Pro Tools vs all in one hardware.

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by Fire-Starter, Nov 2, 2005.

  1. Fire-Starter

    Fire-Starter Supporting Member

    Aug 11, 2002
    Guys, I really need some advice here, I am getting ready to get a home studio, I like the Idea of the all in one devices,like the TASCAM 2488, OR BOSS BR1600. the record, hard drives, cd-rw burners, drum machines, 24 tracks, etc, then I am talking with a sale person from G/C who introduced me to Pro-tools for about 500 bucks, he tells me it has everything I would need(and much cheaper) as far as the above mentioned, all I would need is a computer. here is my issues

    1: The systems I looked at (portable home studios) were between 1200-2000 bucks, and I like the idea of having hands on with the sliders etc..

    2: Pro-Tools, is suspose to give my just about everything I need but it is software driven.

    3: I looked at much of what you guys use here and I see you have acutal hardware studios( big ans small) vs just a computer with a software program.

    so even though Pro-Tools is cheaper, what is the advantages/disavantages compared to a actual hardware studio???

    Thanks guys/gals :meh:
  2. hyperlitem

    hyperlitem Guest

    Jul 25, 2001
    Indianapolis, IN
    when you have say a roland recorder(im speaking hypothetically) that is like 24 tracks techincally this is less than pro tools LE can have, but where the price difference is is in similtaneous tracks u can record. Most all in one recorders can usually record anywhere from 8 to 24 tracks at once. You can get a pro tools LE system pretty much identical to what your talking about, its the digi002 board. That costs around $2200, about a grand more than u planned on spending. The $500 pro tools LE interface your talking about is the Mbox2 im guessing. It only gives you 2 inputs. Your thoughts of pro tools being cheaper is only slightly right. If you compare apples to apples pro tools is much more expensive. If you dont have a pretty darn fast computer pro tools is out of the question. Your all in one box will be more portable. Which is better? Youll have to decide but the $5oo mbox will not do quite what the $1200 digital recorder will do.
  3. Fire-Starter

    Fire-Starter Supporting Member

    Aug 11, 2002

    THANKS MUCH! just the kind of input I am looking for, please keep it coming!!!!!

    btw..where on this forum do people sell there home studios?? is it here, or do they not sell them at all???
  4. Droog


    Aug 14, 2003
    I always try to persuade people from going with the "recording boxes". My experiance with them has been that they are a pain in the ass as far as flexibility goes. You can edit better/faster with Pro Tools, more Plug Ins, no compatability issues. Anything you do with a "box" pretty much has to stay in that machine. Exporting can really suck if you need to get material to other people. Not to mention that most of them are not the most user freindly. Not to say that Pro Tools does not have a learning curve but once you learned Pro Tools you can pretty much get around on all the other programs.

    As said before. Apples and Oranges. Two completley different work philosophies. I think a good computer is the way to go for most home recordists.
  5. Fire-Starter

    Fire-Starter Supporting Member

    Aug 11, 2002

    Thanks! You know, I keep hearing about Pro-tools and a fast computer, just how fast does the computer need to be? I have a 1.3 Gig processor, with 128 MB SDRAM, and a 40 Gig harddrive. is that enough?
  6. Droog


    Aug 14, 2003
    Definately get more RAM. Sounds like an older computer, but you should do fine so long as there is not a bunch of crap on it. Sure a fast computer is nice, but if you are only doing 8 tracks or so with little amount of plug ins you can do alot with a slower computer, especially compared to what you are doing now:) You will find that the average persons computer is not going to be a great workstation. To many programs that get in audio programs way, not to mention spyware and crap that is running when it should not be. If I were to use that computer I would nuking the C drive, get rid of almost everything so that Pro Tools is one of the only things on the computer and use the machine for audio only. This may not be practical for you, but it will be best for your audio endevors.

    At the bare minimum 512, more like a gig though of RAM. How elaborate of a system do you need? If you are just doing personal or small level hobby type stuff your needs won't be as large as say a pro engineer trying to make money with his machine. I am betting that you wont be taxing your system real heavily so I bet this machine will work ok for you. Untill you want something faster and just more robust.
  7. WalterBush


    Feb 27, 2005
    Yuma, Az
    I've never used an all-in-one box, and neither have any of the recording engineers, pro, part-time, or hobbyist that I know personally. That tells me all I need to know about them. As well, bear in mind that if you start enjoying the recording arts, and discover you don't like your all-in-one's mic pres or built-in compressor and eq (or whatever), you're pretty much sunk, whereas a computer setup has upgrade options, at every price range, out the yin-yang.
  8. Tash


    Feb 13, 2005
    Bel Air Maryland
    Get a second hard drive while you are at it. Its much better to have your OS and programs installed on a seperate drive than your data is stored on. Both for recovery/failsafe purposes and for performance (IDE can only read/write to one device per chain during each clock cycle). A second drive (at least 40gb, preferably most, you eat space like crazy with most recording packages) and a gig of RAM should make that a perfectly adequate machine for most digital audio needs.
  9. edwinhurwitz

    edwinhurwitz Supporting Member

    May 13, 2003
    Boulder, CO
    Endorsing Artist: DR Strings, SMS, D-TAR
    There are other software options as well, including the ProTools M-Powered with an M-Audio interface that will provide more than 2 in/out and won't cost more than your budget. I use the 002R from Digidesign with a Presonus Digimax LT (lightpipe in) and Grace Lunatec V3 (s/pdif in-it also has word clock out to sync the Digimax which is essential to use all 18 inputs at once) for additional inputs giving me a total of 18. I use this at home as well as on location with a laptop and it's been great. Also, MOTU has some hardware devices that are supposed to be quite good. Spend some time reading the yahoo group DAW-PC to see what others are using and what some potential issues might be. (I use a Mac, myself).

    You are going to need more RAM and another hard drive, which, if external, should be a firewire drive as opposed to USB.

    Editing in PT (or Nuendo or whatever) is way easier than using an all in one box. There are things you can't do in the box that become essential to the way you work once you really get going. Faders are nice to mix with, but once you learn about automation and how easy it is to edit, you won't miss them.

    All that said, for location recording these days, I use an Alesis HD24 so I can get 24 tracks and I don't have to subject my laptop to the stresses of smoky bars and drunk patrons. I then bounce the tracks over to ProTools.

    See if you can find someone you know with a system that is similar to the one you might get and have them show you around it.

    Most of all, have fun!

  10. It all depends on what you are trying to accomplish, how much you want to spend and how much time you are willing to learn the process and controls of protools. I use both types of recording systems and find I am more productive using my Tascam DP-01FX than I am on the protools. I do use protools for mixing because of the automatic functions but for the primal tracks give me ez and fast. Having a portable recorder is really handy for getting tracks from other musicians, it's really ez for me to load a stereo mix and go to the drummer or keyboard or gtr players place and record them in their own environment and then load in the wav file into the computer for post production work. Then there are all the bugaboos of protools recording, disappearing and reappearing track and other glitches but let's not go there.
  11. fretlessrock

    fretlessrock Supporting Member

    Aug 8, 2002
    You can't use that $500 number for the reasons already mentioned. By the time you have the computer set up, and an interface, and preamps, you are well over the cost of a standalone. But that doesn't mean that I would recommend a standalone. If you like hands-on with faders, then mybe the Tascam FW1884 interface with integrated control surface is where to look. It comes with good entry-level software too.

    The PT-vs-Boss is like saying "should I get a Hummer or a Civic". The PT rig will drown you with costs if you thought that you were getting away with $1000 total investment.

    Think about:
    How many simultaneous tracks?
    Do you need portability?
    Do you hate looking at little LCD screens?
    How much do you want to spend?
  12. CassidyGT


    Nov 5, 2005
    Personally, I would steer clear of all in one boxes. Flexibilty is the biggest reason, as well as recording quality. A PC DAW would be the best bet. However, as has been said, you will be looking at significantly more money. Your PC specs are barely at the level that you could use Pro Tools or other DAW software. 1 gig of RAM minimum and a second hard drive (7200 rpm) minimum.

    As for DAW solutions, I would steer clear of Pro Tools. I used it for a long time and I finally got fed up with the hassles. Pro Tools LE is the limited edition and it does have serious limitations compared to other DAW software. I currently use SONAR and could not be happier. No limitations and the feature set that comes with it right out of the box is literally insane - you really would not need to buy a single additional thing software wise if you went for SONAR Producer Edition, for example. But of course, that is $500 and you would have to buy your interface - another couple of hundred at least. Really you could get a Presonus Firebox or Inspire and it comes with Cubase LE (although I hate Cubase) - which should be more than enough to get you started - $299 I believe.

    I was in your position a few years ago and I am very very glad I went the PC route. It opened up incredible musical possibilities for me that I never would have dreamed of.

    My two cents - minus taxes = 1.4 cents.
  13. jnightmare


    May 12, 2004
    Carson, CA
    i have a question how many people here use pro-tools with a PC and how many use a MAC?

    the reason i ask is because i plan on studying abroad next fall and im planning on getting a laptop and buying pro-tools. the thing is i prefer a PC because im more familiar to using it and i will be using my laptop for school as well when im in japan. but also MAC is "better" suited for recording and use with pro-tools from my understanding.

    just curious what the thoughts are between the use of PC vs. MAC with pro-tools. and any recommendations.
  14. edwinhurwitz

    edwinhurwitz Supporting Member

    May 13, 2003
    Boulder, CO
    Endorsing Artist: DR Strings, SMS, D-TAR
    I would go to the digidesign website and look at the User conference in the support section. There are groups for PC and mac users. I am hesitant to say that one is definitely superior to the other. I got into macs in 1991 and have been there ever since, so it hasn't made much sense to change. If you have already invested in PC plug ins, etc, stay with a PC. Laptops have their own issues and I can say that the 1.5ghz 15" Aluminum powerbook has never let me down except when I have done something stupid. That said, to get all 18 tracks recording at once, I did have to get enough RAM (I use 1.25gb), a FW cardbus to separate the external hard drive from 002R and an Oxford 911 chipset external HD case. PC laptops will probably be the same. See the digi website for approved machines and configurations.

    If you are just thinking of an MBox to do low track counts, then it's probably not so finicky to set up.

  15. jnightmare


    May 12, 2004
    Carson, CA
    yeah im not going to be recording many trakcs. ill probably just end up recording myself and writting stuff while im abroad in japan. i havent invested in any plug-ing but im just more comforatable using a something PC based rather then a mac since ive used a PC pretty much most of my life.
  16. buy yourself a little BEHRINGER mixer :eek: , AND BUY Adobe Audition 1.5 - simple as that... ;) ;) :D

    Mod Edit:- Addy you know the rules. TB does not advocate pirating software.
  17. jnightmare


    May 12, 2004
    Carson, CA
    the mbox2 seems more portable seeing im going to buy a laptop to use for school as well when im out there.
  18. adam on bass

    adam on bass Supporting Member

    Feb 4, 2002
    New Braunfels, Texas
    Endorsing Artist: Spector, GK, EMG and D'Addario
    I just ordered the M-Audio Pro Tools and ProjectMix I/O Firewire board, with Key Rig for my keyboards and a new Radial J48 Direct box shipped forr $1500. That's 8 XLR and TRS inputs and other Lightpipe SPDIF ins/outs and MIDI. That's everything I will need. I'll let you know what I think.
  19. chrisp2u


    Aug 15, 2005
    Buffalo, NY
    I have an 002R, used to have a 001 (both on a Mac). Been using PTLE for about 7 years now, and have always liked it for recording editing audio. Always kind of fell short in the MIDI zone, but the soon to be release version 7 supposedly takes care of much of that. Have always used Macs primarily being a graphic/web designer. I've used pretty much every operating system inthe past 20 years, and OSX is by far the most elegent. Apple will also be introducing Intel-based machines in the next year which should provid a significant power boost.

    I know people that have purchased these for as little as $360 shipped. Seems to be a decent little unit, portable, firewire (mbox is USB, which is not as good), with great expandibility if/as you need with the ADAT lightpipe. Add another $250-$300 for PTLE for m-audio and you're right around $700.
  20. semblum


    Oct 9, 2005
    The Lexicon Omega is cheaper by $150, has more ins and outs, better preamps and still comes with ProTools Le. M-audio makes excellent sound cards. Check out the Delta44. I have one. It has four 1/4" ins and four 1/4" outs and came with a decent software package allthough I use it with Cakewalk Sonar 4. I really like cakewalk and find it to be more flexible than ProTools. You get locked down with a ProTools system as far as hardware goes and well, I don't like the idea that I need certain hardware to use a program. I guess it stops internet jerks from trading ProTools around the torrents and such. My Delta44 was $150 on If you have the want for physical knobs and sliders a Behringer B-control is a low cost option for you. Noone that records audio likes behringer products, but the B-control seems to pass seeing as how it's a control surface and is just sending info back and forth instead of processing it. $1000 worth of Behringer isn't worth $25 of DBX. Hope this helps.