I wouldn’t call myself an old dog, but the old saying still holds, just as much to me as to anyone. But I believe you can teach an old dog new tricks, if the dog wants to learn. And I’m in full on learning mode.
I’m fairly comfortable with Apple’s professional audio software, Logic Studio (Logic Pro, Logic Audio, or whatever they want to call it these days. I use the keyboard shortcuts I need quickly, and move around audio at will. I like Logic. It does everything I want it to do (and plenty of things I haven’t touched yet), and I don’t need much more.
But Logic isn’t everywhere, and it’s time to spread my wings a bit. So I picked up a copy of Pro Tools 9, and the Pro Tools 101 Courseware book, and I’m putting myself through the paces.
I’m only just started the course, but I can already see myself trying to make Pro Tools work the same way Logic works. That comfort level I have with Logic is evident, but it also helps to know that when I grab a fader, I know what will happen next. Trying to switch modes of thought, from one program to the other, is a bit of a brain cramp. I can’t imagine it will last.
Pro Tools is the industry leader, and most studios will have it installed. The rest of the pack (Cubase, Logic, Digital Performer, etc) will almost always be playing catchup to Pro Tools in terms of popularity.
One thing that held Pro Tools back from the casual user was the requirement for PT hardware. When Digidesign, the maker of Pro Tools, were absorbed by Avid, they made a version of Pro Tools that was compatible with M-Audio hardware. Other companies made their software hardware independent, and were able to get their foot in the door that way. The latest version of Pro Tools did away with the requirement of owning Pro Tools hardware, allowing you to use any ASIO or CoreAudio (PC and Mac standards, respectively) hardware you desire.
Pro Tools still isn’t cheap. I got my copy from Amazon for $520. While that’s comparable to the higher end versions of Logic (which comes with other tools like audio converters, live performance software, and other editing tools), Cubase, and Ableton Live (a live performance oriented DAW), it’s more expensive than the lighter versions of those software packages (ranging from $99 to $199). After that, considering the cost of Garageband ($14.99) or Audacity (free), it’s hard to justify buying Pro Tools at all.
But as is usually the case, you get what you pay for when dealing with audio gear. Pro Tools (and Logic) give you more tools, better audio quality, and much better workflows than what you will find in the cheaper and free packages. And anything that makes the job of mixing and putting a podcast episode on the web easier is worth looking at.
Like I say, Pro Tools is an industry standard. It’s everywhere, and that makes it worth looking at, and if you plan on working in audio recording in any capacity, Pro Tools is going to crop up in your world. It’s worth knowing more about.