For Chris Vrenna, Today’s Pro Tools Delivers Yesterday’s Analog Sounds

Chris Vrenna is no stranger to the digital domain. The Grammy-winning producer, engineer, remixer, songwriter and programmer has a long history of working with technology. Between his work with Nine Inch Nails and Marylin Manson, remixes for David Bowie, U2 and Smashing Pumpkins, and composing for a wide range of video games, Vrenna spends most of his waking hours working in Pro Tools.

Chris Vrenna

“I was fortunate to have grown up in the early ‘80s, when synthesizers and electronics were really taking off,” he says. “When I was 12 or so, I saw an ad for an electronic drum kit, and saved up all my money to buy one. I fell in love with the idea that I could create beats using any sound at all, not just kick, snare and toms. So for me, the advent of MIDI sequencing and digital recording was just huge.”

 
 The first thing I said when I booted up the new version was ‘wow, that’s just beautiful!’ I stare at Pro Tools for ten or twelve hours a day, six days a week, and this new interface makes my work a real pleasure.
- Chris Vrenna

Pro Tools has always been a big part of Vrenna’s creative arsenal, and the new enhancements to Pro Tools 8 make it an even more powerful tool. He finds the new user interface particularly impressive. “The first thing I said when I booted up the new version was ‘wow, that’s just beautiful!’ I stare at Pro Tools for ten or twelve hours a day, six days a week, and this new interface makes my work a real pleasure.”

Vintage sounds have always been a big part of Vrenna’s sound, and the arsenal of new virtual instruments in Pro Tools 8 offer a wide-ranging palette of luscious sounds. “There are so many great instruments and sounds in Pro Tools 8,” he says. “Boom is a lot of fun – it’s like having an old (Roland) TR-808 or TR-909 drum machine. Transfuser is insane – a heck of a lot of fun to use. And I love working with Strike, especially the individual note muting. And Vacuum – the sounds are all so fat, so dirty and analog sounding.”

Most important for Vrenna, though, is the ease with which Pro Tools 8 allows him to manipulate audio and MIDI in composing and remixing. “MIDI sequencing and sampling has always been part of my sound,” he says, “and Pro Tools 8 enables me to easily and seamlessly integrate that into my work. It’s such a streamlined, intuitive workflow.”