Just A Bit Of Fun
As I've mentioned enough times for you all to be sick of already, I've just moved into a new studio. Sitting back and taking stock of the new build put me in a reflective mood, and took me back to the build of dB Post Production in the early nineties.
So I thought it'd be a bit of fun to find out the gear histories of the Pro Tools Expert Team.
These are the combined results (in no particular order) -
Pro Tools Expert Team DAW / Soft Sequencer History
- Steinberg Pro12 / Pro24 / Cubase (on Atari ST)
- AMS AudioFile
- Cubase (various versions)
- SAW Plus 32
- Fairlight Series 3
- Digidesign Sound Designer
- Digidesign Session 8
- Akai DD8 / DL1500
- Lexicon Opus
- DAR Soundstation
- Synclavier / NED post pro
- Fairlight MFX
- Bias Deck II
- Logic (various versions)
- C-Lab Creator
- C-Lab Notator
- MOTU Digital Performer (various versions)
- Pro Tools since V2.5
- Studio One
- Adobe Audition / Cool Edit Pro
Quite an impressive combined gear bio I'm sure you'll agree. I left out linear multitracks and hardware sequencers as it would have been a much longer list!
For obvious reasons I've also been reflecting on the cost of setting up a studio these days, verses 25 years ago, and the "bang for buck".
Back when we set up dB Post Studio 2 with a 32/24/2 MTA Console, AMS AudioFile V8, Sony DASH 3324S, Sony U-Matic Hi-Band, 3-Tube Projector, Sony DAT Machine, Outboard Reverb, Dynamics and Noise Reduction, Synchroniser and ATC Monitoring, just the equipment outlay broke six figures, and on top of that we had the install, involving lots of analogue wiring and patchbays.
How Far Have We Come?
I know twenty five years may seem a long time. It is after all longer than the lifetimes of some of you in this community.
Let's compare then to now for a post-production oriented studio.
- 56 channels of playback capability from multiple machines
- 26 channels of recording capability
- 2 hours stereo non linear storage at 44.1KHz, 16bit, on specialist Winchester Hard Drives
- Real Time DAT data backup
- Stereo output
- No Automation, snapshot or dynamic
- (Not Even) Standard Definition Analogue Video Playback
- Real Time playback / recording / bounce downs
- Limited analogue outboard
- Collaboration meant lending the physical master multitrack and AudioFile backup (or a copy)
- Linear delivery on a physical medium
- Audio Tielines required miles of expensive multicore cable installed by specialists
Now (Assuming Pro Tools 12HD Native)....
- 255 channels of playback capability from one machine
- 64 channels of recording capability
- Limitless storage potential
- High Speed Backup
- 7.1 output
- Full Dynamic Automation of all controls and plugins
- High Definition Analogue Video Playback
- High Speed playback / recording / bounce downs
- Huge variety of processing and analysing plugins
- Collaboration over the internet with managed access
- File based delivery
- AOIP over standard ethernet
There has simply been a revolution in the features available to us, at an unprecedented price point.
What Have They Ever Done For Us?
The simple answer really is, an awful lot. For me they have given me an opportunity to do something that simply wasn't possible when I started, without major backers or remortgaging your house.
I'm put in mind of the Talking Heads song, "Road To Nowhere" -
Well, we know where we're goin'
But we don't know where we've been
And we know what we're knowin'
But we can't say what we've seen
And we're not little children
And we know what we want
And the future is certain
Give us time to work it out
While we all armchair heckle about how long it's taken X feature to arrive, or how reliable a (quite frankly incredible) feature is, or how we've "had it with X DAW and are moving", might now be a good opportunity to go back to basics, and get back to what started this in the first place - telling a story with sound?
Isn't that after all what we all want to do?