On the market for music recording software?
It’s the best thing for the musically inclined since the 4-track tape recorder (that happened a long time ago, by the way). The advent of digital audio workstation (DAW) and home music recording software has revolutionized music creation. Along with the internet’s impact on the music distribution business, it’s now anybody’s game. Before, you needed talent, money, and luck. Now, you just need talent.
But that’s not all good news. There are so many budding musicians recording tracks that are of remarkably high quality that the bar is significantly higher these days than it used to be. So your music recording software has to keep up.
Why the pros use Pro Tools HD
Because it’s freaking amazing. The interface is gorgeous (if a little bit skewed toward the sound engineer side of the spectrum, leaving a few non-techie musicians scratching their scraggly Bohemian beards), and the headroom is outrageous. Here are a few Pro Tools HD virtues, and then I’ll talk about its two main vices. First, the good stuff.
- Functionality. Saying that Pro Tools HD has functionality is like saying Stevie Ray had tone. Ya think? It’s packed to the gills with more functionality than you’ll probably ever need. If you’re looking to produce professional-quality music recordings, you’re not going to run out of widgets and gizmos to get the job done. That’s a double-edged sword, however, because it doesn’t take long to get in over your head if you’re not careful.
- Flexibility. Don’t like your signal path? Don’t worry. You can change it. Want to use a different audio interface unit? No sweat. It’s plug (or click) and play for most things you’re going to be doing.
- Distributed processing. For the non-geeks, this means that Pro Tools HD doesn’t ask your computer to do all the heavy lifting where audio to digital conversion, monitor/headphone preamplification, and guitar pre-amp processing are concerned. The system is flexible enough to allow you to do that in the audio interface. But that, too, is a double-edged sword. Want fancy hardware to help our your computer’s processor? No sweat – you just have to pay for it…
Which leads us into the negatives about Pro Tools. There are two main issues.
- Cash. And plenty of it. The full Pro Tools HD suite is not cheap, because you’re buying top-end hardware as well as top-end software if you’re going for the top-shelf Pro Tools offering. While it’s certainly true that if you wanted to open a music recording studio, which is basically what you get, for under $1,500 to $2,000 back in the day, you’d have been laughed out of town, it’s also true that one to two grand is still a decent chunk of change. But if that’s too rich for your blood, you can always opt for a less-premium Pro Tools package.
- Software updates. Yeah, that pesky Windows thing. Pro Tools users have complained about late software updates in response to Microsoft OS changes, and some of the older versions of Pro Tools and MBox aren’t forward-compatible. Just be sure to do the research before you take the plunge to avoid any nasty surprises.
So there you have it… If you’re looking for a top-end music recording software suite, Pro Tools HD is a great way to go.