To Pro Tools or not to Pro Tools?

Discussion in 'Mixing & Song Critique' started by Michaelm, Aug 27, 2003.

  1. Michaelm

    Michaelm Guest

    Hello all. I'm about to drop a few thousand on the Roland 2480. Having just finished a great sounding full song on the VS880EX (done with about 20 tracks in all, using virtuals, bouncing etc), I think this will be fine for producing a pro quality recording - PROVIDING: I have the proper knowledge and know how to record; the proper mics; the know how to use effects properly, etc., etc. etc.
    BUT - now that I'm about to drop around the same amount of money that it might cost to get set up in Pro-Tools, I'm thinking...
    I don't know much about it and the web seems to be trying to sell it, not explain it. Using a computer for everything seems like a huge hassle to me - I'm not attracted to this concept at all. I'll probably get it mixed in Pro-Tools and then professionally mastered. BUT - does anyone think Pro-Tools is a better option?
  2. musicalhair

    musicalhair Guest

    I started on a VS 1680 because I thought setting up a computer for audio would be full of problems. If you set up a computer strickly for audio and it is a done right and all your components get along with each other you should have no problems. I have a PC from ADK that is getting near 2 years old and I found the transition easy. I use Sonar and a variety of other softwares (Fruity Loops for example).

    Since you know the Roland way of doing things I imagine you'd be up and running on the VS pretty fast, which maybe seems like more of an advatage that it is. Supposedly the 2480's preamps are better sounding than the 1680 or 880 but they use the same very outdated opamp-- but there is more to the preamp than the opamp. I don't know how many channels can send out phantom power (2 on the 1680), or how many digital ins and out the 2480 has or balanced outs or if it has word clock-- but more importantly you should see if it has what you'd want to make the recordings you want.

    You have many more options than pro tools vs. 2480 though. DA 98's or 78's, RADAR, SAW (if it is still around) are other options in addition to other options.

    You should talk about what your needs are, what you'll be recording, and what you'd like to differently but couldn't on the 880. If you focus in on how you want to work and what other gear this new recording device will be playing with, then I bet the people here can point you in the right direction fast.
  3. Michaelm

    Michaelm Guest

    Thanks, that's a great start. I'll be building all my songs track by track, one at a time. Virtually nothing will be played at the same time, so I don't care how many tracks can be recorded at once. I have a good outside preamp and may add to that. You're right about already knowing how the Roland works and wanting to be up and running pretty quickly.
  4. Michaelm

    Michaelm Guest

    Thanks, that's a great start. I'll be building all my songs track by track, one at a time. Virtually nothing will be played at the same time, so I don't care how many tracks can be recorded at once. I have a good outside preamp and may add to that. You're right about already knowing how the Roland works and wanting to be up and running pretty quickly.
    I suppose my main concern is the quality of recording I'll be able to get. I'll also be spending a lot on more and more mics of decent quality and will most likely rent a U87 for vocals.
    I will also look at getting the music pro-mixed (after giving it a shot myself)in pro tools and definitely professionally mastered.
    Obviously, the 2480 will do it, but since this will be my system for probably a few years, I'm kind of looking around first and I've heard soooo much about hard disc recording.
    That's all my info!
  5. sheet

    sheet Well-Known Member

    May 28, 2003
    Kansas City, KS
    Home Page:
    Hard disc recording is what you are doing now. You just have one simple box that does some of what a computer-based system will do.

    I would try all of the various systems. Don't listen to sales people at the retail stores. Most generally they couldn't get around on a DAW if they had to. There may be a few sharp guys, but not many. Find a system that you can be comfortable with.

    May I recommend going to and downloading the videos. Bob gives a real time demo with a live band. It is great. It is the closest to non-technical as you can get. Then go from there.

    BTW, I have Pro Tools HD systems.
  6. lorenzo gerace

    lorenzo gerace Active Member

    Jan 27, 2002

    I'm a Pro Tools user, so my post may come along as a little biased, but I'll try to explain my thoughts in the most objective manner:

    my ideas on workstations like the Roland, Tascam and others aren't fond, because of the fact that even though they basically ARE computers they don't allow you to tailor it to your own needs and prevent the possibility of future expansion: with the pace digital systems are running at, in a couple of years you'll have an outdated system in your hands that you cannot update; sure, a dedicated PC will outdate too, but you can (and should) update software versions, A/D converters, and motherboard/processor to have it last longer and be more powerful.

    Then comes the issue of sound quality: are you sure you like the Roland's conversion quality (this is purely a question, since I don't know it)? If you purchase it and after you realize you don't like its converters, you'll have to find a workaround (read getting an outboard converter).

    To me it's all down to the proportion between how many options you want to have and the ease of use of the system; I mean a custom made DAW (be it Pro Tools or Nuendo or Logic or whatever) is tailored to your own needs and will provide more options, but needs a little more thought in the assembling of the parts and maybe the learning curve of the system can be longer. OTOH an "all in one" unit like the roland is ready to go right out of the box (and it may be a little more easy to use), but will force you to use its own path from start to finish, less options.

    Then comes compatibility: if you want to have your tracks mixed in a Pro Tools studio, your only way of having the PT system to see and play the track is to bounce them all from the start and export a continuous .Wav or .Aiff file for each, as I don't think pieces of gear like the Roland support protocols like OMF or AFF32, and neither can save in a Pro Tools session file format.

    The power and capability to manipulate audio of a Pro Tools or other software system is far superior than that of a stand alone DAW (just think about the heaps ofplug-insin TDM VST DX RTAS MAS format out there), but if what you need is just to press record and lay down your tracks and don't need to loose time with anything else...well that may very well be your cup of tea.

    Hope this helps :)

  7. e-cue

    e-cue Active Member

    Oct 5, 2000
    No question in my mind, pro tools and almost any daw in your situation. I do a lot of work with a producer on a beefy roland system, and anytime we can, we track straight to PT and if not, he goes through a time consuming process of transfering all the files to .wav format for me to import.

    The used TDM rigs are getting laughably cheap. 20 years from now you could still make a killer record with a $5,000 used rig today.
  8. kierankelly

    kierankelly Guest

    both my partner and I started with digital recording with ADAT's and moved over to pro tools TDM 3 years ago . I would say Pro Tools is the way to go if only for the things mentioned above. The learning curve may be a little tough but if you plan on recording for many years into the future DAW's are the standard.

    I think you said you dont know a ton about computers ? With this I would buy a Mac . I am not the most tech savvy and find it to be a little easier to set up.
    I sold a mac g4 400 and a digi 001 for $1200 usd acouple of monts ago and I think you could find simular deals out there .

    All this said Music is the goal what you feel comfortable with is most important

    ps I have been in Toronto all summer and am going back to NYC on sunday
  9. Michaelm

    Michaelm Guest

    Just a quick thanks for all the info from everyone - making me more confused - but at least waiting a bit before buying!
  10. Alécio Costa - Brazil

    Alécio Costa - Brazil Well-Known Member

    Mar 19, 2002
    HI! I can tell you about the 2 sides. I usd to run my studio under 2 Roland DM800´s, connected to a bucnh of adats. I paid $5500 in 1995/1996 for a single dm800/additional converter and so. It was really nice, nice sound, but just 8 tracks..

    Now the DM´s and the adats can hardly be sold by $400 each. I was rejecting to go to PT systems.

    In 1999 I bought my first PT24, using it mainly for mastering. Nowadays, I see I was stupid for not have taken that daw more seriosuly eforehand.
    At the moment, I have a nice PT Mix + with dozens of plugs on a nice G4 800, even a computer moron like me can take care of it properly.

    My ADats now are fancy blind hifi stereo VCRs and my dm800 was holding the vocal booth door last week -lol

    Take a look at e-bay. Follow e-cue´s advice. For $5000 you can have a PT mix, an used 02R and even a pair of monitors.
  11. AEW

    AEW Guest

    I have a PT HD2 system with a 192 IO and heaps of plugins (no cracks). I haven't seen my system for the past month as it's been out on hire for post production work. Hey I don't mind it's bringing in money.
    Now can you hire out a Logic system or a DP system, maybe Nuendo, but no one has asked me do I have any of the above mentioned systems for hire.

  12. UncleBob58

    UncleBob58 Active Member

    Apr 9, 2003
    Fairfield County, CT
    Home Page:
    Love it or hate it, Pro Tools is an industry standard. I own a Digi 002 PT LE 5.3.2, but work on TDM Systems quite a bit as a freelance. I will soon be upgrading to OSX to take advantage of the DV Toolkit for PT LE systems, as I am getting into audio post production.

    Whether you go to PT or not, whether you use a PC or a Mac, IMO a computer based DAW is your best option. Despite all the gripes about the cost of upgrades and plugs, most companies support their products well (I've been very happy with DigiDesign, MOTU was very good but have fallen apart in recent years) and want you to continue to use their products. My upgrades from DigiDesign have come in a timely fashion and have cost little or nothing (so far...).

    Changing platforms is a big change. I went directly from analog tape to a DAW and the learning curve was a little steep, but I received good advice from fellow engineers and good support from all the manufacturers involved at the time. Research well, and continue to use RO as a resource, there are many talented and intelligent people here who are willing to share their knowledge and experience for free, something which continues to amaze me.


    Uncle Bob

  13. Aziel

    Aziel Guest

    Go with Protools... ;)
  14. 3dchris

    3dchris Active Member

    Dec 29, 2002
    I would choose PT HD. Do not settle for 44.1khz. 96k/24bit is a standard now and if you record real instruments you'll hear a difference. PT gives you flexibility. If you invest in hardware recorder then you'll lose the money in the long run. With PT HD converters you'll be pretty much set for the next 10-15 years (if not more).

    just my 2 cents...

  15. white swan

    white swan Guest

    I would disagree with Chris. I know plenty of studios that have HD and still record at 44.1- mostly for storage reasons. 24-bit, though, is probably a must.

    There are plenty of other good reasons to get an HD system though, even if you never record at 96 or 192.
  16. Alécio Costa - Brazil

    Alécio Costa - Brazil Well-Known Member

    Mar 19, 2002
    hey guys, do you remember the poll I did a few months ago? 63% of people do prefer to record at 44k/24. The siver medal, however, went to 96k/24.
  17. 3dchris

    3dchris Active Member

    Dec 29, 2002
    44.1 is still ok but... for how long? I would not invest even a penny for already almost obsolete format. 96K gear is not that much more expensive nowadays and it is much wiser to invest in the future formats rather than buy old stuff. Besides, 96k really sounds much better than 44.1.

    just my 2 cents...

  18. Alécio Costa - Brazil

    Alécio Costa - Brazil Well-Known Member

    Mar 19, 2002
    if ya have cash for larger HDs and backups , go fine!
  19. ddavid

    ddavid Guest

    pro tools 1998 and haven't looked back.
    I'm sure its all relative to the user but:
    it works for me and since I have a commercial works for more business...
    I have had some folks bring in Pro Tools LE files to me and we mix here etc....SO
    my .02
  20. Jamielee

    Jamielee Active Member

    Dec 27, 2014
    I have purchased the latest pro tools for my macbook pro laptop and pro tools audio interface and I have had nothing but trouble and no one who can help me so if "anyone" knows "anyone" who can help me I would very much appreciate it.
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