A Music Producer’s Guide to Filing For Taxes

With the tax season in full force, a self-employed audio engineer no longer needs to dread filling out complicated tax forms by hand. Filing taxes in the past was a huge chore and tedious process for the freelance music producer. Today, completing tax forms is a simple and convenient process when a business owner uses Turbo Tax software. Whether the person makes a living as a music producer or an audio engineer, tax preparation software relieves stress and saves time throughout the year.

Self-Employed Music Producers Need to File Complicated Tax Returns

Entrepreneurs new to the music industry may have fears about filing taxes. In the past, these same individuals were most likely employed at other companies. Employees do not need to fret about deducting their own income taxes, Social Security and Medicare taxes from their paychecks. On the other hand, a self-employed individual no longer relies on another company for withholding required taxes. Paying income tax, Social Security tax and Medicare tax is now the sole responsibility of a self-employed freelancer.

  • Self-employment means new responsibilities.
  • Entrepreneurs need to pay their own self-employment taxes.
  • Turbo Tax software makes tax filing an easy process.

Eliminate the Former Necessity of Filling Out Tax Forms

Instead of filling out complex tax forms, Turbo Tax software asks the tax filer questions about income, expenses and deductions. The professional tax preparation software then completes the forms. After filing taxes for the first time with the help of a reliable software program, a self-employed audio engineer or music producer is amazed at the quick and accurate calculations. Instead of trying to master mathematical feats designed to confuse the best of intellects, self-employed audio engineers can relax and let professional software perform the hard work.

Excellent Tax Software is Programmed to Grasp All Tax Issues

Of course, some software programs are better than others, so it is important to choose the right program. One way to tell if tax software has the capability of comprehending a person’s particular situation is whether the program has the ability to calculate complicated tax forms. Income tax programs are not all created equal. The best software tackles issues such as how to calculate sound equipment and other related expenses. Excellent software eliminates the need to hire a tax accountant because the program basically accomplishes similar results.

Approaching a Music Production Career as a Business

Although it is difficult to know if a new business as an audio engineer is going to yield promising results, it is a good idea to approach self-employment as a business rather than a hobby. A career is not a hobby. A musical hobbyist can only deduct limited expenses. Deducting expenditures is important for music producers because ordinary and necessary expenses constitute potential deductions. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) poses nine crucial questions to people who are trying to decide if they have hobbies or new careers. One key question is whether the person is engaged in the activity in a businesslike fashion with serious goals to make profits.

Develop a Business Attitude from the Very Beginning of a Career

Besides the tax advantages of regarding freelancing as a business rather than a hobby, attitude makes a difference in achieving success. While it is challenging to venture out into the formerly unknown business world as an independent music producer or audio engineer, it is important to have a positive self-image. At first, family members and friends may mock and criticize. People formerly acknowledged for their encouraging remarks suddenly make discouraging comments. Good acquaintances may vocalize their negative feelings about people who try to earn their bread without working for others.

Learning to Deal with Negative People and Complicated Taxes

In addition to hearing harsh, uncaring words, starting a business is difficult. One of the most disheartening things is to deal with complicated tax issues. For music producers, calculating self-employment taxes means less time spent producing musical achievements. Instead of wasting potentially creative moments caused by serious income tax concerns, self-employed audio engineers need to rely on Turbo Tax preparation software. Professional software makes it possible for artistic temperaments to focus on reaching important goals instead of concentrating on good accounting practices.

Pay Quarterly Estimated Taxes with Tax Preparation Software

Another advantage of using Turbo Tax software is that a music producer can eliminate additional stress by setting up an automatic schedule to pay quarterly taxes. While every person is not going to have enough earnings to warrant mandated quarterly estimated taxes, others may achieve astounding success rates. Audio engineers who used to work at companies did not need to worry about paying quarterly estimated taxes because the money was automatically deducted from their earnings. A self-employed person who exceeds a certain amount of income must pay estimated taxes on a regular basis or risk having to pay a large penalty fee. Another benefit in using a good software program is that the software performs all the calculations for the tax filer.

Filing Required Tax Schedules for the Seriously Astute Music Producer

For the self-employed audio engineer who is wise enough to take advantage of using reliable tax preparation software, life happens every day in a better way. A freelancer needs to list 1099-MISC forms on Schedule C and self-employment tax covering Social Security and Medicare taxes on Schedule SE. Instead of hassling with how to fill out forms created by sophisticated accountants for their personal enjoyment, self-employed individuals should rely on tax software to fill out the monotonous forms. When a person uses excellent tax preparation software, it is easy to keep track of business expenses, freelance earnings and self-employment tax.

Important Tax Forms to Remember:

  • Miscellaneous Income Form (1099-MISC)
  • Schedule C Profit and Loss From Business
  • Schedule SE Self-Employment Tax

Taking a Home Office Deduction has its Fair Share of Pros and Cons

At first glance, the prospect of deducting home office expenses on Form 8829 is exciting. The Internal Revenue Service has certain qualifying rules to determine if a taxpayer has the right to take these deductions. It is beneficial to visit the official Internal Revenue Service website for more detailed information. Although taking home office expense deductions means paying less taxes now, the decision has a downside. Claiming extra deductions equals less Social Security income down the road when a person is ready to retire.

Pay Less Taxes Today or Receive More Social Security Income Later

Some entrepreneurs and freelancers who are eligible to deduct home office expenses prefer to pay extra taxes now so they can reap more Social Security earnings every month when they finally settle down to retire. Speaking about benefits, freelance music producers and audio engineers can decide to continue working past retirement age and receive even more Social Security income. Besides, self-employed individuals never need to retire. Perhaps avoiding retirement at any age is a good way to live a long and prosperous life. For the creative music producer, longevity and Turbo tax simplicity add up to an exciting lifestyle.

Digital Recording Pioneers Avid and Focusrite Form a Strategic Alliance

A History of Collaboration and Innovation

Avid Audio and Focusrite plc are joining forces in a strategic alliance that is destined to, at a minimum, maximize the ability of Avid’s Pro Tools software to work seamlessly with Focusrite’s hardware interfaces. The scope and goals of this partnership aren’t clear, but prior collaborations between the two companies have led to the first plug-ins that looked like their hardware counterparts and the ubiquitous Mbox interface, which introduced the world to Pro Tools.

Avid Audio in a Nutshell

Avid Audio began life in 1984 as Digidrum. After a name change to Digidesign, the company launched the first DAW (digital audio workstation) in 1989. The DAW, called Sound Tools, was exclusive for the Apple Mac. In 1991, Sound Tools gave way to Pro Tools, a multitrack recording system capable of working both in Apple and Windows environments, which has become one of the most popular production tools for music, television and film. Digidesign was honored with a Grammy award for Pro Tools’ contribution to the music industry in 2001 and an Oscar for its contribution to motion pictures in 2003. Along the way, Digidesign acquired products from Bomb Factory and Sibelius which it has incorporated into Pro Tools or sells as a stand alone product. In 2011, Digidesign was renamed Avid Audio to align it with parent company, Avid Technology, which acquired Digidesign in 1995. Although Pro Tools was originally sold like most software, with upgrades being required as each version matured to the next, Pro Tools are now additionally distributed through a subscription service.

Focusrite in a Nutshell

Focusrite plc began life in 1985 as Focusrite Audio Engineering. Unlike Avid Audio, Focusrite’s initial product offerings were intended for the analog recording industry. Beginning with making add-on modules for existing recording stations, Focusrite advanced to making its own recording stations and consoles before joining forces with Avid Audio (then Digidesign) to create software plugins and hardware to emulate recording consoles on home computers. In addition to digital and analog recording hardware, Focusrite has, independently, produced several plugins for Pro Tools that emulate Focusrite’s hardware modules. While Focusrite is an industry leader in digital recording, Focusrite does still make consoles and other hardware products for analog recording.

A New Strategic Alliance

As to their current collaboration, Focusrite CEO Dave Froker said, “We want to make the experience of using Focusrite hardware and Pro Tools software together the best possible experience for all our customers. Avid recognizes Focusrite as an ideal companion to Pro Tools and Focusrite recognize Pro Tools as the most mature professional recording platform for new Focusrite customers to adopt.”

Avid VP of audio products added, “Avid is committed to giving artists the tools they need to create the best-sounding audio possible. Focusrite shares that passion and is a key strategic addition to the rapidly growing number of leading technology providers that are using the Avid Connectivity Toolkit and Avid certification programs to develop solutions with that goal in mind. Focusrite interfaces provide the ideal hardware solution for Pro Tools.”

Limitless Possibilities

Avid Audio and Focus plc were largely responsible for the technology that made home recording studios capable of doing what could previously only be done using massive studio consoles and stations. While details on the collaboration are scarce, given the histories of each company for innovation and their history-defining collaborative efforts, the possibilities are exciting.

What Music Production Artists Can Take Away From Justin Bieber


By now, you may have seen the online meme that reads something like: “Justin Bieber needs to stop putting out banger after banger because I am slowly starting to become a belieber.” Indeed, Justin Bieber is making it extremely difficult for non-fans to not like him or his music. He is quite the polarizing figure these days.

Audio engineers from around the globe should take notice, as Justin Bieber’s “Purpose” is a pivot point of what popular music will soon become. In the album, Justin Bieber teams up with audio engineer stars Diplo and Skrillex (who refer to themselves as artists rather than musicians) and together they put out one of the best “pop” songs of this generation. Skrillex, in collaboration with others, produced a few of the songs on the album including the hits “Sorry” and “Where Are Ü Now” (which was originally released by Jack Ü on their album).

Side Note: The New York Times released a video and showed how this major hit was recorded and assembled using Ableton Live. You can find that video here or watch it below, and I strongly recommend all audio engineers to check it out to see how this monster hit came together.

This type of collaboration and creativity is unprecedented and is the reason they were able to win BEST COLLABORATION AWARD at The American Music Awards. Skrillex and Diplo are also great with working with others and are two of the great Music Pioneers that we have ever seen. Diplo – who is also part of Major Lazer, has had huge hits in “Lean On” for which he collaborated with MØ.

Even if you are not a Justin Bieber fan, you have to take notice of what he is doing. He is starting to sound like the future, where bands like One Direction are starting to sound more and more like the past. This marks exciting times, and opens up the doorway for many great audio engineers out there to do something that is a little bit out of the ordinary, and find creative ways to try new things in their field – which is what all great pioneers do.

Best Computers for Pro Tools

We take a look at the best computers for pro tools. This list includes both laptops and desktops. If you have any recommendations that you would like to add to this list, please let us know.

Dell Precision T5810 Tower Workstation

Dell Precision T5810 Tower Workstation

This computer is able to hold 16 gigabytes of memory and features a cutting-edge processor that contains six cores and 12 threads. The device’s processor has a base frequency of 3.2 gigahertz and can reach a maximum speed of 3.8 gigahertz. When all of the processor’s cores are being utilized, the computer typically generates 130 watts of dynamic power.

Enhancing the Performance

The machine is equipped with Intel Turbo Boost Technology, which is a trademarked package that lets the device’s processor operate more rapidly than its base frequency. Sensors can help customers to easily determine the level of power that the computer is using, the processor’s temperature and the number of cores that are active.

After a user has added Pro Tools to the device, the machine’s Enhanced Intel SpeedStep Technology can ensure that certain processors receive extra power while the software is completing vital operations, yet the trademarked feature may cause the device to effectively conserve energy if the software program is not being used. Additionally, the trademarked components allow the core clock’s speed to increase much more swiftly than it would otherwise.

By conserving energy, the computer can simultaneously utilize Pro Tools and other software programs, and the concurrent use of various programs won’t typically affect the device’s performance. Furthermore, the computer’s processors are connected to a state-of-the-art cooling system that allows artists to complete extensive sessions that last for many hours.

The Device’s Graphics Card

The computer commonly includes a Quadro K2200, which is a graphics card that has a retail price of more than $419. This cutting-edge component can hold four gigabytes of data, and the device features anisoptropic filters, a state-of-the-art encoder and two ports. The card may handle 80 gigabytes of bandwidth per second and features a fan that silently cools the device. Furthermore, the component performs tessellation, which helps the computer to handle polygons and can substantially improve graphics.

Analyzing the Price

The Dell Precision T5810 Tower Workstation’s base price is $1,199. While visiting Dell’s website, a buyer can customize the computer, and a device with additional features usually has a cost of $1,400 to $2,599.

The Apple iMac

Apple iMac

The Apple iMac can hold eight gigabytes of random-access memory and features dual hard drives. Apple’s powerful desktop has four cutting-edge USB ports, and after installing Pro Tools, customers can utilize headphones, custom keyboards and numerous types of instruments. Moreover, several analyses have suggested that Apple’s new USB ports let connected devices transport and receive data much more rapidly than they would otherwise.

The Product’s Attributes

  • With a size of 21.5 inches, the screen has a resolution of 1,920 pixels by 1,080 pixels.
    The hard drives can hold one tetrabyte of information, and the part is able to transfer three gigabytes of information every second. The hard drive typically rotates at a rate of 5,400 repetitions per minute.
  • By adding high-quality lamination to the screen, Apple Inc. reduced the monitor’s reflectivity by more than 75 percent.
  • With four cores, the machine’s processor is equipped with Turbo Boost, which is a trademarked technology that can deactivate cores that the computer is not utilizing. Furthermore, the components are able to augment the clock speed of active cores.
  • The processor operates at a rate of 2.7 gigahertz. When transferring, the computer operates at 1,600 megahertz.
  • This computer’s retail price is $1,289, and if a customer selects a version with a processor that operates at 2.8 gigahertz, the price will typically be between $1,344 and $1,388.

HP Z800 Workstation

HP Z800 Workstation

This device features three external bays that have a size of 5.25 inches, and the machine is equipped with four internal bays and four USB ports. The state-of-the-art processors can operate at a speed of 2.8 gigahertz. The manufacturer added various components that connect the processors with one another, and if a customer installs a compatible cable that has been manufactured by Thunderbolt, the computer can receive all data through a single line.

Vital Features

  • The computer is able to handle eight gigabytes of random-access memory, and the hard drive also has a capacity of eight gigabytes. Moreover, the machine features 12 slots for dynamic random-access memory.
  • Once a customer has installed Pro Tools, the computer can easily hold a large number of files that feature numerous sounds, various parts of songs and films. When the artist is customizing tracks or using an equalizer, the computer’s premium sound system lets the individual hear every aspect of each clip.
  • According to several comprehensive reports, the HP Z800 Workstation can deliver information more rapidly than most computers in its class. The device is generally able to handle 6.4 gigatransfers of data per second.
  • The power supply unit can manage more than one kilowatt of energy, and the part is able to simultaneously send sufficient electricity to 12 cores. Furthermore, the component can power as many as 12 hard drives.
  • This computer analyzes the software and the processors that are being used, and subsequently, the device automatically adjusts its cooling system. This feature can reduce the machine’s background noise. Additionally, a user may connect the computer to a remote device in order to digitally control the fans.
  • The HP Z800 Workstation typically utilizes 110 volts of electricity, and the computer has been certified by Energy Star,
  • The computer currently has a price of $900 to $1,900. In general, customers can find refurbished devices for $650 to $1,499.

Dell Precision M4700

Dell Precision M4700

With five USB ports, this is equipped with a quad coprocessor for graphics, a hard drive that has a capacity of 750 gigabytes and a processor that operates at 2.7 gigahertz. The laptop’s screen has a size of 15.6 inches and features a coating that may prevent glares. Moreover, Dell added newly designed connectors and numerous extra ports to the back of the machine, and these components allow customers to use multiple types of docks and cables that are compatible with FireWire.

  • The coprocessor lets users develop digital simulations and create high-quality videos. Furthermore, the computer is equipped with a DVD burner.
  • Before using Pro Tools, a customer can remove the computer’s bottom panel simply by extracting two screws. Consequently, users may easily modify or install new drives.
  • The Dell Precision M4700 weighs 16.1 pounds and utilizes 9 lithium-ion batteries.
  • In addition to eight gigabytes of random-access memory, the computer contains a dual in-line memory module that is capable of holding 192 gigabytes of information.
  • The cost of a new Dell Precision M4700 typically exceeds $899. Moreover, customers can currently find refurbished devices that have prices of $649 to $829.

The Company’s Community

Dell’s website has a large number of popular forums that are dedicated to customers who have questions about laptops, desktops, storage services, mobile devices, Wi-Fi, the company’s servers, security software and disk drives. According to one analysis, most guests who post questions will receive a response within 24 hours.

The business encourages clients and visitors to share their ideas, and so far, the company has received more than 24,000 proposals. Furthermore, users have provided 748,215 votes that determine the popularity of specific ideas.

The Toshiba Portege Z30-A1301

The Toshiba Portege Z30 A1301

This laptop has a wide range of innovative features, such as a device that can analyze a user’s fingerprint, dual processors, built-in software that offers data about the computer’s usage of energy and a solid-state hard drive with a capacity of 128 gigabytes of information. The Toshiba Portege Z30-A1301′s price is generally between $1,450 and $1,899, and refurbished machines typically have prices of more than $1,200.

The Computer’s Audio

The product also features DTS Studio Sound, which is a trademarked software program that lets users modify bass, treble and ambience. The software’s equalizer has more than nine controls, and the program features built-in settings for various types of music. Additionally, DTS Studio Sound can notably augment the volume of most types of audio.

After the customer has installed Pro Tools, the computer’s software can help a user to create custom songs and soundtracks for movies, and the user will be able to simultaneously edit numerous clips. Moreover, the computer’s state-of-the-art hard drive and up-to-date processors will ensure that the customer can easily install Avid Technology’s upgraded software programs in the future.

The Design

With a weight of 2.6 pounds, the Toshiba Portege Z30-A1301 is equipped with a chassis that contains magnesium, which can prevent vital components from bending or becoming scratched. Toshiba added a screen with a length of 13.3 inches and a keyboard that is connected to a relatively bright backlight. Moreover, the manufacturer has indicated that the keyboard is resistant to moisture.

When a customer purchases this computer, the box will contain a lock that was created by Kensington. The device is also compatible with Toshiba’s docking port station, which has a price of $199.

Analyzing Features and Performance

The Toshiba Portege Z30-A1301 features two processors; however, the computer only uses 19 volts of electricity. The machine’s graphics card was manufactured by Intel, and several reports have suggested that the device can cause the luminescence of images to reach 289 lux. The computer can transfer data at a speed of 1,600 megahertz, yet the processor is capable of operating at a rate of 1.8 gigahertz. When the Toshiba Portege Z30-A1301′s processors are utilizing a moderate level of electricity, the battery can provide ample power for more than nine hours.

What Are Gregorian Chants And Why Should Audio Engineers Take Notice?

Gregorian Chants are like nothing you have ever heard. They are the songs of a world that largely go unheard, and mainly because they were created for a higher purpose: To worship God. For many monks, Gregorian chants provide solace and put meaning into life. Through singing the chants, the monks feel closer to God than they do doing anything else. To some, singing the chants is the best euphoria.

If you are interested in Gregorian Chants, and are an avid reader, there is a great book out on Amazon that you can purchase called “The Beautiful Mystery” by Louis Penny. Not only is it a good read, but you can learn a lot about music from it.

Gregorian Chants are written with neumes, which tell the readers and singers (usually monks) of it to basically either go higher or lower on each syllable. There is no starting point or starting note, and it is written on a scale system that is neither major nor minor.

In the book, “Writing Music for Commercials,” Micahel Zager gives many reasons why audio engineers should take notice of Gregorian chants. In this book, the author encourages audio engineers and composers to hire singers from this genre, as there are “versed in the nuances and texture of the music.”

If you haven’t read up on Gregorian chants, I encourage you to do so. They can give you another type of feel when it comes to music, and offer a sound that isn’t too often heard.

The Best Guitar Pick Punches



Because of their diminutive size, guitar picks are easy to lose. If this frequently occurs during your jamming sessions, consider investing in a guitar pick punch. Pick-a-Palooza produces a quality guitar pick punch that you can also use to make leather keychains. The product’s features include:

  • Sturdy construction
  • A stainless steel blade
  • A user-friendly design

The guitar pick maker’s stainless steel blade creates picks that are uniformly constructed and smooth. With the Pick-a-Palooza, you can make guitar picks from your old credit cards, hotel room keycards, used gift cards or even your expired driver’s license. If you have a traditionally sized credit card, you can form five picks from it.

Pick Punch

Pick Punch

The Pick Punch set is a guitar pick punch kit that includes the materials you need to make your own picks. Pick Punch has been making tools and supplying guitar pick materials for years. In fact, the company created the first handheld guitar pick punch. The tool has a front load design for convenience, and since the Pick Punch weighs 1.3 pounds, you’ll appreciate its solid feel and sturdy performance. With the kit, you’ll receive:

  • The punching device
  • Samples of Pick Punch’s materials
  • A guitar pick holder
  • A four stage sanding block
  • An instruction packet

You can also use the end of the guitar pick maker’s sanding blocks to develop your own custom stamps. Guitar picks are frequently lost, and if you play with other musicians, your picks may wind up going home with one or more of them. The Pick Punch will ensure that you have guitar picks available when you need them.

Zuanjia Pick Punch

Zuanjia Pick Punch

The Zuanjia Pick Punch lets you avoid the inconvenience of being without a guitar pick. In fact, with your own guitar pick punch, you’ll have the ability to make a pick on the spot as long as you have the plastic available. The product’s features include:

• Durable construction
• A stainless steel blade
• A design that’s easy to use

Once you decide to invest in a guitar pick punch, hang onto your old gift cards, credit cards and hotel keycards to create a pick material stockpile as these plastic leftovers have the proper thickness level for guitar picks. This also encourages you and your family to recycle. Guitar picks are a good donation item, so if a local school, church or community center teaches music, you can make additional picks for donation purposes.

MuzJig Guitar Pick Punch


With the MuzJig guitar pick cutter, you’ll have a device that lets you make custom picks. You can form guitar picks from almost any flat plastic material as long as its thickness level measures from .05 millimeters to .77 millimeters. The device forms standard 351 guitar picks. In addition, four plastic strips come with the cutter, so you can begin making picks as soon as you receive the tool. The guitar pick punch’s product details include:

  • Quality construction
  • A plastic pick holder for organization
  • A cutting element that creates smooth pick edges for immediate use
  • A lifetime guarantee

You’ll receive the MuzJig guitar punch in a stylish box, which makes it easy to give as a gift. It’s also the perfect storage container if you are purchasing the tool for yourself. With the MuzJig punch, you can review the image that will appear on the pick before you punch it. The product is also likely to save you money since you can make your own guitar picks instead of buying them.

Singstek Guitar Pick Maker

Singstek Guitar Pick Maker

With a Singstek Guitar Pick Maker, you can punch your own picks from a variety of leftover plastic items including expired credit cards, depleted gift cards and even especially thin smartphone cases. Since the guitar pick maker measures slightly more than 6 inches in length, you’ll be able to bring the tool with you to music gigs to ensure that you have a pick at all times. The cutting set comes with:

  • The guitar pick punching tool
  • Sandpaper to smooth out each pick
  • A plastic piece for immediate use

With the Singstek device’s heavy-duty spring, you’ll surely have a working tool for many years. The device cuts the standard 351-style guitar pick, and it is capable of cutting plastic that measures up to 1 millimeter thick.

Premium Guitar Pick Punch

A guitar pick maker is a tool that you can use to punch your own guitar picks from credit cards that have expired, gift cards that you’ve used and hotel keycards that are taking up space in your wallet. The Premium Guitar Pick Punch is a quality tool that is easy to use. To create your own pick, just insert a piece of plastic into the press section. Then, push down on the handle. By purchasing the Premium pick punch, you’ll receive:

  • A tool with quality construction
  • 12 sample plastic sheets featuring an assortment of colors
  • A guitar pick container

When making guitar picks with the Premium tool, be sure to set it on a sturdy surface to ensure a clean cut. Keep in mind that with your own pick-making tool, you’ll have the ability to punch a guitar pick whenever you need one. The device is also a great way to send less plastic to your local landfill.

List of Producers and Former Producers of “The Voice”

The Voice is an American television show started in 2011 that is based on the original Dutch show “The Voice of Holland,” which began in 2010. Both shows were created by Dutch producer Johannes “John” de Mol, Jr., who is a media tycoon in his native Netherlands. Previously, he created the highly successful reality series Big Brother, a smash hit in the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, where the show was originally broadcast. Both The Voice and Big Brother have been licensed to more than 50 different countries each, with de Mol’s production company either having a hand in a number of the versions or collecting licensing revenues for creating the original concept.

As opposed to shows live “American Idol” or “X-Factor,” “The Voice” only deals with singing talent. As such, audio and audio processing is an important component of the show. Many of the producers of “The Voice” have backgrounds on other talent shows and MTV, where they dealt with singers and voice talent on a regular basis.

The producers of the American The Voice are:

  • Ashley Baumann, a former MTV producer who has won three Emmy awards
  • Carson Daly, a former radio disc jockey at KROQ in Los Angeles and host of MTV’s Total Request Live, now an independent producer
  • Keith Dinielli, a producer of various TV series, including Top Shot and Rock n’ Roll Fantasy Camp
  • May Johnson, a producer of So You Think You Can Dance, Emmy winner for The Voice in 2015, nominated in 2012, 2013 and 2014
  • Bart Kimball, a producer of dance shows such as So You Think You Can Dance and Randy Jackson Presents America’s Best Dance Crew
  • Michael Matsumoto, a producer of Big Brother, Survivor, HGTV Design Star, Top Shot and Flipping Vegas
  • David Offenheiser, a producer of The Apprentice, The Bachelorette, The Bachelor, The Amazing Race, Long Island Medium and Rock Star: INXS
  • Dan Paschen, an MTV producer and crew person on Survivor, Shark Tank, The Apprentice, Bully Beatdown, Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader, My Dad Is Better Than Your Dad, The Contender Asia and others
  • Teddy Valenti, a producer of Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader, My Dad Is Better Than Your Dad and others

Many members of the production team for The Voice know that Pro Tools is superior production software for voice and music talent. A show like The Voice needs the best in audio engineering, and The Voice music and sound editor Michael Bernard incorporates Pro Tools into his workflow to produce up to 600 songs per season for 12 million viewers. He likes the ability to process sound files quickly so he can email finished MP3 files to the show’s contestants as soon as they’re ready to start rehearsals, half an hour after the music has been recorded. Pro Tools is also used to mix the show in a production truck outside the venue where it’s shot.

Structure Free – Tutorial

This tutorial is about structure free. Structure free is the sample player that’s part of the creative collection in Pro Tools. Let’s get started.

The first thing that we will do is create a stereo instrument track. Click “create.” You want to make sure that in your column you display, you have instrument, your inserts, and your inputs and outputs showing. I’m going to go ahead and name this track “structure” and go ahead and record an enable the track.

To launch structure free we’re going to come over to insert “A” and instantiate a multi-channel plugin. Then go down to instrument and select and click on structure free. This brings up the main window for structure free.

Over here on the left hand side, right underneath where it says structure free, you’re going to see the default patch is “Sine Wave.” This default patch will show up each and every time that you launch this plugin. To change the patch, click on the word “patch” and it will bring up the patch menu. The options are to “load,” “add,” “duplicate,” “remove,” “cut & copy,” etc. To also get this menu, you can right click on the patch name and get the same menu.

So we’re going to go ahead and remove the Sine Wave and I’m going to show you a couple of ways to load patches. We’ll come back to the patch menu and say load new patch which will bring up the load path dialog batch. Over here you can see where all of the patch names are and it’s default location of where they are loaded in Pro Tools. If you want to see the names you can click on the little divider between name and size to see the full patch name and we can go ahead and down and look at some of these patches here. And we’ll go ahead and take this steel string acoustic patch and load that one.

Another way to load patches is through your browser. So you can click on browser and it will go ahead and also default to your main location of where your patches are stored on your hard drive. You can come up to the structure factory libraries and click on that and get different sounds.

up here you can filter them by showing your patch, part, samples, or all. We’re going to leave them all checked off right now. Over here are your left and right arrows, or your navigation to your folders, previous and next. Up arrow takes you up levels on your hard drive. “Reload” will actually update the folder view if you updated or deleted something. The “star” is your favorites folder. This will actually take you to a place where you can save favorites, which is always nice. To save favorites you would just click on the plus sign and it will go ahead and ask you to choose a name for your favorites entry and then add it to this part of the browser.

If you would like to delete anything from the browser (which will also delete it from the disk), you can click on the “x.”

So let’s go ahead and uh go back to our structure free samples here and another way to select one – if you go through and look for something that would go with the acoustic guitar – let’s try a hybrid soft pad and then drag it into the patch menu.

When you go ahead and add patches down here at the bottom you can see the midi channel in which the patch receives information – this one is currently set to “A1.” When I play it you can see I am receiving input from MIDI right here under instrument and output level. But I am not hearing anything from the hybrid soft pad which is currently set to “A2.” How I can hear what I’m viewing is by clicking on the instrument and going over to structure in port “A” “Channel 1″ – that will tell you what instrument it is going to play. So if I wanted to take and actually put these and layer the sounds together, I would have to change these to MIDI channel port “A” “Channel 1″ and then they would play together. So now that we have these two patches layered together I think that we should go ahead and look at the steel string acoustic sample sound and solo that one… And we’re going to fine tune that one just a bit.

We’re gong to come over to edit window one and also look at edit window two… But first we are going to look at the option features here for edit window one. The first one is “transpose.” And you can transpose by octave, by semi-tones, or you can fine tune it (almost like tuning a guitar string), and if you want to set it back to the beginning, you can hold option – click on it – and then it resets to the default setting.

For your pitch bend you can go up or down – up to 24 semi-tones. For your voices it is currently set to 24 for the max polyphony. You can change that for down. Keep in mind that the more polyphony that you use the more CPU resources it takes up on your computer. For mono mode you can select that or poly and for glide settings you have a choice of on or off and of course legato which has an incorporated great slider.

Down at the bottom you have your key range selectors, so you can change your starting key for this particular sample to be as short as long on the keyboard as you want to. You can do tat by moving the sliders there at the bottom, or by click here and in typing it in, or by selecting it, or if you have a MIDI controller keyboard. When you do have it selected you can see that in structure free keyboard at the bottom it grays out a certain section if it is not selected. So if we’re at c3 and it starts at c3 it will play but it will not play on the grayed out samples.

One other feature of the structure free keyboard is it’s velocity sensitivity. If you strike a note down at the bottom of the note, the velocity is higher than if you go up the note and strike it. So if you’re going to use the structure free keyboard, depending on where your going to strike the note on the key- it will affect it’s velocity.

Over here on edit window 2, we have our filter and our amplifiers. We can set our filter type and if you click on it you have choices of low-pass and high-pass filters. I’ll use this one at low-pass 24 – play the sample, and adjust the cutoff. The lower I go the darker it sounds and you can affect your resonance frequency here and your filter on globe. And you have a respective ADSR over here so for you track time of filter you can make it fast or slow… and your release time.

Down here for your amplifier you can change your velocity sensitivity and change the attack and release. With the release it is going to play the full sample when it is set all the way to the top. We can make it really short and staccato sound. Ok so great, we’ve gotten our steal string acoustic sound fine tuned. Let’s go over and look at our hybrid soft pad – so I’m going to go ahead and solo that one and come back to edit window one. And I like pretty much the way it is here. And then we go over to the filter and change that one a little bit. I’m going to make it match the steel string acoustic at this point. So lets go ahead and un-solo that and volumize and see how they sit together. Whether I want more of the acoustic guitar and less of the pad.

And I can change the panning if I want to – left or right.

Great – I’ve go them where I want them and there’s one more thing about the acoustic guitar. Down at the bottom I am going to solo this. You have these knobs down here at the bottom: You can add bass, treble, reverb, room size, and you can add more or less fret noises over here. And also change your overall release of the entire patch here – along with your master volume.

For your hybrid soft pad you’ll notice that if I un-solo the steel string acoustic, and then click on the hybrid soft pad, the knobs at the bottom of the structure page change, so if I solo the hybrid soft pad, now I have different parameters to work with with this patch. So reverb, chorus, cuttoff, velocity ,attack and release affect the overall out put of the entire patch together along with the master volume.

So now that I like the way that these two patch are blended together, I’ll unsolo them and play them together. What I can do is save this as a preset. I come up to my preset menu – do save settings as, and in here I can call this “string soft pad” and save. I’m going to replace one that I already had, and now go ahead and remove all the patches and say yes so when I go ahead and click on “string soft pad” it re-brings up the patches again as I have saved them with all the parameters and settings that I have chosen.

Another way that you can work with structure free is by loading in actual wave or samples. Because it is a sample player, we can go ahead and key-map samples to certain keys on the structure free keyboard. So I’m gong to go ahead and show you that.

First I am going to remove all these patches that we currently have and then I am going to come over to the browser and in the browser I am going to select from some drum single hit samples that I have. This works with most file types including Apple loops and wave files and AIFF. Im going to come into the browser and I’m going to look for a kick (you can preview the samples) and just drag them in under the patches, find snare, and then a high-hat, and bring them in. And since I want them all to play at the same time, I want to make sure that they are set to the same port “A” MIDI channel 1 setting. I’m going to change all these to port “A” MIDI channel 1. Now you’ll notice that they are all going to play at the same time, so What I want to do is assign them to their own keys. To do that you:

  • Go down to main menu -> key range
  • Highlight and select the kick patch
  • Come down to key range and make it “c3″

This now is the only note assigned in the structure free keypad for the kick. Then I am going to come over and highlight snare – and I want that one to work with “d3.” So keyrange, I’m going to hit “d3″ on my MIDI controller: “d” is now going to be my snare. For high-hat: “e3.”

So this is a great way that you can then take and map out an entire drum kit to your key pad and you can work with these samples a little bit and fine tune them. If you go to edit window 2 you want to make sure that it plays the entire sample by brining up the release on the amplifier.

  • Kick
  • High-hat
  • Put filters on them
  • Change the cutoff

Then come over to your structure free menu and play a little drum kit.

So thats another great way that you can use samples in structure free and set them up and keymap them to your MIDI controller keypad. If you like this drumkit you can save it n your presets by coming up to the preset menu, doing “save settings as”, typing in whatever is is: “drum kit sample.” – save – and then it is then saved as a preset in your library and menu. So even if you do like I did before: “remove all patches”.” I have my stored drum kit sample along with my string soft pad now saved in my presets.

I hope this tutorial gives you a little overview of structure free and you’re a little more familiar in using it. It’s a great and powerful sampling tool that you can use within Pro Tools. You can have up to four instances of instruments at one time. If you do have the string steel acoustic and the soft pad you can add two more, just like you can in eXpand2. It is an upgrade-able plugin so you can add more patches that will play at more times and you can get different versions that do allow you multiple outputs of each individual patch to be recorded in audio tracks in Pro Tools.

It is a great plugin, I hope you enjoy using it, and thank you for watching this tutorial by Audio Assemble.

Avid Pro Tools Versus Logic Pro: Pros and Cons

In the world of DAWs (Digital Audio Workstations), there are a lot of different options to choose from, and it can be very difficult to decide which platform you want to go with. A simple Google search gets you mixed reviews and conflicting information, so whose opinion do you trust? To give you some guidance, we’re going to talk about two of the forerunners in the industry: Avid Pro Tools, who recently released version 12 of their software; and Logic Pro, who recently released version X of theirs. While they both have a lot of similarities, they also have many differences, as well as distinct pros and cons.

AVID PRO TOOLS – Pros & Cons

Pro Tools is arguably the industry standard. This is in part due to the fact that they were the first to break into the market. However, that’s not the only reason. In a side-by-side comparison, Pro Tools nearly always comes out on top, and as a result of that, most professionals use it.


As a DAW, Pro Tools allows you to compose, record, edit, and mix music and audio. That’s what this type of software does. What sets it apart is that even when doing the basics, such as simple recording, you have total control and can set everything up to your specifications. Not only that, but when doing advanced recording sessions—such as recording with multiple microphones, Pro Tools is always the clear-cut winner. (http://www.howsitsounding.com/2013/05/logic-vs-pro-tools-who-do-you-give-your.html)

When it comes to editing, this is another area in which Pro Tools shines. While other DAWs are capable of this, Pro Tools allows for multi-track editing, which is the ability to edit multiple tracks simultaneously. This gives it a big advantage over the competition, just for the sheer time it saves. (http://sound.stackexchange.com/questions/25751/why-is-pro-tools-the-industry-standard-in-high-end-audio-production)

Another great feature of Pro Tools, not specifically related to what it does, is the fact that it’s available for multiple platforms. Users of both Mac and Windows can run this program. There are certain specifications for the hardware (an old computer with 512 MB of RAM, for example, won’t be able to handle the software) but users can be satisfied that if they switch platforms, Pro Tools will be compatible either way. (http://avid.force.com/pkb/articles/compatibility/Pro-Tools-12-System-Requirements)


Cost is one of the biggest drawbacks to using Pro Tools. Due to its high demand and professional features, the software itself costs a hefty $599. For some people, that’s simply way out of budget. Plus, in order to get access to software upgrades, users must purchase the Annual Support and Upgrade Plan. There are two options for that. One includes bonus features as well as the upgrades for $199 per year. The other, cheaper option doesn’t include the bonus stuff, and costs $99 per year. (http://www.avid.com/US/products/pro-tools-software#Features)

In addition to the cost, there is one primary area in which users typically find Pro Tools to be inferior to Logic Pro. The MIDI feature—that is to say, the composing aspect of the program. That’s not to say that Pro Tools can’t do it, but many users find the interface to be less user friendly. Also the virtual instrument selection in Pro Tools is more limited and most users agree that those in Logic sound better. (http://www.howsitsounding.com/2013/05/logic-vs-pro-tools-who-do-you-give-your.html)

Another potential drawback, especially for users who are new to this type of software, is the learning curve. Pro Tools is developed and geared toward professionals who already know how to use it or how to use things that are similar. For someone just starting out, it will require some time to learn.

LOGIC PRO – Pros & Cons

Logic Pro is newer to the market than some of its counterparts, at least under that name. It was originally a German product called Emagic, dating back to the late 90s, but it became an Apple product in 2002 when Apple bought Emagic. Despite its history of changing both hands and names, Logic Pro still holds its own against the competition. (http://www.lennonbus.org/index.php?/blog/posts/a_brief_history_about_logic_pro/)


Compared to Pro Tools, the biggest benefit of Logic Pro is the cost. Instead of shelling out in excess of $600 for a DAW, Logic Pro costs only $199.99. In addition to its lower price tag, Logic Pro does not require users to purchase any type of support plan that has an additional annual fee.

Despite the old adage of getting what you pay for, it is a mistake to consider Logic Pro an inferior product just because of its lower price tag. It does a lot of the same things as Pro Tools. Users can record, edit, and mix tracks, and they can compose their own. It’s in composition that Logic Pro really shines—even outshining the competition.

Starting with the beat, Logic Pro has a feature called Drummer, which includes 28 different electronic drummers, each with a different style or specification—anything from the driving pulse of rock music to the cool beats of R&B. From there, you can customize the style, pacing, and even the drums themselves to get different sounds. It also features a virtual synthesizer with over 3,000 sounds to choose from and minipulate, as well as a menagerie of other instruments to bring your composition to life. (http://www.apple.com/logic-pro/what-is/)


The most obvious drawback (for some potential users) is the fact that Logic Pro is an Apple product, and as a result of that, it’s only compatible with Mac computers. Windows users either need to buy a Mac in order to use this product, or they’ll be forced to use a different program. While the software used to be available on Windows computers, when Apple took over Emagic, they removed the Windows compatibility. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Logic_Pro)

While Logic Pro is arguably the superior product for composing music, Pro Tools is better for recording and editing tracks. Logic Pro simply can’t keep up with the multi-track recording of Pro Tools. Also, for editing audio clips, the ease of use in Pro Tools makes for less guesswork when it comes to cutting or making changes. (http://www.howsitsounding.com/2013/05/logic-vs-pro-tools-who-do-you-give-your.html)


While each of these different DAWs has its strengths and weaknesses, both are clearly excellent programs. When comparing them, it’s not so much a case of which one is superior to the other, but rather a question of which one is better for the needs of the person considering it. Professionals use Pro Tools consistently, and that’s how the product is marketed. Logic Pro, while certainly a great program, is more geared toward home producers.

Depending on your budget and your needs, a lot of people—even amateurs and home producers—use both. They use Pro Tools to record and edit audio, and they use Logic Pro for composition. However, if that’s not feasible, then you’re still choosing between two of the top DAWs. Simply decide which features are most important to the work you need to do and go from there.

14 Places to Buy Pro Tools Online

Avid Pro Tools is the industry standard when it comes to audio engineering software. It can be found in local music stores, but comparing the cost and finding the best deal is a lot easier online. If you’re in the market for Avid Pro Tools 12, the latest and best from the audio engineering software giant, avail yourself of our convenient breakdown of the 14 best places to buy it online. Whether you’re in the market for the full package, just need an upgrade, are only looking for a perpetual license or are searching for a Pro Tools student discount, one of the following online retailers is sure to have what you need.

Want to know where to buy Pro Tools? Check out these places for your best options.

1. Avid

The path of least resistance may be to purchase Pro Tools 12 directly from Avid. One advantage of buying a subscription through the site is you can opt for monthly payments that make it a little more flexible.

Current pricing via the Avid website is as follows:

Make sure to check Avid’s Special Offers section, as these products occasionally go on sale.

2. Guitar Center

With its stellar reputation and low price guarantee, Guitar Center is a good online supplier for all things Pro Tools.

Current pricing via the Guitar Center website is as follows:

You can download Pro Tools via the Guitar Center site, or you can add it to your cart and pick it up from your local store. Guitar Center routinely has sales, coupon codes and other offers, so if you’re patient, you can score a great deal.

3. Amazon

You can buy just about anything from Amazon, and Pro Tools 12 is no exception. The massive online retailer offers this product through its independent sellers, so you can scout around for special deals with time and patience.

Currently, prices for popular Pro Tools 12 products on Amazon are as follows:

Amazon is a great option for its reliability and excellent customer support. However, you will notice that you can typically buy Pro Tools 12 directly from most Amazon sellers.

4. Sweetwater

Since 1979, Sweetwater has been a leading source of audio equipment and other musical supplies. Their website’s been in operation since 1995, so they’re clearly doing something right.

Current prices for Pro Tools 12 products from Sweetwater are as follows; free shipping is available to the lower 48 states, and orders placed by 3 p.m. ship the same day:

5. Musician’s Friend

There are lots of perks to buying Pro Tools from Musician’s Friend. The site ships all standard ground orders for free, and coupon codes are regularly available. Also, they have a price match guarantee for 45 days after purchase.

Current prices for Pro Tool 12 from Musician’s Friend are all conveniently located on the store’s official Pro Tools page. Pro Tools 12 plus Subscription is $899. An annual subscription is $299, and an upgrade is $199.

6. Alto Music

Don’t let the confusing design of this site throw you off. There are some great deals to be had on Pro Tools 12 if you’re willing to wade through them. The retailer also offers flexible financing, free shipping and exceptional customer support.

Current prices for Pro Tools 12 products from Alto Music include:

Based on that offer alone, we can confidently say that it’s well worth it to check this site if you’re comparing the cost of various versions of this software.

7. B & H Photo, Video & Audio

B & H has been around since 1979, so they know their stuff. Free expedited shipping is available, so if you decide to order the box version of Pro Tools, you’ll get it quickly.

Currently, the site isn’t offering any deals on Pro Tools 12. However, promo codes are regularly available. You can quickly download the latest versions of Pro Tools via the site or sign up for a subscription.

Prices at the moment are as follows:

8. Full Compass

For more than 40 years, Full Compass has been a top supplier of professional audio, video, lighting and musical equipment. They offer free shipping on all Pro Tool products, but you can download upgrades and subscriptions too.

List prices are currently posted on the site. However, products go on sale occasionally, and site-wide coupon codes are often available.

Current prices for Pro Tools 12 products from Full Compass are as follows:

9. East Coast Music

Based in Richmond, Virginia, and founded in 2004, East Coast Music is a worthwhile option to consider while looking for Pro Tools products. All orders $50 and up ship for free, and many can be downloaded right from the site too.

Current prices for Pro Tools 12 products from East Coast music are as follows; please note that a special deal is currently happening:

10. VideoGuys.com

If you’re wondering where to buy Pro Tools products and like supporting small businesses, check out this site. This family owned and operated company has been in business for more than three decades. Free shipping is standard, and many products can be directly downloaded from the online store.

Current prices for various Pro Tools 12 products from VideoGuys.com are as follows:

11. Studica

If you are a student looking for Pro Tools products, this site is worth checking out. They specialize in academic technology products, and they tend to have special offers fairly regularly. Right now, for instance, there’s a coupon code for $5 off orders of $100 or more.

Current prices for Pro Tools 12 products from Studica are as follows:

Incredibly, you can get the Pro Tools 12 software and perpetual license for less than $100. You can, that is, if you act quickly.

12. eBay

When shopping for Avid Pro Tools products, eBay is always worth a look. Many retailers, including ones listed here, maintain eBay stores. Also, of course, everyday people often sell their used Pro Tools products on the site.

Because listings change constantly, we won’t link directly to any listings for Pro Tools 12 products. However, a quick search reveals that you can get Avid Pro Tools 12, 11 and 10 with activation and support for $329.99.

13. Bonanza.com

Think of Bonanza.com like a smaller version of eBay. Like the online giant, it’s an online marketplace where people can sell new and used products.

Pro Tools 12 products aren’t always available on Bonanza.com, but it’s well worth it to take a quick look while comparing the cost of this product. At the moment, for instance, the site is offering Pro Tools 12 with subscription and activation card for $492.03, which is a pretty good deal. Shipping is free in the U.S. too, so you don’t have to worry about extra fees.

14. Craigslist

If you don’t have your heart set on downloading Pro Tools products online and want to find the lowest price possible, Craigslist may be worth a look. As with anything you look for on Craigslist, however, it all depends on whether or not someone locally has Pro Tools 12 products they’re trying to unload.

Also, proceed with caution when purchasing Pro Tools 12 items from Craigslist. What seems like a great deal may be a bust if everything you need isn’t included. After buying things like an iLok dongle and whatnot, you may end up paying the same or more as you would from one of the sites listed above.

The Bottom Line on Buying Pro Tools Audio Engineering Software Online

When buying anything, whether online or in a brick-and-mortar store, it always pays to shop around. It’s easy to do that online even if you’re looking for high-end audio engineering software like Pro Tools. If you’re not in a huge rush and are determined to get the lowest price possible, start tracking prices for Pro Tools 12 from the online retailers highlighted above. Don’t forget to check coupon code sites for special promo codes too. With a little patience, persistence and luck, you can find the Pro Tools products you need for truly amazing prices.