Will Rogers once said, “land is the only thing they’re not making more of.” Assuming you’re not recording by yourself, there will probably be times when you want to record two or more performers simultaneously. This can be easily accomplished via the awesome power of ProTools.
Of the approaches we’ve looked at so far, ProTools is the only one that you can’t get at least some version of for free. However, the software is very affordable, and it comes designed to solve all the downsides of all the other available platforms, while sacrificing none of their advantages.
First off, rather than being limited to the single-input of MIDI or your sound card’s input, ProTools plugs into an interface called a USB port, via a MOTU, (or multiple onboard terminal unit) board that comes with the package. This “input board” comes with eight different input points, and each and every one of them is equipped to handle any kind of input. “Banana-style” clips, MIDI cable, RCA jacks, or standard guitar “jack cords” all work the same, and the MOTU board automatically assigns each input to a separate “track” on the console-style user interface.
What offsets the expense of using ProTools is the fact that, rather than having to hunt down and integrate a new studio effect, ProTools comes out of the box with, quite literally, any studio effect you could possibly want, at the touch of a button. And if having this system saves you from having to buy one day in a professional recording studio, it literally pays for itself!
My Computer Is Nowhere Near My Studio
If you’re really serious about DIY, (“do it yourself”) recording, you need to at least look into the world of VS, or “Virtual Studio.” This is a stand-alone unit, usually very small, (hence, “portable”), and it generally comes with inputs for four instruments at any one time.
Sales points: sixteen tracks available for each recording, onboard effects processing, and most even come equipped with a built in writable-CD drive, which you can use to either transport the raw audio to your computer for mixing, or mix all the way down to CD audio format for playing anywhere.
The only problems you may run into are the small display screen, and the cost, which has been dropping steadily over the past five years. If you want a truly professional product, you can’t go wrong using VS technology. In fact, both Aerosmith and Prince use this technology exclusively. It really is that good.