The Producers Who Showed What Pro Tools Could Do
We all know that Pro Tools is the standard recording software for the music industry. Here are ten producers who helped usher in the Pro Tools era with slick, radio-ready songs that changed the cultural landscape. To make this list more approachable, we separated our subjects into three general categories: hip-hop producers, pop and rock producers and those who defy easy categorization. Music making software is not limited to Pro Tools, but it is considered the “industry standard” by many.
Hip-Hop Producers Who Use Pro Tools
1. Kanye West
In spite of West’s controversial public persona, this highly original producer has earned his status as a commercial and critical legend. Though best known for his chart-topping self-productions, West has produced hits for Jay-Z, Drake, Twista and many others. Through his embrace of popular software like AutoTune and Pro Tools, West demonstrates the importance of putting a unique spin on popular sounds.
2. Dr. Dre
A pioneer of hip-hop production, Dr. Dre creates his classic sound by combining Pro Tools with hardware drum machines and vintage keyboards. A tastemaker for over twenty years, Dr. Dre earns a huge new following every decade. Beyond his bestselling self-productions, Dre altered the cultural landscape with chart-topping productions for the likes of 50 Cent, Eve and Eminem.
3 and 4. Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo
As the Neptunes, this production duo has had an outsized impact on popular music. Straddling the worlds of hip-hop, funk and rock, this team uses Pro Tools to create an original, instantly recognizable sound. Over the years, artists like Britney Spears, Mystikal and Snoop Dogg have tapped into this sound to achieve massive chart success.
Pop And Rock Producers With Respect For Pro Tools
5. Timothy “Timbaland” Mosley
Though his sound has changed a lot over the years, Timbaland has maintained a steady relationship with Pro Tools and an uncanny ability to produce hits. In recent years, Timbaland’s Pro Tools mastery has graced massive singles from Nelly Furtado, Justin Timberlake and One Direction.
6. Max Martin
This Swedish phenom has produced charting singles since the early 1990s. In fact, Martin dominated that decade’s airwaves with a little help from the Backstreet Boys and Britney Spears. These days, Martin continues to impress by producing ubiquitous hits for Kelly Clarkson, Pink and Taylor Swift. An avid devotee of technology, Martin uses Pro Tools to express deep musicality and good taste.
7. Paul Epworth
More rock-oriented than most of the producers listed, this British producer earned his name producing critically acclaimed indie bands like the Rapture, Bloc Party and Friendly Fires. In 2011, Epworth’s artistic and commercial fortunes converged when he won a Grammy for writing and producing much of Adele’s breakthrough “21” album. Like most of his contemporaries, Paul Epworth’s lucrative studio setup revolves around Pro Tools.
8. Mick Ronson
Though Ronson has worked with many well-known artists, his name may always be linked with that of the late Amy Winehouse. When Mick Ronson produced the “Back To Black” album for Winehouse, he popularized a pitch-perfect retro sound that would influence countless producers. Though subsequent events have tinged the album with tragedy, “Back To Black” will always inspire joy with its soulful songwriting and production. Interestingly, Ronson recorded most of the album to analog tape before transferring the songs to Pro Tools for fine-tuning.
Producers Who Use Pro Tools To Explore Every Possible Genre
9. Rick Rubin
Though this producer is known for his quirkiness and iconic flowing beard, Rubin’s ability to revitalize careers betrays a talent that is deadly serious. Achieving fame through his work with the Beastie Boys, Rubin has applied his golden touch to artists as diverse as Black Sabbath, Johnny Cash and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Though Rubin-helmed projects generally forego complex editing or studio trickery, Pro Tools is still a vital ingredient in the producer’s remarkable resume.
10. Brian “Danger Mouse” Burton
One of the most original producers on this list, Danger Mouse often combines the roles of artist, songwriter and producer. Coming to prominence as a hip-hop producer, Danger Mouse quickly showed a gift for mixing modern sounds with soul, film music and even 1970s glam-rock. Outside of his own bands, his biggest successes to date are hit collaborative albums with the Black Keys, Gorillaz and Norah Jones. Danger Mouse uses the studio to create a mysterious, unpredictable sound that blurs the line between digital and analog instruments.
Astute readers will notice that these producers collectively represent virtually every musical trend and genre of the past twenty years. This is a key clue to the fact that Pro Tools skills are indispensable to anyone who wants to record music professionally. Here are a few of the biggest advantages that set Pro Tools Apart from all competitors.
- Powerful multitrack editing. Designed for serious projects with many elements, Pro Tools makes it easy to apply simultaneous changes to multiple tracks.
- Unparalleled software support. Digidesign earned the trust of the music industry with rock-solid product support. From cherry-picking trusted dealers to investing millions in industry-standard DSP effects, Digidesign never stops improving the Pro Tools experience.
- Intuitive film and video synching. In this multimedia era, music and video are increasingly combined to promote artists and products with maximal impact. Since the very beginning of Pro Tools, Digidesign has prioritized video synching functions to keep this program keyed for multifaceted projects.
- Universal communicability and compatibility. Though Pro Tools achieved dominance through impeccable quality, compatibility is a big part of the Pro Tools appeal. There’s nothing quite like the universality of Pro Tools in professional studios. Producers think nothing of recording a project in London, overdubbing in New York and conducting a final mixdown in Los Angeles–all using Pro Tools. Like a common language, Pro Tools binds people together and helps spur collaborative communication.