Pro Tools 10 and New HDX First Look
It seems that Avid has almost reached the level of Apple when it comes to rumors and gossip surrounding upcoming product announcements. I’ve had so many people in the past few weeks asking me about Pro Tools 10, and what features we could expect. I had no idea what to expect. Pro Tools 9 was such a huge leap forward for Avid, I was curious how much further they could really go. The answer is, quite a bit, and it seems like they’re not done yet. The gossip surrounding the new HD system has been growing for at least 5 years now. It had almost reached the point of hilarity with every NAMM and AES being the one when they would announce the “new HD system” yet it never came. Well the wait is over, we’re on Pro Tools 10, and HD has named its successor, HDX.
With the current HD cards hovering around 9 years old, they are officially ancient in computer technology terms. Think about that, 9 years ago! We’re talking pre-Intel Mac days. Back when an iPod Video was considered revolutionary. Crazy old! Luckily for us they didn’t take it lightly when naming a successor and these new cards answer the ever growing question of, Is DSP farming even necessary with modern computers being so ridiculously powered? The answer is it might not be necessary, but it’s still a great tool to have, and very valid.
There’s nothing too mind-blowing right now in terms of the cards. They are the same concept as the previous HD cards, albeit coming in almost 5 times more powerful than their predecessors, and less expensive. It’s still chips on a card that will handle audio processing, and plug-in processing, allowing for essentially zero latency in your system, and freeing you up for massive sessions, heaped with virtual instruments and plug-ins. I don’t want to downplay how awesome, and powerful, of a system this is, but I think you’re probably all familiar with the general concept of an HD card, so I’ll move on to Pro Tools 10.
Pro Tools 10 is bringing to the table a wishlist of features that are going to drastically improve workflow, and make Pro Tools much quicker to operate. For a complete breakdown of what’s new, I’d recommend shooting over to Avid’s website to check out the feature set. I’m going to touch on what I feel are the highlights.
The first thing for Pro Tools 10 HD is the ability to load an entire session into RAM. Yes, you can now put the WHOLE session into RAM, essentially giving you instant access to everything in your session. The possibilities here blow wide open for using alternate storage methods, speeding up your workflow, and on and on.
Clip Gain is a new feature as well. Essentially it is the old Gain plug-in from Audiosuite but in real time, very visual, and way more friendly. If you’ve ever wasted away in front of your computer drawing in basic plateau’s of automation for what should be simple volume changes, then you’ll be in love with Clip Gain.
They have also included the ability to record at 32-bit floating-point which essentially gives you higher resolution, and more headroom. I’ve yet to shoot it out with 24-bit, but if it’s anything like 16-bit compared to 24-bit, then we’re in for a big change.
They’re also including a new Channel Strip plug-in based on the System 5 Console from Euphonix. No doubt this stems from their Acquistion of Euphonix over a year ago, but I can’t wait to tear into this plug. I haven’t been fortunate enough to work on a System 5 yet, but I’ve heard rave reviews about the sound of the console. While on the plug-in front there have been visual and functional overhauls to several of the other plug-ins as well bringing them all out of the 90’s styling.
Real time fades! No more fade files!!! Do you ever open a session that’s been moved around, or copied, and you get the message “You are missing a guzillion fade files, would you like to search for them manually or reconstruct them?” That is gone. The fades are now part of the files themselves so they can’t go missing on you.
They’re also now including the ability to export directly to iTunes or even Soundcloud (which was a surprising choice to me). Again, they are really focusing in on workflow, workflow, workflow. Think of how much time you spend bouncing, then converting to an mp3, then going to somewhere on the web, like good ol’ Soundcloud.
You can dig in even further to the new features of 10 over at Avid’s Site but hopefully this gives you a good overview of what you’ll be in for. Let the speculation, and rumor mill begin on Pro Tools 11, and HD Quantum Leap (available in 2021).
Until Next Time
The Bearded Man