Someone once said to me (when talking about relationships) that there is nothing as attractive as something you can’t have. I think there’s some truth in that. Being product reviewers does somewhat cure you (nearly) of gear lust - it gives one the chance to get beyond the first few hours of owning a product.
We got an email a few days ago asking us to look at the recent updates in new DAWs, Ableton Live and Cubase being two of them and asking us to highlight things that we might like in Pro Tools - we’ve done this before with Reason.
The reality is that all manufacturers try and beat one another with new features, bigger screens, faster processor, leather seats et al.
However, I watched the videos from both of the above products and saw the new features and the differences, and wondered how much I would use them. Yes copying chords would be nice, creating automatic harmonies, resizing consoles, converting audio to MIDI are all admirable and valuable features, which I am sure some of you would love, but I can’t help wonder how often these things would be reached for on a regular basis.
If there’s one thing this blog has proved time and again in its 4 years, that a lot of people don’t know about half the features they already have in their current DAW or in fact know how to use them. One of the best things a product company can invest in is training. It lowers support calls and stops users bailing on their products. This is why so many companies have been partnering with Groove 3. It’s a smart move having education and inspiration for your products. I’ve lost count of the amount of people I’ve seen who proclaim they have found the best DAW in the world, only to jump to another one every six months. This is often because they haven’t fully understood or exploited their current product. I’m just as bad - I own around 200 plug-ins and use about 30 of them. I know I’m not the only one.
Another wise word, the best DAW is the one that works for you.
Does that mean I think Pro Tools is perfect? Far from it. Does that mean Avid have nothing left to learn? Certainly not. Does that mean I don’t want to see new features to help my creative workflow? Only a fool would say no! If you think we are being complacent about Pro Tools then nothing could be further from the truth. All your feedback to us is appreciated and we feed that back to Avid through our strong relationships that we have with them. Posting them on here may make an interesting read, but it’s perhaps far less effective than really getting around a table with Avid. One such opportunity for those of you in the UK will be visiting the Music Production Show next weekend. We have some Avid team with us on our stand who are always ready to listen and feedback your ideas.
What I will say, is that whilst every man and is dog is throwing great features into their DAW, I’m amazed that none of them have had the wisdom to ask what the underlying strength of Pro Tools is - if they need anyone to tell them, it’s the best audio editor around. This is what most Pro Tools user do most of the time, in particular the professionals. They track, edit, and mix. The rest they do with plug-ins and external products like Logic.
If the other DAW creators want to try and tempt me away from Pro Tools they would be better off sorting this out than constantly trying to tempt me with eye candy that I won’t use after the initial excitement dies down.
Perhaps it’s no wonder so many of us use the phrase ‘gear porn’ - those videos may titillate us for a few minutes, but they are unlikely to bring lasting fulfilment. Discuss.