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Old 06-27-2020, 10:25 PM
DannyGoor DannyGoor is offline
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Winnetka
Posts: 2
Default Pro Tools Recommendation

Hi, I currently have the Pro Tools subscription which I believe runs the latest version, running on a MAC i7 with 32GB RAM and SSD. It runs OK, but when I start going past about 40 tracks with lots of plugins, it really starts to slow down. And sometimes gives me memory errors.

I’m also currently using the Eleven Rack as my pro tools interface.

I’m honestly not very happy with the sound.

My question is simple, if budget wasn’t an issue, what would be your expert recommendation for the following:

1. PC or MAC?
2. Ideal system specs: CPU, RAM, HD, etc…
3. Ideal Pro Tools interface for the best possible sound.
4. Any other recommendations to achieve optimal performance and sound quality.

Thank you very much.
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Old 06-27-2020, 11:31 PM
Darryl Ramm Darryl Ramm is offline
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: USA
Posts: 13,907
Default Re: Pro Tools Recommendation

Uh there is a lot in your question from some unknown technical problems, being unhappy with sound etc. and them leaping from that to asking about fantasy upgrades.

You are posting in a Pro Tools First forum section and talking about having a "Pro Tool subscription". So what do you have Pro Tools First or Pro Tools (standard).

So I'm going to give you answers you are not asking for, but which are likely to help you a lot more than the questions you are asking. and I'm assuming you are relatively inexperienced with audio recording and Pro Tools.

If you are on Pro Tools First you should get off that onto Pro Tools (standard) or any other DAW asap and especially not be trusting Pro Tools unreliable cloud project storage with your work.

Upgrading computer hardware may well be a complete waste of time, nobody here can guess what you are doing and give you any useful advice about what computer *you* might need.

If you want to get useful help with Pro Tools/computer/setup problems you need to provide a lot more clear info... what exact model Mac do you have now? "i7" tells us little. What model and EMC code? How much memory? What exact disks connected to it and which one are you recoding to with Pro Tools? What *exact* errors are you you getting and what exactly have you done to try to troubleshoot those problems?

The common causes of Pro tools errors once you are on a reasonable computer are things like incorrect setup/not doing the required systems optimization, incompatible plugin versions, unrealistic use of heavier plugins, and other things that are more you than the computer. And there can be Pro Tools issues, but the only way you really know you have those is to exclude all the other ones.

Start by looking at "help us help you" at the top of every DUC web page.

Is you Mac fully optimized? What standard troubleshooting have you tried?

Have you tried using track freeze to reduce plugin load?

You should have tried checking every last systems optimizations has been done, trashing prefs (use Peter Gates PT Prefs utility unless you are running on first... in which case just get off First), testing with other/new sessions, testing with all .aaxplugin files moved out of the Pro Tools plugin folder, tested using just built-in output as the playback engine, and testing from a newly created admin user account. If after doing that you are still stuck then post here looking for more help, and describe carefully what you tried.


"If budget wasn't an issue"... well but it is.

Oh you mean really not an issue. Great I'll take a 28 Core current Mac Pro maxed out with SSD and memory, with 3 HDX Cards and a Rack of Prism ADA interfaces and few 500 series racks slots filled with Shadow Hills, Rupert Neve, and Grace Design preamps. I'll keep it to one small rack, but do you have $200k to pay for that? And we'll want digital Genelec monitors, monitor controllers, might want to throw in a set of B&W 800 speakers and a rack of Bryston power amps to drive them as well (biamp them, coz' budget is not the issue). Lets say another $100k. Do you need help with studio construction? ... get my point? Actual requirements and budget is important.

But here is the thing. Computer gear and interfaces are highly unlikely to make your work sound better. It's mostly going to be... you, and your skill and knowledge, with some key equipment to make that easier... especially room treatment and a decent set of monitors.

What is it with the sound now that you are not happy with?

What are you using or monitors/amps and room treatment? Is your room roughly calibrated? What kind of music are you working on? Are your monitors realistic quality and capable of putting out enough SPL to mix with? That's where to start spending money. Next depends on what you are doing.

Have you spent time working through a book or online class on audio engineering? We have no frigging idea what you are doing. Type of music or what you are doing with it just tracking guitars? Electric? Acoustic? both? vocals? drums?

Vocals... might make sense to invest in microphones. Maybe get a preamp or interface with better preamps. Drums you likely need an interface with lots of inputs and preamps and mics. Guitars... for most people you've already got a good enough amp sim. But if you want to mic a cab, knock yourself out with an SM57 and the Eleven Rack to start with... you got no budget worries grab a set of ribbon mics and some nice boutique preamps... and you might hear that difference, might not.

And a sadly too common beginner issue that can make lots of stuff sound bad is tracking signals too hot with modern low cost interfaces with their cheap solid state preamps. You need to leave a good amount of input preamp headroom. The combination of those cheap solid-state preamps in interfaces and underpowered monitors and inexperienced users result in people using the mic preamp gain as a volume control. And by then many folks have wrecked the signal before it's even mixed. This has been discussed to death on DUC in the past. If that's not all clear to you now... you really need to understand pre-fader metering works, how your preamp gain works, and how to read a standard meter, and how to get tracking so peaks are way down -12dBFS peaks maybe a starting point.

The Eleven Rack is a pretty capable amp emulator (maybe unless you are after really high gain amps).Its much more likely if you are using the amp sims in that and not happy with stuff you are not using it well. You need to give some clues of what you are not happy with, maybe post samples on sound cloud and describe what you are not happy with and ask folks for feedback or tips. It's very common not to be happy with electric guitars, folks often miss how much processing might be done in one case, or on the other how little is done (e.g. not too high a gain in lots of heavy rock, multi-tracking or multi-amping guitars etc) and how much a guitar sound depends on the rest of the tracks. Or using an amp sim (or tracking a cab) and listening to a guitar recording through a small pair of monitors at low SPL and missing the “amp in a room” sound.

As for Mac or PC. That is easy you pick the one that you are most comfortable with, using a DAW on it and likely also your ability to administer it. What computers your peers, friends, band mates, studios you know, etc. use may influence this as well. Then comes compatibility with interfaces, weather you say say might want Thunderbolt in future... but now may not be a good time to buy a new Mac with the transition to Arm starting late this year. ... there is nothing to do with Mac or PC being better or worse, make the decision on your preferences and computer skills. if you are less technical and already on Mac, stay on Mac. Starting with working out if you can get your current Mac working properly.

Last edited by Darryl Ramm; 06-28-2020 at 11:38 AM.
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Old 06-28-2020, 06:10 AM
JoelG's Avatar
JoelG JoelG is offline
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Canada
Posts: 1,906
Default Re: Pro Tools Recommendation

Originally Posted by DannyGoor View Post
What would be your expert recommendation for the following:

1. PC or MAC?
2. Ideal system specs: CPU, RAM, HD, etc…
3. Ideal Pro Tools interface for the best possible sound.
4. Any other recommendations to achieve optimal performance and sound quality.
Well, trying to tell someone whether they should use PC or Mac is like trying to tell them what religion to follow. I'll just say two big reasons I'd go PC (Windows)
1: Apple tax - I wouldn't pay more money for lower specs
2: Driver/software support - Especially in the audio world. Every time Apple releases a dot upgrade things break and you have to wait for the vendors to fix what Apple broke. I'm still using an old Pro Fire 2626, using the Windows 7 drivers just fine on Win 10.
That said, if Mac works for you and you're happy, then thats cool too.

Strickly speaking, if you're looking for the "ideal" system for Pro Tools, see this: https://avid.secure.force.com/pkb/ar...m-Requirements I've not followed that, and am quite happy with my Ryzen system.

For an audio interface, that will depend greatly on the features you require. How many inputs? How much money? I'm happy with my Focusrite Scarlett 18i20, it is ideal for me, but would be laughed at by any pro studio...

Other recommendations - Darryl covered it. Big one is the optimizations: https://avid.secure.force.com/pkb/ar...oting/en367983 especially anything power saving related.

Jam Space:
HP Elite 6300 / Core i5 3570 / 12GB RAM / Win 10 Pro
Pro Tools 2020 HD / Focusrite 18i20 + M-Audio ProFire 2626

Asus B450 Pro4 / Ryzen 5 2600 / 32GB RAM / Win 10 Pro
Pro Tools 2020 HD / Focusrite 18i20 + M-Audio ProFire 2626

Eleven Rack / ART SLA1 / Fender Mustang V 412 / FCB1010 w/ EurekaPROM
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Old 06-28-2020, 07:25 AM
Southsidemusic's Avatar
Southsidemusic Southsidemusic is offline
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Stockholm - Sweden
Posts: 12,825
Default Re: Pro Tools Recommendation

Great thoughts and info from Darryl and Joel there for you.
Best Regards

South Side Music Group
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Old 06-28-2020, 12:41 PM
JFreak's Avatar
JFreak JFreak is offline
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Tampere, Finland
Posts: 19,365
Default Re: Pro Tools Recommendation

Darryl is spot on regarding Genelecs
What we do in life, echoes in eternity.
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