Archive for August 2010

Pro Tools Going Native in 8.1… Smart move   Leave a comment

Now that it has been leaked on Sweetwater that Pro Tools 8.1 will be supporting native* processing (see below). So,  I can replace my “misconceptions” blog post with this!  Funny though that they only put it up on the site for a matter of minutes (plenty long enough for us nerds to get screenshots!!) after the outrage ensued on forums when Avid (parent company of Pro Tools) didn’t release the native version yesterday and instead released more hardware for what seemed like a non-existent market.  But now it makes sense.  They are doing a series of releases leading up to native making this huge transition go smoother.  I suspect native will arrive no later than early 2011.

The issue, and major source of frustration for many recording engineers in the past few years was that the real Pro Tools, Pro Tools HD used HD cards (processing chips)  that plug into the computers PCI(e) slots and lightened the load of some processing from the computer.  These HD cards were a huge barrier because the price and technology, though they were great and top of the line when they were introduced in 2002, remained unchanged since.  I don’t have to mention that computer technology is both way cheaper and way better than it was in 2002.  So to pay 20-30 thousand dollars for little to no benefit over professional native systems; systems that have the same latency (delay from processing), same track limitations, and equal processing power as the top of the line PT HD systems was just not a feasible option.

To add to that frustration, professional native system users are denied work that they are more than capable of doing simply because the first thing some musicians ask when they ask about recording is…  Do you have Pro-Tools?  This is completely understandable because most commercial studios:

  • They bought it when computers couldn’t do what they can do now and
  • Still use that setup because it works well and they are all still compatible with each other.
  • And that the ability for native systems to compete on the same level as PT, mostly due to the incredible performance of multicore computer technology, has only been around for a few years now.

When faced with this question, some of us had a workaround just buy buying a Pro-Tools le system which is very limiting to say the least, and secretly used the native system after studio hours, the rest of us had two choices:

  • Simply say “no, I use ______” , At which point the conversation stops. or
  • Say “no, and explain why the  ______ works as good as any PT setup”, at which point you usually just get a nod,  and a blank stare

Either way we usually didn’t get a chance to talk further or show them examples our work.  Now that Pro Tools is going native it is both going to:

  • Deflate the myth that Pro Tools is better than other DAWs and
  • Allow Native engineers to be compatible with the big studios that use PT

Although it’s not great news for folks who bought an HD system recently because they had to, most studios who bought the system years ago claim that it has paid for itself over and over again.  Not to mention that now, native DAW and freelance engineers can have professional level Pro Tools for a reasonable price, their projects are compatible with the systems at big studios.  This means that they will be booking more and more time at the big studios to supplement their projects with the lavish comforts and uber expensive vintage gear!

In the end, everybody WINS… especially the musicians/clients, because they can enjoy some of the benefits of a million dollar studio for less money.   Some of their project can be done at studios like mine for cheaper (the hard, time-consuming stuff), and the rest they can do at the luxurious studio (Facebook pictures and drinking exotic coffee).  😀

The point is, they can pick and choose from both worlds to get the best possible value for the dollar! That is what it’s all about.

…again I’m glad I could replace my old blog post (ranting about misconceptions, sounding silly) with a more positive one.

Thanks for reading!

Native*, the term used for DAWs (digital audio workstations) like Nuendo, Cubase, Logic, Sonar, Reaper and Digital Performer that use the computers processors to do all the work for the software, as opposed to Pro Tools HD that uses HD cards (processing chips)  that plug into the computers PCI(e) slots and lightens the load of some processing from the computer.

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Posted August 10, 2010 by bluewatersound in Uncategorized