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Closest thing to Pro Tools? Dynamic Microphones
Old 30th September 2007
  #1
Registered User
 

Closest thing to Pro Tools?

Hey guys,

I am curious what DAW out there is the closest thing to pro tools as far as editing audio and the layout. The reason I ask is I plan on building up a good recording studio once I graduate and I need to start somewhere. Unfortunatley I won't be starting at Pro Tools HD unless I produce a grammy winning album or win the lottery (both equally not likely) so I figured I would keep my Pro Tools m-powered system for some editing features, but up grade my main system so I can get maximum inputs and outputs to and from a DAW for tracking and mixing through an analog console. I would also like it to have great editing features too. I eventually will get an HD system if I can, but was thinking cheaper to start, maybe some MOTU converters...

I have researched all of the DAWS and know a lot about each, but am curious to know from actual users who may know more about them and how close they are in feel to pro tools. I am so used to pro tools I don't really want to step into a whole different world with something else. I have been looking at DP, Logic, Nuendo, etc.

Thanks guys.
Old 30th September 2007
  #2
Lives for gear
 

Well, Ardour is pretty close in many regards - and it's free

I'm not sure if it does what you want to however. Otherwise I hear a lot of people comparing Digital Performer to Pro Tools a lot. I have used DP some but really not enough to say if it's the closest thing to PT.
Old 30th September 2007
  #3
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evangelista's Avatar
 

Though I hate to admit it, I think ProTools has the best UI. Nothing edits easier IMO.

Having said that, I'm a Digital Performer user. Way more bang for the buck, especially on the hardware side (HD192). And I do feel it's closer to PT than, say, Logic or Nuendo.

I keep an LE rig on hand for compatibilities sake.

Ivan
Old 30th September 2007
  #4
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Though I hate to admit it, I think ProTools has the best UI. Nothing edits easier IMO.
You've got to be using a Mac. IMO, Protools is brutal to edit with for someone used to a PC.
Old 30th September 2007
  #5
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evangelista's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by craigmorris74 View Post
You've got to be using a Mac. IMO, Protools is brutal to edit with for someone used to a PC.
You are correct, sir. Sorry, I probably should have specified.

Ivan
Old 30th September 2007
  #6
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i don't feel as if i have any limitations in my editing while using pro-tools on a pc...

just zing zing zing....
Old 30th September 2007
  #7
Gear Maniac
 

But you have to know how to use ProTools. I can use and edit with other formats without consulting manuals. ProTools may edit better, but it sure seems to require a lot of effort.
Old 30th September 2007
  #8
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it doesn't, from my experiences.

i came from using sonar for a few years and i found that much more difficult. i wouldn't say you have to consult the manual to learn how to edit...but of course, it has a learning curve the same as any other program...

a good looking over of the keyboard shortcuts and you should be flying in no time.
Old 30th September 2007
  #9
mds
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I'd say from an audio point of view Nuendo is probably the most similar in functionality. Or at least I like editing in it more than DP, Logic, etc. The new Logic may change that, though.
Old 30th September 2007
  #10
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Vandergraf's Avatar
 

Check out REAPER (if you are running Windows).

I was able to run it on an old Dell laptop and it was very responsive and stable. It is "un-expiring shareware" and is pretty impressive.

Van
Old 30th September 2007
  #11
Registered User
 

Thanks for the replies. Sorry I didn't mention I am a mac user...
Old 30th September 2007
  #12
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Tony Shepperd's Avatar
Before you go to far down the road of "I can't afford an HD system", you might want to consider this.
You can get a helluva bang for your buck with an HD 1 and a decent Mac.
It puts you in the HD family and you can get plugins for super cheap on eBay.
You can always go native with RTAS if you want to, but still have the power and speed of the HD rig.
Old 30th September 2007
  #13
Gear Addict
 

If you only want to replace PT LE because you want more I/O and can't afford HD then what makes you think you can afford a console or all the gear required to make having more channels meaningful? Supplying decent front-end for 24 or 32 or 48 inputs is going to cost plenty. You could have thousands invested in cabling and patchbays!

Go for quality, not quantity. Sixteen inputs with great pre's is a much better situation than 48 channels of low-end to middle of the road gear. Hell, I'd rather make a record with four 1073's and nothing else than 24 channels of mackie. It would be a challenge but I damn sure know I could make it work.

When it comes down to money, PTLE is competitive with anything you have to pay for. Other programs do allow unlimited track counts but what difference does that really make until you are ready for that kind of work.

For the record I don't use PT for work but I do have a LE rig for convenience.
Old 30th September 2007
  #14
Hate to be the party pooper but:

-If you're intending to work on anything other than demos for bands where you're the sole engineer/producer, realistically you're going to need some form of Pro-Tools. An HD1 is the cheapest professional way to go (I've heard reports of $5-6k from ebay if you already have the mac to put it in) - you don't really want to be messing around with buffer sizes etc with paying clients.

-There's more to setting up a studio than being a great engineer. Everything from room design, what gear is going to be the greatest client puller (if you're attempting to lure freelancers to your room), the day-to-day management of a space, getting and maintaining clients, business plans etc.

-Does your area (or the area you're looking to work in) really NEED another low-mid level studio? if there are bands clamouring to book time, then great - otherwise you're going to be competing with all the other owner operators out there for band demos/indie label work. Check out the rates others are charging for their time and see if you can establish a business on these prices.

A much BETTER idea would be to find someone with an already established room that you can bring clients into. This frees you up to do what you want to do - engineering and producing. Spend what cash you do have on some nice pieces of gear that complement what already exists in the space, and enough time spent working this way should teach you enough about running a studio to know if you want to set up your own place - without the huge risks involved.

It's my firm belief that anyone who wants to open their own studio should already have worked professionally in that field - that way you can learn the way things already work, avoid mistakes others make and hopefully bring some of your own business ideas to the party.
Old 30th September 2007
  #15
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AlexLakis's Avatar
 

I think Reaper has a Pro Tools skin, doesn't it?
Old 30th September 2007
  #16
Gear Head
 

I think DP is the most like PT.

But then again I don't have a problem with LE.
Old 30th September 2007
  #17
Registered User
 

you have all been helpful. thanks for the replies. thats pretty much the same thing they tell us at school, "don't build your own studio." But I am a gear freak and love it and just really want my own studio. It doesn't have to be in a commercial building, but something for me to play with and record people on the side, or maybe one day full time. I play in a band, write my own stuff, blah blah blah, all that and love to record others as well. I guess I am looking for the cheapest, most professional way of doing it while trying to stay compatible with todays industry. I could probably just hold off and wait until I CAN get an HD rig and then not worry about it. Music is about the only thing I spend my money on, so if I have to buy expensive toys/tools, thats fine. I want to make a living recording and playing music, as we all do and want to work my way up to that point instead of taking out a massive loan and going bankrupt.
Old 30th September 2007
  #18
Registered User
 

Basically, the way I am thinking today, is that once I am in the position to start building and upgrading my "studio," I would probably be able to do the $15,000-$25,000 range. With this in mind, I have already priced out all or most of the gear I would buy to get a really nice home studio set up that I could use myself and for paying clients.

Here are my requirments:
1. Recording system (DAW) that will allow at least 16 in and around 30 outputs for mixing.
2. Analog Console
3. As good of converters I can get while staying reasonable
4. A "decent" set of mics to start
5. At least one good preamp, at least 2 channels to start

Keep in mind that I will upgrade as I go adding to my mic collection. This was what I have come up with (all retail price, I'm sure I can find it cheaper on ebay for at least a few things):

Computer
Mac-$2500
Interface/Converters
MOTU 24 i/o- $1420
MOTU 2408 MK3- $949
Mics
-Nueman U87- $2999
-Shure Sm 81 (x2)- $700
-Shure Sm 57 (x3)- $300
-Audix D6- $199
-Sennheiser E604 (x3)- $350
-Blue Woodpecker Ribbon- $999
Mic Pre's
-Something like a UA or Avalon for around $2000
Console
-I would like the Toft ATB 24 but may start with something like an Allen & Heath GL 2400 for around $2000. This would later be upgraded for sure.

The grand total for all of this comes to roughly $15k-$18 (depending on the console) to start, not including cables, patchbay, furniture, sound treatment, etc. I figure this would give me a very reasonable quality set up to get the ball rolling. I could then use my current Pro Tools m-powered system just to have pro tools for editing and things. I love pro tools, but in order to have the set up I want with an HD rig would cost quite a bit more putting me more towards $30k-$40k I would imagine. This is something I would work towards once I seen how things were going and hopefully started making some bucks.

I am loving all of the advice you guys are giving, and I'm sure a lot of you will read this and say, dumb ass kid is gonna suck at life if he does this, but thats why I posted it to see what you guys think. I am learning and loving it, so lets hear what you think??
Old 30th September 2007
  #19
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allencollins's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by sethbrand_12 View Post
Hey guys,

I am curious what DAW out there is the closest thing to pro tools as far as editing audio and the layout. The reason I ask is I plan on building up a good recording studio once I graduate and I need to start somewhere. Unfortunatley I won't be starting at Pro Tools HD unless I produce a grammy winning album or win the lottery (both equally not likely) so I figured I would keep my Pro Tools m-powered system for some editing features, but up grade my main system so I can get maximum inputs and outputs to and from a DAW for tracking and mixing through an analog console. I would also like it to have great editing features too. I eventually will get an HD system if I can, but was thinking cheaper to start, maybe some MOTU converters...

I have researched all of the DAWS and know a lot about each, but am curious to know from actual users who may know more about them and how close they are in feel to pro tools. I am so used to pro tools I don't really want to step into a whole different world with something else. I have been looking at DP, Logic, Nuendo, etc.

Thanks guys.

I look at it this way. Let's say you are about to graduate carpentry school as opposed to AE school. Would you be asking what hammer out there is the closest thing to sears craftsman??? I doubt it.

Do yourself the favor now and don't get caught up in the PT vs DAW's war. It's pointless. ProTools is just that, a Tool. I don't find it all the much of a Professional tool especially the sound of their converters but overall it is usable.

80% of grammy winning recording studios still use analog gear. The other 15% are probably using Radar and maybe 5% using protools or similar. It really is mostly home and semi pro studios useing protools and most of them use the LE.

If protools was really that great why is it only $200 at guitar center???

Also the motu converters are not that great
Old 30th September 2007
  #20
Gear Maniac
 
Sensual Ears's Avatar
 

regarding editing in PT - mac vs. pc:

they are nearly identical! what is all this talk about editing on a mac being so much easier?

to original poster:

you want PT, you just don't want the limitations of LE. do yourself a favor and get PT LE and then decide whether or not you are actually limited by it. if so, incorporate a 2nd DAW into your workflow, that will allow you to work around the limitations of PT LE.
Old 1st October 2007
  #21
Gear Addict
 
samwinston123's Avatar
 

I just got a GL2400 and I think you'll be more than happy with it for quite a while. The EQ is very usable.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sensual Ears View Post
regarding editing in PT - mac vs. pc:

they are nearly identical! what is all this talk about editing on a mac being so much easier?
I am guessing this is coming from Mac users who can't figure out the hot keys in Windows (it's all about the right click!). I learned them on Mac, but use them more often in Windows now.
Old 1st October 2007
  #22
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Acoustic Cloud's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by sethbrand_12 View Post
Hey guys,

I am curious what DAW out there is the closest thing to pro tools as far as editing audio and......
Playstation 3. heh
Old 1st October 2007
  #23
Quote:
Originally Posted by allencollins View Post
I look at it this way. Let's say you are about to graduate carpentry school as opposed to AE school. Would you be asking what hammer out there is the closest thing to sears craftsman??? I doubt it.

Do yourself the favor now and don't get caught up in the PT vs DAW's war. It's pointless. ProTools is just that, a Tool. I don't find it all the much of a Professional tool especially the sound of their converters but overall it is usable.

80% of grammy winning recording studios still use analog gear. The other 15% are probably using Radar and maybe 5% using protools or similar. It really is mostly home and semi pro studios useing protools and most of them use the LE.

If protools was really that great why is it only $200 at guitar center???

Also the motu converters are not that great
I agree with your sentiment of don't get caught up in the wars - but I was going on the assumption he wanted to make a studio as a business, not just as a fun thing on the side. If you just want to do your own thing, get what you want - PT LE would be fine for that with some extra converters, track 18in/out through your console. No point switching if you know and like it already. And if it's your own projects/favours for mates etc, who cares if you have to stop and go "wait a moment...gotta bounce some plugins so we can get latency low enough to track vocals" or whatever. You just can't get away with that in a professional studio.

And allencollins, do you just make up stats on the spot or what?! Over the past 5 years I've worked in 7-8 of the top London studios (including grammy winners) .....I've done 2 sessions where tape was used from beginning to end on a project (ie the track was mixed from tape), numerous where tape is used either at tracking or as a 2-track master, but the vast majority are digital start to finish - albeit mixed on an analogue board if the budget allows. Even ignoring this, how many hip hop/RnB tracks/studios do you think don't use pro-tools/digital?! how many Grammys have the Lord-Alge brothers got between them (yes CLG mixes off a 3348 or something, but it starts off in pro-tools for submixes)?

Also never done a Radar session...to say "PT is only used by semi pro and hobbyists, and then it's mainly LE" is just making things up - just complete BS! I'd say it's more like 80% of Grammy winning studios in the UK barely fire up their tape machines year to year....
Old 1st October 2007
  #24
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AlexLakis's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by allencollins View Post
80% of grammy winning recording studios still use analog gear. The other 15% are probably using Radar and maybe 5% using protools or similar. It really is mostly home and semi pro studios useing protools and most of them use the LE.
I agree with your post, especially the part about Pro Tools being the cheapest...Everybody always complains about the price, but they don't realize that pound for pound, it's the cheapest option available, especially for a semi-pro-type setup. I would like to amend that probably at least 80% of grammy winning recording studios DO in fact have Pro Tools. Some have it just to have it, some use it just as an additional "tape machine" or edit tool, or to be able to open and port Pro Tools sessions they may receive from clients. But I'd say it's safe to say that most have it.
Old 1st October 2007
  #25
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Tony Shepperd's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by allencollins View Post
80% of grammy winning recording studios still use analog gear. The other 15% are probably using Radar and maybe 5% using Pro Tools or similar. It really is mostly home and semi pro studios using Pro Tools and most of them use the LE.

If protools was really that great why is it only $200 at guitar center???
No matter how many times you say it... it doesn't make it true.
Old 1st October 2007
  #26
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666666's Avatar
I use PT LE and love it in terms of editing, etc. However, like the original poster, I am also frustrated by the I/O limitation. HD is just too much $... especially when LE is more than adequate for me other than the I/O... with HD I'd be paying quite a few thousand more just for a few extra I/O. Need a more economical solution.

One thought I had was to keep PT LE strictly for editing... but get another DAW for recording and mixdown only... something that would allow 24+ channels of I/O, whatever converters I choose. This other DAW would essentially serve a "record / playback deck", and nothing more. All editing would happen in PT LE.

A few posts above have suggested that DP might be most like PT... yes? With DP, is it easy to get 24+ I/O using whatever converters you want? Any notable "issues" with the latest DP that would be an annoyance in a professional situation?

I'm not concerned about plugs since I mix mostly through analog... just need a good stable DAW that will give me 24+ hi-end I/O. Decent automation capability would be helpful though.

If indeed DP is the first choice for this situation, what might be a second choice?

Or.... since I do not have a need for lots of plug-ins, is it possible to get into an HD system (with 24 hi-end I/O) without spending too much? What might such a set-up run, COMPLETE, including a computer that is good enough to handle it? In the past whenever I've tried to price out what is needed for my situation (with HD), the price had always climbed to an astronomical level... but that was a while ago... maybe it's not too bad now?

Again, I'd need 24 hi-end I/O... and midi I/O... and probably a few digital I/O too. But no plug-ins, and thus no need for extra horsepower to run lots of plug-ins. Basically just need all the capability of PT LE (but not more), but with 24 hi-end I/O... how much?
Old 1st October 2007
  #27
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allencollins's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by psycho_monkey View Post
I agree with your sentiment of don't get caught up in the wars - but I was going on the assumption he wanted to make a studio as a business, not just as a fun thing on the side. If you just want to do your own thing, get what you want - PT LE would be fine for that with some extra converters, track 18in/out through your console. No point switching if you know and like it already. And if it's your own projects/favours for mates etc, who cares if you have to stop and go "wait a moment...gotta bounce some plugins so we can get latency low enough to track vocals" or whatever. You just can't get away with that in a professional studio.

And allencollins, do you just make up stats on the spot or what?! Over the past 5 years I've worked in 7-8 of the top London studios (including grammy winners) .....I've done 2 sessions where tape was used from beginning to end on a project (ie the track was mixed from tape), numerous where tape is used either at tracking or as a 2-track master, but the vast majority are digital start to finish - albeit mixed on an analogue board if the budget allows. Even ignoring this, how many hip hop/RnB tracks/studios do you think don't use pro-tools/digital?! how many Grammys have the Lord-Alge brothers got between them (yes CLG mixes off a 3348 or something, but it starts off in pro-tools for submixes)?

Also never done a Radar session...to say "PT is only used by semi pro and hobbyists, and then it's mainly LE" is just making things up - just complete BS! I'd say it's more like 80% of Grammy winning studios in the UK barely fire up their tape machines year to year....

Well most of the big studios here seem to still use 2in. Oceanway, conway, electric lady etc But Im sure your right. There may be many protools studio that have won grammys. Maybe I was wrong.

But saying you use protools these days could mean you have a $200 mbox le setup or Protools HD. Pretty wide difference in quality huh? I think hd sounds crappy in comparison to 2in analog, Radar or even ssl soundscape. Their converters are just average.

To me If I was a reputable grammy winning producer the first thing I would do is distance myself from a product such as protools.

I have never won a grammy I know I never will. I'll never engineer or produce a gold record but I'll never use protools either cuz I think it sounds bad.

If protools and similar DAW's are so good, why do all the big name studio still house SSL's and similar large format consoles??? Why do they still have studers? Why do they have racks of outboard?
Cuz protools is so good?? hmmm....
Old 1st October 2007
  #28
Quote:
Originally Posted by allencollins View Post
Well most of the big studios here seem to still use 2in. Oceanway, conway, electric lady etc But Im sure your right. There may be many protools studio that have won grammys. Maybe I was wrong.

But saying you use protools these days could mean you have a $200 mbox le setup or Protools HD. Pretty wide difference in quality huh? I think hd sounds crappy in comparison to 2in analog, Radar or even ssl soundscape. Their converters are just average.

To me If I was a reputable grammy winning producer the first thing I would do is distance myself from a product such as protools.

I have never won a grammy I know I never will. I'll never engineer or produce a gold record but I'll never use protools either cuz I think it sounds bad.

If protools and similar DAW's are so good, why do all the big name studio still house SSL's and similar large format consoles??? Why do they still have studers? Why do they have racks of outboard?
Cuz protools is so good?? hmmm....
I think you didn't make a good point.
Tracking to PT is a reality today.
Most big name studios still have studers 'cause they might need it someday, once in a while. Ask (those big name studios) how much use those Studers get today?
Having a large format console is another story...
Those won't die for a while...
I remember those big name studios having ALL your 2" machines aligned EVERY FREAKING DAY, 'cause they're used everyday around 8/10 years ago.
I'm not sure this happens today...
Old 1st October 2007
  #29
Quote:
Originally Posted by allencollins View Post
Well most of the big studios here seem to still use 2in. Oceanway, conway, electric lady etc But Im sure your right. There may be many protools studio that have won grammys. Maybe I was wrong.

But saying you use protools these days could mean you have a $200 mbox le setup or Protools HD. Pretty wide difference in quality huh? I think hd sounds crappy in comparison to 2in analog, Radar or even ssl soundscape. Their converters are just average.

To me If I was a reputable grammy winning producer the first thing I would do is distance myself from a product such as protools.

I have never won a grammy I know I never will. I'll never engineer or produce a gold record but I'll never use protools either cuz I think it sounds bad.

If protools and similar DAW's are so good, why do all the big name studio still house SSL's and similar large format consoles??? Why do they still have studers? Why do they have racks of outboard?
Cuz protools is so good?? hmmm....
I'll be the first one to agree that SSLs+other large format consoles, racks of outboard etc are a good thing, and most people hiring a facility to work in will expect them.

If you don't like PT, that's also up to you.

All the large studios definitely DO have the analogue machines - they just don't work on them very often. Even back in 2002 when I had the good fortune to be a runner at Abbey Road for 6 months, most work was done to Pro Tools (usually using Prism converters), with 3348 machines as a backup. The most use the 2inches got was being shuttled around the corridors, being moved out of the way.

There were several notable exceptions, but in general computers saw a lot more use even then - and I can only imagine there's even less being done to tape there now.
Old 1st October 2007
  #30
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Tony Shepperd's Avatar
Maybe it's a regional thing...

In the last 6 weeks I have been in 8 different commercial studios (tracking drums) in LA.
Every time I go to a studio, I ask them how long has it been since they have even turned on their analog machines.
For most of the studios they said about 6 months.
For some of the studios they said it's been a year since they had an analog session.
All complained about how they didn't like the sound of the formula for the new tape.

Now that there is a new ATR tape coming out, I hope there will be more tape projects, but in LA, it's mostly about Pro Tools HD in major commercial rooms.

NONE of them had a RADAR.
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