OS X vs Windows for Pro Tools 11

Mac Vs Windows Pro Tools

Is your studio holding you back from creating the next big club banger? When it comes to powerful software like Pro Tools 11, your system setup is just as important as your configuration preferences and input hardware. In order to get the most out of this professional-grade audio platform, it’s essential that your computer is up to the task.

Of course, as with any widely popular software suite, enthusiasts love to debate which types of computers are best for running Pro Tools and the scores of compatible plugins you can use to customize it. Regardless what hardware manufacturers might want consumers to believe, things aren’t as simple as Mac vs. PC, especially at the professional level. Here’s what we’ve learned about running Pro Tools 11 on OS X and Windows.

Hardware Capability and Compatibility

Don’t fall for the hype; always investigate the specifics of a particular system. Although PC lovers are quick to point out that you can build a comparable studio computer to a Mac and save some cash in the process, Pro Tools employs a sufficient number of high-level software features that stability makes a big difference. The fact that most Mac systems simply work out of the box makes it a bit easier to create a studio-ready rig or editing bay without having to tinker around with settings.

A similar concern lies in the way different components interact. Yes, modern buses like USB, FireWire, and PCIe generally handle addressing and plug-and-play communication way better than their predecessors once did. Nonetheless, custom devices like external sound cards and Avid’s Pro Tools S6 Ethernet-enabled control surfaces may be more likely to run seamlessly on systems whose hardware has been compatibility tested by device manufacturers before you get your hands on it.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that Windows is a no-go. For those who want to build a dream rig over time or upgrade their studio as they acquire the funds and components, it’s quite possible to create a completely serviceable setup on a PC. Windows 7 is known to have some issues, but newer versions have ironed many of these kinks out, and tutorial sites are generally good places to find helpful information about successful reference builds and installations.

GUIs and Customizability

Could you be missing out on something super cool because of your current build? While concurrent Pro Tools versions largely possess similar features, they’re not exactly the same, and the difference usually lies in what’s going on under the hood of your computer.

For instance, your favorite third-party AAX plugins may not be optimized for use with a certain operating system, meaning that you’ll have to change your workflow from what you’re accustomed to if you decide to switch. Of course, product forums usually make it easy to discover these issues and identify workarounds in advance.

OS X and Windows shortcuts and hotkeys differ due to the basic fact that the systems have different keyboard layouts and control schemes. While this may not seem like a major factor, there are definitely those who feel partial to one workflow style or the other. If you’re going to make a change, just be certain to give yourself time to learn your way around.

Overcoming Limitations

Some popular studio equipment manufacturers, like Presonus, note that Pro Tools isn’t fully optimized for all of their hardware; for instance, earlier installs usually disable mixer inputs when the software sees more than 32 channels. Macs may not support grouped pre-amps or other devices that can typically be used as aggregate interfaces on Windows systems.

You’ll probably encounter limitations with any custom setup, but as long as you learn about them as you go, they shouldn’t present much of a stumbling block. Check out our online tutorials to bring your Pro Tools 11 usage up to speed on any system.

4 Things NOT to do with Pro Tools

The thought of making it as a DJ, Music Producer, or even the next Calvin Harris, can be very alluring to the young crowd ranging from 12-22 when it comes to purchasing the latest version of Pro Tools. This is because it is the Industry standard, and the weapon of choice when it comes to the top producers in the music business.

That being said it can be a dream for some and a reality for others. The truth is, is that it’s extremely hard to make it in the music business. A lot of the times it’s who you know – just as it is in any other business.

For these reasons, you should refrain from doing the following:

1) DO NOT purchase Pro Tools with your student loans.

Although this may seem like a good idea at the time as the juices are flowing and you just started playing guitar – this is a bigger life decision than you might think and it may end up affecting you for the next 10-20 years depending on what type of degree you are going for and what school you attend.

2) AVOID Using Older Or Outdated Computers

Yes, you can get away using a windows 7 computer, or get by with just the bare minimum when it comes to computer capacity, but when it all comes down to it, you might just be saving a lot of money when you “go expensive” with a computer because you are going to waste a lot of time going through all the problems that come with older computers.

There is also the factor that a lot of the hardware, take a MicroKorg for example, won’t work to well with an older computer as you may have a lot of memory issues (older computers tend to have less memory storage as well as speed limitations).

3) Don’t Buy Pro Tools On A Whim

Pro Tools can be very alluring. I mean it’s the industry standard and it really does have all of the best features. This can make the beginning guitar player out there want to purchase the best of the best right away without putting any grit in at first.

There are many of free options out there that you can use before fully committing yourself to Pro Tools. Try free tools like Garage Band which comes with every Mac computer and is pretty useful for learning some of the fundamentals of recording music. If you still love recording a record full of music after using Garage Band, then there is a way better chance that you will have a shot at at least learning the basics of Pro Tools.

4) Don’t Buy it Because You Think It’s Cool

Yeah Pro Tools is cool but that doesn’t mean that you should buy it the first chance you get. There are a lot of options out there and if the only reason you are buying pro tools is because it’s the cool thing to do and it’s what everyone else is doing then you are purchasing it for the wrong reasons.

That’s all I have for now.. Can you think of anything else not to do with Pro Tools? Sound off in the comments below!

Producing with Pro Tools

Musicians use the software by recording their vocals with a microphone and then their beats and melodies with analog instruments or MIDI controllers. Once that is laid down, the tracks are edited with built-in editing tools. Then, that product is combined with thousands of third-party Pro Tools plug-ins. From there, the song is mixed using the virtual mixing boards that is included with the software. When that is done, all that is left to do is export the tunes to a digital file. (Source)

As far as how much power the Pro Tools software emits is based on the power of the whole system itself. For instance, if you were to use a basic system, this would allow you to record up to 18 audio tracks at once. However, a more advanced Pro Tools system can handle as much as 192 audio tracks recording at one time.

The digital audio conversion and effects processing part of the Pro Tools system is managed by numerous pieces of hardware. For starters, there is an audio interface, which basically works like an external sound card. What it does is convert analog audio signals into digital signals that computers can process. Then, the back of the audio interface, gives users a place to plug in equipment like electric guitars, microphones and MIDI controllers. On the front of the interface, though, are controls where you can change the output and input levels of whatever piece of equipment is linked to the box. The tiniest Pro Tools audio interface is about the size of flash memory sticks, as it includes spots for solely one analog output jack. However, the largest audio interface has enough places for as much as eight analog outputs and four microphone preamps. (Source)

The more expensive Pro Tools HD systems include PCI cards that increase a computer’s processing ability. Depending on how many accelerator cards are contained within the Pro Tools system will determine the speed of the software when you are using various effects and tracks together at once. Usually professionals, purchase one or more external hardware expansion units because then they receive six accelerator cards, so they can combine more beats at one time. (Source)

Another part of a Pro Tools system is the control surface. This piece of the unit is reminiscent of large control boards that are employed in traditional analog recording studios. Control surfaces are tools that music mixers can actually touch with their hands, instead of digitally, while still getting to access everything that is featured in Pro Tools software. This component is great for those that are used to the traditional music editing pieces of equipment like knobs, faders and buttons. Everything that is done in Pro Tools can be accessed with a mouse and keyboard. After all, we are living in a digital age. However, the control surfaces, give you everything you can reach digitally at the palm of your hands. (Source)

Advantages of Pro Tools

Here is our full article on the advantages

Pro Tools has completely changed the audio industry like never before, as it is now employed by studio recording engineers, sound effects designers and even sound editors. The main advantage is once an individual learns how to use Pro Tools, they can now work in practically any sound environment. These skills will help these individuals in the long run with their careers because there isn’t too much different in the software functionality between a basic system and one very complex. (Source)

Disadvantages of Pro Tools

Since Pro Tools is now often used by professionals and is basically a requirement in the industry, it is very expensive. Plus, you can’t buy Pro Tools separately, by itself. In fact, to even run it, a Pro Tools approved audio interface needs to be installed. That is because the interface protects the software, acting as a physical anti-piracy key. If anyone considering buying this program already owned an audio interface or sound card, it wouldn’t matter because they would have to purchase one of the very few that actually work on it. That is why a lot of musicians opt against buying Pro Tools.

How Does One Buy Pro Tools?

Since the manufacturer doesn’t sell Pro Tools directly, it is best to buy one by searching online for what authorized Digidesign dealers are in your area. Pro Tools can also be brought through more national retailers like Guitar Center

Alternatively, after you buy pro tools, you can check out where the best places to learn pro tools are.

13 Advantages Of Using Pro Tools

In Italy, 13 is considered a lucky number. So today, consider yourself lucky to access a new take on the advantages of Pro Tools. While you may have read about this issue before, I’ll do my best to put a fresh spin on this dynamic, influential audio software.

01. Pro Tools Is The Industry-Standard DAW
There are plenty of fine DAWs on the market with loyal adherents. Nevertheless, Pro Tools remains the dominant, standard DAW for digital audio production. Once you’ve mastered the essentials of producing with Pro Tools, you can use these skills in any number of environments. Whether dealing with basic home systems or high-end professional studios, the basic functions of Pro Tools will remain comfortingly familiar.

02. Powerful Multitrack Editing
Beginning engineers and producers typically learn their craft through projects that only use a few tracks of audio and automation. If you only need sixteen tracks, the difference between Pro Tools and other DAWs might not seem that great. However, most people quickly learn the value of using more tracks. Additional tracks allow for the kind of editing and tweaking that makes a recording polished and professional. No other DAW can match Pro Tools in terms of fast, powerful manipulation of hundreds of tracks.

03. Optimized For Multimedia Projects
From the outset of the Pro Tools revolution, Digidesign has recognized the importance of multimedia. Every year, video synching becomes more and more important for the modern audio professional. Pro Tools is fully optimized to make this process smooth and efficient.

04. Strong Software Support
Too many promising applications fail because they are not supported well. Recognizing this reality, Digidesign goes the extra mile to keep customers satisfied.

05. Low Latency To Keep You From Getting Bogged Down
Correcting for latency is a time-consuming process that can complicate or even derail projects. By integrating Pro Tools closely with trusted hardware designers, Digidesign ensures the lowest latency possible for any given setup.

06. Pro Tools Can Replace A Mixer
With or without a hardware controller, Pro Tools can act as a powerful mixer. Whether you are simplifying your setup or you’re still saving for your dream mixer, Pro Tools is a viable alternative.

07. Quality Plugins
Though other DAWs provide easy access to freeware VST plugins, more isn’t always better. Instead of wading through hundreds of mediocre plugins searching for quality, you can trust Digidesign to provide honed, tested plugins for your recording needs.

08. Access To A Like-Minded Community
As you’ve likely noticed browsing the Web, the community of Pro Tools users is both huge and eager to help novice users.

09. Versatility For Different Genres
Reason is a DAW known for its use in electronica, while SADiE is associated with classical and live recordings. More than perhaps any other serious DAW, Pro Tools is wholly versatile and a good choice for any genre.

10. Believe It Or Not, Pro Tools Is Simple
If you’ve just acquired Pro Tools and it is your first pro-quality DAW, this might require further explanation. While all high-level DAWs have an appreciable learning curve, Pro Tools keeps things simple on a fundamental level. In Pro Tools, most of your work flow will take place in two widows: the Mix and Edit windows. This is in contrast to other DAWs that require constant switching between multiple windows–even for the most basic tasks.

11. Audio Editing
Out of the box, all DAWs provide for at least the basics of audio editing. Critically, Pro Tools goes above and beyond to make audio editing fast, accurate and glitch-free.

12. A Focus On Engineering
These days, many DAW makers are are held back by what I call the cult of accessibility. As we’ve noted, the work flow in Pro Tools is simpler than you might realize. At the same time, Pro Tools doesn’t cut corners and limit capabilities in an effort to gain a few more users. Some DAWs seem tuned to the limited needs of coffee-house musicians and bedroom Beethovens. By refusing to dumb things down and speaking to the needs of professional engineers, Digidesign educates while enabling quality recording projects.

13. A Brand Synonymous With Professionalism
As we’ve seen, the technical advantages of Pro Tools are many and varied. It doesn’t hurt that Pro Tools and Digidesign have garnered serious prestige in the world of pro audio. For all audio professionals, Pro Tools proficiency is critical for maximizing credibility.M

Pro Tools Classes in New York City

Here is a list of pro tools classes in every major city in the United States of America, or where most relevant.. Please contact me if you would like this page to get updated with any classes that you offer.

And of course we start with

New York City

Pro Tools Training offers pro tools certification and also classes in new york city. Here is the page with the dates for those classes in NYC.

The Institute of Audio Research in NYC has a 900 hour program in audio recording and once you complete it, you are given a Pro Tools Certification. You can find more details by visiting This Link

Future Media Concepts is an Avid Authorized Education Center with learning centers in many different cities including New York. Here is their page. At the time of this article, they have 10 different courses in Pro Tools.

The Cutting Room Studios – Their Pro Tools class “covers the basics of Protools operation. Perfect for home recording enthusiasts looking to get up to speed with this industry standard software.”

The Digital Film Academy is a school in New York that offers small class sizes, financial aid, and a compelling course.

White White Water Productions has 3 courses in Pro Tools and 3 courses in general audio engineering. They are located in Brooklyn on Dobbin Street.

Looking for great Certificate Programs in Audio Engineering and Production? Try Pratt Center for Continuing and Professional Studies. They claim that there is “currently no other program like this in New York City” and the entire part-time program can be taken for under $6K.

The Manhattan Edit Workshop seems to have one Avid Course for $1,395 that covers the key concepts and skills needed to operate a Pro Tools system in a home studio environment.

Pyramind Training offers 7 different courses in Pro Tools 10. Watch their video and learn more about their instructors here.

Pro Tools Tutorial Reaches Record High in Traffic

Hello, Philip Rudy here, owner and founder of Pro Tools Tutorial. This last month we have received over 3,100 visitors and that is an all time high in the two years that this site has been running. I want to thank all of our users that keep visiting and those that have liked us on Facebook.

I pretty much make $15 a month from this website and have spent a few thousand dollars on it, so anyone that wants to contribute any articles or videos (like this last guest post from Nick Vivid) feel free to do so. You will get a link back to your website and that is good for search engine optimization and traffic to your site.

Here is a glimpse of our traffic growth since we started!

Thanks once again!

Pro Tools Buying Guide

Are you considering buying Pro Tools? There are many different options you have and many different routes you can go when it comes to buying pro tools. One of the biggest hassles, and something that can become a huge headache, is making sure all of your tools – software and hardware – are all cross compatible. This resource will help you discover the proper way to buy pro tools as well as the best option for you – whether that be buying it the cheapest way possible, or buying it the most legitimate way possible.

Remember: Pro Tools requires a three part system to work and for you to be able to work with it – much like our government there are three different branches which are:

  • Pro Tools Software
  • The Computer: Mac or a PC
  • Additional hardware that handles audio and MIDI input and output

The Software

  • Pro Tools seems to update at least once a year or so – sometimes a little earlier than that and sometimes a little later than that.
  • There is usually a lag time between the time that a MAC computer is released (or any computer for that matter) and for the time.

Pro Tools will only open with supported hardware, so make sure that your computer meets the standards. Don’t skimp out on the computer money wise if you don’t have to, you won’t regret the purchase in the long run because you will eliminate a lot of compatibility issues by “going big or going home.”

The Computer

For both MAC and Windows systems it is highly recommended that you go with Avid-qualified computers.

Before You Buy Pro Tools

Don’t just let budget determine how you are going to continue moving forward with your Pro Tools purchase. Of course, this is one of the main concerns, but it shouldn’t be your main point of focus simply because there are so many different combinations of hardware/software setups that you can use that it is very easy to get overwhelmed. The best advice for buying pro tools is to take your time, and ask all of the right questions.

The fastest way to buy Pro Tools, albeit usually the most expensive way to buy it, is to go to your nearest music dealer, like Guitar Center, WestWood Audio, or Sam Ash. It isn’t a generic music-making program. It is the industry standard for audio engineering.

Buying Pro Tools online

There are many places to buy pro tools when looking online.

http://www.sweetwater.com/shop/pro-tools/ is a great place to start

Getting Started in the Audio Engineering Business

Audio Engineering Studio Board

Getting started in audio engineering is a process that isn’t always linear, but always moves forward. In my years I’ve encountered so many different scenarios where different aspects of my knowledge and experience in engineering and related fields have really paid dividends. It all adds up, and if you want to get started here’s some things that will give you an edge over your peers.

SHOW UP ON TIME AND BE AS PREPARED AS YOU CAN BE

It goes without saying but those who are professional, courteous, and show up on time get the better gigs. Your talents play a role, but you can get very far and learn as you go by being above and beyond present. I’ve had a few recording gigs where I found myself slighty in over my head, and I’ve always made it through those “trial by fire” experiences by being alert, patient, and willing to do the best job I could.

PLAY AN INSTRUMENT OR TWO

I got my first 4 track portastudio cassette recorder when I was 16. By then I was playing drums, guitar, and bass. I was also a vocalist in training. I taught myself microphone placement and experimented countless hours recording my own songs on what became hundreds of tapes on that little machine. That has taught me to understand the needs of vocalists, the needs of drummers, the needs of guitarists, etc. They all have a certain way they perceive their instrument, and being able to talk their language and help them achieve the sounds they’re looking for is probably more important than knowing how to operate a recording console. Why? Garbage in = Garbage Out. Start at the source. A great guitar amp sound is only going to make everything after easier to achieve. Start at the source always.

LEARN THE SKILLS OF A REPAIR TECH

This might be the biggest asset I’ve had in my corner. A basic knowledge of electronics, troubleshooting, and electronics repair will get you farther in this business than someone who doesn’t have those skills. Learn how to solder. Learn basic operation of tape machines (yes they’re still in use in most major studios). Calibrating a Studio A80 is a must-know at all major recording studios. I still use tape machines at my recording studio. Cleaning the tape path and calibrating for various types of tape is a daily procedure. Some studios hire technicians whose sole job is to get the tape machines ready for the next client’s recording session. Learning how to fix dead channels on a console in the midst of a session or being creative enough to problem solve issues as they arise is key. If you can keep a session going, not wasting the studio or artist’s time and money, you’ll be your boss’ favorite employee and job security will be that much more attainable. Believe it or not, your biggest job in any major studio, as the engineer, will be to keep things rolling, which in turn keeps the client happy with how they’re spending the time they are paying for.

MAKING THE CLIENT HAPPY IS YOUR ONLY GOAL

The entire goal is to make the client happy. So put yourself in the client’s shoes. Find out what they want and figure out how to achieve that. That’s the only rule. Everything else is subject to taste. A major label works with engineers and producers that have a specific “sound” they are known for. Many artists seek these types of producers and engineers because they have a track record of making great sounding albums or having multiple gold records on their walls. If you want to record hip-hop or dance music that’s radio and major label friendly, then there’s very little creativity you’ll want to throw into the process at times. You’ll want to follow a stricter set of guidelines in a case like this, as opposed to recording a 3 piece punk rock band that just wants the final mix to be “really loud”.

I will often start sessions by asking clients what records they want theirs to sound like. This will give me an idea of what types of amplifiers, guitars, drums, Eqs, and compressors we will want to try during the session. Mimicing things that have already worked in the past is a smart way to learn for those just starting out, but I still learn new things in every session I do by utilizing this method.

KNOW THE TOOLS OF THE TRADE

Pro Tools is the de facto standard digital audio workstation used in all major recording studios, but knowledge of other software is just as important in my opinion. If you get hired for a gig, you’ll want to know what the most common features of all DAWs are, so no matter what studio you walk into, you’ll know the basics of everything and the learning curve will be minimal. All DAWs use similar interfaces, so there’s not much difference between them. However, you need to know pro tools well. A well rounded understanding of pro tools will be a basic key to any resume you present to a studio or artist seeking to hire you. Learn DAWs. Learn old analog recording consoles. Learn as many different types of Eqs, compressors, reverbs, delays, and microphones as you can. Learn what makes each unique and learn which each one does that sonically provides it’s own signature – what makes it special. You don’t see many of these today but, for my money, the greatest console ever made was the Helios Type 69. Georgio Moroder has the Helios console at his studio, and he just received a Grammy award for his work with Daft Punk. It takes some time, but listen to records made with a Helios, then listen to records made with a Neve. Listen to records made with an API, and then records made with an SSL. There is a difference between them all, and again, the sonic signature of each piece of gear you use will be a tremendous asset as time goes on. Knowing what a piece of gear can do just by looking at it will be a tremendous advantage, but that takes time and even highly paid engineers don’t know what every piece of gear can do. When you feel you know enough to get going, have the confidence to jump in! You don’t need to know everything, but knowing as much as you can helps!

LIVE VS STUDIO ENGINEERING

I’ve been both a live and studio engineer for many years. Both are similar in many ways. Helping the band/artist to achieve their desired sounds, microphone placement, and balancing a mix are the most obvious similarities. However, live situations are far more forgiving as far as audio engineering mistakes are concerned, so I often suggest to start with live sound engineering if working in a studio environment seems too stressful. This might be the easiest gig to get without a lot of experience on your resume as well.

Find a local club that has live music and talk to the head of production or house sound engineer and offer to sit in with them for free and ghost them for a couple gigs. Many will be often open to the idea of training you for free and showing you how everything works – even letting you run the board for a few songs. Working in a live sound environment will also expose you to different styles of music – sometimes all within the same night. To be a well rounded audio engineer, I’ve found my experience as a live sound engineer to be invaluable.

And It’s where I got my start. And now I own my own studio in Manhattan.

by / CEO MegaPlatinum Records
www.NickVivid.com