This article was first published on Studio One Expert but we felt the PTE community needed to read it. Mike.
The story goes that…on hearing of his own death Mark Twain mused that “Rumors of my death are greatly exaggerated.”
Since we launched Studio One Expert and I’m helping to support the team, it’s amazing how soon you read comments on forums or in social media like ‘Russ has ditched Pro Tools.’
So, I want to clear something up. Like many people making music today, I use more than one tool for the job. In a survey we conducted on Pro Tools Expert, the number of people using more than one DAW was incredibly high… it seems there is not one DAW that does it all.
I’ve been using Pro Tools for over 15 years. Pro Tools Expert has been an expression of my passion for the product and my desire to try and make a contribution to supporting the Pro Tools community…heaven knows they need it.
If you had suggested to me even two years ago that I would use anything other than Pro Tools, I would have looked at you as if you were mad… ‘from my cold dead hand’ would have been my reply. However, I think the combination of Pro Tools’ continued lack of features that I need as a composer (and found in every other DAW including Garageband) and Avid’s attitude to their user base has made me rethink that.
One mistake many people make is thinking: ‘Pro Tools Expert’ = Russ. I founded it in 2008, but now on a day-to-day basis it’s run by Mike Thornton as Editor and the rest of the team. Of course, you’ll still find me there posting. Since ‘Pro Tools Expert’ started, there are now sites for Logic Pro, Ableton Live, Reason and now Studio One. I do what I can to lead and support those teams, but in most cases I leave them to do what they do best and support their own communities.
For the record: I haven’t ditched Pro Tools, but now I open it less than I used to; finding other tools to be far more intuitive, reliable, and filled with features that I’m not being wrung dry to obtain. For example, no input monitoring on all versions of Pro Tools is just plain silly! It seems the only people who can’t figure that one out are Avid. Pro Tools may be the “industry standard,” but it’s hard to believe that it will manage to hold on to that indefinitely. I’m not naïve enough to suggest that Avid should not try and monetize their assets, but it’s the somewhat bizarre way on which they try and do it. It makes me wonder if, were Avid to decide to make cars, would they want you to pay extra for the wheels?
I’ve looked at all the other DAWs (a perk of this role is that I have all of them on my computer), but as a Pro Tools user I’ve found Studio One to be the easiest one to use and transition to. It is a lean, mean production machine. One of the reasons I’m making videos for Studio One is that Pro Tools users ask me if it’s possible to do ‘X’, ‘Y’ and ‘Z’ on Studio One…so you’ll see plenty of those videos appearing here (on Studio One Expert).
Is this to convince Pro Tools users to move to Studio One? No.
As I’ve already said, there are plenty of Pro Tools users who still utter the mantra ‘from my cold dead hand’ and for very good reasons. Pro Tools still has some great things going for it.
Pro Tools is still strong for the post production community and Studio One (in its current incarnation) doesn’t come close to touching it for that. It’s also the case that many large studios and producers have invested so much in Avid hardware that ditching it is not an option. Many of them like me have decades worth of Pro Tools sessions. Ironically, Avid now offer monthly Pro Tools rentals for $29.99…so you could just rent Pro Tools if and when you need it and invest in something else. That may be one of the only good news stories to come from the recent Pro Tools 12 ‘release.’
But…there are plenty of Pro Tools users…especially music makers and composers…who are not willing to give any more money to Avid and are considering other options. For those people, I hope to give them a taste of what Studio One can do so that they, like me, will use it in conjunction with Pro Tools or move to it entirely.
Trust me, there is plenty of stuff in Studio One that beats Pro Tools hands down…especially for music producers using native systems. Of course, another plus is how rock solid Studio One is compared to Pro Tools. If Avid had wanted to invest in a workflow enhancement for professional Pro Tools user, then it should be reliability not all the other stuff they’re currently touting.
I have a 12 week old baby and it’s funny…when they cry, you don’t notice they’ve stopped immediately. You just suddenly realize it some time later in the midst of the peace. It’s been like that using Studio One, you suddenly think “Sh*t! I’ve done a complete session without it crashing or having to read obtuse error messages!”
One of the biggest reasons people stay with a DAW that continues to let them down is because of a belief that learning a new one is just too hard. They subscribe to the mantra that ‘you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.’ Take it from me as someone who has used Pro Tools for over 15 years…it’s not as hard as you think; and certainly not as hard as manufacturers of your current DAW want you to believe.
I don’t subscribe to the whole ‘iPhone killer’ or ‘Pro Tools killer’ idea, so I refuse to suggest that Studio One (or any other DAW for that matter) is a candidate. What kills a brand leader is not always a single killer idea, just a lot of smaller events that find them waking up one day to find out that the new Hoover is a Dyson.
Being a market leader is about making great products and having a genuine care for your customers that extends beyond the spin of marketing, events and keynotes…PreSonus certainly tick that box, so I’m happy to be using their products.
Finally, I’m writing this from the perspective of a Pro Tools user…so my critique is about Pro Tools and its makers, Avid. You may have similar stories to tell about other DAWS and the people that make them… even Studio One.
Should you switch? It’s not my job to answer that question, only you know if your current DAW is up to the job and if it delivers the features and rock solid performance you need to get the job done.
Can you switch? Hell yeah! I reckon even a slow learner could become a Ninja on Studio One in less than a month.
Finally, it seems some of the stuff ‘Pro Tools Expert’ puts out attracts the conspiracy theorists, not content with Elvis being alive or man not walking on the moon, so I’ll set the record straight: No one at PreSonus has asked me or paid me to write this article, in fact they may be the last people to read it!