Pro Tools 10 – The winners and the losers
Avid have made it easier than ever to run Pro Tools 10 in a project studio but at what cost to the professionals? Studio Engineer Russ Harvey shares his opinion.
It was not all that long ago I was getting my head around AVID’s sudden change of strategy for the ProTools line with the introduction of version 9. For the first time I had the ability to purchase just the fully fledged software, and at a reasonable price too.
In addition I was offered the modern luxury of selecting any audio interface of my choosing that would fortunately also work with Logic Pro without all those niggly latency issues one used to experience with an LE box like the MBox! In the slow moving world of DigiDesign (now Avid), this kind of change was seismic and finally with the user in mind!
No sooner than I’d dusted off my rarely-extracted credit card for ProTools 9, it felt as though its successor was announced out of nowhere. I’m not the most important person in the audio industry, but do have my ear to the ground, so was as shocked as you when the announcement for ProTools 10 hit. ProTools 10 Software Edition (SE) is a fabulous investment, but for HD users, the story is a little different…
Avid must have an agenda and we’re beginning to see it… ProTools 10 is no simple upgrade with only a few GUI improvements. Avid have instigated significant changes to the architecture. The old HD cards have now changed to HDX, and a new plug in format is now called AAX (Avid Audio eXchange) which will keep the plug-in manufacturers busy as they reprogram. However before you feel sorry for the manufacturers, spare a moment to sympathise with our many colleagues using highly expanded ProTools HD rigs.
Many professionals have spent a great deal of time and money investing, usually iteratively, building up very powerful rigs with multiple convertors, HD cards and the like. The announcement of 10 with its new architecture, so soon after version 9 must hurt like hell given that, TDM plug-ins are not compatible with HDX systems. As such the older HD rigs will slowly become obsolete and many users may need to re-invest in all their plug-ins. Many, I understand, are keeping with their old rigs for the time being to see how things pan out.
I can see the logic in launching a new format for their plug-ins which work both natively and on the HDX cards. I can too see that some of the new features have been included to attract Avid’s historical AV market with things like clip gain. However some have rightfully asked some difficult questions.
ProTools 10 is a great new platform and makes a lot of sense for Avid going forward, but at what cost- Many professionals feel angered that such a monumental change can happen so quickly since ProTools 9 and that the ‘slowly but surely’ approach of DigiDesign might be lost forever. Avid have some further work to do to resurrect the near-blind support it once enjoyed from studio engineers.
What do you think about Pro Tools 10? Do you agree or dissagree with Russ’ views Let us know in the comments below.