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What can you do in Pro Tools that you cannot in REAPER?

Discussion in 'Reaper' started by Kuroneku, Dec 11, 2014.

  1. Kuroneku

    Kuroneku Active Member

    I've been using Reaper for years, and every now & then people attempt to brag that they use "Pro Tools", but I have yet to hear what is so significant about Pro Tools over a DAW like Reaper.

    Reaper is capable of everything that I need and much more that I don't need.
    (Now some might wonder what my use of a DAW is, but that is aside from my question ;) )

    3, 2, 1 gooooo
  2. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    It's primarily a matter of PT having bludgeoned its way to being an industry standard rather than any technical issues.
    Kuroneku likes this.
  3. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    Pro Tools became the industry standard at a time when other DAW manufacturers were still getting their platforms together.

    In the early days (1990's) it was pretty much the only game in town - but it had it's downsides too. The early versions were terrible when it came to MIDI integration. In fact, early PT users often had to use a separate program to handle the MIDI end of their productions... Digital Performer was the popular side-program for this.

    Then came Cubase, Sonar, and some other DAW programs, where the integration of audio and MIDI was far superior to that of PT. It took Digidesign (the original company that owned PT before Avid took them over) quite some time to catch up.

    PT remained at the top of the list simply because so many had invested large amounts of money into their PT rigs - which was largely proprietary at that time.... (you couldn't use just any audio I/O, you had to use one made by Digidesign). Over time, these original users stuck with the platform simply because it's what they had grown so familiar with, and that's how it remained the "industry standard"... not because it was "better", but just because the people using it were so used to using it, and had invested so much money - and time into learning it.

    Your friends who are bragging about having PT are simply drinking the Avid kool-aid, a popular mindset that says that "in order to make great recordings, you must have Pro Tools" ... and that simply isn't true.

    I'm not saying that PT is bad, obviously, many professionas use it, and more than just a few hits have been recorded and mixed with it, but it's not the only gunslinger in town anymore.

    I used Pro Tools and Sonar for years. Last year I switched to Samplitude - and I'm not ever going back. Their platform is sonically superior, more honest, and their customer support blows Avid's out of the water.

    If Reaper works for what you want to do, then that's all that matters.

    Let your PT friends have to deal with Avid's pre-pay technical support, or the version upgrades that void-out previous features and plug ins, which forces them to purchase new ones, and finally, to shell out the money that professional studios and engineers have had to pay over time, to make sure that the platform really is a professional version.

    If you like your platform, are familiar with it and its workflow, and it sounds good to you, then use it, and save yourself some money - and put it towards the things that really do count - things like good preamps, converters, mics, etc. because those are the things that really count, and really make the difference when it comes to getting a "pro sound".

    IMHO of course. ;)

    Kuroneku and Reverend Lucas like this.
  4. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    To add, Pro Tools is a turn key system. When you make it turn key, and it works, people will follow. When I switched to Samplitude in 2006, I was surprised how confusing it all was. Learning about converters, interfaces, cabling, plug-ins etc. Filtering out all the unrelated and so on...
    Pro Tools was easy in comparison. Avid was the talk of our circle because it was basically a 2 track Pro tools rig that leaned towards video. Or vise versa. Incredible design really.
    Combine both those platforms, it didn't take much to get the entire A/V industry on board. I loved Pro Tools and almost bought Avid a few times. Burning CD's, how cool was that.
    Liquid Audio, wow. that was the coolest plug-in going.
  5. Matt

    Matt Active Member

    I just recently went through the spectrum of DAW's as I had to decide which one to purchase. I was leaning to pro tools because it is the industry standard. I tried the ableton live demo and the presonus studio one daw. But I am more of a mixer and found those to be too focused on midi and arranging music. Finally, after using the reaper demo, I made the decision to stick with reaper for two reasons. 1: it does what I need out of a daw. 2: it is only $60!!!
  6. Reverend Lucas

    Reverend Lucas Active Member

    In short... You can tell those that don't know any better that you have Pro Tools. They'll be impressed.
  7. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Harrison is doing MixBus for $39 again ....
  8. ric3xrt

    ric3xrt Active Member

    I have poo tools set up on a box here for the low inof musicians Who have been brain washed into believing Poo tools is the only real Daw , if someone records here and wants to go some where else, I load all the files to Poo tools, because that's what 90someodd% off the studios use around the philly area, and good knows most of these guys can't figure out how to use anything else.
    I use reaper for the most part, reaper does seam to have a color to it compared to poo tools, but its simple to use and the web forum is fantastic.Samplitude is OMG WTF clean easy to use transparent .....My all digital room uses Samp, but my analog rooms , I use reaper as an edit tool.
    If your use to Reaper, keep it....
    that's my story and I'm sticking to it.
  9. took-the-red-pill

    took-the-red-pill Active Member

    Can't say about PT one way or the other, but if it were my money(and it was two years back), I'd go with the Reap. It's a phenomenal deal($60 for amateurs, $225 for pros. are you kidding me?), comes with free upgrades for 2 full versions, which in my case, looks like it's several more years out before I would have to pay anything. As far as I can tell it does everything imaginable and then some. No limits on tracks or effects, or a stupid security dongle like my Cubase days. In fact, every aspect of it seems to be unlimited and customizable.

    I have found it easier to edit than my Cubase days as well. Cockos realized that you probably didn't want an ugly pop when you split and moved a part, and that an auto crossfade was the answer...duhhh.

    Plugins are butt ugly, which means they sip power like a Corolla, but don't be fooled by their no-bells-and-whistles look. Do a search on Google or Youtube about whether Reaper's plugins are great and the answer is universally a resounding 'yes.' Plus the list of free and included plugins that come with it, is as long as your arm. Apparently they scored a deal with a few plugin manufacturers, so there are a bunch of pretty good effects that you would normally have to buy that come with it. It handles midi in a simple and straightforward way,(Reason in my case) and as far as I can tell it's fairly miserly on CPU power.

    I haven't had any challenges so I can't speak to their support, but so far I give it five stars.

    My two red pills...
  10. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Well said.

    I think DAW's and their plug-ins are more about the Gui than actual improved code. Most plugs look more like pictures than I care to be needing. What I do need is a DAW that is simple and works like a laser beam, built for MIDI. . Which is exactly what Reaper is targeting. Does Reaper sum as well as Samplitude? I have a feeling it may be good enough for most users but I'm not so sure its the best at this. I plan on doing a few comparisons this year. I love how fast it is..
  11. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    I won't defend ProTools in any way. I use it. It can be buggy. But there are standard procedures to keep the bugs out or tolerable. I find that most people who complain about ProTools haven't used an HD system. I hated the LE and the Native wasn't in my future. I WILL be looking at a program that sums very well in the future. This is for my eventual Hybrid decoupled second DAW. And there is only ONE reason I would ever consider this.

    It makes sense. Whether it makes a difference for me is yet to be determined but I'll take that step to find out. Someday.

    As for 'other' DAW programs....I use Mac's. Some of these don't run on Mac architecture without building a bunch of hoops for the computer to shake hands with the software properly. Plug-and-play is what makes it for me.

    ProTools came from video. Its built for it. The audio came second. They made it better but the company is all about post and video if you really get into the depth of the program.

    Most guys I know who do pro work do it on ProTools. I don't think ANY of them feel like they are REQUIRED to do this. Every one of them would drop it like a hot frying pan if there was something with all the features and sound and cost a tenth as much. Over the years the 'marketing strategists' down at the Avid bunker have come up with ways to piss a LOT of people with sizable investments in their products off. Why they adhere to this I'll never know. Why they had the technology to release features other DAWS started with for years and didn't I'll never understand. So, as a PT owner with a pro rig, I'll put up with their offers and their feeding the masses small incremental updates with decently large expenditures until they piss me off enough to say, enough is enough.

    Unfortunately this will be the time that my clientele will shrink simply because I don't have the compatibility they look for in a studio. Guys want to be able to seemlessly drop their projects into your machine and have a go at your rack gear and sound control more than they do what DAW you use...but having a laptop full of PT Native and having that little fear that it wont interface well with 'something else' no matter how good, is enough to keep them looking elsewhere.

    I said I wouldn't defend them but I do have to say this....once you get to HD its another world.
  12. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    I think that one of the problems - and I'm referring to all DAW's and Plugs - is that these companies are trying to be "everything for everyone", and that's just not possible. You can't please absolutely every customer out there. It's impossible. The only thing you can do as a user, is to pick the one that works best for your workflow and style - and we are all different in that regard.

    I don't have a problem with a good looking GUI as long as that's not all that it is, and the processor/platform is of an audio quality that works for me. Having tried the most expensive plugs available, down to the cheapest, and even down into the freebie area, I can tell you that my personal experience has led me to the conclusion that plugs are really no different than gear is - in terms of getting what you pay for.

    Okay, so maybe there is an exception here and there, and you find the odd free VST that sounds good and works for you - but those are exceptions to the rule. The plug processors that I've been most impressed with are the ones that are professionally coded, and that cost money. I once downloaded a free 1176 emulation plug, just to see what it could do and what it sounded like. What I heard was a train wreck of noise, obvious phasing issues, and on top of those things, it was nowhere near the sound of what it was meant to emulate.

    Fast forward a few years, and I downloaded a trial version of Waves Classic Compressors. The difference was night and day. Were they real 1176's and LA2's? Of course not. Having spent lots of time on those real models in the past, I felt that I was a fair judge of how good -or bad - they are. But even though they weren't the real thing(s) they still sounded great as digital compressors, and were very reminiscent of the control features of the real deals. Both were ultra quiet, and I encountered no phasing issues or artifacts while using either.

    Obviously, these had been developed and coded by people that knew what they were doing, and by people who knew that if they were going to charge healthy money for them, then they'd better be able to deliver a product that the consumer would feel was worth the price tag.

    DAW's are a very personal choice. You have to determine for yourself what works best for what you want to accomplish. For some, audio is less important than midi. For others, they might do nothing but audio.
    For some, audio editing capability is key. For others, they may just want to be able to use a DAW in the same manner as a multi track tape deck is used for - simply storing the tracks/sounds.

    In the end, you have to determine what works best for you; your workflow, your style. Although, if you are a professional facility, you do need to consider what your clients will expect. Some don't care what your platform is as long as you know it well, and can get them the end result that they seek. Other clients might insist on PT, because they have plans on taking that project to different studios to do different phases of their project, and they are looking for a "standard" that they can adhere to.

    Figure out what you need, what suits that need in the best way, and use what you use with no excuses. Reaper, Reason, Sonar, PT, Sam, ... it matters not if you are happy with the results, and in the end, that's really all that matters.

    IMHO of course.

  13. Reverend Lucas

    Reverend Lucas Active Member

    My apologies if I'm getting off track here, maybe this belongs in another thread. I mean no disrespect to you fine gents by this, either.

    I'm trying to understand the idea of what 'summing better' in a digital sense means. To me, digital summing is simply addition of the voltages that an A2D saw, which were then potentially processed, represented as (usually) 16- to 24-bit words. Superposition tells us that the order we add them together doesn't matter.

    Where is there room to muck this up? Software that can't accomplish simple addition isn't of any value at all. Is one way of adding better than another? I'm not being facetious, I'm really trying to understand. I can see how other signal processing could potentially impact sonics. I don't understand how summing can.
  14. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    No, not at all. Your post was perfectly welcomed. (y)
  15. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    The scientists usually don't hear things musicians notice.

    This is a question asked more than once. There used to be a general consensus that all DAW's were equal. I no longer even remotely think this today. Just use Samplitude for a few weeks and start comparing it to Sonar or Pro Tools.

    Our process and available CPU and memory effects each of us uniquely too. Once we start accumulating third party code, so do the conflicts. Do conflicts effect code? Is code part of summing and phase alignment? Why do the upper freq in digital audio sound swirly? What causes this? Everything effects those bytes and sooner or later one of them gets chopped and put on the wrong side of the fence.

    I've heard weird bleeds on aux and such in Pro Tools sessions. I've heard distortions on plug-ins that aren't suppose to be there. Sometimes you have to turn a session off and reboot to disable something holding on in the background of a plugin. A lot of people don't notice whats accumulating because it creeps up on you and becomes part of the mix. If you aren't keeping an ear on everything you do, start to finish, how do we really know what is shifting in the stereo field?
    Does everything stay in phase when I audition a stereo plug-in, does it bypass 100% of the time on an undo?

    I suppose this pretty much sums this question up for me.
    Digital audio is no different than Rocket Science or medicine that uses digital technology to see deeper into our world, minds and body.
    The code is only as good as the coder.
    Do we know as much about Mars as we did a decade ago? What we know today, will show mistakes and misses in our work a decade from now.

    I think its not that big a deal comparing one track to another track, DAW to DAW, but once we are increasing the demand, adding more tracks and plug-ins, we eventually steal from something else that didn't like it. Computers don't react well when starving for memory and I don't believe everything is coded to work around something else 100% of the time. This is why we all hate computers. We know something is wrong but can't quite put our finger on it.

    Do all DAW's sum large sessions equally. I don't think so.

    From a musicians POV, Thats my thinking.
  16. Reverend Lucas

    Reverend Lucas Active Member

    I haven't used Samplitude/Sequoia, but I'd be interested to give it a try. My ears aren't very refined, so it may or may not matter to me.

    Phase is a function of voltage relationships over time, or in this case bits. Manipulation of the bits (signal processing) could potentially impact phase relationships. I agree with you there, Chris. Digital addition (summing), though, is one type of signal processing that shouldn't impact the phase, or anything else.

    Digital compression (not dynamic range compression), for example, is a type of signal processing that impacts sonics. I believe 'the swirlies' are what happens when a compression algorithm degrades a signal to the point that a particular psychoacoustical principle of the algorithm is compromised to the point of audibility. They're also the reason I canceled my subscription to Sirius. Sound on Sound has a good article on compression that includes a blurb on it:

    Scientists and musicians definitely do look at things differently. Scientists look to quantify phenomena as fully as possible, in order to better understand them. Whether or not audible phenomena have been sufficiently quantified is another topic of debate. Unless there's something I'm missing, though, summing isn't an issue of what is/isn't perceivable as no differences should exist. In the end each track/subgroup (after individual manipulation) is simply added to the others, where it may or may not be processed/added further. I really see it as (almost as simple as) the below example:

    I'm not questioning that there are sonic differences based on how things are processed in different DAWs/plugins/workflows, I'm just suggesting that they occur outside of the summing process.

    I always appreciate the interesting discussion here:)
  17. audiokid

    audiokid Staff


    Not that have any business even discussing this topic. I think you are spot on about summing.

    I think our DAWs start out pretty equal. It's the other things that get in the way before the sum are what we should be worried about it.

    I think it's as simple as: The sum is the answer to what.
  18. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    In the analog world, we use a console to sum. In hybrid we use 2-bus hardware to sum groups then capture it back to the same daw. Cause and effect. Who is summing what.

    When we talk about summing, you can see how the scientist and musician clash in these topics .

    Is a monitor out from a console or daw also summing, and is that sum the exact sum of what, the entire session?
  19. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    Not necessarily. Summing is done differently even within a DAW depending on the word representation that you select.

    As an example, if you set the DAW to use single-precision (32-bit) floating point as its number representation, then each sample is represented by a normalised mantissa of 25-bits plus an 8-bit exponent. I know 25 + 8 = 33, but the first bit of the normalised mantissa is always 1 so it is not stored. So far, so good, as it means that 24-bit integer ADC data samples can be stored exactly. But consider what happens when you add two waveforms together that are (say) 48dB different in amplitude. The smaller waveform has to be shifted 8 bits to the right (so the exponents become the same) before they can be added, and this means that the smaller waveform is represented by only 16 bits in the sum, and has therefore lost precision. When you consider how many millions of calculations a DAW performs just on summing waveforms when mixing a multi-track song down to two tracks, it's not surprising that the loss of accuracy becomes audible.
    bigtree likes this.
  20. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Nice one Bos!

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