So Avid has launched what is arguably their biggest update to the Pro Tools family since going to the new AAX engine from TDM. Lots of the online previews have covered the new aspects of the software, with many of the new improved features heavily focused towards those working in Post and Foley work.
This is a smart move from AVID as this is one user base that has been crying out for improvements for many years, and whilst many other platforms exist for Music creation, it seems AVID have really focused to get the Post guys and girls invested further into AVID hardware and software, and keep them invested.
How will it affect me?
So where does that leave the working Music producer, Mixer and Engineer who doesn’t have an interest and need for all the post features?
Well, many of the new improvements can benefit all Pro Tools users, and the new pricing and never-seen-before unbundling of cards and software could prove pivotal to those looking to expand, or move over to a HD Native or HDX rig.
To run a traditional Pro Tools HD system, you need 3 elements :
1. Pro Tools software
2. Either a HDX DSP PCIe card or HD Native Card
3. A Pro Tools compatible audio interface
Since the introduction of HD Native systems, many larger session that used to be soley the remit of HDX and previous TDM sessions, can be run natively, quite easily.
Because of the dwindling new releases of AAX DSP plug-ins, it has meant their corresponding AAX Native plug-ins have taken over the bulk of the mixing strain. There are many laptop based editors and composers working quite happily, so being able to now purchase Pro Tools HD software on it's own for the first time may appeal to future musicians, and producers alike.
It is similar to when AVID (Digidesign) used to offer the Music Production Kit option to add HD features to standard PT Software.
Now though you can get the full HD software in one of 3 ways :
£922.80 inc - for a yearly subscription - (which AVID advertise as $83.25 p/month even though they don’t actually offer a monthly payment option). You are still expected to pay $999/£769ex vat in ‘one go’ a year.
£2278.80 inc - for a perpetual license - which is basically buying it outright and owning it. Although you would need to pay £312 every year thereafter to keep up to date with the latest versions.
£922.80 inc - For an Annual Upgrade and Support Plan - this is where any PT HD 9 owner and above can jump onto PT HD 12.6 with a full perpetual (owned) license no matter whether they buy a new plan or reinstate an expired one. Again you would need to factor in an extra £312 per year to renew the plan but it may be a good option if you’re running say 9HD, 10HD or 11HD.
HD Native Card :HD Native Thunderbolt card can now be purchased on it’s own for £922.80 without any Software.
But the HD Native PCIe card WILL NOT BE AVAILABLE on it’s own.
It's only going to be available as part of a bundle with their HD software and Avid hardware. But with both Thunderbolt and PCIe prices starting at £2758.80 this may be worth bearing in mind as it’s only £500 more than just purchasing the HD Software perpetual license on its own…
HDX Systems are now available without an AVID interface for the first time ever.
You can get an HDX card on it’s own for : £2758.80
or a HDX card and HD Software for £4558.80 (basically putting a value of £2279 on the card and £2279 on the HD Software).
This is a smart move. Many users have 3rd party interfaces from the likes of Prism, Apogee and Lynx and have always had to find work-arounds when purchasing PT HD systems with buying interfaces they don’t actually require, and then having to sell them second hand.
There is an extra charge that AVID have implemented called the Digilink i/o License for $299. Being a one time fee to ‘activate’ the Digilink ports on the HDX / HD card connected to a system, (not a per interface charge).
Of course there is also still the opportunity to upgrade from a TDM system to HDX core card and PT HD Software for £4558.80 which also includes 3 years of Support Plan @ £312 per year (saving you an extra £624 as the 1st year would be covered in your purchase)
So if upgrading was on your mind, there is an option.
The main Software updates are covered in depth in the AVID video at the top of the article, but there are a couple I think are worth mentioning from a writing and mixing point of view.
Playlist Indicator and Playlist View
A very simple but neat solution when sharing sessions with multiple playlists is the new BLUE Trangle showing there are other playlists. Saves you looking to see if there are other takes - it shows you that there are.
The Playlist view can now be toggled by key commands and viewable between displaying all or in cycle mode. Again, a neat simple time saving solution.
Clip Effects Window
A lot has been made about the Clip Effects window, and I can see for Post work in general this is a really great thing. Having a simple dedicated way to treat the clips without going to Audiosuite is a big time saver.
For musicians, and mixers, I don't see any time you would really use it in it's current form, as there is no way when mixing you would be treating a track in a clip by clip basis.
But that's not to say that it can't develop into something more creative. Currently it uses the AVID Channel Strip and if AVID open it up to the 3rd party plug-ins available then I could see it becoming much more intriguing.
Imagine Melodyne, Vocalign or Autotune working like this, now that would be interesting!
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By Nick Mitchell