As a site that publishes gear reviews, we sometimes have people expressing concern about where they stand with their current Pro Tools set up. Some are worried that when they invest in a creation platform that somehow every new product needs to be purchased.
So, here’s our best attempt at helping you understand the implications of new product on your workflow and on your wallet.
First, let’s talk about the different ways manufacturers regard their products.
- New: This is the latest version - some people think they should own it on day one, those people are at the head of the adoption curve. You might think they get the best deal getting the new features first, but those at the start of the curve have to deal with bugs, incompatibilities and of course paying the premium to be first.
- Current: This may not be the latest version, but it is still currently sold. Often those who buy this version are going to get most of the features of the new version, but without the headaches they may also get a great deal on price.
- End of Life (EOL): This will be an older version, so the Avide 003 and 003R or an older version of Pro Tools. End of life does not mean end of support and often brands like Avid will support a product with updates and bug fixes for several years after the event. You can get some real bargains of you don’t mind being behind the curve and still be assured of several years of support.
- End of Support: This is when a manufacturer no longer offers support for a product, this will include updates, bug fixes and any kind of help. This is when you may want to start to think about replacing products as they may be incompatible with many parts of your workflow.
Some people have been concerned about interfaces like the 003 coming to the end of their life and no longer being supported. Avid have a very good policy when it comes to supporting legacy hardware and it is always worth checking their dedicated page to see when a product has come to the end of live and is due to no longer supported.
To Buy Or Not To Buy - That Is The Question?
The big question many ask is ‘to buy or not to buy? or when should I buy or upgrade my Pro Tools system? With any upgrade, no one is forcing you to upgrade, make sure you answer all the questions below.
We all like to have new things; but here are our tips for deciding what and when to buy;
- Does my current set-up do everything I need it to do?
- If I replace one thing, then how will that impact on other parts of my workflow? For example; you might want to buy a new Mac, or OS, but then you might need to spend the same amount of money upgrading other software and devices to ensure compatibility.
- How will any changes impact on the work I need to do?
- How long will it take to learn the new product I buy?
- Does the old product have any second hand or trade in value?
- Will buying it get me more customers? Or if you do it for fun, will buying it get me a better sound?
- IMPORTANT: Can I afford to buy it without getting into debt?
Contrary to what some people think, the Pro Tools Expert team don’t all have multi-million dollar studios with the latest gear. Some of the team are on older systems, we have very different Pro Tools computer builds - but they still do what they need them to do, so they don’t need to upgrade right now.
Our Best Advice
If we can give any piece of advice it is this - we don’t run reviews expecting everyone in the Pro Tools community to either want or to buy all the equipment, we do them in case one or two of our thousands of readers want to see it in action or an opinion.
Training, training, training
Lastly, the core of this community is training, advice and Pro Tools support, if you’re going to spend money on anything, then make it training - that’s the best investment you can make into getting a better sound.