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Pro Tools


Welcome to our first product review. I thought we’d start with a product that is close to my heart that I’ve been using for a long time. I’m talking about a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) that you can use to create your soundtracks. Now, you won’t need this type of software if you just want to compile CD’s using the supplied music. If you want to record your voice and/or mix it with the music, you will need a DAW like this. 

This product is called Pro Tools and is made by a company called Digidesign based in the USA. Glenn and I have been using this software for about fifteen years, having started with it when it was only about five years old and fairly primitive. Even at that time we could see it was the best software around even though as true blue Australians, we should have bought a product by an Australian company which led the world at the time, called Fairlight. Fairlight actually invented the whole digital audio phenomenon back in the 1970’s.

Pro Tools is now the industry standard for digital audio recording, no question. There are many other products on the market, but Pro Tools continues to out sell and lead the way.  They have won Grammy’s and Oscar’s for their technical development and input into the industry, and there’s not many films you watch or CD’s you listen to these days, that haven’t had this software in the process.

You’re probably asking, why do I need this professional software?  Well you don’t, but then almost all software today will do more than you’ll ever use.  It’s a question of ease of use, stability and results. For my money, Pro Tools has it all. With this system you can definitely produce Top 40/feature film quality without a huge learning curve.

These days there are many variations of Pro Tools. You can get ‘lite’ versions. These are much less expensive but still very powerful. Here’s an example for you. About five years ago, we did a major upgrade to our Pro Tools systems. That included computers, software and hardware. Each system cost about $30000.00.  Today I can buy a system that would do almost everything that previous system could, for about $7000.00!!!!  Guess how I feel?

The thing is, the system you need will cost around $500.00. It’s called Pro Tools LE, Mbox2. There are two parts to the Mbox2. You have your software and hardware. Let’s have a look at it.


The hardware is the connection between the real world and your software. With the Mbox2 hardware you can plug in a microphone or other sound source. It connects via a standard USB cable. This box also gives you a headphone output, plus another output if you wish to connect to speakers. This ability for monitoring your audio properly is in itself worth gold.

As well as line inputs (such as a CD player) you have two microphone inputs so you can record two microphones at once. For instance you may do an interview with a client or another therapist. These microphone inputs also have what’s called ‘Phantom Power’. Some microphones need a special power source, which is delivered via the microphone cable. This allows you to purchase extremely good microphones if you wish to which give exceptional audio quality.


The software is essentially the same as we use on our High Definition system. In fact to look at the screen they are exactly the same! (You can actually record high definition if you wish as well)  For the purposes of the chill sessions, there is ample power to do it all. You can have up to thirty-two tracks playing simultaneously.

The software consists of two main windows. The ‘edit’ window and the ‘mix’ window. The Edit window is where you can move, edit and duplicate sound files. In the mix window we can assign various effects (reverb, echo etc) and mix the volume of each track. (This can also be done in the edit window).


Pro Tools is very easy to install. It’s pretty much a ‘plug and play’ system. They’ve been at this for a long time and they’ve got it right. So will it do what you want for the chill sessions?  Absolutely and a whole lot more. I think the best thing about this software is that it is the leader and has been for so long. It’s here to stay. You can evolve with it.

You may be put off by the pictures thinking it looks a bit technical. Believe me, it is dead easy to use.

I admit I’m biased towards Pro Tools. There are other systems (that we’ll look at) that do much the same, some even more, but I’ve been working with this software for so long and I can truly say that it has rarely let me down. We have recorded hundreds of thousands of hours of music, television shows and other areas like theatre and corporate. The software keeps going and delivers. You can get cheaper packages although remember, you get the hardware with Pro Tools, and you’ll get used to whatever you start with, but take my word for it. Pro Tools Rules!

We'll release a 'how to' video very shortly, to help you come to grips with this fantastic software.

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