Pro Tools 10 Reactions
It is day 13 since Pro Tools 10, and the new HDX cards were announced and the reaction has been surprising, at least to me. There are a lot of new features in Pro Tools 10, and the new HDX cards are way more powerful than the previous generation, at a slightly lower price as well. You’d think everyone would be happy about the changes, but they’re not. In fact, the forums are ablaze with the textual rioting of users all over the world. I’ve heard a number of complaints from people in the last two weeks, but the primary ones have been these:
1. Support for older HD hardware is dwindling, and Pro Tools 11 marks the end of things like the 192, and older HD cards.
2. The price is too high for the upgrades.
3. It’s only been “x” number of months since I purchased Pro Tools 9.
I wanted to address all of these and hopefully help you guys on navigating the wonderful world of Pro Tools.
On the first point, a little background is necessary. TDM is not 64-bit compatible. It actually can’t be due to the architecture. In terms of computer technology TDM is older than the dinosaurs. We’re talking big bang old, and because of that, 64-bit wasn’t even a dream when TDM was conceived. The infrastructure that it’s built on cannot exist in a 64-bit realm which is why HD has yet to go 64-bit. HDX, and the new AAX plug-in format is allowing Avid to bridge the gap between 32-bit and 64-bit, and allow people to ease their plug-in libraries, and systems into the realm of 64-bit. If Avid had come out with Pro Tools 10 and HDX and said, “TDM is dead, all of your plug-ins are now broken, and you have to change out your entire systems and wait for third party manufacturers to create AAX plug-ins” then I think the reaction would have been even worse.
So due to the fact that once Pro Tools 11 hits, Avid is claiming that 64-bit architecture will be in the mix, the older HD systems simply can’t be supported any further. There’s no way around it, whether you like it or not.
On the pricing being too high, I want to say something more eloquent than “It is what it is,” but that’s really all I’ve got. Our industry lives and breathes Pro Tools. Sure, Logic has made great strides, Sonar is good as well, and many other DAW’s are innovating and moving forward, but none of that matters. If BP came out with a new fuel tomorrow that was cleaner, more efficient, and cost half as much as gasoline, but it wasn’t available at any filling station within 8 hours of you, would it matter? No. You use what’s available to you, and what’s available to everyone. Pro Tools is the Gasoline of the DAW world. It’s everywhere, everyone is using it, and that’s probably not going to change.
If you want a more conversational, and less dictator like answer, then how about this. You use Pro Tools to create, or capture music. You’re doing this for one of two reasons, personal fulfillment, or professional gain. If it’s personal fulfillment you’re after then you have to ask yourself if furthering your system, and continuing that personal fulfillment is worth the price tag of Pro Tools. if it’s not, then no problem, starting thinking about getting another DAW that doesn’t do these major overhauls every year, and charge you for it. If you’re after professional gain, then you have no ground to stand on I’m afraid. You’re making money off of Pro Tools, and with the going rate of $1000 per year for HD upgrades, I would assume that this is a very small percentage of your gross income from your studio in the last year. You’re charging your clients for your services, it’s only fair that Avid does the same to you. You choose your rates, they choose theirs. Your clients choose whether or not you’re worth it, you choose if Avid is worth it.
Lastly is the timeframe. I’ve heard many varying numbers from various people including that Pro Tools 9 was release 6 months ago, 9 months ago, 12 months ago, and beyond. The correct answer is 1 year. In fact it was almost 1 year to the day that we were discussing the wonders of Pro Tools 9. Upgrades every year are not uncommon for software, in fact they’ve become the norm (outside of Logic). This is partially because manufacturers are constantly coming up with new ideas for their products, and partially because newer and faster computers are allowing old ideas that previously weren’t possible to come to fruition. yes, this means that you’re paying an annual fee to stay current on your software, but the alternative is that the DAW you use stands still and sees no improvement in features, or functionality.
So the main question I’ve been asked over and over again in the last 13 days is this, “What do you think of Pro Tools 10, do I need it?” The answer is…wait for it…little more drum rolling…one more second…almost there…NO! You do not NEED it. It is a matter of whether or not any of it is worth it to you. Pro Tools 10, like I said, has a ton of great new features, and the new HDX cards are insanely powerful, but that doesn’t make either of them necessary. So before you concern yourself with the price of the upgrade, whether or not your system will be compatible with the next version, or how long you’ve been running your current version, just ask one question…”Am I perfectly happy with the way my system performs right now?” If you’re answer is yes, then live on in happiness. If the answer is no, then give these upgrades another look.
Until Next Time
The Bearded Man