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Tech Tips | DP8 | Using Solo Mode to A/B Tracks

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DP8: Using Solo Mode to A/B Tracks

After audio tracks are recorded, you'll often need a quick way to compare individual tracks, or sets of audio tracks, when make mixing decisions. This could be achieved by changing fader positions, muting or unmuting different tracks, creating track groups, or even "gliding" (click and horizontally drag) across the mute or solo buttons of adjacent tracks.

However, for a true A/B comparison, focus and attention should be placed on the sonic quality of the audio you are evaluating, and not the clicking and mousing your hand is doing. DP provides a very convenient, one-click solution for such purposes: DP's Solo Mode button.

Here's an example. The picture to the right shows a drum session. We'd like to play the sequence back, and have the ability to toggle between the Overhead L-R mono audio tracks (in orange) and the Room L-R mono tracks (in yellow) with just one click. We could route both sets of audio tracks to their own aux tracks (via independent busses), but muting one and unmuting the other is neither simultaneous, nor attention-free (as it would require two mouse clicks and one mouse movement).

Instead, here is how to setup the one-click, no mouse-moving, could-do-this-with-your-eyes-closed A/B solution:

  • Mute and Solo one pair of tracks (Room tracks)
  • Leave the other pairing unmuted and unsoloed (Overhead tracks)
  • Mute all other tracks not involved in the A/B comparison (Kick and Snare tracks).

By default, when soloing a track in the Mixing Board, Solo Mode is engaged in DP's control panel, identified by the "S" button, as shown above. As you would expect, with Solo Mode engaged, only soloed tracks are audible, (plus any track with Solo-Exempt enabled in the Tracks Window, but that is beyond the scope of this discussion). Keep in mind, if a track is both soloed and muted, the solo status would override its mute status.

With Solo Mode engaged (as shown in the left picture below, click to enlarge), you will hear the Room tracks, as they are soloed, (solo overrides mute). The Overhead tracks are not soloed, so they aren't audible; the Kick/Snare tracks are not soloed, and are muted (effectively, they are "doublely-inaudible").

Click To Enlarge

To switch which pair you are monitoring, don't change any tracks' mute/solo status, simply click the Solo Mode button in the DP Control Panel. By disabling, or turning Solo Mode off (as shown in the picture on the right), each track's solo status is disabled, or bypassed, and only unmuted tracks are audible; cleverly, the Overhead tracks are the only un-muted pairing in this example, so they are the only tracks to playback.

If you wanted a third group of tracks (Kick and Snare) to play no matter which A/B group you are monitoring, simply unmute and solo the Kick and Snare tracks (not shown in the picture); they will be audible when solo mode is engaged, and not blocked by a mute when solo mode is disabled.

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