View Full Version : Your Opinions on Digidesign....future of audio

May 1st, 2007, 11:51 PM
The studio I work at is currently having an EXTREME shortage of music. It's pretty much dwindled to corporate VO, transfers, and duplication. So i called this band that recorded here a few months back to ask them if they had any new material they wanted to lay down. They said they just bought and ProTools LE system and will be tracking all of their stuff themselves.


I thought to myself is Digidesign hurting themselves by selling LE systems. Sure they are selling a lot of them, but they have to be selling LESS HD systems for all the studios that can't sustain the business or are going OUT of business. Plus the fact that the LE users probably aren't buying all the extra plugins and hardware peripherals that the HD users/studios are. I'd be interested to see their numbers as far as how much money is made on LE systems vs. HD systems.

What do you guys think?

Justin Fisher (a bored AE)

May 2nd, 2007, 11:57 AM
Business 101.

Sell a few thousand units at twenty grand or sell a few hundred thousand at a few grand.

Sell a product knowing it will be obsolete in a predictable matter of time and sell it again to the same dim bulbs who would rather cut and paste than learn to play.

Digidesign, from a borg-like business view, are doing an excellent job.

They are here for a long time to come while other companies who made important equipment for a different era are tits-up unless some other company bought the name and re-branded it.

Remember....Digidesign doesn't kill quality music, lazy musicians using Digi products do.


May 2nd, 2007, 01:31 PM
Well they might be tracking it, but that doesn't mean they can mix it. And maybe you're the man to do that - outside the shackles of the studio.

My attitude was similar to yours, Justin, until I decided to go freelance. Now I don't mind clients recording stuff themselves, usually it helps them get their arrangements sorted out which save studio time down the track. Unless of course their home tracked stuff is good enough to make the mix. But I can still mix it better than they can, so I still get to do some work on their record.

May 2nd, 2007, 01:56 PM
The freelance route is always an option, but most of the time its a matter (at least here is St. Louis) of bands wanting to do things start to finish themselves OR in a studio.......I've tried convincing people to change it up (i'll track drums or mix it) but so far....no dice. It blows.

Cosmic Pig
May 2nd, 2007, 07:44 PM
It's the same concept as buying a fancy new guitar or stomp box will improve your playing. Profools le is the new stomp box.

And if the analogy is true, don't expect things to improve anytime soon. How long did it take you to realize the tone is in the fingers?


May 2nd, 2007, 09:20 PM
I think we all have to remember that you can have the best equipment available, and the Charles Dye DVD, but you still need the talent and expertise to make a professional recording.

The reality of the studio world is that project studios compete with mainline multi million dollar facilities and bands with their own protools rig.

The best sound for the buck wins.

May 2nd, 2007, 10:16 PM
It's the same concept as buying a fancy new guitar or stomp box will improve your playing. Profools le is the new stomp box.

And if the analogy is true, don't expect things to improve anytime soon. How long did it take you to realize the tone is in the fingers?


That's awesome.

Bonham was like that.

That sound is just what it sounded like when John Bonham sat in front of a drum kit and hit it.

May 2nd, 2007, 11:38 PM
I was gonna comment of the future...

then I realized Im still in the past ...

I was diagnosed recently with a bad case of Prosumeritis...

May 5th, 2007, 05:33 AM
HMMMM ... why blame the tools??? how many awful recordings were made on 16 track decks? ever look at old rolling stone mag ads from the early 70's ? there was so much drek being flogged as the next great thing its downright silly. there is just exponetially more of it now.

So - i think its too frikking easy to rant and rave at digi or steinberg or garageband or ( your daw here) - almost as easy as the lazy sods who wanna cut and paste as opposed to learn to play. digi or whatever is an unbelievably powerfull and potentially creative tool, but like all tools its the user not the tool! the real issue at stake here is ( to me) every ones expectation that we can all be "pros" without the learning curve ( god forbid that i mention the dreaded word TALENT in this unforgiveably "democratic, politically correct craven mediocracy ) , aka paying dues. Ive been playing for 30 years duking it out in the biz for 20 of them trying to make the best recordings i know how ... I've had a couple of phone conversations with aardvark over the years - encouraging ones for the most part .. when hes not laughing at me behind my back ( i think) and shit I think i am finally starting to get it.

Mostly, I don't resent this learning curve ... i actually enjoy learning ..its really kinda cool ... puts a smile on my face and gives me something to look forward to when i manage to haul myself out of bed in the am.

back to digi
Its got f**K all to do with digi or whatever. the same complaints are evident in the graphics
(blame photoshop? pagemaker?) in building design / architecture ( blame all the cheap CAD programmes?) Its not the software its our world unfortunately ... a fair few pals from other worlds are refering to it as the death of professionalism...

what is really freaking me out is the dwindling number of people who care, let alone notice the difference. can we blame digi or photoshop or spell check ( which i desperatly depend on) for this apparent decline into mediocrity?

May 6th, 2007, 04:58 AM
I'm not "blaming" the tools by any means. I love protools. I'm simply wondering if the sales of low end systems outweigh the lost revenue of big studios being alienated and going out of business because of $20/hr basement studios. We loose a LOT of (music) work to DIYers and 3rd rate studios.

May 6th, 2007, 05:09 AM
We loose a LOT of (music) work to DIYers and 3rd rate studios.

And in the end, the artist loses because they wind up with a record that is work of utter mediocrity.

The thing they don't bundle with LE is decades of experience.

May 6th, 2007, 02:56 PM
I've tried convincing people to change it up (i'll track drums or mix it) but so far....no dice.

Well take an honest look at yourself and your own ability... there has to be somebody around your neck of the woods freelancing successfully. If you're going to take that leap, though, you have to be able to guarantee the artist a product that blows them away. Not something that's "OK for a local production", but really damn good.

Can you do that? Then your reputation should slowly build on itself, and you'll find people popping up out of the woodwork to work with you.

If not, then figure out where you are lacking (or perhaps where it is you want to head), and strive to improve.

And best of luck with it!

May 6th, 2007, 04:09 PM
I think you should adapt to the market.

The business model now is: Build one or two big costly studio rooms with all the tricks and rent them with an engineer/producer for comparatively much money.

A possible business model in the future: Build many smaller rooms with good acustic/isolation and barebones infrastructure for recording. Rent it out to do-it-yourselfers with the option of getting recording assistance, renting gear etc. All this for much less money.

I'd predict that on the whole more bands will record more stuff for an even greater gross.

I should be doing this myself, if I wasn't busy doing too many other projects ;)

Bob Olhsson
May 6th, 2007, 08:31 PM
Ah yes, my "McDonalds of recording" business model that I figured would happen soon after the first Tascam stuff came out in the late '60s. Watch the first one open up at a banjo center near you...

The thing is that while all of this stuff can be used to make cheap Erector Set records, you still need a real studio to record live performances. Since the sales of Erector Set records has fallen way way off, I actually see a rosy future for studios at the end of this dark tunnel.

May 6th, 2007, 10:30 PM
I was going to touch on the major flaw that all the "DAW DIY" marketing bullshit overlooks.

I see in the meantime Mr. Olhsson popped in and mentioned it.

There is a lot that is much more within reach now for a lot of people, because of the technology we're talking about. There is some truth to it. But the bad part is what's left out in the marketing spew and hype.

There is still no magic wand included, with any of the stuff.

This has been a recurring theme in a bunch of various threads here. That's good. It's a bit of a dose of antidote to oppose the Banjo Center kind of sales bullshit delusions that might start growing in the minds of people new to this stuff.

It does make things much more possible for some people, working in some ways. Like me.

But, in looking at myself for a second as an example, there are a couple of major factors involved.

Factor one. I'm a guy who has been working, for several years now, entirely alone, and the material involved in heavily electronic.

Factor two. I'm no genius, but, at the same time, I didn't just fall off the haywagon. I know a few things. I have a bit of experience under my belt.

Even then, the other side of factor two is that my engineering and production experience is humble, and spread out over a long time in funky situations with humble gear.

Put this as "I know enough to understand that there is a hell of a lot I don't know". (Hence, I come here and read a lot, among other things.)

I don't have the wealth of accumulated experience other people have of working day in, day out, in good rooms, with a variety of really GOOD microphones, and so on.

Now, I can do some serious work all by my lonesome self with what I have.

On the other hand, what if I were to go about getting a full band project together and start recording?

Uh, no. Reality check time. It's now an entirely different ballgame, and I would be a fucking moron to think I could do that with the same tools and means.

What's really absurd about the stuff being talked about here is the spreading delusions people get that they can go buy some stuff, set it up in their basement or garage or spare bedroom or whatever, record their band, and then take it to "The Real Studio" for mixing. You know, because at The Real Studio they keep the magic wands and turd polish fairy dust that will make a pile of garbage tracks sound REAL PRO, dude.

Which, of course, is, if anything, exactly backwards.

Of course it's not a great idea to try to do the mixing at the end in some dodgy, seriously questionable environment with bad monitoring and so on.

It's just a far WORSE idea to think that you can chince on the recording end of it, with some awful sounding room, a few cheesy mics, and a few bodies sitting there carrying around brains with no fucking clue of what to do with any of it, and then turn it over to somebody to turn shit into gold, somehow.

But, naturally, some clown will probably convince them that this will somehow work out, if only they go and buy, not more and better microphones, not a better sounding room, but, rather, a fucking pile of assorted "pres" (they'll never call them mic preamps, it's "pres"), that will give them the wonder assortment of all the favorite sonic candy colors. Yeah. That'll do it. Sure.

There are a lot of people being sold assorted bills of goods in various places and delusions to go with them, but they all will learn the hard way (or won't, and give up in disgust), that there's more to it than just some device that can do sync multitrack recording and some way of getting audio in and out.

Good rooms.
Good microphones.
People who know what they're doing with both the above.

If you're attempting to record any music that involves a number of people making sound in a room, you have the above stuff needed. There's no way around it.


May 7th, 2007, 11:46 AM
It's just a far WORSE idea to think that you can chince on the recording end of it, with some awful sounding room, a few cheesy mics, and a few bodies sitting there carrying around brains with no fucking clue of what to do with any of it, and then turn it over to somebody to turn shit into gold, somehow.

Been there, done that.

Someone in Sweden can testify. :lol:

May 7th, 2007, 06:47 PM
I can't help but wonder how many people who complain that LE systems make it too easy for anyone to think he's ready to have a "studio" would be in the business today if they had to buy a console and outboard and multi-track tape machines at the rates they were selling before ProTools took over.

May 7th, 2007, 10:03 PM
That's the positive side of DAW world developing over the last decade or so. It has opened doors of possibilities and allowed people to get to work on stuff when it might not have happened because of simple finances.

That's obvious. Extremely obvious. It ought to be so obvious to anybody here that it's not even worth discussing. Well, actually, I take that back. Maybe only obvious if past a certain age.

You certainly won't find me complaining about the availability of such stuff and how it has brought certain capabilities within reach. I have benefitted from it.

The only bitch I personally have in the area of this whole subject is the way that, while the stuff has opened doors, too many people have bought into it without an accompanying sense of realism about it all.

It's worth noting that it's been about a quarter century now that it's been possible to assemble a recording setup with possibilities of doing some kind of decent work of some sort of quality, without a fortune. Ever since the days of the Tascam and Otari 1/2 inch 8 track machines, basically.

But in the days of people starting to gather up that sort of stuff, and setting up little personal studios, or even opening for business as a "demo studio", there was a much better sense of your basic grasp of reality.

Yes, you could do some stuff now, and if you had the right circumstances (decent, if not great, room, a few reasonably decent, if fairly humble, microphones, and you knew what the fuck you were doing reasonably well, at least a start at a clue), you might even crank out something pretty respectable.

(At least a couple of the early Tim Story albums were done on a Tascam 8 track a friend of mine now owns. They were pretty good.)

But most people entering this world in that era understood what that gave them in terms of tools and potential, and what it did not.

Therein lies the key issue in this stuff, methinks.


May 8th, 2007, 02:56 AM
It seems to me that it still comes down to the consumer, engineers / studios/ record labels can bitch that there getting less cashola but alas the consumer is still buying music.

What we have to do is contiune to make great sounding records, eventually the consumer is going to realize the difference, between a record tracked by a band in the basement, and a record that has been touched by a professional (regardless of the job the pro is doing) If crappy music keeps getting out and ppl keep buying it, well, i suppose thats the way it goes , its sad,

i dont want to get into mp3s but.... if you show a consumer an mp3 / vs a recording at 24/96 , most of them hopefully will hear some kinda difference . That same thought, eventually consumers are going to realize the huge difference between whats on the radio / band recording in basement with daw.

and my final thought is it reallyl doenst matter how its recorded, if its a good song its a good song.


not sure if i made much of a point except that hopefully people will start to realize the difference between stuff.