Using an effect plugin (EQ, compressor, delay, etc.) on a track’s insert isn’t a permanent action. You’re free to bypass the plugin, remove it completely, or select a different one. On the other hand, printing effects to a new audio file is a permanent action. It’s a technique that is used in many different situations including preparation of audio stems for mastering, freeing up computer resources, and archiving finished sessions. The basic steps to print effects to audio files are the same for every DAW, and here’s how you do it in Pro Tools.
- Set the output of the track you want to print to Bus 1-2 (or any other bus). Make sure the bus stereo if you’re using stereo effects.
- Create an audio track (PRINT) and set the input of the track to the specified bus.
- Record your original track (Vocals) to the audio track (PRINT) you created in the previous step. You should end up with something like this. Notice how the “Vocals” and “PRINT” waveforms look different.
Now feel free to disable the original plugins to save some system resources. Keep in mind you’ll have to reprint the audio file if you want to make any changes to the original plugins.