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Ten Myths About Pro Tools for Voiceover: Why They’re Myths.

By C. Steve | May 26, 2009

It’s my belief that a lot of voice actors actually fear Digidesign’s Pro Tools for recording and editing voiceovers. Often, VO artists have taken one look over some engineer’s shoulder and muttered “Nope, that’s not for me, it’s too (fill in the blank).”ProTools8

No wonder — the engineer is probably focused on how many whizzy-cool features s/he can invoke per second, and this can be give the talent a false impression. So here are the top ten objections to Pro Tools and my response to each.

1. It’s too complicated.

The trick is to identify exactly what you need to use to get your job done, and nothing more. Open a new session, create one mono audio track, arm the track, and hit record. That’s not complicated, is it? ‘Cause that’s about it.

2. Pro Tools is hard to learn.

Once you’ve mastered about twelve commands in Pro Tools, you’ll have all the tools you need to perform useful VO work. The default values for most functions are appropriate for VO, and you can just leave the rest alone. I’ve taught folks from 14 to 70 how to use Pro Tools… you can do this.

3. Pro Tools is overkill for voiceover work.

After twenty years of development, Digi has streamlined the basic workflow to be fast and easy, and isn’t that what you want? How many other companies have even been around for that long?

3. It’s expensive to buy.

That was true at one time, but it’s not today. How does under $300 sound, ready to go, including a good mic pre plus the software, plug-ins, and a USB audio interface? Price the alternatives, and get back to me on that one.

4. It’s expensive to upgrade.ProToolsEditWindow

The major upgrades cost $75 each for the LE software (upgrade to v8 is $150), and they occur about once a year. Minor updates are free. Meanwhile every upgrade includes at least one time-saver, and makes the software work better. By the way, an upgrade for Sound Forge from Sony is $135. Pro Tools doesn’t look so bad now, does it?

5. It has features I’ll never need.

That’s correct, and you don’t have to use those features. But they won’t slow you down, either. Just move along folks, nothing to see here.

6. I can’t figure it out by myself.

You don’t have to. There’s an enormous online community to help you, and one of the best places is in the Digidesign User Conference, or DUC. The company publishes its own DVDs and textbooks — visit the Store and look for Training and Materials. They also have the best of third party books and DVDs.

7. It won’t run on my computer.

Yes, there are some minimum requirements for your computer. You can find them on the company’s website, under Support & Downloads. But the fact is that if you computer won’t run some recent version of Pro Tools, then it’s likely it won’t run other current audio software well, either. And we are talking about your tools-of-the-trade here… if you’re making money with your tools, don’t you want the best tools you can afford?

8. I have a PC, not a Mac.

Pro Tools runs on both. In fact, Digidesign is owned by Avid, which in turn is about 40% owned by Intel. Much of the development of PT software is done on Intel machines running Windows (but don’t spread that around too much… makes Gates muy nervioso).

9. I don’t know where to get help when I have a problem.

Talk to an audio engineer… just about any audio engineer. Because there are some 200,000 working PT systems out there, in nearly every country on earth, and each comes with somebody who knows how to run PT. Besides, I’m not the only guy out there who is available to help you… Google is your friend.

10. Pro Tools is for big recording studios, run by audio geeks, and the company is the spawn of Satan.

You haven’t read the first nine myths, have you? Sorry, can’t help you with the last one, but I’ve yet to meet a Digi employee with horns. Anyway, don’t hate them because they’re successful… you want to be successful, don’t you?

PS: I don’t work for Digidesign. Once in a great while I too think they actually may be the spawn of Satan. But I do use their software several times a week, and more than any other. Fact is, I rather like Pro Tools 8.

PPS: If you’re happy with your AudacityAuditionCoolEditForgeVegasWhatever, clap your hands. Feel free to continue to use them, and please don’t construe any my comments as an invitation to flame. Homie don’t play dat.

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