chapter  3
14 Pages

Pro Tools TDM Systems

In this chapter I will present overviews of the Pro Tools TDM hardware and software for people

thinking about buying or upgrading.

Digidesign’s Pro Tools system has always included a software application and various hardware

components. The hardware consists of one or more cards for the computer along with one or

more audio interfaces, while the software offers a multi-track waveform editor along with a

mixing console emulation and controls to let you record and play back audio from hard disk. One

of the reasons the system has achieved such widespread popularity is because Digidesign has

always encouraged other software developers to include options to use Pro Tools hardware for

recording and playback of audio. So plenty of musicians and composers who bought Pro Tools

systems chose to control the hardware using the Midi þ Audio sequencer of their choice – such as Logic Audio or Digital Performer. There were two main reasons for this. Firstly, if you needed

to do any MIDI sequencing, previous versions of the Pro Tools software were so poorly

equipped for this that you had to be crazy to even attempt anything much more than a simple

bassline or keyboard ’pad’. Secondly, many people who bought Pro Tools systems had pre-

viously used one of the popular MIDI sequencers and bought Pro Tools hardware, as this was

the first audio hardware supported by Opcode, Mark of the Unicorn, Steinberg and E-Magic – in

that order, as it happens. For these users it was much simpler to continue using the software

interface they already knew and loved. Recording engineers and producers were always more

inclined to use the Pro Tools software – especially if they were working on audio-only projects.

With the release of Version 5, Pro Tools ’came of age’ as an integrated Audio þ MIDI recording environment which can competently handle most straight-ahead MIDI programming ’gigs’ –

although the accent is still on the audio capabilities. Version 6 has consolidated and enhanced

the audio and MIDI features without significantly upgrading these.