“It’s an industry standard” is a bunch of junk! (with DAWs)

Look, this is straight forward and is bound to cause someone to stop reading my blogs. However, the sentence “it’s an industry standard” in the digital age, is a bunch of garbage. In the days of analog audio, this could ring true. In hardware like microphones, headphones, speakers, etc… I’ll accept that industry standards are built over time and can provide reliability and long term value. Gibson guitars, RE-20 microphones, and Shure FP33 field mixers are great examples of industry standards that hold well deserved fame in music, broadcasting, and field audio.

I’m not talking about that. I’m talking about the digital world. I am 28 years old and started working in audio professionally when I was 16. This means, I was on the cusp of the digital audio age. I started working in audio right when analog tape went to ADAT and was an early adopter of ADAT going to computer based DAW’s. I crawled with Cakewalk, visited the Sonic Foundry, mastered Cool edit, destroyed Sonar, ruled Cubase/Nuendo, forced myself into Protools, and now I live in Logic. Look at that last sentence… did you notice the progression? It pictured the rate of each DAW’s popularity in the small in home studio.

Sure, Protools is the one that people (whoever they are) claim and clammer as the industry standard, for the time being. I would say, this may be true for major recording studios that adopted the HD systems early on and continued to promote their power and ability. Don’t get me wrong it’s a powerful system and has major advantages (and disadvantages). In most studios, I feel like this is still a standard. Most likely due to the financial investment necessary for its installation and sticking with what you know.

Here’s the point, this is not a rant against Protools, this is about feeling the need to do something that doesn’t work for you. One thing is for sure, DAW’s all have the basic same properties. They may have different ways of doing things, hot keys, and layouts, but they all have the same function. I am personally a fan of Apples Logic 9 (for now) but that could change tomorrow. So find the system that works best for you and learn it well. I have never had a problem integrating with other studios with different software or DAW’s… it’s all digital. I hope that we, in the digital audio age, will stop worrying about the words “industry standard” and start working on our talents, sound, and identity. If something works, use it. If it doesn’t? Don’t use it.┬áThis mentality is what convinced me to switch my home studio and editing suite from ProTools LE to Logic 9. There were limitations in ProTools LE that weren’t there in Logic and they cost about the same… no brainer.

Sure, I still use “industry standards” when selecting gear (most of the time) but the key here is the realization that software “standards” haven’t yet lived up to the life span of our hardware standards and “industry standard”, in the digital sense, simply means “first to the finish line”. Once a DAW lives up to the longevity of a Gibson guitar or a RE-20 mic, THEN we may have something, but the public digital world hasn’t even had enough time to make that possible.

End over end, do what works and do it well!

-Lee Kebler