn’t always the case.

If you don't want to add the entire file to your project, select just the portion of the file you want in the Chopper. You can use the transport buttons at the bottom of the Chopper to audition the selection you make.

You can make your selections as small as you want them.  There are also a few handy selection buttons that can easily adjust the selection. To see how these work, select the entire file in the Chopper window if it's not still selected. Now, click the Halve Selection button to cut the length of the selected area in half. Click it again so that now your selection is only a quarter of the file.

Click the Double Selection button to make the selection twice as long again. Notice that as you adjust the length of the selection in the Chopper, the length of the box in your main timeline adjusts correspondingly. This box always shows you how long the event will be if you add the file using the current selection in the Chopper.

You can also shift your selection back and forth within the Chopper window. This enables you to easily maintain the length of your selection while choosing other portions of your file. To see this, select a short section of the audio in the Chopper. Then click the Shift Selection Left and Click Selection Right buttons to move the selection to different portions of your file.

Step 3: Adding the file piece to your project

Now that you've selected the portion of the file you want to add to your project, let's add it. There are a few different ways to add the file from the Chopper. The most direct way is to drag the selected area of the file from the Chopper onto your timeline. When you do this, a box appears at your cursor to indicate where the file will be located if you release the mouse button. Position the box where you want the file segment and release the mouse button.

You can also add the file without leaving the Chopper and there are a couple of different tools that enable you to do so. First, if your main project is not playing, click the Insert Selection button. This drops the selected portion of the file into your project at the location indicated by the box in your main timeline. Notice that when you add the file, ACID Pro creates a new event in the timeline and moves the insertion cursor, the insertion indicator box, and the insertion indicator arrow to the end of the newly created event.

Sony Creative Software Inc.

In some cases, you might want the events that you create to overlap as you create them. Or you might want to create a predetermined amount of space between the events that you create. If so, click the Link Arrow to Selection button in the Chopper. Now, adjust the selection in the Chopper timeline. Notice that now the arrow does not match the selection. In the timeline, the insertion box and arrow no longer match either. Now click the Insert Selection button again and notice that the event is created according to the length of the Chopper selection, but the insertion arrow in the main timeline is repositioned according to the length of the arrow in the Chopper. Click the Link Arrow to Selection button again to link the two back up.

This method of adding the selection to your project works great when you're project is not playing. However, sometimes, you might want to listen to your project and add the selected portion of the file to the timeline. Of course, ACID Pro gives you a method for doing this.  Play your project. As it plays, click the Chopper to make it the active window. Notice that the Play cursor moves through the file, while the edit cursor and the insertion box stay stationary.

To add the selected portion of the file to the project, click the Insert Selection at Play Cursor button. This drops the selected portion into your project at whatever location the play cursor was at when you clicked it. The project continues to play and you can use the same technique to add as many events as you want to your project.

And that's pretty much it. The Chopper is a powerful tool for getting your work done quickly and creatively. Now that you know how to use the basic tools, experiment with it and discover where it can help you in your next project.

Expressive Dynamics with ACID Pro 7
by Craig Anderton

A big advantage of recording with MIDI is that you can change almost every aspect of a note, including its velocity, start point, duration, pitch, and more. Let's explore what we can do with velocity. We can do a lot, actually, because velocity is a crucial MIDI parameter that relates to how hard you hit a key and thus controls a note's dynamics. For example, depending upon the instrument sounds, hitting the key harder might make the sound brighter, louder, or both. These kinds of dynamics result in more realistic and satisfying parts.

The ACID Pro inline editing mode gives you control over note velocity on a MIDI track. Click the Inline Editing button to enter Inline Editing mode. Then zoom in or out so you can see your individual MIDI notes.

Graphic Velocity Editing
With this option, you simply draw the velocities the way you want them. ACID can display velocity values along with MIDI notes: Go View > Show Inline MIDI Editing and check Note-On Velocities (leave Note-Off Velocities unchecked, at least for now). Velocity "markers" will appear next to the notes (Fig. 1).

Selecting “Note-On-Velocities” displays the velocity for each note as a stem topped by a diamond; the taller the stem, the higher the velocity.

Graphic editing is real-time, which makes it really easy to tweak a part—loop a few measures, then adjust velocities as desired for the notes.

To read a velocity value, "hover" the cursor over the diamond. The value appears in the Note/Velocity box (at the extreme right side of the transport). If you hover the cursor over a note, it shows the note pitch instead.
To change a velocity value, click on the diamond and drag up or down.
To change multiple velocity values, use the Selection Tool to drag a marquee around the notes whose velocities you want to change. Drag any of the selected diamonds to change the velocity of all of the selected notes. Remember, you don't have to select contiguous notes — any notes you select while holding down the Ctrl key will be added to any previously-selected notes.
If two notes fall on the same start time, no worries: Click on one of the notes to see only its velocity (Fig. 2).

If the velocity markers for two notes occupy the same space, clicking on one of the notes shows the velocity for that note.

However, note that you can't drag multiple velocities higher than the velocity value of the note you're dragging. This can work to your advantage, though, by providing a "compression" or "limiting" effect: If you click on a velocity with a value of, say, 118 and drag it all the way up to 127, then anything that was 118 or higher will now have a value of 127.

Velocity is particularly useful with percussion parts. You usually don't want them to be "all loud, all the time," so you can select only those notes whose dynamics you want to change.

You can also enter an exact velocity setting for any note. Right-click the note’s velocity marker and choose Velocity from the context menu. Now you can set the velocities to maximum (127), minimum (1), or default (64); or choose "Set to..." and enter a number for a specific value.

Here, the selected velocity values are about to be set to maximum (velocity = 127).

MIDI Processes and Filters
To bring up editing options designed mainly for editing multiple note velocities with a few clicks, go Edit > MIDI Processes and Filters (or right-click on a velocity diamond and go MIDI Processes and Filters), then choose the Velocity tab. Check Change Start Velocity and uncheck Change Release Velocity, as very few keyboard controllers generate or recognize release velocity.

At the bottom of the window, you can choose whether to apply the operations to selected notes only, all notes in selected events, or all notes on selected tracks. It's sometimes a great advantage to be able to change all notes in a track. For example, suppose you record a MIDI part that plays back through maracas, but then you decide it really needs a tambourine instead. It's likely there will be some kind of level difference, so you can simply add or subtract a constant velocity value to the track to make the appropriate change.

Here's what your various choices (as selected by radio buttons) do:

Invert. This flips the velocity around the default value of 64. For example, if a note was at 34 (30 velocity values lower than 64), it will invert to 30 velocity values higher than 64, or 94.
Set to. Use the slider to set a particular value.
Add. The slider adds or subtracts a certain number of velocity values from all selected notes.
Scale by. Changes all note values by a percentage. Increasing the percentage over 100% (e.g., 120%) will tend to make the part more dynamic. A percentage under 100% (e.g., 80%) has an effect similar to audio compression (and lowers the maximum volume, so you may want to add a particular value to raise its overall level back up again).
Limit. All notes equal to or below the Min value will become the minimum value, and all notes equal to or above the Max value will become the maximum value.
Change over time. This is one of my favorites for building crescendos, like having a snare roll get progressively louder over two measures. There are two ways to do the change: As straight velocity values (for example, if From is 120 and To is 127, then the roll note velocities will increase from 120 - 127 from the first selected note to the last one), or by percentage. If there were already some dynamics built into the roll that you wanted to keep, then specifying percentages would make more sense, as that would tend to preserve the existing dynamics even when the phrase as a whole decreases or increases over time. It's also possible to specify whether the change is linear, or follows a particular kind of curve (slow, fast, smooth, or sharp).
It's Really Not That Hard
If editing the velocity of every note sounds tedious, that's because it is! But you hardly ever have to get that detailed. Often you'll simply want to tweak a note or two, or raise or lower the velocity of a particular group of notes...and a minute or two spent doing that editing can often make a huge improvement in the overall sound.

Adding Drum Tracks

Archiving your ACID projects
by Gary Rebholz

If you've ever created an ACID™ project, put it aside for a period of time, and come back to work on it later, then you've very likely had the somewhat frustrating experience of not being able to find all of the media that you used in the project. Or, even if you can find it again, it might have taken a while to hunt it all down and get it linked back to your project. This happens most often when you pull the files you use to create the project directly from your loop library discs and you use more than one loop library.

This article focuses on a couple of simple methods you can use to ensure that your projects always open with minimal fuss and you never have to run into the your file can't be found in the specified location dialog box. These techniques are quite useful for archiving your finished projects, but I also find myself using them for projects in current production to ensure that I always have the files I need to continue working on my project.

First, let me set the scene. You're working feverishly into the late hours of the night. You're onto something amazing and you're pulling loops and one-shot files from lots of different loop library discs to get the sounds you want. You're swapping loop library discs in and out of your CD ROM faster than a politician changes positions on the issues. Finally, your lack of sleep overcomes you and you decide you'll have to finish the project another time.

Well, "another time" keeps getting pushed off due to life getting in the way, but finally you get back to your masterpiece. You open the project with new vigor and excitement to implement some ideas that have been percolating during the break only to have the wind taken out of your sales by the dialog box shown in Figure 1.

A dialog box helps you find files that ACID software needs in order to open your project.

Now, that's actually a very useful dialog box and I'm not trying to say there's anything wrong with it. It can really save you a lot of hassle because it identifies the file ACID software can't find, tells you where it expected to find the file, and gives you several useful options on how to deal with the fact that the file is missing. If the file I had used in my project had come from a CD, the location path would identify which CD I need to insert into my drive so that the file can be found once again.

Once I reestablish connection to the first file that can't be found, ACID software resumes opening the project…until it comes to the second file it can't find because it came from a different loop library CD. And ACID software will keep doing this until you've inserted every CD you used in the project and reestablished connection to the files you need. That can be a long process if you used a bunch of different loop library CDs to build your project.

So, why's this happening and how can you avoid it? To answer the first question, you have to understand a little bit about how ACID software uses the files you add to a project. When you add a loop file (from a library CD or anywhere else on your system), ACID software loads that file into your system's RAM where it can be quickly accessed when you play the project back. As long as you keep the project open, the file stays in RAM and so even if you take the disc that it came from out of your drive and put a different one in, your project still plays just fine. That's why the issue can sneak up on you. You don't think twice about removing the disc because your project plays great.

However, storage on RAM is temporary and when you close your project — POOF! — ACID software releases its hold on any RAM the project was using and those files are no longer accessible. That's why you have to put the disc back in the next time you open the project.

It's not an insurmountable problem and ACID software actually deals with it quite efficiently, as we've seen. But it can be an annoying situation and it's easily avoidable using a couple of different strategies.

First, if you have enough storage space to do it, you can copy all of your loop library files to a hard drive or network share where they will always be in the same location and thus never lose connection with your ACID project. Although this works, it's still not the best solution in my opinion because the chance for breaking the connection with the project is still quite high. For instance, somewhere along the line you might decide that you need to rename a folder and thus break the path that ACID software will follow to find the original file. If that happens, you're in much the same boat as you were when you used files directly off of your disc.

Another, perhaps more important issue, is that the project is not complete as a stand-alone entity. If you want to transfer the project to another computer, it would be very easy to forget to copy all of the loop files you used and when you get to the other computer you might not have access to the same hard drive or network share. If the other computer's in the next room, that's not such a big deal, but if you flew across the country to finish your project up at a colleague's studio, then you're really out of luck if you didn't copy the necessary files.

You can minimize this possibility by copying each loop you use into the same folder that holds the ACID project that uses them. You can do that manually, but ACID software makes it very easy to do automatically. The first time you save your project (or any time you choose the Save As option), ACID software opens the Save As dialog box. This box is familiar to pretty much anyone who's ever saved a file in any standard Windows application, but ACID software gives it a little extra power.

As you can see in Figure 2, the ACID Save As dialog box includes the Copy all media with project checkbox. Select this checkbox and choose ACID Project File (*.acd) from the Save as type drop-down list. Specify a save location, give the file a name, and click the Save button. With the Copy all media with project button selected, ACID software saves the project and also copies any files you used in the project to the same location as you specified for the project save location. When the save operation is complete, check the file that you saved to and you'll notice that it contains not only your ACID project file, but also copies of every file you used to build the project.

Select the Copy all media with project checkbox to ensure that you save a copy of every file you used in your project along with the project file.

Although this method ensures that you will have local copies of all the files you used in your project, it still leaves the door open to error because if you want to move your project — either to archive it or to move it to another workstation — there's always the chance that you may miss a file or two during the copy procedure. Of course, you can minimize the risk by copying the entire folder that contains these files, but still, accidents can happen.

The most sure-fire way to ensure that you have all of the support files you need for your project is to zip the project file along with all the necessary support files into one all-inclusive project file. This is the method I prefer to use on my projects because it's pretty much fool proof and affords you total confidence that you have everything you need to make the project work when you open it later.

To create this all-in-one file, choose File | Save As. In the Save As dialog box, do all the normal things like naming the file, specifying a save location, and so on. Now, select ACID Project With Embedded Media (*.acd-zip) from the Save as type drop-down list. You can see in Figure 3 that when you do so, the Copy all media with project option is automatically selected for you and disabled so you can't deselect the option. That's because by definition, when you save an .acd-zip file, you copy all of the support media for the project and wrap it into one file along with the project.

When you save your project as an .acd-zip file, you wrap the project and all of the supporting media into one all-inclusive file.

Frankly, this is the way I always save my project files. You'll notice that it takes a little longer to open an .acd-zip project file than it does simple .acd files — especially if your project has a lot of tracks and long files such as you'll create in a multitrack recording situation — but the little extra wait on opening the file seems well worth it given the certainty that when the project does open, it'll contain every last support file that you used to create it. It also makes it incredibly easy to archive the project when you're done with it because it contains all of its required parts and pieces in one neat package. You have only one file to archive, regardless of how many loop, one-shot, MIDI, and beatmpped files went into making the entire project.

There is one thing to remember when you archive your project either as an .acd file with the Copy all media with project checkbox selected or as an .acd-zip file. Every time you add a file to your ACID project, ACID software adds that file to the clip list of the track that you used it on. Even if you later remove that file from the timeline and decide you don't want to use it in your project, it remains in the track's clip list. That's handy because you may decide later that you want to use it after all and the fact that it's still in the track's clip list makes it easy to add it back to your project.

However, you may have several files that you used in your project for a while only to discard later with absolutely no intention of using them again. In these cases, you don't really need to keep those files in your clip lists. In fact, when you're archiving or moving your project to another machine, those extra clips just add dead weight to you project file size. The thing to remember is that as long as you have files in your track clip lists, those files will be copied along with every other file, even if you didn't end up using them on the timeline in the final project.

To avoid this unnecessary bloat to your project file size, you should remove those files from your clip list before you save your project and copy all the media that it uses. To do this, choose Tools | Remove All Unused Clips, as shown in Figure 4.

Make sure you remove all the unused clips in your project before you copy all of the project's media along with the project file.

If you have a combination of files in your clip lists, some of which you want to remove and some you want to keep around in case you need to use them later, you can clean your tracks' clip pools on a track-by-track basis. To do this, right click a track's track header and choose Properties from the menu. The Clip Pool tab of the Track Properties window lists each file that has been loaded into the tracks clip list and the Used column indicates whether or not those files have been used on the track. To remove a file with a Used value of 0, select the file from the list and click the Delete button. To remove all of the files in the track's clip pool with a used value of 0, click the Remove Unused Clips button.

These strategies for ensuring that you have all of the files necessary to open your ACID projects can really help to keep things flowing smoothly in your studio. Take advantage of these techniques to ensure that you can properly archive your projects and open them again later without the worry of whether or not you remembered to save all of the support files the project needs.

Sony Creative Software Inc.