Pro Audio Files

An Open Letter To Avid Tech Support

Life Support Addiction 

There is a lot of argument about features in software. Some say Pro Tools sounds better than Logic and vice versa.

What becomes more clear over time is the increasing value of customer support. This has caused me to change platforms more than any other reason over the years. In my opinion, it trumps the debated sound quality debate.

Problems arise. Computers change, updates don’t work out as planned and gear fails. There are a lot of things that can go wrong.

Man Overboard

I jumped ship from AVID. It wasn’t because I didn’t like the way Pro Tools functioned. I liked it a lot. Especially for audio-based recording.

I bailed because the way they choose to do business. The amount of hoops you have to jump through after you’ve paid for an Avid product is ridiculous.

Installing is never cut and dry. Unlike Logic which makes things extremely simple.

Avid is more concerned about being ripped off than taking care of their paid customers. Believe me, I understand the need to protect yourselves, but eventually, you lock things down so much you don’t let anything in. That includes people that support you.

Black Market

Recently, I was on a session where the engineer was using a cracked version of Pro Tools. Oddly enough they also owned a real version of Pro Tools. I was confused. I asked them why on earth they would trust an unreliable crack.

They stated they tried calling customer support and couldn’t get help because they couldn’t find a receipt. Even though they are in physical possession of the product, they still couldn’t get help!

The issue wasn’t about an old product, but a new paid update to Pro Tools.

In order to work, (and support their rent) they had to go to extreme measures. This is not someone trying to steal software. It’s someone who gladly paid for a product.

Apparently, if for some reason you can’t find a receipt for your purchase from seven years ago, then you’re screwed. I suppose having the physical product in hand is not enough proof of ownership. Is this 1950’s Russia?

Warning: This could be problematic for those that received Pro Tools as a gift.

Friends and Lovers

I would say the Avid experience can be plain unfriendly.

Logic, on the other hand, has always been quite simple. It took nothing to install.

Any problems were fairly easily resolved without a credit check and fingerprints.

Codes and Keys

I’m not a technology expert. I can’t advise on better ways to protect AVID software.

I can just say that from a consumers perspective, I feel like I’m being shamed for doing the right thing.

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King Without A Crown

For a long time, Pro Tools was king of the hill. They set the standard. But with power comes a blindness to change. Every other DAW I have used, including Ableton, is more consumer friendly.

Again, this is not a platform war. It’s an accessibility issue.

There is a reason I like to buy instruments and amps from small builders. Direct connection to the manufacturer. Ironically, I rarely have to contact the small manufacturer in these instances.

Flashback

I remember installing Sibelius (another Avid product) a while ago. This resulted in quite a few headaches. Troubleshooting was not easy.

We’re not talking about cheap software here. Avid products will take your lunch money and dunk your head in the toilet for quite some time.

Corporation

I imagine when you become a large company it must be hard to handle the overwhelming amount of incoming questions. There must be a better method than simply blocking the gates to all but a few that know the secret handshake.

I’m not looking to get flowers and a love note (I prefer chocolates). I just want to install the software without too much confusion or hassle. If I do run into a problem, I want to know there is a friendly path to resolution.

That doesn’t mean I want a Pro Tools tech to come over and massage my neck after the strenuous software lifting. Although, If they want to order me take out, I wouldn’t resist.

Washing Machine

The argument may be that you buy something like an appliance, and it’s not the manufacturers responsibility to maintain it over time.

However, this is not exactly accurate.

Imagine, if you will, you bought a new washing machine. During the course of owning the washing machine, the manufacturer comes to your house and installs upgrades that you pay for. But, after they install the upgrades, they offer no reasonable support if the installation they made (and you paid for) has errors.

It doesn’t seem right. I don’t think we’re asking for the world here. We’re asking to not have to sit on the phone for six hours over two days. We’re asking that you don’t treat paid customers like criminals.

Notice my gripe has nothing to do with the actual features of Avid Products. That’s because they perform great. It’s well-designed software.

You can add all the fancy new features you want. But, if you have no solid footing on the simple things, it doesn’t really matter.

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Mark Marshall

Mark Marshall

Mark Marshall is a producer, songwriter, session musician and instructor based in NYC. More at guitaristmarkmarshall.com

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