Pro Tools First: it’s a love-hate thing.

Well, I’ve spent the past week riding the Pro Tools first learning curve, as you well know if you’ve been reading along. Now that I have a feel for it, and know there are things going on that are not me being stupid, it’s time to bring some harsh reality down on my overall experience.

PLUS:.Sound quality is far better than audacity.

PLUS: It doesn’t pick up much junk noise.

PLUS: Once you learn it’s basic functions, the rest is reasonably intuitive. Things are more or less just where you expect them. Plugins add a lot of versatility.

MINUS: Ridiculous boot time on a PC well-within recommended system specs (I’m running it on win10, i7 processor. More than sufficient RAM and hard drive space for this sort of application-for reference.) At it’s best it takes 5 minutes to boot. At worst, twice that, or not at all.

MINUS: It crashes constantly. Once it crashes, it may take upwards of three attempts before the program clears out the error and will open again.

MINUS: It is causing system corruption. Let me say that again:  it is causing  system corruption. If left unchecked, this will eventually fry my computer. I am not sure if the error is in pro tools itself, or one of the plugins that came with it, but I have already had to reinstall Chrome due to corruption, and there are signs of struggle in my start menu. The constant crashing in ProTools is taking it’s toll, and, frankly, I can’t allow that to continue. Last night, the program actually screamed. It was ear-splitting.

The computer issues are the direct result of this program, so the minuses outweigh the pluses. I will be uninstalling the program and all of its components tonight in an effort to repair the damage it has caused.

After that, I don’t know. It could be a bug in the installation, so I might consider a clean reinstall, but more likely is that I will be reverting to audacity (but with the interface), while I research alternative programs in the hopes of finding something similar, but less glitchy, on a budget.

For now, saving my PC takes priority over fancy music programs, and then we’ll see.

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10 thoughts on “Pro Tools First: it’s a love-hate thing.

  1. I’m using win10 with a quadcore 3ghz processor and 8 gigs of ram, and probably have about 40-50 3rd party plugins. Plugins are like fonts – they all load up with the main program, in my case Cubase 7. I was using this setup under win7, 64b OS, and loved it. I left my PC on one night and it upgraded to win10. Since then, lots of weird bugs going on. For an alternative, I heard that Reaper was a decent DAW.

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    1. Yeah, I don’t have nearly that many plugins-maybe a dozen at absolute most, but I suspect with PTF, the cloud function + mystery plugins is causing some kind of constant resenting of signals over the Wi-Fi. Otherwise, why would my internet browser be the first thing for it to fry?

      Cubase and Reaper are both on my short list of programs to look into. The other that turned up in my first search was Cakewalk Sonar, so will look at that, too. I desperately need a new couch, and some financial recovery time after the holidays, so I can’t buy anything right now anyway-I have some time to research. Reaper, from what little I read is the cheapest, though, so glad you’ve heard something positive about it.

      My lappy is also an 8 to 10 upgrade. I can understand some glitching in programs that we’re installed at time of transition-occasionally a reinstall is needed, but I was one of the first group to get the upgrade, so I’ve been smooth sailing on 10 for ages. It’s only since ProTools that things are freaking out, and not a virus in sight, so for now, uninstalling all this new crap (other than the interface drivers) and giving the PC a thorough clean up is my priority. I’ll manage just fine continuing with Audacity for a while, while I repair the damage this thing has done. I’ll think more about which DAW to buy once things are running smoothly again.

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  2. I have Reaper. Its free for up to 60 days, and then there’s a message you have to sit through if you don’t purchase but want to continue evaluating it. They don’t disable any functions, it just hides behind a timer. Its very nice software. I think a license for home use is $60.

    That day that I had to sit on my thumbs instead of having a 2nd practice session, I read a thread on Talkbass that also addressed inexpensive DAWs. Reaper and Audacity got a lot of votes.

    https://www.talkbass.com/threads/simplest-recording-software-for-win-7-thats-cheap.1259721/

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    1. Good to know. I definitely want to free trial before throwing down any hunk of cash on anything after this PTF experience, and Reaper is definitely high on the maybe list.

      Audacity remains great for what it is, but after testing it beside pro tools, there is a definite difference in overall clarity of sound, even with all else being equal. That said, if PTF is going to crash my PC, it’s got to go.

      Audacity is what you’d call a workhorse, I think: it will get the job done, for free and reliably, without bells and whistles, and it is not at all taxing on the system because of that, but something a bit shinier will always be preferred by audiophiles. If not for the sound difference, I would happily plod along with audacity indefinitely, but I can hear the difference in clarity, so now I want that shinier thing for that alone. Ignorance is bliss, as they say. For now, repairing the damage done to my lappy takes priority over all else, so I’ll be strictly audacity until I’m absolutely sure the damage PTF caused isn’t serious. I don’t want lingering effects to color my opinion of whatever I try next.

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      1. I Googled “reaper vs pro tools”. Just from the first few links, I think you’ll find Reaper completely viable. What I’m curious about is the sound quality – but considering the number of professionals who are using it in their work, I think the sound quality between the two programs will be similar.

        I’ve only recorded in Audacity, so I have nothing to compare with, but this makes me curious since I haven’t had a need to try anything else very deeply yet.

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      2. Yeah. We do have to remember, though, that audacity is very old as this point, and that age probably accounts for a lot of the difference. Audacity just seems way more sensitive to background noise, even with the interface, and a little grittier. Definitely not bad!…until you try something else. I struggle with audacity to keep depth while reducing background noise. For me, that’s the main difference. It’s really easy, in audacity, to accidentally make myself sound like a 12 year old when trying to clean a track up, but for what it is, it’s a champ. It’s just limited compared to newer software, it seems-like comparing a record to a CD.

        I made a list of all the stuff mentioned in that thread you linked though, and will probably trial several before I make any decisions, though, at a glance, there are definitely top contenders based on popularity. In the end, you choose what you personally like the workflow of best, so we’ll see.

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  3. If you are looking at doing audio engineering or recording in a professional sense I would recommend Pro Tools or Logic. I have been a user of PT11 for several years and it has been wonderful to work with. There are a few issues that I have with Pro Tools but for the most part its a very stable and reliable audio platform.

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    1. I’ve gone through several of the options since this post. The lite version of ProTools has been, quite literally, a disaster, all said, and if that wasn’t enough to warn me off, the full suite is grossly out of budget for the fledgling home studio of an inexperienced musician.

      Having run through trials of nearly all the (available for windows) competition in a very short span of time, the top contenders for me have landed on StudioOne and Reaper, so I’m directing my energy that way, especially as StudioOne’s free version has all the functionality I need for the moment and it hasn’t made me scream in frustration or corrupted my hard drive yet (which, yes, the lite version of ProTools has. It took me nearly a week to repair the damages.)

      I imagine it will be a very long time before I look at ProTools again, since their free lite version has been a horror. But thanks for your offering your opinion on the matter. I’ve already more or less made my mind up on what’s best suited to my purposes and my budget, though.

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