Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Pro Tools 8 Sneak Peek Event!

Tonight I had the opportunity to get a sneak peek at the new version of Pro Tools before it is officially released next month. Jonathan N. accompanied me and we had quite a good time. There were about 75 people at Atlanta Pro Audio as one of the Digidesign reps walked us step by step through the new features coming soon. I've been to events like this in the past and honestly, I expected more a of a style over substance approach - you know, a big splashy presentation to get everyone excited about the new release but not a lot of details. What I got was exactly the opposite. The rep did a brief presentation about the history of Pro Tools but then he just opened a copy of the new version on a big projection screen and jumped right it. The tech-geek in me jumped for joy! We got to see how the new improvements in Pro Tools specifically impact the everyday use.

Here are some of the highlights:
* Darker, more modern overall look
* Ability to customize track colors, window size and arrangement.
* Extra plug-ins and virtual instruments
* Even more total tracks available
* Easier to create comp tracks from multiple takes
* Ability to lasso sections to make group changes faster
* Basic notation software included for creating sheet music

I have to admit I was simultaneously excited/dissappointed. I'm super excited about getting the new features that will improve workflow. I know that several of these features will save me time compared to the way I currently work in Pro Tools. The disappointing part is that so many of these features have been available in Logic, Live and other programs for years. It's frustrating to realize that Pro Tools is so far behind on some of these basic features that are considered standard in other DAW's. In many ways, Pro Tools 8 doesn't feel like a step forward as much as it feels like they finally caught up with the innovations others have enjoyed for quite some time.

Pro Tools is still the industry standard software for music production. I think it will stay that way for quite some time. However a few other programs have emerged that do many of Pro Tools tasks better/easier. So as someone who runs a project studio I'm forced to choose between innovation of newer projects or being confined to a very reliable set of features. In the end, I'm sticking with Pro Tools but I seriously wish they would incorporate new features faster rather than just maintaining their position.

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