I first purchased Pro Tools 8 M-Powered (herein PT8 MP) shortly after it was released. My version of PT8 MP included the M-Audio Fast Track Pro interface which was required to operate PT8. The Digidesign hardware requirement to run Pro Tools was eventually removed with the release of Pro Tools 9. Unfortunately for me, I upgraded my iMac and MacBook Pro to OSX Lion which was no longer compatible with PT8. On the other hand, I have been working with my licensed copy of Ableton Live and mainly using PT8 for mixing & mastering. After working with Ableton exclusively for quite some time now, I really missed Pro Tools for a variety of reasons (I love the mix and edit windows, included plugins, powerful editing tools, and more.) Although Ableton is great for quickly piecing together musical elements for quick edits, mashups, and remixing, I felt that the audio quality was not comparable to Pro Tools. Just my taste, I guess, as there are many people online that argue the opposite.
When I DJ live, I find that I have enough specialized software to do what I need for just about any task. For example, I use Traktor Scratch Pro 2 for mixing tunes and NI Maschine for triggering samples and playing live beats. If I need to do a quick “radio edit” to cut out profanity (I keep my sets clean for all audiences), I would quickly open Ableton, do the edit, export, and drop the tune into Traktor. Although you can DJ live with Ableton Live (hence “Live”), I prefer Traktor hands down.
Enter Pro Tools 10. All I can say is WOW, what a huge difference from PT8. I am currently using the PT10 30 day demo until mid March just to be sure, but as of today, I am extremely impressed with the upgrades and enhancements from PT8. Not only is the software responsive, but I can quickly edit and export as fast as I did in Ableton. No extra hardware required, although I do have to plug in my iLok authorization USB drive (the same one from PT8 works with PT10) into one of my 4 available USB ports. If I was planning on streaming with PT10, I would probably run my sessions from my external OWC Firewire 800 drive to free up my MacBook Pro drive and to reduce or eliminate the inevitable hardware buffer size error that pops up when the hard drive is taxed. Although I have pushed my laptop’s internal drive to initiate this error, PT10 has yet to crash because of it. Just click on OK to acknowledge the error and keep on trucking.
As a matter of fact, I am so impressed with PT10 that I am conjuring up a series of podcasts dedicated to Pro Tools. Although I subscribe to multiple sites specializing in PT tutorials and news (I especially enjoy Russ from Pro Tools Expert at http://www.pro-tools-expert.com, formerly the Air Users Blog), I feel compelled to address another PT niche, although I’m not quite sure what that niche is yet. Anyways, stay tuned for more on this topic.