August 24, 2005

Resistance Is Futile!

by Chris Randall

Now, I'm not a fan of Digidesign. I've managed to release 11 full-length albums and twice that many singles never having used ProTools to record even one song. I've done session work that involved PT, and of course Audio Damage ported our first product, the Mayhem package, to RTAS. So I've used it enough to know that I don't like it. I don't like anything about it. I don't like the work-flow or the layout or the sound of it. I don't like the over-produced PT-based albums that were so common in the late 90s and early 00s. (Garbage, I'm talkin' bout you...)

What I really don't like is how the Borg Cube that is Avid is sucking up companies now, like they were Apple or something. They scored M-Audio not too long ago, and while that didn't directly affect me, as I don't use any M-Audio products, on Monday they announced that they purchased Wizoo. Personally, I don't really use Wizoo products that much either. I have two of their sample disks, the grand piano and the electronic toolkit thingie. But the thing about Avid buying up companies is that they do the same thing Apple does--they Avidfy 'em. So, let's see how long it takes before M-Audio interfaces and Wizoo sample-playback plugs only work with PT.

Now, you're saying "Chris, why the fuck do you care? You don't seem to have hung your hat on either of these companies' products..." Well, that may be true, but I like to have _options_, you know? Once companies get over a certain size, they seem to just ingest everything in their path that might be worth a shit. Let me put it this way: I used to be a Logic user.




Aug.24.2005 @ 12:10 PM
What is the deal with ProTools? I've use it, and I've used Sonar/Cakewalk, and that's about it, and it's waaaaay better than Cakewalk. Most people say Logic has too high a learning curve, but that Pro Tools sucks for MIDI, yet no one can explain exactly why or what sucks about ProTools. Since PT is the "market leader" (or least most heard of), a lot of the griping comes across as typical sour grapes about platform XXX not being the top, even though it's superior to PT. I'm really curious, not some PT fanboy/defender, so please to explain.

Aug.24.2005 @ 12:36 PM
Chris Randall
Well, if my opinion matters at all in this regard, it's like this:

Protools is designed for engineers, whereas Logic and Nuendo have a workflow more appropriate to musicians. So, if you're a musician first and an engineer second, Protools isn't going to work well for you.

As far as MIDI and soft synth stuff goes, both Logic and Nuendo blow PT out of the water. The MIDI features of PT are an after-the-fact kludge, while Nuendo and Logic were both MIDI sequencers first, and thus deal with audio in much the same fashion.

If your aim is to record rock bands, PT is by far the better choice, but for less linear creation methods (e.g. all electronic music) Nuendo/Cubase or Logic would be a friend to you, where PT would be swimming upstream.

It's really a matter of taste, taking audio interfaces out of the picture. The Digidesign drivers for their non-TDM hardware are, in a word, ass. Nobody would argue this fact, that's for sure. And the TDM hardware is so fucking expensive, the modest gains in audio quality are almost not worth the effort. (You can put together a good Apogee 16-channel I/O for your Nuendo system and have enough left over to buy a car before you got the same I/O quality from Digidesign.)

The big benefit of using Protools over using Nuendo is that you can sidechain. VST-based systems do not allow for this, so if you need to key-gate or sidechain a compressor (both very common in rock production) you're out of fucking luck. That's a big minus for Nuendo/Cubase, but I've learned to live without it.

No offence intended, but Cakewalk/Sonar and others of this ilk aren't in the same class as Nuendo/Logic/PT. I don't mean this in any sort of personal bias or anything. I'd use whatever worked the best for me, on whichever platform it was better on. (And I use Nuendo/PC, if you were curious). But Cakewalk simply isn't up to the level that Nuendo and PT run at.



Aug.24.2005 @ 1:41 PM
That's cool, and this is along the lines of what I've heard. Leaving out MIDI for a moment (as it doesn't take long to get the PT's limit of usefulness there), what is the "workflow"?

To me, I make a project, add tracks, arm them, hit record, play, repeat until done. Then mix, etc. whatever. I do mostly rock (or at least, stuff with guitars drums and vocals). PT seems pretty straightforward to me. Sure, it's got it's UE problems like any other tool would, but it uses the tape recorder metaphor, which I think would be pretty obvious to most musicians. But, I've never used Logic or anything else, so what am I missing?


Aug.24.2005 @ 2:31 PM
Chris Randall
Well, when you say it like that, it doesn't sound any different at all... ;-)

The tape deck/mixing console metaphor is much stronger with PT than with less linear programs like Logic and Nuendo. Tempo isn't a big issue (there are almost no effects in PT that have tempo sync; I can't remember from my days browsing the SDK, but I think it might not even be possible.) PT is much more based on time than tempo, if you get my drift.

PT7 is supposed to be a major upgrade that will graft an entirely new MIDI engine on to PT, so we'll see what happens with that. It should bring it in to the 21st century, to where it can hold its own against Logic and Nuendo in this regard. I don't like the company for personal (and business) reasons, and wouldn't use PT regardless, but that's just me.





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