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Installing Pro Tools???

It was a pretty good idea and fortunately worked out.

A number of years ago, I was in a band who had a great singer, but she was moving out of town. Before she left, she paid for a studio session for all of us so we both could have demos to use. After the session, I got the files from the studio, which included the Pro Tools files as well as the final mixes. However, I never owned Pro Tools in my life and had no plans to. I have always wanted to access these sessions because the audio files I had from them didn't line up so I couldn't simply drag them into Logic, the DAW that I use.

Over the weekend, I had an idea. Pro Tools has a free, fully-functioning 30-day trial (Ultimate version). I know how to easily create a volume on a drive and install macOS on it. I realized I could install the Pro Tools trial on this separate volume and not litter my working drive with all the bits Pro Tools would probably install everywhere. I would be creating a separate sandbox where I could do whatever with Pro Tools without worrying about making a mess and possibly conflicts (probably not, but still) with what I use regularly.

The short version of the story is that yes, I was able to create "track files" of all the tracks for each song that I could drag into Logic and have everything line up. I even remembered to take screen shots of the mixer so I could start out with similar panning and levels. It all worked out in the end.

But getting there was another matter. When you install Logic, you buy it from the App Store, it downloads, and it's mostly ready to go. The only other thing you might do is install the "Additional Content." But it does that in the background if you want. On the other hand, Pro Tools is installed using some app from Avid, and you have to create an iLok account if you don't have one, and then you have to go to the iLok site and "reset" your password so you have it, and then you have to enter your username/email and password in Pro Tools, and you have to approve several of the plug ins during the install process even though you told it to do everything, and if you launch Pro Tools too early, it launches the basic Pro Tools Intro version which is pretty limited and not enough to open studio recordings with many tracks like this one, I think it crashed at one point during the install, at one point I would swear it said "installed" when it wasn't and then somehow I got it back to "installing", etc. My reaction was that I cannot imagine that most people getting into this wouldn't be overwhelmed by having to go through this process. I long thought that studios that are using an old version of Pro Tools are doing so because of the "if it's working, don't upgrade or mess with it" philosophy, but I suspect it's as much because the install process is beyond them. Once it was installed and working, it seemed fine, but I'm a technical person and I was frustrated by the process. I won't even go into the slightly convoluted process of selecting all the tracks and "consolidating" them so they could be output as full length tracks because I don't know if other DAWs do it any better, but I did have to go to several sources before I found the track selection method.

I know Pro Tools is the "standard" in many studios and many people use it because of that despite there being other very good options. I just hope that other third-party DAWs aren't as difficult to install. Once I was in it, it wasn't horrible and I'm sure some of the difficulties I had were simply differences between it and what I'm used to in Logic. I'm also happy that I have it *over there* and have a few more weeks to jump into it if I need something else from it, and worse case, can subscribe for a month to get into the full or a larger version later.

Posted 2023 07 10 at 8:17 AM

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