How to use Plugin Automation

Plugin Automation allows you to change parameters of an effect or EQ , by drawing them into a track. You can use automation on a master bypass, to pull an effect in and out of a track, or increase the rate of a tremolo effect.

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Automation can be used on ANY plugin, but i most commonly use it with filters, reverbs, or delays.

I use plugin automation to:

1) change a sound over time.

2) add or remove frequencies of a track or song.

3) or make a track stand out at particular points in your mix.

Use plugin automation to switch up your production style during different sections of your track to make it more interesting. I like to use it on the intro, prechorus, break, or outro.

How to Automate a Plugin Parameter

To automate a plugin in protools, click the ‘plugin automation box’, underneath ‘auto’ to bringup the automation window.

Then you can add or remove plugin parameters that you want to automate.

What types of parameters can you change with plugin automation?

You can use plugin automation to change ANY parameter of an effect.

But, I use it mostly to pull EQs, reverbs, delays, and choruses in and out of mixes at key points in a song.

In addition to pulling effects or EQs in and out of a mix, you can draw in automation on things like the mix %, or the delay time, or the rate of an LFO, to slowly change an effects over a period of time.

Removing and Adding Bass Frequencies

One of my favorite effects to create with plugin automation is to cut out bass frequencies during intros, prechoruses, breaks, or outros with a high pass filter.

Then you can bring the bass frequencies back when the verse comes in along with the drums, for a nice effect.

Automating the Mix % or Time on a Reverb

Adding in and pulling out a heavy reverb on the master bus before the verse, sounds great with parts like the intro, prechorus, or break.

BUT, you can also automate the mix %, or reverb time, and draw in an increase over 4 or 8 bars leading up to the verse for a cool build up effect.

Automating spatial effects like reverbs and delays and increasing the mix, adds a build up before you pull it out and transition to the next part of your song.

Automating Filters with Plugin Automation

In addition to just pulling a high, low, or bandpass filter, in and out of a track, you can also ‘automate’ the frequency and draw in movement of the filter.

I like to boost frequencies in a narrow band, then draw in a frequency sweep on the last bar before a song transitions into the next part.

You can also use a high or low pass filter and reduce or bring the frequencies over a period of 4 – 8 bars, before you transition to the next part.

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Automating the Rate of An LFO

Another technique is to control the rate of an LFO (low frequency oscillator) with plugin automation.

With effects like tremolo, you can automate the rate of the LFO which controls the volume or pitch. Drawing in changes can add variation and can be used to alter the sound of your melody, bassline, or entire track.

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