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NON-TDM ProTOOLS : Isn't it about time?

Discussion in 'Pro Tools' started by proaudio101, Mar 21, 2001.

  1. proaudio101

    proaudio101 Guest

    Digidesign needs to jump on the 2001 boat and allow us PC users our due. A 1 Ghz processer (with lots of RAM) can do just about anything a TDM system can do. Why are they so against making a system like this, hell the software is what $4K street price, they would BE CONNECTING WITH A WHOLE LEVEL OF MARKET THAT THEY HAD NOT PREVIOUSLY TOUCHED YET. And Digidesign, dont think that the 001/LE is enough for us. There must be a middle road (001=$800, (fill in blank with mythical system), TDM=$9K minimum...is that a GAP or what?) I use Samplitude and I am able to get 40 tracks with 28 instances of 4 band Waves EQ. That must somewhat Rival a TDM system. I can upgrade for less than $600 to a 1.2 G processor w/ 512SDRAM...imagine what that would do for my system from 800/256!!! And remember, I want to be able to transfer back and forth between Mac and PC, PC and Mac, Timecode LINK!!!!
     
  2. Hi,
    I was raising these questions on their forum for a while as a 001 user. As to why cant I buy a full featured software version of pro tools. Well, it seems they werent very receptive to these ideas. I dont think posting here will reach them, or even in their own forums at the duc.

    This will be to their detriment if they loose customers like you and I. What I would reccomend is instead to arm your pc with an low latency rme soundcard and use nuendo. And when the tc powercore, creamware card, and ua cards come out decide wich is right for you. That should stick it to them for not listeneing.

    I think everybody that uses digidesign products see's how nice they are. But, as a customer when a company refuses to hear your needs to the point of rudeness then its time to stop buying their stuff. I love the digi 001, but digidesign has to be the only software company on earth that doesnt have a reasonable upgrade path.
    Since Im a mac user my next step will most likely be motu unless of course I get some good fortune my way, then maybe I would throw down on a mix plus, or whatever their new stuff is.

    Something that has intrigued me lately is the possability of using a system like paris with a card like the tc powercore.

    An idea you may want to consider if your running a business is to use the inexpensive 001 or toolbox xp to lure clients with the pro tools name, and then when you get them with you really use nuendo, Catch my drift eh? ;)
     
  3. Greg Malcangi

    Greg Malcangi Member

    << I use Samplitude and I am able to get 40 tracks with 28 instances of 4 band Waves EQ. That must somewhat Rival a TDM system. >>

    It's not even close to a loaded TDM system. 128 tracks and virtually unlimited plugins depending on the number of mix cards you buy. In a real world situation I rarely use more than 50 tracks but I do use quite a number of high quality DSP hungry plugs as well as a lot of routing and quite a few of the 64 buses. There are simply no host based DAWs out there that are capable of doing what I need with the quality or speed required in my profession.

    << There must be a middle road (001=$800, (fill in blank with mythical system), TDM=$9K minimum...is that a GAP or what?) >>

    What is the middle road between a host based system and a dedicated DSP system? There isn't a middle road, systems are either one or the other. PT TDM 5.1 allows the use of both host and dedicated processing but by definition any dedicated processing system requires additional processing hardware. This hardware is expensive. If it wasn't, companies like Soundscape and others would already have brought out products with the same capabilities as TDM for half the price. They haven't! Other manufacturers systems equivalent to TDM also have an equivalent price tag.

    Greg
     
  4. Obviously the pro tools mix plus has advantages beyond sheer horsepower as well. Being a dsp system totally conceived by one developer makes it rock solid. And it has THE library of plug ins. Its quite the system and well worth the money if you have it to spend and make back.

    The tc powercore and other dsp's are really questionmarks still. But they are also in a Much lower price range, and on the surface appear to give potent boosts in power to host systems. Emu's paris I believe will run the tc powercore, so it remains to be seen how this will play out.
    By this christmas there will be approaching 2ghz mp pc's and affordable dsp's for plug ins. In 5 years the potent $15,000 mix plus will be a $20 wristwatch. Not only is technology accelerating, but the rate it accelerates is as well. This is what they call a posative feedback loop I believe.

    Im not spelling this out to gloat how cool I'll be when in a year everything is twice as poweful for less money. This is just the way the balls rolling, and if a wider audience starts buying these dsp cards the price may go yet lower especially as the new ones are developed for new digidesign systems running at and above 96khz.

    So, all that will really happen is there will be more choices. Pro tools will improve its audio quality requiring new more muscular dsp's. And there will be low cost ones, as well as pure host based.More options are cool, and a host native versions of pro tools with higher track count and the advanced editing tools Id definately roll out the visa for. If good fortune strikes then its tdm baybee, Im not going to fool myself here. Otherwise Im looking at motu personally.
     
  5. cyork

    cyork Guest

    I think there is one thing that gets missed when talking about DAWs and face off comparisons...The applications internal algorithms are almost everything.

    Yes I'll give you that track count can affect your decision. Also, A/D converters are a major part of the equation, but you can use any high quality A/D you want these day with any system, thanks to optical and SP/DIF.

    So really we are debating about the application and the internal algorithms, overhead, summing, floating point calculations, dithering..... Take a listen to the SAME wave file on 4 or 5 different systems. I won't flaunt my bias here towards specific apps, but there is no subtlty in the quality difference. In the end audio quality is "the" priority. This needs to focused on and seems to be continually missed in this type of debate.

    my two cents
    Chad
     
  6. erockerboy

    erockerboy Member

    Take a listen to the SAME wave file on 4 or 5 different systems. I won't flaunt my bias here towards specific apps, but there is no subtlety in the quality difference. In the end audio quality is "the" priority.

    In your opinion(s), which DAW's sound superior? I'm very curious...

    I kinda got "locked-in" to ProTools TDM pretty early on, and have never done any serious A/B'ing against other systems. PT works for me, and it's what my clients want. Hey, fine. I sure do wonder about some of the other systems out there though... RADAR and Paris in particular.

    My home MOTU rig is sounding pretty good these days too. I can't tell if it sounds any different from PT, however. I use Apogee converters with both systems, and I regularly swap sessions between MOTU and TDM rigs. No discernible sonic difference IMO.

    I don't do a lot of mixing "in the box", which I suppose is where the app-to-app differences are gonna be really noticeable. To my ears, the all-digital mix path isn't quite there yet. I have yet to hear plug-in's that sound better than the real thing. :)

    Anyway, what do you guys think? What DAWs leave ProTools in the dust sonically?
     
  7. proaudio101

    proaudio101 Guest

    You guys pretty much answered my question. BUT, what will it take to get Digi to listen. 40 tracks is MORE than enough for me, but I want the Pro Tools name, and I dont think its worth $10K...its just not (Although I do believe that 3 Apogee SE's are worth $25K). Like Robert Jaybird said, todays $15K mix plus system will be a $20 pocket watch in 5 years. I am not saying that Native/PC is the only option in the future...I just think it would benifit MANY people to have a Native version of PT 5.1. I mean, at what level of capability do the TDM supporters admit that a PC will have the capability to compete on the level of DSP? Maybe it will always be one step behind in power, but in less than a year when my computer has a 2 Ghz Pentium V processor with a 266 bus and 512 Mhz of SDRAM, what kind of power does that sound like? If it runs 64 tracks with 2 plugs on every channel thats great for the upper level project studio.


    Originally posted by Greg Malcangi:
    What is the middle road between a host based system and a dedicated DSP system? There isn't a middle road, systems are either one or the other.
    Greg


    Originally posted by robert jaybird:

    More options are cool, and a host native versions of pro tools with higher track count and the advanced editing tools Id definately roll out the visa for.
     
  8. Tony C

    Tony C Guest

    EJolson,
    When you listen to PT then MOTU software and do a sound comparison do you listen to them in two different studios? If so, IMO this is not a fair comparison. What you need to do is listen to both "rigs" in the same environment and with as much of the same hardware as possible. Then I think you actually may hear different results.

    [ March 25, 2001: Message edited by: Tony C ]
     
  9. Greg Malcangi

    Greg Malcangi Member

    << 40 tracks is MORE than enough for me, but I want the Pro Tools name, and I dont think its worth $10K...its just not >>

    Sorry, I can't agree. It may not be worth that amount to you personally but to me and many others it is a bargin. I have spent about $40,000 on PT; mix cards, ProControl and ADCs. It's been worth every penny and has paid for itself many times over. In my personal situation a $2,000 host based DAW would be a complete waste of money, because it doesn't provide the facilities I need to do my job.

    << In 5 years the potent $15,000 mix plus will be a $20 wristwatch. >>

    True in theory but not in practice. I bought my PT rig 5 years ago and it's still worth a packet. Admittedly I upgraded PT24 to PTMix a couple of years ago but upgrading and adding new equipment is in practice exactly what every recording studio does. This was/is true even of analog studios.

    Greg
     
  10. Sean Halley

    Sean Halley Guest

    I agree with Greg. I've noticed that quite often this argument seems to focus exclusively around track count, or around some mythical number of R-Comp instances.

    I have a feeling that people don't take in to account the fact that most people record for themselves. There is a huge difference between doing three hours of a vocal take that isn't working because of a huge amount of latency (for yourself), and doing more than three tries for a big client because of the same issue.
    There are people that can "handle" 15 ms of latency to track to. Some people can't. I would never pay a premium back in the day for a hip studio that had a punch latency on the 827, or a bunch of latency in the monitoring of that same tape deck that would affect the feel a great amount. Wouldn't happen.

    That's not to say that host-based stuff isn't coming up in the world :)
    It's just that I have friends who have to run B4 (Native Instruments) on another computer because the latency is unuseable any other way. In PT (using Direct Connect) the latency is negligible. When I run out of DSP, my audio doesn't start clicking and clacking and truncating and generally fouling up like some of my friends.
    I don't have to monitor dry when I'm tracking just to get latency down like some of my friends do.

    Each system has its place. Considering what you get, 10,000K is a bargain! Mix inside!

    I think there comes a point when you realize that the math required just to SUM all of this stuff into a stereo mix is humongous - and that processor cycles are just barely coming up into the realm of possibility (and they're definitely just going to get better).

    There's always stuff coming down the pike, but in five years I will have gotten MILEAGE out of this stuff, and I will have continued to be happy tracking on it....

    Sean

    Sean
     
  11. Markd102

    Markd102 Well-Known Member

    Guys
    I think we need to get back to the real reason that Digi released the 001 and PTLE..
    "To get people hooked on Pro Tools!"
    The 001 system is a demo product!
    It's a teaser......
    That's why it's so cheap for what you get. Digi don't make any money on the things, they expect that X amount of 001 users will eventually upgrade to a TDM system. Hell... they even offer to buy back the 001 when you do.
    Digi aren't really interested in the lower end of the market, and that's why PTLE will never amount to much more than it is now.
     
  12. KSmith

    KSmith Guest

    It's not even close to a loaded TDM system. 128 tracks and virtually unlimited plugins depending on the number of mix cards you buy.

    Last time I checked, TDM was limited to 64 simultaneous tracks, 128 including virtual ones. I can comfortably work with over 100 simultaneous, heavily edited, 24-bit tracks on my Nuendo system.

    The last TDM system I did a mix on was a fully expanded Mix setup with a late version of PT4. Running out of processing power wasn't particularly difficult, even without reverb. I understand that's improved in the last year, just pointing out that everything has a limit, even TDM.

    What DAWs leave ProTools in the dust sonically?

    Which economy cars will beat a Geo Metro? PT still has a few problems with sound, IMO. Nuendo is no better either, but that's another thread. Paris has the best rep. for sound quality in a multitrack production DAW (Sonic wears the crown for a mastering DAW), and from the few times I've tinkered with it I'm inclined to agree that it doesn't sound too bad.

    There are people that can "handle" 15 ms of latency to track to. Some people can't.

    You're being generous, most native system with a loaded up session running can't get anywhere near 15ms. It's definitely the primary strength of a DSP-based system like TDM.

    That said, it only applies to situations here the computer is the whole studio. I don't use them like that for a number of reasons, preferring instead to work with analog tools as much as possible, using the DAW as a recorder and editor. For that, Nuendo works beautifully - the only monitoring latency is from the ADAC's, and isn't any more than with other digital recorders.

    OTOH, there is a workaround if you need to overdub something with a native system but don't have an external mixer available. Export a rough mix of the track into a new session file. With only one or two effects going I can get the latency down on my setup to 3ms (plus ADAC). It may not be ideal, but it's definitely usable.

    Each system has its place. Considering what you get, 10,000K is a bargain! Mix inside!

    $10K is often used to describe the starting point of a TDM system, but I can't for the life of me figure out how to build one that cheaply. Best price on M+ is around $7500. Mac with an approved SCSI drive and monitor, about $4000. 888|24 is another $3000. That's $14,500 for enough stuff to get started with.

    I needed 24 channels of analog i/o, which drives the TDM price up to $20,000, but let's use 8 channels for comparison. Nuendo software, $1000. Top-shelf, single-cpu PC system with screen and two IDE drives, about $2500. Nuendo/RME 8 channel i/o, about $1750. $5250 for enough stuff to get started with.

    Granted, the TDM system does have more signal processing horsepower. It also has by far the best third-party plug-in support. OTOH, I have more usable tracks and, IMHO, a much better editor. I also have enough money left over to buy a small car.

    That's the reality that Digi needs to address. Their native solution is really weak, and their DSP solution is comparitively expensive. No doubt they have a gap-bridging system in the works though.

    Then again, there's something to be said for NOT having Pro Tools. Don't laugh, there is. "Pro Tools" has become a verb for a number of things, not all of them good. PT has been around long enough that most everyone has done a project all in the box, and most of the people I know have done several. Maybe I'm listening to the wrong people, but I'm starting to sense the beginning of a backlash. If that ever happens en masse, well, I'd hate to be still making payments on a whole PT-based studio.
     
  13. Today perhaps a machine with 2 1.3 ghz athlons, tomorrow a machine with 4 2mhz athlons and next generation cpu's that should be coming in the next year or two from the likes of apple/moto/ibm, intel, and amd that with their power will make you think your in a lucid dream.
    Is digidesign screwed?
     

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