TT 001 – 10XPro is Too Expensive!

TT 001 – 10XPro is Too Expensive!

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One of my favorite software solutions (funnel builder / course platform / membership site), 10XPro, is currently running a promotion, and I have been sharing it with my audience, specifically the Music Entrepreneur HQ email list.

One of my websites, Content Marketing Musician, was built on 10XPro. And I couldn’t be more thrilled by its features, user friendliness, and overall experience for creators and customers alike.

I had some questions about this 10XPro promotion. Some apparently wondered whether it was scam. Others thought it was too expensive.

So, in this episode of Thought Thursday, I tackle these issues head on, offer some problem-solving recommendations, and give you an inside look into the current promotion.

Resources Mentioned in This Episode:

Thanks for listening.

Is Pro Tools the Unspoken Industry Standard?

Is Pro Tools the Unspoken Industry Standard?

I still remember when my friend Patrick Zelinski and I first started learning Pro Tools back in 2009.

We found the interface a little challenging, and whatever DVDs we could get our hands on at the time never really seemed to teach us the basics or provide us with a process for how to actually use the software.

It was still a valuable learning experience, and we did eventually get around to recording some demo tracks with Pro Tools. Patrick stuck with it. I, on the other hand, kept learning on Tracktion, and I was happy with that. I still use Tracktion today.

At this point, we’ve both worked on commercially available music projects, and feel pretty comfortable on our respective platforms.

Pro Tools: Back In The Day

Pro Tools has gotten a lot better over the years, but some of the features were a little lacking when I first came across it.

The need to use a proprietary audio interface, the fact that you couldn’t easily export your project to a WAV or MP3 file – that kind of stuff made me laugh and also a little sad on the inside.

I’ve never had any of those issues with Tracktion. I’ve used at least three different audio interfaces with it, and I’ve always been able to export to whatever common file format I’ve wanted to – even in earlier versions!

Oh, but what about plugins? Tracktion doesn’t support plugins, right? Wrong.

Most digital audio workstations support a variety of plugins without any problem, not excluding Tracktion.

In short, I couldn’t understand why Pro Tools was considered that important.

One Phone Call

When I was still running a home studio, I would occasionally get calls for work. The studio served a niche market, and we didn’t do much promotion, so we just did what we did, and that was okay.

A friend of mine referred me a possible lead, and when they called, the first thing they asked was, “do you use Pro Tools?”

“No. Why?”

The gentleman on the line wasn’t able to provide me with a good answer. He just wanted to make sure that we had Pro Tools, as if that was a Better Business Bureau badge or commendation of the Pope or something.

I reassured him: “You can use any plugin you want on Tracktion, and I can always export the tracks to WAV.”

I didn’t get that client.

So if you’re serious about audio engineering, you should at least have Pro Tools as an option. I don’t believe it needs to be the only option you provide, but if you want to appeal to a wide variety of clients, it’s wise to be prepared.

Pro Tools: Industry Standard?

The Pro Tools audio interface in actionHere’s why Pro Tools is considered important: practically every noteworthy studio has it.

This does not mean that it’s the most used DAW in these environments, nor does it mean that it’s the best. But it is prolific – there’s no denying that.

If you want to move your project from one studio to the next, you probably won’t encounter any issues. Odd are good that, wherever you go, you’ll be able to load up your project files in Pro Tools in a different studio without much trouble, and resume your work.

But I can’t see how that’s a major advantage since exporting your files to WAV in Tracktion (and other DAWs) isn’t likely to cost you more time.

After all is said and done, however, I have to admit that Pro Tools is an “industry standard” of sorts. If you don’t believe me, ask a bunch of artists, engineers and experts what they think. Odd are most will tell you that they use Pro Tools.

My Thoughts On Digital Audio Workstations

Tracktion digital audio workstationSo far, with the exception of one missed opportunity (if you can even call it that), I can’t say that I’ve ever needed or wanted Pro Tools.

Maybe I’m just not active enough in studio engineering for it to matter, but I’ll share my thoughts with you anyway.

With DAWs, the most important thing to me has always been usability. I will never budge on that.

I’ve experimented with a number of DAWs, and to this day, I have yet to find anything simpler and more intuitive than Tracktion (with the possible exception of Garage Band, but I don’t own a Mac).

If an interface is easy to use, it means that I can get sketches and ideas down fast, and I can also work fast. By extension, I can serve my clients with minimum friction (yes, I still do some production work here and there), and get my own projects done the way I want them to without the added stress of a cluttered interface.

As for plugins, I’m happy to use free or low-cost ones unless I find that I absolutely need something better. I have great guitar hardware, and I can make bass and drums sound pretty good using the tools I’ve got.

I’m now in a position where I could acquire more gear and plugins, but I’ve always been a do-what-you-can-with-what-you’ve-got kind of guy, and there are many well-established engineers that are the same way.

Final Thoughts

I get it. Pro Tools is a big deal.

I don’t believe any one tool or resource becomes an “industry standard” without good reason. I would argue that Pro Tools has had anything but a spotless history, but a lot of people love it and have gotten good use out of it.

I just don’t like people that say, in effect, “Everybody is using Pro Tools so you should too.”

I suppose you’re also the type of person that would wear Crocs because everyone else is.

That doesn’t make any sense. If you want to stand out, you have to do something different, don’t you think?

If you want to stand out, you have to do something different. Click To Tweet

I say go ahead and make music on FL Studio or Ableton Live. Why the hell not? This will instantly separate you from the drones that go the way of the sheep.

There’s enough homogenized pop crap out there – go and make something that’s real.

What do you think? Do you use Pro Tools? Would you consider it an industry standard, and is it truly the best music production software you’ve ever used? Let me know in the comments below!

Are Recording Studios Obsolete?

Computer hardware is cheap. Many software recording tools are also inexpensive. In an age where anyone with a laptop, microphone and audio interface can record better quality audio than in decades past, is there still a need for recording studios? Will they continue to be relevant in the times to come?

It has long been said that anyone could set up their own home project studio, and never has that been truer in an age where software and hardware tools are so accessible and inexpensive.

Anyone with a laptop and a microphone can capture better quality sound than even professional studios of the yesteryear.

This begs the question: are recording studios obsolete? Is this the end of an era?

There are several factors that we must keep in mind before spreading doom and gloom predictions. Consider the following.

Hardware is Complex

Not everyone knows how to set up a home studio. If you’re mostly dealing with software-based recording, then there isn’t anything terribly challenging about setup. That’s a bit of a different story when you’re dealing with hardware-based recording.

You must know what cables go where. You must know what the faders and knobs do on the mixing board. You must figure out your signal chain. There is so much to be aware of.

Software certainly is powerful, but it doesn’t always offer the variety of options and warmth that good hardware does. There still is – and will continue to be – a demand for studio engineers that know their gear inside and out. This is because an amazing sound can be achieved without expensive gear, so long as you know what you’re doing.

Software is Complex

Learning software can be a challenge – especially for beginners. Digital Audio Workstations (DAWs) certainly are powerful, but in terms of complexity, many of them are not that far off from a program like Adobe Photoshop. Unless you’re a graphic designer, you probably don’t have much experience with Photoshop and would freeze up the moment you opened the application.

Anybody with enough determination can become proficient at using DAWs, plugins and other software tools, but not everyone has the time or the patience to dedicate to it.

A seasoned studio engineer will probably feel at home within a DAW environment, and will even comment how easy it is to use. It can be intimidating for many others, however, especially those who aren’t tech savvy. Unless recording software becomes even more intuitive, automated, or both, quality engineers will continue to be in demand.

Good Sound Requires Good Ears

A great studio engineer doesn’t need a state-of-the-art studio to create pristine quality recordings. The longer they use their gear, the more they get to know it. The more bands they work with, and the more recordings they do, the better they become at what they do.

Anybody can record a voice and an instrument and get a sound, but they can’t necessarily get a great sound. Moreover, they may not have any knowledge when it comes to mixing and figuring out how to place a track in a mix.

A good ear can be developed, but again, it tends to come through a significant amount of experience and study. Many musicians, producers, hobbyists, and others will continue to rely on the ears of a professional to get the quality of recording desired. Recording is part science and part art, so even if you think you know everything there is to know about recording theory, if you don’t use your ears and develop the ability to listen to your intuition, you will never be the best engineer in the world.

Final Thoughts

Because of the proliferation of inexpensive technology, anybody with the desire to set up shop can. Achieving their musical vision, however, may prove more challenging than they even realize. I often mix and master my own music, knowing full well it’s not the ideal way to go about it. Mastering, at the very least, should be handled by someone other than the person mixing the project.  I also know I can get decent mixes on my own, but someone with more experience could easily achieve better results.

Professionals will continue to be in demand, but the marketplace will become all the more competitive as time goes on. Recording studios may not be obsolete, but becoming the go-to studio or engineer – even for artists in your own locality – is easier said than done.

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