Aerosmith & PROTOOLS!!!

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20 years 8 months
Submitted by Anonymous on Thu, 04/05/2001 - 19:17

I give a hats off to Aerosmith for recording their whole albums in Protools. I have no idea why this has been such a big issue with the industry for so long, people saying that "Its a great editor, BUT...", well if these boys dont prove that its the real deal, I don't know who else will. I have been using all digital for the last 5 years and if its done right, no one can hear the difference. Imagine how PT will be in 3-5 years. Don't get me wrong, I think analog is cool and sounds good, but its very elitist and inconvenient. Protools make the job easier and the pulgins get nothing but better. But of course it needs to have a really good front end or its not as good, but if I was using Mackie Pres in a crap room to a Studer 2" it wouldn't sound good either. Crap in Crap out :o :o :o

Weird... a few seconds after reading the above, I totally coincidentally stumbled over to the Mytek website and read THIS:

"Aerosmith uses 64 channels of Mytek to front end Protools...

"Sometime last fall (2000) Mytek received a phone call from John Klett of Singularity Enterprises who was just beginning an enormous task of setting up a complete SSL 9000 studio at the house of Aerosmith's Joe Perry near Boston. John was preparing a full blown analog mix studio for renowned engineer Mike Shipley to mix the latest Aerosmith album "Just Push Play". Mike Shipley deliberately decided to mix Protools tracks in analog domain, using analog outboard gear, because of the superior "analog" sound Aerosmith was seeking. He needed immaculate playback conversion for uncompromised reproduction of recorded tracks. Mike was also evaluating choices for 24/96 mixdown machine. Eventually, after numerous sonic tests and evaluation of various converters Aerosmith used 64 channels of Mytek 8X96DAC converters for playback, a 8X96ADC equipped with TDIF card for 24/96 stereo mixdown on DA88, a 8X96DAC for monitoring the 24/96 mix and an additional 8X96ADC for recording extra tracks to Protools. It was an exciting experience, the studio was built and everything worked beautifully."

etc, etc. Sharp eyes will have noted that Mr. Shipley chose to mix their PT tracks on the SSL, for that "superior 'analog' sound".

Don't shoot me, I use ProTools every day and love it. But I would never give up my analog console and outboard gear. The ticket right now, for me, is a combination of PT for storage/editing and analog for mixdown and outboard processing. "Best of both worlds" and all that.

I swear to God, my posting this is sheer coincidence. I just happened to be grabbing specs for Apogee, Mytek, Prism etc. for a portable PT rig I'm building, and noticed the above press release, a few mere seconds after reading Demigoggle's above post.

Anyway... we now return you to your regularly scheduled ProTools prognostications. :)

I was talking about the recorder, specifically analog TAPE not "analog" gear in general. Believe me, I combine the Digital Machines with Pairs of Distressors,Manley Elops, pultecs, 550s,560s,312,1073s,1176 Blackfaces,U47's,U67's,BLUE's,Soundeluxes,Schoeps + more. I have come to the definitive conclusion that going to an analog console (even a Mackie!!) is better than mixing everything internally completely in protools.

I need to find out though, if there is a big difference between the following : combining 64 channels + of audio into 16 or 24 Protools buses to the equivalant number of D/A for us poor folk who cant afford a HUGE console for mixdown. I would love to a have a little 16ch or 24 channel API with all Pultecs and 550b's, use the PT for the auto with the new $6k controller (hell motor mix x 3 would only be $2400.)

BUT would busing to 16 or 24 D/A out on PT sound WORSE than going to all discreet 64 channels out? something to think about though is practicality of doing that though. I guess it would be better to bus 16 D/A out of protools with an API and 16 ch of Apogee than 48 channels of Mackie and ADAT converters. :confused:

Shortly after the first round of sessions Aerorsmith did at Longview Farm, I got a call from one of Joe's people to get them a 30ips 2" MRL tape.

Now...I know there is a Studer A-800 in the barn at Longview, and Joe happens to have a Studer A-800 in his home studio...this says to me that analog might have come into play prior to the P-T rigs...I don't know for sure, I stayed away as much as was possible...but it might be a hint that while the majority of the storage and editing was done in P-T...the whole enchilada may not have been fabricated in P-T.

FWIW, I found the album to have some of the best stuff they've done in years [on a musical level], but frankly the "sound" of the record kinda gets in the way for me a bit...kinda like the P-T "Kravitz" record...there's an underlying thinness / nervousness that really interferes with the music from my perspective.

As always...YMMV. If you consider Aerosmith / Kravitz using P-T as a validation of your production methods, please don't let me stand in the way of that.

Originally posted by Demigoggle:
Don't get me wrong, I think analog is cool and sounds good, but its very elitist and inconvenient. Protools make the job easier and the pulgins get nothing but better.

Analog, "elitist" and "inconvienent" since when? That's funny, I don't feel elite or inconvienenced. I do feel real good when I hear a playback from my 2" deck, where I feel really disappointed when I hear the playback from my digital rig.

In my opinion, for my type of work analog is a superiour sounding medium. Digital does what it does very well, editing and fixing tracks and I like to use the tools that enhance my productions in the best possible way. analog tracking w/analog microphones, analog outboard, analog players, digital editing and analog mixing.

Mark Plancke

Originally posted by Fletcher:
Shortly after the first round of sessions Aerorsmith did at Longview Farm, I got a call from one of Joe's people to get them a 30ips 2" MRL tape.

The plot thickens.

Mark Plancke

I need to take issue with the idea that using analog tape is elitist. That's like saying using a C12 on a vocal is snobbery. If it's available, why would you use anything but the best? A fully functional Protools rig costs the same as a used Studer 2" machine. I find that tracks blend and sit with each other better when coming off tape. With Protools, it seems to be a great chore to get them to sit together, and when they do, it sounds one-dimensional and "plastic"-like. I do agree that it is inconvienient when compared to Protools, but why sacrifice convienience for sound quality when it comes to making a record that will be out there forever?
Well, I have to go. I'm going to Digidesign's web site to put together my Protools rig :D

That's really funny that you think the Aerosmith record validates the use of Pro Tools, because although I think the record is great from a musical perspective, sonically I think it SUCKS.

There was just a big thread about this on another forum that you may find interesting reading. I certainly did rant about it: :D
(Dead Link Removed)


I saw a special last week on VH-1 about their new record. It appeared to me that they recorded the drums on analog, and dumped it into PT. It also appeared that the monitor for the PT rig sat on (what appeared to be) a Neve 8068/8078. I have the disc and it is a groovy record. I don't agree that it sounded that much thinner than most discs, but it did feel(compositionally) rather "cut and pasty" to me. I know that everybody has a fervent opinion regarding PT, and that is nothing more than "another tool". Having said this, I should like to give an analogy I used over at RAP....
I had to buy a hammer recently as I think the last contractor that worked here ran off with my groovy little Stanley fiberglass handled "pro" hammer. I bought a cheap one at a nearby hardware store...a hammer is a hammer...right? After two swings the head flew off through a wall in my garage. Just "another tool" doen't pass muster with me any mnore.

Originally posted by Melange:
With Protools, it seems to be a great chore to get them to sit together, and when they do, it sounds one-dimensional and "plastic"-like. I do agree that it is inconvienient when compared to Protools, but why sacrifice convienience for sound quality when it comes to making a record that will be out there forever?

Here's a quote that goes along those same lines that I find to pretty much sum it up.

"And sure, there's great opportunity for the use of digital cameras; there's plenty of chocolate boxes that need pictures of dogs on it, just as there are plenty of awful jingles and fucking Coke commercials that can be made with digital recording. Analog recording is an art that cannot be replicated. It can only be mimicked. It pains me to see and hear things done sloppily for the sake of convenience."
-- Alex Newport

Mark Plancke

It pains me to see and hear things done sloppily for the sake of convenience.

Whoa!! :eek: Sloppy? PT is anything but sloppy. Look guys, you cant tell me that if you were using Apogee A/D/A SE version conversion and Excellent mic pres & mics into protools with Some empirical labs or HEDD in front of the tracks that you wouldn't be happy. I dont know, the Lenny Kravitz production was cold sounding, I dont know why, I am using all digital also with the combo of outboard/analog console and everything is sound completely up to par with high level releases. Go Figure :confused:

Originally posted by proaudio101:
Whoa!! :eek: Sloppy? PT is anything but sloppy.

I think the sloppy comment refers to the popular procedure of "fixing" or "looping"
in Pro Tools just because you can.

Mark Plancke

On a complete side-note, I really love Alex Newport's work, especially the stuff he did with Knapsack.

that's all

Analog vs. Digital. Hmmm, there's a fresh and exciting topic! :p

The real question, it seems to me, is, Why do so many recordings today - many starting out on analog, many on digital machines - sound so horrible?

Isn't most of the sonic demolition going on _after_ the final mix anyway? Obviously, we should strive for every ounce of quality we can get at every stage, but if almost everything ends up sounding like nails on a chalkboard, shouldn't we be talking about the mastering "problem" instead of the tracking method?

Dan Popp
Colors Audio

Aerosmith used Pro Tools as a recorder? Big deal, lots of people do that. Lots and lots of people, it's been really common for quite a while, and it sounds fine. I imagine that with a Mytek front end it sounds more than fine.

I'm still waiting for a killer sounding rock record to come out that was mixed entirely within Pro Tools. I've heard (and done) some decent mixes with lighter types of music, but I haven't heard it truly rock yet. Two examples that were pushed under my nose lately were A Perfect Circle, and Rob Halford's new one. Next...

I think everyone here has enough common sense to know that the gear used isnt the only contributing factor in a recording.

I am on the younger side, and plan to do work - and mabye get paid for it if it doesnt suck too much. For me analog isn't practical, and basically I've been born in the digital age - so I have learned to deal with the pitfalls - and take advantage of the benefits.

I'm a firm believer that its what you do with your stuff, and if the arangements/music is good, then other things can afford to suffer slightly.

Also - the summing bus in ProTools just does sound like shit compared to other DAWs like Paris and Digital Performer.

I personally plan to build myself a kickin DP 3.0 rig - with a Dual Processor 533, and a UA DSP card. With DPs OMF now able to import/export protools sessions - I won't ever buy anything digidesign, unless I get it for free from selling the stuff.

I heard someone else say Schoeps - I have a pair of cmc6/mk4v's - along with my 87ai I get a pretty mean kit sound.

contemplating selling my apogee ad-1000 and getting a HEDD...

anyways - good to have a forum like this, great 180 degree change from having to explain what EQ and SCSI is at work 20 times a day.

take care - Jason C. Crouch

Not to slag a great bunch of guys and a great band, but am I the only person who has been bored to death by everything they've done post smack? I mean, "Done with Mirrors" had a couple of rockin tunes, but EVERYTHING since then has sounded like a Bon Jovi / Journey power ballad out-take. To reach further back in time, evaluate everything Clapton has done since his last good armload versus even the worst of his drug days. Maybe rehab just results in too much inner peace for explosive R&R.


It's not just for convenience. Don't get me wrong, I personally feel that high end analog still sounds a lot better than even high end digital. However, in my experience music is a real after thought for most commercials and also for most TV in general and even a lot of films. It's not at all uncommon in the world of commercials to have no more than 24-48 hours to write, record, mix, produce and master the music. In these situations the speed of a DAW isn't a convenience, it's an essential.

Next time you hear really crappy music on a commercial it may be that the composer/producer is completely talentless but equally they may be highly skilled but have just been given a ridiculous deadline. I've only done 3 or 4 commercials and I'd like to think I did an excellent job. Given the choice though of doing this type of work everyday, I'd rather gnaw my own leg off!!


i agree hollywood steve.

i like Clutch's Jam Room better sonically than Elephant Riders and JR was done on ADATs! and an O2R compared to ER that was done at electric ladyland on 2". i think Jam Room being digital makes it tight as hell and still their best sounding to date.

there is a simple reason pro tools blows to mix on: the math it uses to do the job.

the TDM bus, first off, is 24 bit. Do any "math" to the singnal, say, perhaps, PROSCESSING THE SIGNAL, and you are going to get remainders that will be truncated. this means it will sound like ass, ESPECIALY since it's only at the same fucking bit depth as the actual music.

second: and this is common to all digital but is a big problem with pro tools: the 888 blows. that means if you want to send stuff to outboard to proscess, it will get converted once out and once in, and it will suck. even apogee's can't make that happening all over the place sound good after a while. and they are $$$$$

third, the biggie. the mix bus BLOWS. especialy compared to systems that do the math tools has a 48 bit [and i'm not sure if the following is true, but i think that it is fixed point]. that just dosen't sound good.

paris, for example, has a 52 pt floating bus for the mix . this sounds good. ooo, suprise. more bit depth = sounding better. and the VST effects bus is 32, room for math?

so wait, pro tools' defacto strangle hold leads to producing an inferior product that people will buy anyway?

it's like pro tool's is doing VHS x. BETA, except the VHS players now cost umpteen thousand dollars more.

addendum: clive davis just heard paris recently. he's totaly fucking hooked. O-town? gold in one week on paris. yea, it's bad pop...but he's a man who knows from sound.

please, do the children a favor, don't mix in pro tools. get yr self some nice analog or well thought out digital instead.