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Discussion in 'Recording' started by jimbo_baby84, Aug 25, 2004.

  1. jimbo_baby84

    jimbo_baby84 Guest

    hi guys, i'm trying to decide whether to get a pro tools tdm system or stick with le. i basically want it for a project studio i am setting up. compatibility with other studios is very important to me, and so is a high track count. i havent used pro tools le before but i hear you can only use 32 tracks plus virtual tracks. i'm not sure what this means though, is this like using the same voice on more than one track in a tdm system? also is there a difference in the quality of the busing between le and tdm? that would be important to me as well. i guess what i really want to know is what all the limits are of le...every little thing that's going to annoy me if i go that route. my budget is totally relative to time, so spending more means waiting longer rather than settling for cheaper mics or anything like that. what do you guys think?
  2. UncleBob58

    UncleBob58 Active Member

    Apr 9, 2003
    Fairfield County, CT
    Home Page:
    The decision will be made by your pocketbook.

    PT LE is limited to 32 active audio tracks, 16 stereo subs and 128 MIDI tracks. You can have multiple takes layered for each track. PT LE can output OMFI so you are compatible with just about everything.

    Native PT LE systems top out at about $2,200.00. A PT TDM System will START at about two grand for the core card, then you have to add i/o, MIDI, etc. from there. If you have the $20,000.00 for a basic TDM system God bless you and have fun.

    Creativity and smarts is more important than track count. After all, Sargeant Pepper was recorded on a four track, Dark Side of the Moon on 16 tracks, and Aja on 24 tracks. Those albums do not suffer from lack of track count.

    I remember when the first studio I worked at regularly (as a session player) went from 8 track 1" to 16 track 2". 24 tracks was for the "really big boys." We were all blown away by the possibilities. Three months later we were trying to squeeze material onto 16 tracks the way we used to have to do it with only 8 tracks.

    Technology is a wonderful thing, but when limits are placed on you it increases your creativity. Some of my best work was done when my computer was in for repairs and I was stuck sequencing on an ASR-10 with only 2 megs of RAM.
  3. jimbo_baby84

    jimbo_baby84 Guest

    hey dude, thanks for the reply. while i agree with you, i can't help thinking about what my potential clients will think about a limited track count, especially the ones who want all kinds of crazy production. and considering i'm going to be mixing in the box the digital summing quality is a big concern...i'm disapointed enough as it is that i can't mix through a beautiful old neve...if i'm using digital i don't want to be using crap digital. the other question that has been bothering me for some time is when is the best time to buy a computer. should i go for a cheap 2nd hand late model g4 or is that just buying something obsolete? the latest computers are always so expensive and i wonder whether by the time i get it home and plug it in a new model will be out and i'll have wasted thousands. is there a right choice at all?
  4. UncleBob58

    UncleBob58 Active Member

    Apr 9, 2003
    Fairfield County, CT
    Home Page:
    Hell, if you've got the budget get the latest and best of everything.

    I don't know what kind of clients you have, but as a freelancer I do all kinds of crazy stuff. However, even when using a full 128 track TDM system I very rarely go over 32 tracks when I'm doing bands and hip-hop. I do plenty of sessions where it's 24 tracks of ADAT and mix on the fly with very little MIDI automation of the external FX. The only times I feel squeezed by the 32 tracks of my personal PT LE system is when I'm doing sound for picture. Even then, I have plenty of "work arounds" and my clients are very happy.

    If you go TDM the computer is not as important as it would be with a native LE system. With TDM the processing is going to be on the cards; with LE it's going to be all on your computers processing power and RAM. Just remember that either way you go, if you are recording bands you are going to need LOTS of outboard gear, especially pres and mics. Oh yeah, and loads of plug-ins.

    Don't forget about clear, clean monitoring and the sound of your rooms. The best gear in the world won't help if the rooms sound like crap. Also, if you are venturing into the world of having clients, the amenities of your studio are just as important; a small fridge, a clean bathroom, comfortable places to sit & see whats going on, and menus for the local deli, pizza and Chinese places that deliver.

    As far as when to buy things, if you wait for the next generation you will wait forever. There's always something better coming out next month in the world of hi-tech. Sit down with a pad & pencil, a calculator and a bunch of equipment catalogs. Figure out what you absolutely NEED, not what you want, to get started. List everything:

    Audio Monitoring (Near fields, headphones, etc.)
    Mics (don't forget the stands!)
    Outboard FX
    Cables (everyone seems to forget that!)
    Patch Bays
    Studio Furniture (racks, comfortable chairs, the previously listed amenities, etc.)
    Room Treatment
    Studio Security
    HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning)
    Maintainence (vacuum cleaner, duster, paper towels, Windex, etc.)
    Misc. (pads, pencils, music stands, markers, gaffers tape, masking tape, etc.)


    Audio interface
    Mixing Console
    Digital media storage
    Software (audio, MIDI sequencing, editing, plug-ins, disk burning, printing CD/DVD labels & jewel box cards, session tracking & billing, etc.)

    It all adds up very quickly. I've built a few studios and killed quite a few others with this list.

    I hope that this has been a help.

    Good Luck!

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