ProTools: Do you HAVE to use it?

For some reason, I’ve been having ProTools discussions with friends of mine who are in the music business. For those of you who don’t know, ProTools has become the industry standard for recording music. It’s, without a doubt, the most popular recording software out there today, and most of the big studios in the music industry use ProTools in some way for recording sessions. Even artists who prefer analog recording end up using ProTools in some way. But, the question is…do you really HAVE to use it? If you know HOW to use it, it certainly can help your chances of being able to make money in the music industry. That being said, though, there are other ways to get a good recording without it. Personally, I prefer to use a very analog setup. I have a mixboard with digital effects, and I use that to get a good sound, then I run that straight to a recording device. Granted, the mixboard effects are digital, and the recording device is digital, and I record in an MP3 format, I record in a very analog way. ProTools and other similar softwares, in a way, promote the ability to fix anything. If you don’t sing a take very well, who cares. You can go in and fix just the vocals later. If you miss a note, you can take it out of the song, and re-do that note, and cut and paste it into the final track. Cut and Paste recording isn’t hard to recognize anymore. It just doesn’t feel like a performance, which was the whole point of recording music back in the day. Artists wanted to capture their music on recordings, so people could listen to them at anytime. It was all about capturing the moment. It wasn’t about perfecting the song. I approach it in the way that Guy Clark does: If I mess up during a recording, that’s not the take. I’ll do it again, until I get it right. For me, it HAS to feel like a performance. If it doesn’t, I haven’t done my job. I’ve done a little bit of experimenting with minor effects and recording tricks before. It’s okay, but it just doesn’t give the feel of a live performance. That’s where ProTools can kill the vibe of a song quickly. It’s not the software’s fault, though. It’s the operator. The software just gives them a weapon to use when they kill the vibe. So, do you really HAVE to use ProTools? In my eyes, no. If you do the best you can, and you’re honest, that’s all anyone should ever ask of you!

Here’s Guy Clark talking about software recording:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fAfVgSUY8VU

Guy Clark talking more about recording:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bevCw9Lu4Eo

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