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Your honest opinion. Migrating to ProTools M-Powerd from Sonar 6 PE Audio Interfaces
Old 13th September 2007
  #1
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Smile Your honest opinion. Migrating to ProTools M-Powerd from Sonar 6 PE

First of all, what an awesome site! I’ve learned so much this past week.

So here is my dilemma, I have used Cakewalk products since 1994. I always wanted to use Protools but because of the huge price, it wasn’t an option.

Im about to start recording a new album for a local rap group, and im getting pressure from the studio to start using protools since M-Powered will work with my audiophile 2496. No one there has experience with Protools, so I can’t simply ask them.
I won’t ask the typical "Sonar vs. Protools" questions , I have read enough to know the obvious pros and cons. But my question is; should I attempt to at least learn it? Will my migration to Protools be easier than someone who has never used any kind of PC based setup?

I guess my true question is about the learning curve. I don’t want to spend more time learning it, than actually creating music on it.

I don’t have a "fantasy" that using Protools will help me create instant hits, I know it’s not about the tools, but about the person using the tools. But when the person has good tools, then good music usually follows.

Im torn about this guys. Has anyone did the switch to Protools from Sonar...or switched from Protools to Sonar?

Your thoughts and suggestions are welcomed.

Blizo-
Old 13th September 2007
  #2
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andsonic's Avatar
 

You will definitely get flamed on this one. I say go for PT m-powered.

I just got it.
BUt...
I mainly use Samplitude. Our studio also has Digital performer & Logic Pro.

I got PT because I want to be able to open and save PT sessions. So... I work in what's comfortable for me, but I have PT for compatibility with the "industry standard".

BTW... Most DAWs support broadcast wave format. That means raw audio tracks can be transferred between applications fairly easily.
Old 13th September 2007
  #3
I imagine you'll like some things (once you get used to them) and not like some others (mainly arbitrary limitations and the lack of full PDC) -- but it may well make you more competitive and that can't be bad.

I would not throw out Sonar, however.

Old 13th September 2007
  #4
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Yeah, now that I re-read what I posted, its obvious I asked the same dayum question everyone else has.

I wont get rid of Sonar as I have hundreds of projects using that.

I guess I will do what I always do with new software; install it, use it, and LEARN it. Trial and error.

Thanks guys, next time I wont ask such a newbie question. LOL, or at least try not too.
Old 13th September 2007
  #5
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slaves666's Avatar
I'm on Nuendo since V1 and Cubase since V5.....I just bought a new studio PC and my old one is going to get an Mbox. The lack of PDC, and limited tracks keeps me out of the Digi game, but I want to have a system to open sessions on, and possibly other things.
Old 14th September 2007
  #6
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blizo View Post
Yeah, now that I re-read what I posted, its obvious I asked the same dayum question everyone else has.

I wont get rid of Sonar as I have hundreds of projects using that.

I guess I will do what I always do with new software; install it, use it, and LEARN it. Trial and error.

Thanks guys, next time I wont ask such a newbie question. LOL, or at least try not too.
I don't think there's anything wrong with asking for folks' insights into it... I wish I had something more specific to tell you. I think the transition to or from PT from Sonar is a little less jarring -- in most ways but not all -- than in between some other DAWs I can think of. That said, there are PT specific ways of doing a number of familiar things -- and a couple of very powerful features (like playlists) that may take a second to get on the wavelength of.

I think when jumping from one complex DAW (or other kind of) platform to another, you can get so tired of the transition that when you know how to recreate a semblance of your regular workflow, you're so burned out that you just want to get on with it rather than then going on to explore new or unfamiliar ways of doing things that may open up with a different tool set.
Old 14th September 2007
  #7
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I was in the same boat as you. I used Cakewalk products since 1995, and I switched to Pro Tools 2 weeks ago. You'll find that it will take you a lot longer to become productive in pro Tools because nothing is intuitive.

For instance, there's no button to add a click track in the control panel. So then you go to the (600+ page) manual (that you have to print it out yourself), only to discover they don't tell you how to set up a good click track. So then you go to the pro tools message boards, and you find out that there's actually 10,000 ways to add a click track, followed by lengthy discussions as to whose click track method is superior.

It's not bad, just don't expect it to be a quick and painless transition.
Old 14th September 2007
  #8
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First, check out my thread: Pro Tools LE 7.1 vs. Cubase 4, ready.... GO!!!

I never actually finished that thread but I'll give you a summary. Switching to Cubase 4 was the best thing I've done.

Don't get me wrong - I ABSOLUTELY LOVE PRO TOOLS HD. In fact I disagree with you, I think Pro Tools it is THE MOST INTUITIVE in the industry. At least makes a lot more sense than my Cubase 4 with its spaceship futuristic look. However, the problem is the LE and M-Powered part. The no delay compensation and latency issues on these versions did it for me tutt - not counting issues with the midi editor, plug-ins costs/variety, and # of tracks - among others.

When I have more dinero I will go the Pro Tools HD route, for now I have both Cubase 4 and Pro Tools M-Powered. Yet, I have not opened Pro Tools M-Powered once since C4. Just my 2 million cents
Old 14th September 2007
  #9
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DontLetMeDrown's Avatar
 

About 3 months ago, I started interning and have since been receiving a crash course in PT HD. I've been using Sonar for many years. PT will definitely leave you scratching your head sometimes if you are used to Sonar. First thing, grab the reference manual and start reading about Delay Compensation settings, Beat Detective, Groups, Region Lists, Track playlists and the Smart tool. Most of the other stuff will feel very intuitive. Seriously though, it's not rocket science-- if you are familiar with Sonar you won't have too much trouble, but it helps to keep the manual close by for when you can't find simple stuff in the menus. Oh and something that might not be too obvious: In Sonar, when two tracks overlap, both play, but in PT, only the track on top will be heard. Another thing is that most people turn on the PT setting where it creates auto fades, then when you consolidate and export, there are pops and clicks-- so make sure you either turn off that setting or don't forget to do all your crossfades. Good luck
Old 14th September 2007
  #10
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Blizo View Post
But my question is; should I attempt to at least learn it? Will my migration to Protools be easier than someone who has never used any kind of PC based setup?
If you work in or with several studios then yes, learn it. It's nice to have an extra string to your bow. Also bear in mind you'll be in the position to work on projects brought to you by home users with their MBoxes. I started off in PT and found it highly intuitive. In my opinion it's the DAW that closest emulates working with a desk, outboard and tape in terms of workflow and configuration.

Quote:
Has anyone did the switch to Protools from Sonar...or switched from Protools to Sonar?
I now work exclusively in Sonar. This is mainly because of a lack of restrictions on which hardware I can use, but I'm happy with it. Alternatively if budget allowed I'd be happy with PT-HD linked directly to Lynx or Apogee converters.
Old 14th September 2007
  #11
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Sugarnutz's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by spjessop View Post
I started off in PT and found it highly intuitive. In my opinion it's the DAW that closest emulates working with a desk, outboard and tape in terms of workflow and configuration.
This why I like PT. I came from a background of old school analog and PT originally evolved from that as it was the first real DAW and it took from the analog world conventions, it was the first step. A lot of younger people had never worked that way before, so using something like Sonar or Cubase was thier introduction to recording and they feel more comfortable with that.
Old 14th September 2007
  #12
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sugarnutz View Post
This why I like PT. I came from a background of old school analog and PT originally evolved from that as it was the first real DAW and it took from the analog world conventions...
Exactly. It may not be as configurable as other DAWs, but often one of it's biggest strengths is that you can always rely on it not surprising you.
Old 14th September 2007
  #13
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Thanks everyone. Very good insite. Exactly what I needed to know.
Old 15th September 2007
  #14
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oceantracks's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stratgirl View Post
I was in the same boat as you. I used Cakewalk products since 1995, and I switched to Pro Tools 2 weeks ago. You'll find that it will take you a lot longer to become productive in pro Tools because nothing is intuitive.

For instance, there's no button to add a click track in the control panel. So then you go to the (600+ page) manual (that you have to print it out yourself), only to discover they don't tell you how to set up a good click track. So then you go to the pro tools message boards, and you find out that there's actually 10,000 ways to add a click track, followed by lengthy discussions as to whose click track method is superior.

It's not bad, just don't expect it to be a quick and painless transition.
Or you could just instantiate the CLICK plug in, and press PLAY.


TH
Old 15th September 2007
  #15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sugarnutz View Post
This why I like PT. I came from a background of old school analog and PT originally evolved from that as it was the first real DAW and it took from the analog world conventions, it was the first step. A lot of younger people had never worked that way before, so using something like Sonar or Cubase was thier introduction to recording and they feel more comfortable with that.
Well, I came from the analog world, too, doing my first overdub as a jr high school age kid in the mid-60s and going through a couple recording arts programs at local comm. colleges in the early 80s -- we learned the basic theory of digital but that was about it. We didn't even have digital reverbs or delays unless someone brought one in.

But I have been using Cakewalk (Pro Audio and now Sonar Pro) since 1996. It was the first affordable solution that would allow me to create a host-based DAW around my two ADATs and my old Wavecenter ADAT i/o card. It offered me (relatively) unfettered DAW functionality with OS level audio and MIDI support when all of my other computer music friends (almost all on Macs) were stuck with just MIDI.

Coming from the MIDI only world of my old sequencer, the somewhat Mac-centric Master Tracks Pro, into the CWPA paradigm wasn't too bad -- and, used to dealing with the complexities of synching a 5 module MIDI rig with a double ADAT rig, CWPA's approach to audio was relatively painless.

When I do shoulder time with my friends as they're working on PT, there are a few things that slip past me, but the rationale of its features mostly makes sense to me.

But, yeah, basically, as far as digital audio recording goes, I came up on CW/Sonar and it is, pretty much, second nature.
Old 15th September 2007
  #16
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LewisWu's Avatar
 

I’ve always used cubase and acid.. protools was cost prohibitive, and i didn't like being bound to an audio interface.. but years ago when i read of avid's acquisition of m-audio, i knew a native protools was on the horizon.

the people I make music with use protools. and being able to pick up a copy on eBay for cheap, meant that i could interact with their computers a little more easily. So for me, m-powered was a matter of convenience... In that it made making music with my friends easier ^_^
Old 15th September 2007
  #17
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Just a quick reply to the original post...having just added a PTLE station to the control room. There are many limitations other that track count and surround capability that LE imposes. I have read most of the 600 page manual, and am tired of seeing "HD only" for the exact function I was looking for that Sonar already does. Having said that, PT will allow you to make a record, but it wion't have nearly the versatility with plugins that you probably now have with a ten-year collection from Sonar.
Old 16th September 2007
  #18
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I use pt le too. And believe me those limitations won't disturb so much. It's a wonderful software with many great features. I have used cubase/nuendo/sonar, and after many years I was forced to use protools, although at time I didn't wanted it. Now I'm in love with it. OK, there are some limitations, but to be honest others has limitations too, not to mention that many times what their advertise that their software is capable of, it's not true. (cubase4 first edition fiasco, back in the days sonar had so many nasty bugs, etc.) I don't say that pt has no bugs, but 7,3 is a very stable great software.
Tamas Dragon
Old 16th September 2007
  #19
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Sugarnutz's Avatar
I did not mention the fact that I am not on PTLE, nor HD. I use a Mix+ system consisting of a Mix Core, a Mix Farm and two 24-bit ADAT bridges. This system runs on PT 6.4.1 which was the last available version for Mix systems, Also I run it on a PC, not a MAC. This system was very cost effective in that I got everything fo about $2K, about the cost of a new 003. The advantages to my Mix+ system over a PTLE is that I currently have thirty-two channels 24-bit digital I/O (expandable), my track limit is 64 tracks and I have access to some TDM plugins. With current prices the way they are I could (and proboably will) purchase two more Mix Farms (giving me more processing power) and a pair of Apogee AD8000s with the Mix cards in them giving me an additional 16 channels of excellent analog I/O. Cost for this upgrade is about $3500. I also am able to run this system on an older P4 machine, which reduces my overall cost of the system. My current P4 motherboard is a 6 slot job made by Intel that is extremely stable and the extra slot is great for adding more cards without an expansion chassis. The main reason I bring this up is that it is an excellent way for someone to get more functionaliity/performance than a PTLE rig for way less money than a full-blown HD system.
Old 16th September 2007
  #20
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by DontLetMeDrown View Post
Oh and something that might not be too obvious: In Sonar, when two tracks overlap, both play, but in PT, only the track on top will be heard. Another thing is that most people turn on the PT setting where it creates auto fades, then when you consolidate and export, there are pops and clicks-- so make sure you either turn off that setting or don't forget to do all your crossfades. Good luck
On that note: A lot of people don't realize that by default, PT applies Dither to fades, crossfades, and all AudioSuite processing. These can be turned off in the fade dialog, and in the PT preferences.
Old 16th September 2007
  #21
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stratgirl View Post
I was in the same boat as you. I used Cakewalk products since 1995, and I switched to Pro Tools 2 weeks ago. You'll find that it will take you a lot longer to become productive in pro Tools because nothing is intuitive.

For instance, there's no button to add a click track in the control panel. So then you go to the (600+ page) manual (that you have to print it out yourself), only to discover they don't tell you how to set up a good click track. So then you go to the pro tools message boards, and you find out that there's actually 10,000 ways to add a click track, followed by lengthy discussions as to whose click track method is superior.

It's not bad, just don't expect it to be a quick and painless transition.
There's nothing painful about click tracks in PT. Use the click plugin or find a click you like and copy paste to the grid, with the track set to ticks.

Admittedly it's easier to start a metronome in Cakewalk, Live, Garageband, etc, but they don't give you any control over the click.

P.S. You don't have to print out the manual.

P.S.S. I don't think there 10,000 methods... probably more like 2 - plugin or pasted on the grid
Old 16th September 2007
  #22
Quote:
Originally Posted by tamasdragon View Post
I use pt le too. And believe me those limitations won't disturb so much. It's a wonderful software with many great features. I have used cubase/nuendo/sonar, and after many years I was forced to use protools, although at time I didn't wanted it. Now I'm in love with it. OK, there are some limitations, but to be honest others has limitations too, not to mention that many times what their advertise that their software is capable of, it's not true. (cubase4 first edition fiasco, back in the days sonar had so many nasty bugs, etc.) I don't say that pt has no bugs, but 7,3 is a very stable great software.
Tamas Dragon
I've been using CW/Sonar since 1996 and I don't really recall all those nasty bugs. Maybe you were using parts of it that I wasn't but -- aside from the admittedly nasty mute automation bug that took the better part of a 12 month release cycle to fix -- I'm not dredging up much in the nasty bug department out of memory. Maybe it's a neurotic response on my part to suppressed emotional trauma... heh (And I certainly don't know of any bugs in 6.2, which is not to say there may not be some. In my experience, CW has generally stepped up forthrightly and fixed things quickly, often within a month or two. [Now that's nothing compared to the sometimes hourly bug-fix turnaround with Reaper, of course.)



What bugs did you have in mind?



Quote:
Originally Posted by 2012 View Post
There's nothing painful about click tracks in PT. Use the click plugin or find a click you like and copy paste to the grid, with the track set to ticks.

Admittedly it's easier to start a metronome in Cakewalk, Live, Garageband, etc, but they don't give you any control over the click.

...[snip]
CW/Sonar doesn't give you any control over the click???

What kind of control do you mean?

If you mean the sound of the click, Sonar allows you to pick a MIDI signal or an audio sample and has a bunch of appropriate audio samples right at your disposal, a number of side sticks, woodblocks, hats, even a couple Urei-style clicks, etc, etc. You can also change a number of options like record count-in, measures, beats, whether the metronome plays on record or playback or both, and you can have a different sound or MIDI note for the first beat of a measure from the following beats.


It's easy to make an honest mistake -- but when one makes a pat statement like that, he should probably be just a little more sure of his facts before he rushes to join the flood of people talking without knowing.

Old 16th September 2007
  #23
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I have many automation problems with sonar back in those days. There were plugins which could be only partially automated (pantheon rev.) One of the most notable for me as I met it many times: when punch recording, newly recorded clips were 3dB too loud if the panning law was set to -3dB, tempo changes could cause automation envelopes to not be rendered correctly, copying and pasting a MIDI clip would sometimes result in a clip that was slightly longer than the original clip,etc. It was long ago, but it seemed to me that I met all of the bugs.
TD
Old 16th September 2007
  #24
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Stratgirl's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by oceantracks View Post
Or you could just instantiate the CLICK plug in, and press PLAY.
Yea, thanks genius.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2012 View Post
There's nothing painful about click tracks in PT.

yea, you guys missed the point, which is, he shouldn't expect to transition to a new platform without having to make some adjustments to what comes so easy to him now.

Old 17th September 2007
  #25
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Blizo.
who is pressuring u to learn a new product ??
and why ??
if u already are comfortable with what u use, why not use that ??
instead of a new learning curve.
or,..is the pressure your getting from a client who really doesnt know much bout recording
products, but has fallen for the old marketing gambit.
if this is the situation i would just educate the client that a good song can be done in any software these days. its all in the hands of the user as your aware.

i recorded a young "impressionable" group last year, who intially asked me if i had a certain product.
to which i replied... thats yesterdays news , i use something i like better.
after i recorded the first trak for em i didnt hear a peep...lol.
the rampant problem i see these days is young impressionable people falling for marketing.
its akin to a sheep syndrome. thankfully your realistic that a lot of it is as you say "fantasy".

blue.re reaper bugs.
no wish to annoy you...but....honestly ive never encountered anything
that stopped me doing my songs in the product.
ive been useing it a year now. day in/out recording.
reaper has been outstanding for my needs.
so i think the word "bug" is a tad harsh.
cos ive never had any showstoppers.
in reply i could point you to certain sonar users that are v excited bout reaper.
and post on the reaper forum.
i think its more a case of every product has plusses and minuses.
but i still have respect for sonar , even tho i see various sonar users suggesting the app has become rather large.
all the best.
Old 17th September 2007
  #26
Manning -- I think you misunderstood what I was saying about Reaper.

I was touting their excellent bug-fix turnaround time -- not at all criticizing them! I've literally heard of him adding a whole feature in a few hours after a feature request.

On the contrary, Cockos impresses the heck out of me!

Old 17th September 2007
  #27
Quote:
Originally Posted by tamasdragon View Post
I have many automation problems with sonar back in those days. There were plugins which could be only partially automated (pantheon rev.) One of the most notable for me as I met it many times: when punch recording, newly recorded clips were 3dB too loud if the panning law was set to -3dB, tempo changes could cause automation envelopes to not be rendered correctly, copying and pasting a MIDI clip would sometimes result in a clip that was slightly longer than the original clip,etc. It was long ago, but it seemed to me that I met all of the bugs.
TD
Sometimes the pain and frustration of a pernicious bug can last a long time... heh

I don't recall the panning law problem, myself, but that doesn't mean it wasn't real, by any means. There are six panning law options now, though, and, as far as I know, they all work as expected.

The tempo-change thing I remember from past projects. I didn't think of it so much as a bug as a behavior I wished was different. I'll admit it's been a while since I changed the tempo of something that already had automation so I can't tell you if that behavior has changed or not. I guess I got in the habit of getting my tempo straight before I started mixing because I really don't have any MIDI only projects as a rule.

The MIDI cut and paste issue I was never really aware of and I've usually done a fair amount of editing of both audio and MIDI material -- but certainly it's been easy enough to end up selecting the wrong bits because of snap settings and so forth, though I doubt that's what you mean.

Thanks for the insight into what you were talking about, though! Just as the pain of a noxious bug can linger -- some other folks may have a "forgive and forget" coping mechanism that puts a happy face on past vexations. I'm always on guard against succumbing to that, myself, which is why I try to remind myself of things like the mute automation bug (now long passed) that annoyed the heck out of me... just so my rosy memories match up a little better with occasionally vexing reality.
Old 17th September 2007
  #28
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blue.
my apologies.
been mixin all day..addle brained.
(old age creeping on...lol...just got a pension check ..dam frickin taxes.)
yes i mis read it.
(your a very nice person).
i thought i was reading the comment as tho there were oodles of bugs.
v sorry mate.
Old 17th September 2007
  #29
No apologies necessary!

Even though I don't use Reaper, I have an eval copy and try to keep it up to date.

I like that scrappy little software and I'm probably a bit defensive of it, or at least the developer, too. So, not to worry.

I think any developing software that shows so much consideration to the user base should be nurtured.

heh
Old 17th September 2007
  #30
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by theblue1 View Post

CW/Sonar doesn't give you any control over the click???

What kind of control do you mean?

If you mean the sound of the click, Sonar allows you to pick a MIDI signal or an audio sample and has a bunch of appropriate audio samples right at your disposal, a number of side sticks, woodblocks, hats, even a couple Urei-style clicks, etc, etc. You can also change a number of options like record count-in, measures, beats, whether the metronome plays on record or playback or both, and you can have a different sound or MIDI note for the first beat of a measure from the following beats.


It's easy to make an honest mistake -- but when one makes a pat statement like that, he should probably be just a little more sure of his facts before he rushes to join the flood of people talking without knowing.

Admittedly, I've never used Sonar or seen much of it. So my experience with Cakewalk is limited to the pre-Sonar days.

So what... 2 out of 3 ain't bad. And, I did say Cakewalk... not Sonar. heh

It's nice that Sonar lets you control all of that, BTW.
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