Tap tempo in pro tools: what you need to know

As a digital audio workstation (DAW), Pro Tools offers a wide range of tools and features to record and manipulate audio. 

The ability to tap tempo is one of the useful features of Pro Tools. By tapping tempo, you can quickly find the tempo of an audio sample you were given without noting the tempo. 

You’ll learn how to tap tempo easily in metronome on Pro Tools in this guide.   

How to tap tempo in Pro Tools

In Pro Tools, you can tap tempo using two methods. It is necessary, however, to update your transport window settings in order to enable this shortcut in both cases.

update your transport window settings for tap tempo function

You need to update the Transport window’s settings before you can use the Tap Tempo feature. This window will need to be open depending on how you’ll be tapping the tempo.

  1. Select Transport from the Window menu. On PCs and Macs, you can use the shortcut key command Ctrl+1.
  2. Check that the MIDI Controls box and the Expanded Transport box both have green checkmarks by clicking the Down arrow button to the right.
pro tool transport window

How to tap tempo manually

If you tap the tempo for the first time, it will be applied globally in your session. Therefore, you cannot add any additional tempo changes. The Transport window must be open while using this method. If you wish to change the tempo of different measures, skip to How to tap tempo.

how to tap tempo manally
  1. Check the Conductor icon below the tempo and make sure that it’s gray.
    • You will also notice that the name of Tempo track in your session is now Manual Tempo.
  2. Highlight the BPM, then tap the key on your keyboard to match the tempo of the beat or song.
  3. Press Enter on your keyboard to apply the changes. If you click outside of the Transport window, the tempo will not be updated.

How to tap tempo to change a measure’s tempo

Using the Conductor Track within the Transport window, you can tap the tempo for individual measures within your session. When a tempo changes multiple times during a session, this is particularly useful.

  1. At the top, click Window, then select Transport.
  2. Check both the MIDI Controls and Expanded Transport boxes by clicking the down arrow button on the right of the window. 
  3. Make sure that the conductor icon below the tempo is blue.
  4. Double-click the red Tempo Editor diamond marker on your session’s Tempo track.
  5. Using your keyboard, highlight the BPM tap the tempo, and click OK.
  6. Click the measure you want to apply the tempo change to, click the + icon, then follow the 5th steps.

Use a MIDI controller to tap tempo

In Pro Tools preferences, you can enable the MIDI controller tempo feature if you have one. Ensure that your MIDI controller is properly connected and set up before you enable this. We have a guide on how to set up a MIDI controller in Pro Tools if you’d like more information.

Check “Use MIDI to Tap Tempo” to enable your MIDI controller to tap tempo.
  1. Choose Preferences from Setup.
  2. To use MIDI to tap tempo, click the MIDI tab.
  3. When you’re finished tapping the tempo, click OK to exit.
    • The tap tempo function can be triggered by tapping any MIDI key or pad.

Manually tapping tempo makes recording and editing sessions easier

During a live brainstorming session, manually tapping tempo makes it so much easier to find the right rhythm. Rather than fiddling with a metronome, you can simply have the artist start playing and tap along with the beat. 

Transposing audio samples can also be done using this technique. Adding the correct tempo to your library is as easy as tapping along with the sampled audio and finding it. 

Why Use Tap Tempo In Pro Tools First:

Your work flow will be sped up by using this feature. It allows you to find a starting point without guessing the tempo, which can then be tweaked. It’s as simple as strumming your guitar, playing your drums, or singing the song’s melody. Play/sing along with the music by tapping the letter ‘T’. You will then be able to see what your BPM is by metronome tapping in Pro Tools First. As a result, the process is more accurate and you can save a lot of time. Try it out!

Quick Question

How do I set tempo in Pro Tools?

A new Pro Tools session starts with a tempo of 120 BPM, but you can change it by double-clicking the red triangle in your Tempo ruler. You will be able to change the Tempo by clicking on this button. By typing different BPM values here, you can change the tempo tool of your entire session.

How do I change the tempo of a click in Pro Tools?

Create or open an existing Pro Tools session:

  1. You can create a Click Track by clicking on Track -> Create Click Track:…
  2. From the timeline, find the small red triangle that designates the beginning of the click:
  3. You can open the “Tempo Change” window by double-clicking on this red triangle.
  4. Click “OK” to save the changes.

How do you use a tap tempo tool button?

When you step on the switch, the Flashback goes silent, then you strum a few times, and then when you release the switch, it starts doing delay stuff based on how fast you want the repeats. However, I have never seen a demo of the Boss pedal’s tap tempo.

Can you change pitch without changing tempo?

The process of time stretching involves changing the speed or duration of an audio signal without affecting its pitch. Changing pitch without affecting speed is pitch scaling.