I’ve been a Mod over at protoolsusers.org for a couple years shy of a decade now but have done less and less with Pro Tools in the last 4 years for various reasons which as of now are no longer an obstacle. One, I was the owner of a 003 Rack running Pro Tools LE 8.x in the distant past that of course required Digi Design Hardware. The 003 wasn’t happening, the mic pres where fair to middling and the D2A converters down right sucked! I had it for importing my sessions and exporting them as pro Tools sessions to work with others over the internet as a first purpose with the hopes I could record with it as I eased into the learning curve which wasn’t very steep. This never panned out period, not because I didn’t like pro tools, because the hardware wasn’t up to snuff for sound and useability. Even with my Black Lion Audio moded MOTU A/D converters ADAT optical connected from the 003 the mic pres sounded edgy and sharp not mellow and transparent. Even great converters couldn’t fix bad!
Pro Tools Non-HD systems back then were made IMHO to have a measurable amount of latency even though computers have long been plenty powerful enough in RAM and processing to overcome latency issues even back then. It was a marketing ploy to keep their industry standard flagship HD systems selling that clearly backfired so badly at one point Apogee was making a killing selling I’O for use wit Pro Tools that were even Windows compatible. With all the industries competitors having zero latency to the human ear available for then, back in 2005 and 2006, Digi Design had egg on their face those years as their other then HD market share died rapidly. Finally someone in power at Avid / Digi Design saw the light and decided the RIAA management style was a FAIL and opted for WINNING! in its place at the very last moment Pro Tools was hanging on as the industry standard by a thread.
In 2006 My Logic Pro DAW ran with less then 5ms of measurable latency like a champ in every way through my MOTU 896HD with full black lion modifications which sent me farther and farther from the industry standard Pro Tools. Logic has always used less systems resources then its competitors and still does to this day but the pack is catching up and Pro Tools is second IMO. Logic Pro also came with amazing sounding Virtual instruments, the best sampler of all time the EXS24 and an array of EQ’s, Compressors etc that rivaled the aftermarket Plugins easily pulverizing many of them in shootouts by professionals.
By the Time Pro Tools 9 was released in 2010 I was so immersed in my improving speedy workflow I wasn’t interested in buying another DAW that didn’t support many of the Plugins I was using due to the fact most came bundled in Logic Pro. The ones I had had purchased separately would but without additional RTAS EQ’s and Compressors that sounded up to my standards I could never mix with the accuracy I could in Logic Pro. Plus the fact that I had to own an ilok was unappealing to me, I had lost one before and it took a year to get my software back from the vendors simply because Pace ilok had no support whatsoever!
Since 2010 Pace has released the ilok II with a much improved user web interface to manage your plugin licenses, an ilok design that is durable sturdy (not like the original that was a POS) and although very, slow a customer support ticketing system to give support. Pro Tools also now comes bundled Virtual a few instruments that are not very functional but the plugins are. With the addition of Avid’s channel strip from system 5 and the additions to Audio Suite, Pro Tools comes with some nice sounding tools that weren’t included in years past. However the major change is not requiring Digi Design Hardware to run pro tools, Pro Tools 9 and 10 will Run on Core Audio for Macintosh and any ASIO driver equipped Windows sound device.
I purchased an ilok from my friends at RSPE and of course it was on my doorstep in 72 hours. However I only plan to use it for pro tools, I don’t trust pace enough to put Celemony’s Melodyne Studio, RMX, Superior 2.0, BFD, Omnisphere, Sonik Synth 2, Native Instruments Komplete 8 etc. licenses in the hands of Pace, probably not ever.
Now you can run Pro Tools on almost any interface from the top of the line Apogee line to a cheap line 6 UX1 equipped with USB 2.0. As far as I can surmise at this point the latency is now gone and you can record a vocal without an echo of your voice coming through the headphone mix (pre-processor processed) 500 Milliseconds later. My testes omit USB 2.0 because it’s not a good platform for D/A conversion with Low or No latency. I’m excited to start working with Pro Tools again and to be a Part of the Newly Redesigned Protoolsusers.org
Lastly an update, I’ve been extremely busy writing software and with my day to day normal duties. The next part of Garageband for iOS review is chugging along. It’s progress has been slowed by work and Captain Obvious here, who’s tried far to many arrangements to see what sounded good in an attempt to be ridiculously anal for a tech article to be syndicated by webzines and such. I’ll get the project to part IV as soon as I can :)
Until Next time Stay Melodic!