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Is the future TDM or Native ??

Discussion in 'Mixing & Song Critique' started by Marcus Black, Jul 10, 2003.

  1. Marcus Black

    Marcus Black Guest

    I´m about to update my DAW and was seriously considering buying a ProTools HD system. Then i started checking out the alternatives and got amazed/confused... I need a powerful, rock solid system (in combination with my analog gear) for my work as a producer. This is what I found out:

    For the same or less money than what a ProTools HD 2 system with interfaces and someplug-ins(somewhere about $15.000) ships for I could get a very nice native system, including a new computer. I´d get a new Mac G5, a Motu or Hammerfall or something like that, a Universal Audio 2192 AD-converter/word clock distributor, Uad-1 poweredplug-ins, a TC Powercore card and some vst-plugin bundles and still would not have spent more than $10-12.000. And I can imagine the native system would provide me all the power I need. Your pro´s and con´s of TDM and native are welcomed to help with my decision. With processingpower getting cheaper, is ProTools overpriced/overrated and native the future? I think the greatest thing about ProTools is the software, not the hardware that up until now (HD) has not really sounded that good. By the way, i use Logic.
  2. Eddie

    Eddie Guest

    Hey Marcus, I'm also a Logic user and I'm curious why you are wanting to switch? Please be specific because this thought has rolled around in my head a time or two.
  3. sheet

    sheet Well-Known Member

    May 28, 2003
    Kansas City, KS
    Home Page:
    Lock and load! Current host systems do not have the latency, power and scalability benefits of a closed architecture TDMII.

    A native system with cards like TC or UA can add power, but add latency. No native system with cards will touch a TDMII today. There is little scalability with these systems. Oh sure, with Nuendo you can add whole computers to your system to designate DSP power to specific functions. How convenient is that? How many of you want 4 PC's making noise in your room?

    I studied long and hard. I went to studios and worked on both platforms. Pro Tools HD won me over. I didn't read ads or listen to "so and so uses brand x." Big deal. Most engineers get their gear for next to nothing, and behind closed doors are probably using something else.

    i wanted a mobile system that I would have the best chance at networking with. By that I mean that if I had no porjects to do myself, I could rent it, or parts of it to other studios, producers, engineers, etc.. Like it or not, Digidesign is the de-facto standard for many segments in the industry. Nobody is doing film mixes with a Logic type system.

    The real question is Mac or PC. Digidesign will move from a Mac emphasized product to PC, even though they hate PC's, due to the Apple/Emagic machine.
  4. Jbuntz

    Jbuntz Guest

    How far in the future? Processing power more than doubles every two years. TDM will become pointless eventually.
  5. ckevperry

    ckevperry Active Member

    Nov 7, 2001
    Marcus I am a PT guy and I'll say this...the biggest reason to get PT is compatibilty. It is a prevalent platform that many people use. If you are going tolose work or need to make work easier by having PT interchange then I would definitely look into it. I went PT coz I live in a PT city where I get lots of work coz I have that compatibiltity. PT is pricey...but if you need , you need it.

    Other than that it depends on what your needs are in an app. I think logic is a great boat to be on. The new freeze function plus a G5 coming out has mind blowing ramifications for mixing power. And from here on out they are going to have the jump on everyone with compatibility to new macs and OS's.

    Latency is not that big an issue on Native systems. Most apps compensate for plugin latency when mixing. (Not PT for some strange reason.) So you must mean latency while tracking. Even then, the RME cards and many others have zero latency cue mixer apps that you can use. Or heck you can buy some little digital board to route cue mixes. 01v or something...
  6. sheet

    sheet Well-Known Member

    May 28, 2003
    Kansas City, KS
    Home Page:
    I agree. That's why I said the real question is Mac or PC.

    With Mac releasing the G5, and potential speeds up to 8GHz, then we could possibly be recording in RAM alone. It is spooky.

    But on the other side, it won't take the PC world to come up with a similar technology. Besides that, they were to have a 2GHz full duplex PCI bus system by 2004. Some card manufacturers support that now.

    There will come a time when computers will be able to handle it all, in RAM, and then Digi will have a hard time selling hardware cards for $7k. Digi's days are numbered there.

    Right now, I am guessing that PT HD will be valid and viable for atleast another two years. That isn't hard to choke because most business don't finance their gear for longer than 24-months, especially if it is tech based. The technology cycle is three years. So I am right on schedule. I bought my system in Oct of 2002, so I expect it to be worth nothing in 2005.

    Again, this is just another reason that I am looking to SAW. That product gives me a run for the money now. When PC's really get fast, then watch out.
  7. Marcus Black

    Marcus Black Guest

    Thanx for your thoughts and opinions. And to answer one question, I´m not leaving Logic, just want more dsp-power. I´m willing to agree that although the TDM systems are pretty solid their days might be numbered soon. Like some of you said, soon we´ll be able to record in RAM. Is it possible that what might happen to TDM is basically the same that happened to the Fairlight and other early "big" samplers. I think the fairlight had 256kb (!) of RAM and was "the sampler" to dream about. Of course it had other very nice and useable functions aswell which made it cool, and very pricey. Out came the Akai´s and other affordable samplers with more RAM to a fraction of the cost of a fairlight. Will history repeat itself?
  8. lorenzo gerace

    lorenzo gerace Active Member

    Jan 27, 2002

    Forgive my ingenuity, but if you say the best thing about Pro Tools is its software, why not go for a native PT system? It could seem strange, but on the Mac side (though I work on a Windows XP machine) theplug-insavailability is great and with the new G5 speeds a 002 or 002Rack coupled with a good A/D interface (to bypass the Digi's OK-but-not-great converters) and the analog gear you listed I think you'd be in for a really nice system; this would give you your own way to work since Logic is fully supported thru Direct I/O on Digi's hardware and compatibility with bigger PT HD equipped studios for other needs; plus, on PT LE 6.1 you have 32 tracks, but the ability to manage "voices" like in the TDM system allows the track count to be higher; an issue can be the number of sources you need to track at once, but I must say I tracked a full drum kit with a guide bass and guitar on my 001...and all of the work I did on it eneded up being released as records, so I think that even though it's labelled LE, a native Pro Tools system can yeld pro results if used in conjunction with the right front end by the right person.

    Hope this helps

  9. sheet

    sheet Well-Known Member

    May 28, 2003
    Kansas City, KS
    Home Page:
    001, 002 hardware coupled with LE software still does not provide the function that a TDM system will. There are many things left out out of LE.

    If you want the most powerful natice system, it won't be the Digi stuff. If you have a MIDI program that you like, stick with it, and go check out the SAWStudio software. Saw will stomp PT LE software.

    With the 001 and 002, you really have to manage your DAE, sample buffer, etc. There is too much technical thinking intertwined with the creative. You have to stop and make adjustments to optimize you system/computer for the application that you are performing, especially if you are doing lots of processing, have a large amount of edits, and are using automation.

    There are some really great videos of Bob recording a live band in Las Vegas, and talking about the process as he goes. They are very cool. Go to http://www.sawstudio.com to see them. There is no way that PT LE would allow real-time processing and control like SAW can do. Check it out.
  10. The MPCist

    The MPCist Guest

    Let's see, the G5 is still untested.. who knows how it will really run in the real world. The UAD STILL doesn't have OSX drivers -- after 6 months' waiting, I might add, there's still nothing on the horizon...

    I was in the same boat and ended up with a PT HD system. Plugins? Digi offers some pretty good deals now, check those out.

    PT HD will still be usable after 2 years and during that time, you'll have virtually no downtime. If you're going Native, you've got to consider the Latency issue as well...

    Native isn't quite there in my opinion and PT HD is still ahead. Not for long, but for the time being, it is...
  11. sheet

    sheet Well-Known Member

    May 28, 2003
    Kansas City, KS
    Home Page:
    How about those MPC maps in PT HD. Now if only the whole grid could be made to have swing.
  12. doug_hti

    doug_hti Guest

    This is what I hear over and over again. I went from Digi001, to Digital Performer with 828 to Pro Tools HD3.
    I have friends that are on big Logic rigs and friends that are on Mix rigs.
    We have a project studio that does not have outside people. It helps to be compatible with programmers we hire, but either way we can fly in tracks easily regardless of platform.
    The biggest issue for us has been in order

    -changing buffer rates when I'm close to maxing out or for latency
    -deactivating plugins
    -not knowing when I max (which will crash something)
    -lag time

    The power of TDM and Native doesn't compare.
    TDM power is black and white. Either you have enough or you don't. It tells you if you don't have enough power and it will not crash your system.
    I know I can have 50 or 60 tracks and it doesn't matter.

    I was SO SO SO scared of regretting our purchase of pro tools hd, cause it's a descent amount of money. However, I have not regretted it at all and am very thankful that I did.
    If you need the stability and compatibility, nothing compares.
    Also, if you compare about converters, just start adding up costs that you'll spend upgrading to world class converters converters and computers and software and process cards, and figure out that you'll come closer to the price ProTools than you would expect. Remember street price is significantly lower than retail, even with pro tools. Process cards are going cheap now too! And with massive pack promos, you can get into a really nice rig that will last rather than feeling shafted about every new apple computer that comes out.
    I'm still running on my g4 466 just fine, after having that computer 2 and a half years (20 years in car life)
  13. soundbaker

    soundbaker Guest

    hey Marcus, I'm also a Logic user. My suggestion would be for you to look closely at what you do under the role of producer. Engineering is still vital but as a producer, sound-designer and songwriter my strengths centre around being creative and being able to freely navigate through software tools without thinking about the technical side too much. Logic's great as a creative production package. Having all your sampler instruments/synths/MIDI (great MIDI!) in the one package which is already familiar to you will be missed if you switched to PT. High-end PT sounds great and I use it at least twice a week at various studios but to buy the software and associated hardware is a big spend for something which I see as being an elaborate tape and mix machine. Yet to hear 002 but 001 has a weird sound which is difficult to explain. I used to do drum edits on 001 and take it to my Logic system and hear cuts all the way through the songs which i never heard before - eeks!
  14. Alécio Costa - Brazil

    Alécio Costa - Brazil Well-Known Member

    Mar 19, 2002
    I started with a Pt24 then add a mix farm. 5.1.1 TDM with OS 9.2 has been very very stable to me.

    Along with cheap but reliable MAXTOR 60GB/7200 RPM ATA drives inside a G4 800 QS. Who needs ax enpensive SCSI drive/card when you stay mostly under 40 tracks and when you consolidate your tracks/heavy dense edits?

    However, I have been frequently running out of dsp power. I have considered buying an additonal mix farm or some cheaper DSP V2´s.

    However, I feel that wait and upgrade to the next generation should be a better decision.

    PT 7 TDM/PT HD+ on esteroids @ OS XI?lol
  15. AEW

    AEW Guest

    PT HD is a great sounding piece of gear. With faster computers PT just gets more powerful using RTAS and u still have TDM plugins.
    I had a mix system for a couple of years and thought I would never go to HD....but now I'm very happy with the move ....It just sounds great.

  16. davemc

    davemc Guest

    Even a HD1 system with RTAS would give you a bit of each.

    Also there are a growing number of plugins TDM only..Anyone try the new massenberg EQ its real real nice, no RTAS and I wonder how many you would get on a new machine as it takes half a HD chip per plug.
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