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Thread February 13, 2016 editorial: comments

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Mike Levine

Mike Levine

1064 posts
AFicionado
First post
1 Posted on 02/13/2016 at 10:00:03

Too Big to Not Fail?

A few weeks ago I wrote here about the technical issues I was having with Pro Tools and that I'd finally decided I had no other option but to pay for the annual service plan. (Paying for the right to talk to technical support, how messed up is that?) 

Although it didn’t totally fix all my issues, the advice I got from the outsourced Avid support engineer did help to some degree. Everything was going along relatively swimmingly until a couple of days ago, when I got an email from PayPal telling me that they’d just charged my account for an Avid Pro Tools 12 Subscription. This had nothing to do with the service plan, which I’d paid for a month ago. Apparently, some computer at Avid got its wires crossed and randomly billed me $99, as if I were an annual subscriber for the software, which I most definitely am not! (If you’ve read my past columns on software subscriptions, you’ll know why.)

Trying to get this mistake rectified has been a comedy of errors more reminiscent of dealing with a giant health insurance or cable company than a music software developer. Has Avid become that bureaucratic? The answer, at least based on my experience so far, is “yes.” I’ve had dealings with a lot of music gear and software manufacturers over the years, but never, ever before, have I felt like a number, not a person — until now.

Here’s how it went down: I called Avid support and was asked by an automated voice to enter system ID (a number you’re assigned with your Pro Tools license or support license without which you can’t even get a live person to speak to you). I entered it and somebody answered after only a few seconds. So far, so good. 

He, too, asked me for my system ID. I explained the problem and he told me that I had to speak with the “Registration Department,” and that he’d transfer me, which he did. I soon heard another recording asking for my system ID, which I entered (again). 

After a few minutes more on hold, an agent answered and asked for my system ID. His voice sounded familiar. It was the first guy again. He seemed surprised that my call had been routed back to him. He then told me I should call a different number. Ugh. 

So I did, and after a few minutes on hold (and thankfully, no requests for my system ID), I explained the problem again, and he put me on hold for another few minutes. He then came back and said he’d looked up my records and found no evidence that Avid had charged me for anything. This was rather frustrating to hear, and I gave him the PayPal transaction ID. He said he had to send it up the line to another person to deal with, and that I’d hear back from them later in the day.

Later, I got an email saying that according to their records I didn't even have a Pro Tools license. I discovered that, even though I’d given them the correct email address, they’d used the wrong one, which was associated with a different, but inactive, user account I’d once set up. For once, I wished they had asked for my system ID, perhaps then they would have pulled up the correct information. I emailed them screenshots from my bank and PayPal accounts both of which clearly show the transaction. Now I guess I’ll have to wait until next week to see whether they credit me or whether I have to keep burrowing deeper into the bureaucratic morass. 

I’m starting to regret my decision to stay with Pro Tools. I still love the software, but the company, not so much.

Smurf_en

Smurf_en

15 posts
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2 Posted on 02/13/2016 at 10:11:48
This is the reason PT MP9 was my first & last Avid product. Nothing but hassles from the company.

Went back to Reaper, keeping PT MP9 only for conversion of PT files as needed, but even Reaper, since around 4.45 or so, is getting as flaky....
It has occurred to me that there are fewer years ahead than there are behind....
jzpowers

jzpowers

5 posts
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3 Posted on 02/13/2016 at 10:18:05
Mr. Levine - thank you for a well articulated and documented bit of madness. I empathize. Thank you for fighting the good fight and continuing to share the good, the bad and the very ugly.

Capt. Powers
jpmcneil

jpmcneil

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4 Posted on 02/13/2016 at 10:50:54
I feel your pain. When I got really serious about recording 5-6 years ago, being a "boomer" and not major adept at computers, I researched for the simplest, most intuitive, and stable DAW (crash drives us ALL crazy). I had heard the mantra re Pro Tools, "Industry Standard". I also heard the growing frustration with stories like yours....including instability/crashes. I seemed to me PT was resting on their laurels, more interested in $ than continued sensible and affordable development. Seemed they felt they could do/charge anything, cause they were "The Standard". I didn't like that vibe. The rather new kid on the block, Studio One, kept coming up. I have never looked back. And Studio One 3.1, wow. 3.2 is coming very soon, and ALL point upgrades are FREE. Major upgrades are reasonable, around $150, and on sale for $99 (like now). I have only paid for 2 major upgrades in 5 years, or something sane like that. I can count on one hand, more like a couple fingers, the times it has crashed in 5 years. Do a free trial. Their new mantra, "The Next Standard". Presonus set out to do this, as Avid became increasingly self-centered. I think they are pulling it off. And pulling down the Old Standard. I think it is time.

[ Post last edited on 02/13/2016 at 10:55:20 ]

Kyle Anastasio

Kyle Anastasio

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5 Posted on 02/13/2016 at 11:27:16
As a certified ProTools Operator and going through all the classes only to have versions change right after completing the classes and making my certification null and void, I will tell you that this and the fact that they even went to subscription based ripoffs in the first place, I would never touch PT again in my studio with a 10 foot pole. And it amazes me with all the other choices for stable DAWs out there that PT still remains an industry standard. Although, I give exceptional credit to their marketing department for keeping the dinosaur alive..

[ Post last edited on 02/13/2016 at 11:27:41 ]

NYCGRIFF

NYCGRIFF

43 posts
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6 Posted on 02/13/2016 at 11:33:22
Say Mike:

All I can say is "damn"! I've gone through far too many similar episodes of what you've described to go into a lengthy recount here. It's obvious that you've had a great history with Pro Tools. However, ask yourself the question, "Is it worth it... now?" As in any relationship, sometimes the current aggravation outweighs the former good times. There is little doubt that this company has changed; and I suspect, not for the better. Just my three pennies...
nicolaizen

nicolaizen

10 posts
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7 Posted on 02/13/2016 at 12:36:58
I can understand your point completely and sympathize you…:oo:! They believe that you do not have the strength to change DAW, especially if you are a professional user, due to the fact that you actually invested valuable time and money and, therefore you are depending of them. It is business as usual. I had once a product of Avid and it is the last thing that I buy from them because of their way of thinking: a lot of managerialism, everything is only money or money first.
I am using Cubase and I can say that, here in Greece, we have an exemplary support. But It horrifies me the idea that this support will change. From the other side I am experiencing huge problems with Native Instruments. Their support is also horrible. I still expecting an advice from an issue opened at November 2015!!!
Mike Levine

Mike Levine

1064 posts
AFicionado
8 Posted on 02/13/2016 at 12:44:26
Quote:
Went back to Reaper, keeping PT MP9 only for conversion of PT files as needed, but even Reaper, since around 4.45 or so, is getting as flaky....

I'm sorry to hear that. Reaper users are usually so positive about the program.
Mike Levine

Mike Levine

1064 posts
AFicionado
9 Posted on 02/13/2016 at 12:45:21
Quote:
Mr. Levine - thank you for a well articulated and documented bit of madness. I empathize. Thank you for fighting the good fight and continuing to share the good, the bad and the very ugly.

Thank you Capt. Powers. Much appreciated! :bravo:
Mike Levine

Mike Levine

1064 posts
AFicionado
10 Posted on 02/13/2016 at 12:52:22
Quote:
. Their new mantra, "The Next Standard". Presonus set out to do this, as Avid became increasingly self-centered. I think they are pulling it off. And pulling down the Old Standard. I think it is time.

I think Studio One 3 is a very good program. I think that it will definitely grab a larger and larger share of the home studio market, because it offers a lot more bang for the buck, and PreSonus is a friendlier company. However, I think Pro Tools will probably remain the industry standard among the pro audio folks until the generation that grew up with it retires. It's so ingrained in the studio culture among the producers and engineers who are doing high-end professional work, that it's hard to imagine them switching away en masse.
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