New studio setup advice needed!

sleepyhead1978

New member
Hi All,
Thanks very much in advance to anyone who attempts to help me by replying with advice, much appreciated.

Moderators - please feel free to move my post to the correct place! :-)

So the situation is this... my Dad and I have a Pro-tools home studio setup that's essentially 11 years old. Essentially the studio is these things...
* iMac - 21.5 inch late 2009 / 3.06 Intel Core 2 Duo / 8GB RAM / OS Mavericks
* Pro-tools LE 8
* Digidesign 003 Factory

We've been using it like this for over 10 years - we just mess around, nothing serious. We love it, it generally speaking still works fine, but we are well aware that it is becoming very outdated and we also can't risk updating the iMac OS anymore either in case PT LE 8 isn't supported! So we just need to update the entire setup, but would like to do it cost effectively.

So, with that in mind we were thinking a new up to date iMac (or Mac Mini perhaps instead) and new Pro-tools software are the initial things we need. So the 3 questions are...

1. Do we need to buy Pro-tools Perpetual (£500 approx) to put on the new iMac or is there a more affordable "upgrade" option that enable us to go from PT LE 8 to the latest version (PT 2020 I'm guessing...)?

2. Assuming we buy a new iMac with Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) ports, can I just buy a USB-C to Firewire adaptor and carry on using the Digidesign 003 Factory mixing desk? Will it work with the latest version of Pro-tools? We love using it and don't want to have to invest in a new desk if we don't have to!

3. Will our older PT LE 8 projects all open up on the new version of Pro-tools ok? Obviously we don't want 10 years worth of projects not accessible... We have one 3rd party plug-in, which is EZ Drummer, it's used on most projects. From some quick googling and other forum posts, I've discovered our EZ Drummer plug in is "RTAS"? And that newer plugins for Pro-tools need to be "AAX"? I've no idea what this means, but essentially just need to know can this issue be overcome? Will we need to buy EZ Drummer again?

Open to all thoughts and advice!

Kind regards,
Phil

DISCLAIMER - I'm really really really not a very technical person, so it would be greatly appreciated if answers could be kept extremely basic! If you're replying and thinking you may have gotten too technical for me, you probably have...! lol
 

TalismanRich

Well-known member
I would seriously look at other options than staying with ProTools. They simply are not cost effective for the home market. If you're doing commercial work that must be used in other studios, then fine. As for whether you can load old PT 8 projects in newer versions, perhaps Steenamaroo can comment. He's up on all things ProTools.

There are lots of DAWs which are just as powerful. Reaper, BandLab's Cakewalk, StudioOne Artist, Cubase Elements. You could buy any of those, PLUS the latest version of EZDrummer for less than half of the license for Protools alone. As long as you have the raw audio and midi files from the projects, I'm sure you could reconstruct them.
 
Hi,
You can probably check EZDrummer quite easily by signing in and trying to download it.
You should be presented with download options and details.
I'd imagine one of them will be AAX. Either that or all components are included in a single installer and you already have AAX.
If your license is for an old version you may have to upgrade.


For the ProTools upgrade, I think you're stuck paying the big money.
Some resellers to still have the 1 year update plan which would take any PT perpetual license holder bang up to date, but I think that only works for owners of 12 or later.
I use ProTools and I love it but that's a lot of money to recommend someone spend...
I'd probably look at Reaper.

If you do stick with ProTools I can tell you that 2021.3.0 (which I think is current) allows me to save sessions as PT 7-9 compatible so, presumably I can open PT 7-9 sessions.

I'm fairly sure the 003 is dead. The last driver release was in 2016 for MaxOS 10.12 - Sierra.
I'd be pretty confident it's not going to work with current Big Sur and certain that it wouldn't be compatible with M1 macs, if you're looking at those (you should).

If you're not aware of the new Apple Silicon it might be worth having a read and, perhaps, waiting.
They released a Macbook Pro, Air, and Mac Mini but it's widely believed that an Apple Silicon iMac will probably be arriving this year.
Performance went up and cost went down with the current three models so, as I say, might be worth some research + some waiting.
 

TalismanRich

Well-known member
One other option (depending on how much you need to upgrade) would be to pick up a newer, but used Mac that has the OS version that will work with your Digi 003, but that has a faster processor, more memory and storage. Maybe a 2016 or 17 Mac mini that is a few years old but has Sierra. I would expect a 4th or 5th generation I5 or I7 should outperform your Core2 Duo.

If you really like the Digidesign 003, that's probably going to be your easiest path. Otherwise you'll be rebuilding the rest of your system as well as upgrading the computer.

Isn't progress wonderful?
 

Gtoboy

Well-known member
If you haven't already done so, i would recommend visiting duc.avid.com which is the Digi User Conference forum. You will find info and links that can help you learn what is working best for those using the latest Pro Tools.
 

sleepyhead1978

New member
Thanks for the replies guys. I posted elsewhere and found similar comments, so that's reassuring.
I'm thinking of having this as my new setup...

M1 Mac Mini (16GB upgrade) - £900
Pro Tools Perpetual - £540
2 x 24” Full HD monitors - £260 approx
Focusrite Scarlett 8i6 (3rd Gen) - £240
EZ Drummer 2 - £130
1TB Hard Drive - £40
USB-C to HDMI adapter (for the 2nd monitor) - £10

Total - £2120

We already have a MIDI keyboard that we can use, so that's not something we need to buy.

Any thoughts or suggestions on the kit I've listed?

Regards
 
Sounds good! I've already written my thoughts on ProTools and pricing but if that's what you like and you're happy to sign up to it, that's cool.
According to Focusrite the 3rd gen 8i6 and its Focusrite Control software are both compatible with Big Sur + M1 macs.

Performance will be a non-issue with the M1. Sounds like a great setup.
 

sleepyhead1978

New member
Sounds good! I've already written my thoughts on ProTools and pricing but if that's what you like and you're happy to sign up to it, that's cool.
According to Focusrite the 3rd gen 8i6 and its Focusrite Control software are both compatible with Big Sur + M1 macs.

Performance will be a non-issue with the M1. Sounds like a great setup.
Yeah I really appreciate everyone's input. THe issue with my setup is my 71 year old father... he is definitely not prepared to learn something new! And to be honest I don't have the time to either! So we're gonna stick with PT for now. Thanks for your input (y)
 
Ah, I can appreciate that.
Having used older MacOS and ProTools versions, I think you should be pretty comfortable with the new setup.
If you do run in to any minor hurdles or hiccups, though, feel free to come back here and let us know. :)
 

TalismanRich

Well-known member
Yeah I really appreciate everyone's input. THe issue with my setup is my 71 year old father... he is definitely not prepared to learn something new! And to be honest I don't have the time to either! So we're gonna stick with PT for now. Thanks for your input (y)
Yeah, trying to get old people to learn stuff is a royal pain! .... hey wait.. I'm talking about myself!

You should hear my golf group when we hit catch up to a slow group. Dang retirees! (of course all of us have been retired for 3 or 4 years).
 

sleepyhead1978

New member
Hi Guys,

Follow up question...

When buying an external hard drive for the Pro Tools projects to go on, should I specifcially go for a mains powered drive, or will a USB bus powered drive be ok? Is there any link to Pro Tools crashing with USB bus powered drives?

Cheers,

Phil
 

TalismanRich

Well-known member
I've got both... they work fine as along as your computer can sufficient power. Most new computers have plenty of available current.

Once Windows mounts the drive ProTools should see it just like any other drive. The only issue I might see would be if you had things like VSTs, etc on the drive and it wasn't connected. Then it should just tell you that xxxxx isn't available.
 

sleepyhead1978

New member
I've got both... they work fine as along as your computer can sufficient power. Most new computers have plenty of available current.

Once Windows mounts the drive ProTools should see it just like any other drive. The only issue I might see would be if you had things like VSTs, etc on the drive and it wasn't connected. Then it should just tell you that xxxxx isn't available.
Cool cheers! I’ll be putting everything (PT, plug-ins etc) all on the Mac Mini (or iMac, should I decide to get that instead) so hopefully that won’t be an issue 👍
 

keith.rogers

Bobby'); DROP TABLE USER
You might need more than 1TB if you have both your audio projects and [TimeMachine] backups on the same drive, which I do not recommend, actually, though if you disable TM while recording, it shouldn't create contention, though a USB 3.0 drive is not likely going to be a problem supporting both.

I'd spring for a larger SSD, but if you get a spinner, you can put that about 5m away and it should still work fine with a quality cable. I've got 2 mirror drive sets - one for audio and another for video, and they're on long cables in the closet since, together, and one is 3.5" so have a fan, they're too noisy in the room.

Good luck. (I've heard good things about the new M1 Mini. I looked at them, but went with an older, refurb iMac because I wanted to load it up with RAM for video or photo fooling around. Might take a hard look at a new iPad when they come out with the M2.)
 
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