Just a little thought exercise to expand the brain…
Some people never have any trouble with their digital audio workstation software.
These are the people who follow the advice of their DAW's developers. They use the recommended operating system, they don't update willy-nilly and once they have got their system working, they don't bugger about with it!
They don't use the Internet much either because they are too busy getting on with their music and recording.
Then that leaves the rest of us…
I'm using Pro Tools as an example because it is so popular. Before you rush for the comments section, 'popular' doesn't necessarily mean 'better'. That would be a different discussion.
Despite its many and varied merits, there is one big downside to Pro Tools – it is very twitchy about which operating system it runs on.
Get it wrong by 0.0.1, plus or minus, and you're stuffed. It won't run, or it won't run well.
So when a new version of Pro Tools comes out, you have to be very careful in your decision to upgrade.
And even more so when there's an update to the OS; if you install it blindly without checking compatibility, you'll suddenly find yourself with a DAW that doesn't work.
So what is the answer to this?
Well, you could consider Apple's Logic Pro, which comes packaged with other goodies in Logic Studio.
You'll need a Macintosh computer to run it on, by the way.
You might wonder what's so good about Logic Pro that makes it potentially more reliable than other DAW softwares?
The reason it should be more reliable is that it's made by Apple. Yes, one company makes the computer, the operating system and the DAW software.
So it bloody well should just work!
We don't use Logic here very often but we do use Apple's Final Cut Pro video editing software, and it bloody well does just work. We haven't had a problem yet.
But with Pro Tools, well we learned our lesson about using it with the exactly correct OS version a long time ago. And when we upgrade, we test out the upgrade on a system that isn't used in production.
The problem for software developers such as Digidesign (now Avid) is that they always have to play catch up.
The developers of Logic, in comparison, have access to any information they need from Apple way before an OS update is released.
So if you want your DAW to be reliable, you could consider a wholly Apple system.
Of course, some people may have experiences that contradict this. In which case, we would love to hear about problems with Logic Pro, and Final Cut Pro too.
And there could be dangers. What if Microsoft released a DAW software and made sure that it received preferential treatment in OS updates compared to third-party DAWs?
The in-house DAW may seem attractive on the surface, but if it became too popular it might jeopardize third-party innovation.
So tell us your experiences of DAW unreliability, and if you have a system that's absolutely rock solid… PLEASE tell us about that!