Recently I was enticed to buy Pro Tools 11 as it was on offer at $449 at Audiodeluxe. So for the last month I threw myself into Pro Tools. I had never used it before but I see people using it everywhere so I was intrigued. One month later and I am back using Cubase 7.5.2 and have never felt more relieved, I thought some might be interested in my experiences.
The registration and installation went faultlessly and PT worked with my Steinberg MR816 well. I reinstalled most of my plugins to suit the AAX 64 format. I had the demo installed for PT HD 11 which has surround sound but I had bought the “regular” license so as soon as I registered that I lost all of the HD features such as surround sound. Upon investigation, I found out there was no way to upgrade the license to HD unless I bought some Avid hardware which was a minimum $3000 or bought a CTPK license off EBay with an HD upgrade at $1600 cost. $1600 to get the same features as Cubase out of the box? No chance.
I started working on a remix and initially things went well. I imported the stems OK and started working on the drums and bass. I added the new Spark 2 drum machine plug in. I soon found out this plugin is still in its early days of development as it crashed PT out completely so I added it to VE Pro and split the outputs to give me separate kick, snare, etc., Connected PT up to VE Pro and the aux in outputs are out of sync with the master output with the delay compensation on. I jump on the Avid forum and there sure enough is a long thread about this particular bug concerning VIs and multiple outputs. Switching off the the delay compensation on individual tracks seems to cure it but it still feels loose.
I then record some guitars and the nightmare delay compensation bug kicks in big time. I record a guitar with Amplitube 3. I then went to print the track with the insert recorded and that plays back out of sync. There is no delay compensation on the track so I have to manually move it forward to get it in sync! At this point, I am losing trust in this DAW as I wanted to concentrate on my performance and not have to worry about whether it was playing it back in time! FFS!
By this time, I am starting to get “CPU overloaded” warnings popping up every so often even though I have not started mixing with effects yet. I check the System Usage screen and all seems well so I ignore them. Again a search on the Avid forum reveals this is another well known bug. PT also crashes out completely once or twice, possibly due to rogue plug-ins. No warnings like Cubase but straight out and work is lost.
I then come to mix. All is going well until I come to bounce down. I think, lets try this famous “Off line bounce” that Avid are so proud of. Bam! a set of raw code errors suddenly appear and down PT goes again. Stupid me. i should have saved my work so I have to revert to a autosave back up but I lose work again. Switching off the offline bounce check box allows me to bounce normally in real time.
Last night I concluded that I had had enough and that Pro Tools 11 in its present state is simply not fit for purpose. You are given a license to the more stable PT 10 as well but there is no way in 2014 I am going to use a 32bit application so my only option is to return to Cubase.
Whatever you may think of Cubase, it is so much more stable than PT11 which is frankly unusable. It looks better, performs better, and gives far better value for money. So the next time you are complaining about the font in the mixconsole. spare a thought for our PT colleagues who have to constantly implement workarounds in order to get a session completed. Using Protools 11 reminded me of what it was like to use Cubase between 1995 - 2005 and how far we have come in the intervening years. I would put forward that PT is no longer “the industry standard” but a poor reflection of its former self supported by a company that has no idea that the rest of the Audio Industry has caught up and passed them.