The Pro Tools Recording Studio comes with a small USB device. At the back, there are three jacks, a stereo RCA plug, a XLR plug, and a 1/4” TRS plug. All audio data, that is input and output get’s processed over the USB device. So you have to plug some active speakers, or a receiver to the RCA plug. This is no problem for me, since I’ve got a receiver with a lot input possibilities, but for people using only one pair of speakers for the PC, this might be inconvenient since they’d have to unplug and plug them every time they want to work with pro tools. The XLR plug is used to connect the microphone, whereas the 1/4″ TRS plug allows you to connect a guitar, bass, or any other instrument with a line out.
I tried to connect the lineout of my marshall amp to the 1/4″ TRS plug, but on the one hand, it was kinda quiet, on the other hand it sounded kinda compressed, when I used the distorted channel. Moreover, ProTools provides you with a virtual SansAmp PSA-1, which allows you to load and save all you’re settings (and provides a load of presets), which is quite handy when you want to record different parts with the same settings.
At the front, there are three control knobs, one is responsible for the volume of the microphone, the other controlls the ratio between input and playback (didn’t really understand yet how this works exactly), the third controlls the overall output volume. Moreover, there is a headphone jack, a mono/stereo button (don’t know yet how this works either), and two LEDs related to the microphone.
Pro Tools Essential is a stripped down version of the popular Pro Tools, that is, there are is a lot of functionality disabled and marked with a small icon. If you click on one of these disabled functions, there pops up a window which explains the functionality and provides a link to buy the full version of Pro Tools (which cost about 300EUR). But still, the essential version provides some powerfull utilities. For example the aformentioned digital SansAmp PSA-1 plugin, some midi sequencer with about 60 presets, ranging from ePiano over Studio drums to choirs and house samples. Also, the sequencer is extendible with much more presets. My first step was to register at airusersblog.com, for a one time fee of 5GBP, you get access to a huge library of additional presets.
A major downside of Pro Tools is the installation process. The software can only be installed on your system volume. The installation requires at least about 1.3 Gb diskspace. If you want to install demo songs and loop samples it goes up to about 7 Gb. However, you can access these files directly from the DVD, so you can save this space. To work properly, you need some harddrive with at least 4400 rpm, otherwise it’s impossible to record and play more than three to five seconds. But this can be any harddrive, so don’t mind if your system volume isn’t that fast.
So much for know, I’m still playing with the possibilities and try to figure stuff out. Hopefully there’s something to show next time I post.
Keep on rocking 🙂