There’s a certain company — don’t want to name names, but it makes very popular products and rhymes with “Migidesign” — that sells decent audio converters and DSP systems at very expensive prices. They lock you into a single software solution, and when you want to go mobile, you have to give up all the pro-level audio equipment or lug studio-size gear with you.

Native alternatives have always let you choose your audio system, and that’s a good thing. This year, Apple worked with Apogee to allow users of Logic and other native platforms to use what most people feel are superior converters. And whereas running native on the CPU used to cause some serious problems compared to dedicated DSP hardware, modern Intel chips give you more capabilities than you could ever use. So far, so good. But the problem of mobility remained: the need for PCI Express slots means you have to lug around a tower.

Enter the ExpressCard slot on the MacBook Pro. By providing PCIe-style bandwidth, it’s now possible to use the same audio hardware on the road with a laptop as in a studio with a desktop. I got to talk with the top product experts from both Apogee and Apple about the new solution: Symphony Mobile. They’re very excited about it, of course, but I don’t think they’ll be alone:

Symphony Mobile Product Page, which explains a lot about how the system works

One cable to rule them all: You have to buy all new audio hardware to go mobile, right? Wrong. Unplug your audio I/O hardware, then plug the same cable into an ExpressCard interface for a MacBook Pro. That’s all it takes. You still have to buy the ExpressCard adapter, but you don’t have to buy two sets of converters.

Total software flexibility: Apple of course wanted to talk about their integration with Logic Pro, which is very nice and adds some great mixing functionality. But it’s important to note that, not only do you have the flexibility of AU plug-ins in Logic instead of a proprietary DSP system, the Apogee hardware is Core Audio-compatible and works with any app on the Mac. DP, Cubase, even Ableton Live? Use whatever you like, and switch if you like. There’s nothing inherently wrong with going all Pro Tools, all the time, but I have to observe that the alternative actually lets you choose instead of your hardware choosing for you.

High-end I/O on the road: The solution scales from simple 2 in / 2 out all the way to 32 channels of 192kHz, 24-bit sound, and the MacBook Pro and Core Duo will scale with it (thanks, Intel), all with 1.6 ms of latency — well below the threshold of what almost anyone can hear.

Apple also had some interesting benchmarks to talk about. They’ve got their quad Mac Pro running 30 Sculpture instrument instances as opposed to the quad G5′s 17, ran 1.8X the number of Platinum Reverb effects, and 174 MBit/s data throughput from the Mac Pro’s new four drive bays, compared to 61 MBit/s on the G5. Track count: 256 at 192k. As I found last year in Core Duo (not even Core 2 Duo) MacBook Pro tests, the new Intel laptop does decently on its own, with some 240 Platinum Reverb instances compared to 30 on a PowerBook G4, so production on the road is a reality. Apple’s tests aren’t real world, but they do indicate that processing headroom is not going to be a major problem.

So, everyone’s dumping Pro Tools, then? Don’t bet on it: I think studios will remain stubbornly loyal to the system they’ve already invested in, and Apple hasn’t answered questions (yet) about how they can compete with Pro Tools’ saturation in fields like post production. That said, this does demonstrate the flexibility native systems offer, and someone is going to take advantage of it.

By the way, one thing Apple is not doing at NAMM is announcing any new software. I’ll admit; I’m disappointed, and I think the Apogee announcement will have an even greater impact once Apple has some newer software to show with it. But I’m guessing that the absence of any pro apps at NAMM and any consumer apps at Macworld means Apple’s software pipeline is waiting on the release of Leopard. Granted, we’re spoiled as it is with how quickly software in general is updated, but given the timing in the past, it seems at least possible that these will coincide with the new OS. Whatever the reason (and maybe it is just the existing development cycle), I know there are (of course) new versions of GarageBand, Logic Pro, and Apple’s other software in the works, and you’ll hear about them here when they’re official.

Previously:
Mac Pro Watch: Apogee Syphony Drivers with 2ms Latency; 64-Channel Surround Installation

Look Out, Pro Tools: New High-end Apple + Apogee Audio Pairing

  • http://www.milezero.org Thomas

    No offense, but isn't there something a little ironic about taking a swipe at the expense and lock-in of Pro Tools, and then using that to introduce an Apple-based system?

  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    No, offense taken — but I don't think it is.

    Like Digidesign, Apple requires you to use their hardware (computers), yes. But Digi also locks you into their software platform: host and plug-ins alike. Competing audio hardware works with any software. The software, in turn, works with any Core Audio-compatible audio hardware (which at this point is nearly everything). Elsewhere, Apogee introduced FireWire for its Mini Me — high-end converters in a 2×2 configuration, something Digi doesn't offer, period. So you have flexibility in the converter configuration, interface, host, and plug-ins.

    It's also a lot easier to, tomorrow, decide I want to go Windows. Not only can I install Windows *on my Mac*, but I could easily take cross-platform software like Cubase and Live and move all my session files to PC. No problem.

    The only thing Apple "locks you into" is their computer hardware, and far from being more expensive, I'd say their line is generally very competitive with the PCs. It's also interoperable with most of the same hardware as PCs. So even this lock-in isn't comparable to me. (Not to mention, given the number of PC users I know going out to buy Apple hardware, I'm not sure "lock-in" is quite the right word.)

    And this issue goes beyond the Mac platform, as well. It's clear the PC hosts are going to strike back with some similar options.

    Look, I'm biased in that to me these choices are important. But this isn't taking a swipe at Digidesign at all: it's the reality of the situation. Now, if you prefer the TDM platform (as, admittedly, Mac users prefer their OS), and if you prefer the Pro Tools mixing environment, then it's another ball game. But you absolutely trade off all of this choice and flexibility in how you work, and it's worth pointing that out.

  • http://www.milezero.org Thomas

    Hey, I'm not going to get into an argument about either the computer platform or the DAW, both because it's been done a million times and because I'm nowhere near as qualified.

    But–and this is part of why I read CDM, because it's a perspective that I enjoy even if I don't share it–I think that for a great many studios and post-production houses these are null arguments. Cubase and Live are great and they're cross-platform (although there was a Pro Tools on Mac the last time I checked…), but I can't see myself doing the same kind of work in them. And the cost of even an HD rig, much less a Rack 002, seems pretty comparable to this Apogee solution once you add in the software and (because Macs are in short supply as video editing rigs where I work) the cost of requisitioning another computer.

    Not to mention that, on LE and M-Powered systems, there's nothing stopping you from using other software with the Digi or M-Audio interface. ASIO drivers do exist. Maybe the Core Audio drivers are garbage, I don't know, I haven't used those.

    I guess I'm not saying you're wrong, but it came across as gratuitous.

  • billy

    sounds great, but how much?

  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    Maybe you read me differently than I intended; I'm not trying to switch anyone from Pro Tools. Digi makes expensive hardware, and they lock you into their platform, period. Some people are totally happy with that. The people I know who are happy see these as advantages; some of us see these as disadvantages — hence the choice. If you're not happy, and you want some more choices — like you want more mobility without sacrificing the quality of your studio rig or lugging around a lot of hardware — this option just got more appealing.

    Apogee prices out cheaper than Digidesign's hardware, but you also have to consider quality, and many people prefer Apogee's converters to Digi's. I'm not going to A/B them here; I'm not qualified.

    But even assuming they're *exactly the same*, Digi just doesn't have a way right now of going mobile without a significant amount of lugging.

    Obviously, the next step for Digi would be to add an ExpressCard solution. So we'll see if they do that.

    (On the ASIO note — M-Powered, yes, though the agument for me is different with M-Audio than Digidesign-branded interfaces. On the Digi-branded audio interfaces, I've had lots of trouble with the ASIO/Core Audio drivers, and for me the disincentive for those people using other software is they're already being asked to invest in RTAS.)

  • mat

    Lets face it Peter. You have very little respect for Digidesign. Your dogged refusal that a ProTools rig has anything to offer over less proprietary options is about as negative as those who offer Digidesign unquestioning loyalty.

    I love your writing and value your opinion but I think your approach to Digidesign displays a lack of experience with ProTools and with the needs of Post Production. Fact is that in large scale Post-Production that includes ADR, dialogue edit, foley recording, and effects editor, a composer, all working separately and then coming together in a Mix Theatre nothing really approaches ProTools as a complete system that is interoperable over a large number of facilities and operators.

    Mobile its not….and I don't think I'd really want Recorder/Laptop on location anyway….just too much fiddle.

    I think Digidesign's Project Studio level products are less than competitive. Their approach to hardware at that level sometimes borders on deceitful. This undermines the value of the software. We do however need to consider the fact that you can get a mBox with a full version of very high end software for much cheaper than your average alternative.

    You don't like the 'mix' environment of ProTools…fine..your entitled to your opinion but don't compare apples with oranges. In various posts you have said you'll stick with Live or as in this article inferred that Logic/Apple offers an alternative to ProTools. They are all very different Tools with different applications. In terms of ease and speed of editing a big project ProTools is still the benchmark, particularly if you need/want to mix in the same environment.

    Anyway thanks for the Blog its great and for the most part very well informed over a wide range of tools…

  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    Hi Mat,

    Thanks for sharing your experience with post. I think that's an excellent point, and I wish that the minds at Apple and Steinberg would respond more to these kinds of legitimate criticisms. There's little they can do about the fact that certain industries (like post) are reliant on standardization of Avid and/or Digidesign. And your examples (and countless others I've heard) illustrate to me why Apple is able to make inroads with Final Cut Pro but not with Logic Pro on the audio side — audio post can be a great deal more complex, and interoperability all the more vital. I don't agree that the competitors are incapable of doing post — I've talked to post people who would be happy to work with DP or some other DAW. Part of the issue of interoperability is that the market has already locked itself into one vendor and one format. But that doesn't mean the competitors shouldn't look closely at what that solution offers. I firmly believe that Pro Tools is getting the job done for lots of people; I'm not rooting for the competitors as much as I am rooting for more competition.

    Let's put aside post for a moment, though, and look at DAWs in general, since not everyone is in that world. Do I infer Logic (and Cubase, and SONAR, and DP, and anything else that can mix) is an alternative for some jobs to Pro Tools? Absolutely I do! If Pro Tools is the sum of high-end converters, a platform for running instruments and effects (whether on DSP or native), and a mixing environment, then why shouldn't someone choose Apogee and Apple instead of Digidesign and Digidesign? Why shouldn't they use good quality converters and mix in the open source software Ardour? "Speed in mixing" — well, that's largely dependent on how you've adjusted to the software as much as the software itself. The choice will naturally come down to personal preference and the needs of the job. I can certainly imagine situations where the best choice would be Pro Tools. I've seen amazing installations of Pro Tools and VENUE, for example. But I can't imagine any situation where the *only* choice would be Pro Tools.I don't think that's what you're arguing, but I know people for whom the rest of the universe outside Pro Tools is some sort of dark void. In this case, for example, if all you want is some good converters and you've got a big project to mix, you might well get more bang for your buck with Apple/Apogee than Digidesign, and if there's any chance of that, you ought to at least do some serious comparison shopping. Not everybody is doing post; if you're producing material end-to-end, why not use whatever you want?

    Taking this example, of course, we often wind up comparing apples to oranges. "Mobile" might mean a semi truck, four G5s, and a VENUE, or it might mean a MacBook Pro running Logic with Apogee Symphony (or a MOTU 828, for that matter). There are also some inherent advantages to having native systems. You get easily pump out a live, 32-channel, 192kHz mix digitally at a gig using either Pro Tools HD or a setup like the one Apple is touting here. But the MacBook rig does let you pull your mix back into the trailer, unplugged from the hardware, and make changes to a song using exactly the same plug-ins. (And there are similar cases with PCs running SONAR, whatever; just using this as an example) That doesn't mean that the native system is better in all cases, but it is worth considering for some users.

    Now, having said all that and argued for balance, I also think people have the right to be opinionated — me, you, and everyone else — and there's no reason to mince words. Movie reviews are often fun because you know a reviewer is biased; then you hear what they think. If there's a bias in my writing against LE and M-Powered, it's because I feel pretty strongly that beginning audio students are pushed to Pro Tools — minus the benefits of dedicated DSP and the TDM platform — whether that's the best choice or not. And I don't mean just people studying to become engineers; there's this sort of "Pro Tools means audio production" dogma that I'd resent if it were applied to anything — Logic, Tracktion, Fruity Loops, if any package starts getting forced down people's throats, I get cranky.

    As a separate note: I'd be happy to have a regular Pro Tools contributor to CDM, in fact, if someone with more experience in that realm would like to step up and talk more about Digi solutions. You're even welcome to make fun of me as the glitchy laptop artist who's a terrible engineer (wait, may be some truth there) and we can do a Siskel and Ebert take on DAWs. Or just check in occasionally and talk about the work you're doing, which every week but NAMM means a lot more to us than the latest gear. Any takers?

    Peter

  • http://mateomurphy.com Mateo

    Unless I'm missing something, this seems similar to RME's hammerfall DSP (other than the fact that RME doesn't have an ExpressCard interface yet). And there are quite a few USB2 and Firewire interfaces (including RME's) out there that are good enough for both portable and studio use. My point being that, this is cool, but it doesn't offer anything really new. One coudl say that apogee's converters are truly pro, but that's a subjective thing…

  • http://www.indieguitarist.com/ T.L.

    The Pro Tools discussion aside (a good read though) I just wanted to say that for me, being an Apple/Logic guy who does field recordings on a macbook pro, and then brings them back home to edit/mix on a G5, that this is pretty good news.

    I've been using presonus firepods for all my work because for now due to their cost, but I've been very interested in finding a way to get better qaulity conversion out in the field and at home for that matter. It looks like (for someone like me) this could be the catalyst I need to make the move to high-end converters.

    I'm very interested in working some numbers to see what a real-world setup (say 16 channels – 2 x Rosetta 800) would cost, all inclusive.

    Great post!

    -T.L.

  • mat

    Peter,

    Thanks for your well-tempered reply. I agree. More competition would be great. We've seen it completely alter the visual front and have also seen some great innovation in terms of work flow in that arena.

    Digidesign is so well entrenched that there seems little real innovation going on in terms of their software. They have been ridiculously slow to develop things like dynamic cross fades and better surround panning which have become a bit of an embarrassment in comparison to the competition. Partly this is a symptom of their entrenched user base and beta testing. People tend to forget ProTools is now over ten years old and that it has existed in its current state for a good, lets say, somewhat conservatively, 7 years. Maybe all apps have a life span in that eventually the users forget to look outside the status quo and therefore never find a need to push the products development.

    Apps like Ableton Live completely escape the old analog metaphors and reshape the status quo making new ways of working apparent. Maybe it will take a company like Apple to innovate and push things forward in terms of post. It will however take a partnership in terms of audio hardware to push into industry which requires an integrated standard. It won't be Digidesign because ProTools is simply too busy catering to the law of minimum innovation that its entrenchment demands.

    <blockquote cite="Do I infer Logic (and Cubase, and SONAR, and DP, and anything else that can mix) is an alternative for some jobs to Pro Tools? Absolutely I do!">

    I'm not suggesting people shouldn't look at all the options or arguing that ProTools isn't bettered by other tools for some tasks. In terms sequencing and composition ProTool's heritage (as a DAW rather than a Sequencer) makes it an absolute dog for that task. If I was doing music alone the only place I'd use Tools is for traditional tracking and maybe mixing depending on the size of the project. That said, the inverse is also true. Pro Tools does what it was built to do very well. But then I think we probably agree anyway….I am far from a Digi Apologist.

    In terms of speed… I am talking mainly about Dialogue and FX editing which involves many thousands of files/regions and I'll argue till I'm blue in the face that ProTools is faster – it'd take me another ten years to work out if this is just a matter of practice….I'll be deaf by then and it won't matter. Maybe we need an editing stand off – Editing at 10 paces….

    Ardour (which I use every day) will be great when its ironed out a little and (crucially) has a video track (Not sure why this is taking so long). What I hope a project like Ardour can do in unison with less entrenched developers is establish an open standard for audio sessions that will encourage interoperability between applications. This would really shake up the industry as people could move between apps with greater agility. Such a standard would completely undermine the Digidesign business model and would drive innovation. We would suddenly have ProTools Free again. Any company who opts out will write themselves out of a developing market place. What can I say…I'm a dreamer.

    With regard to your point re: students. Its a soft spot for me. I teach audio engineering and sound design at a major university. Whats more I am responsible for the decision to go with ProTools and have installed studios based on TDM systems at the University. Its an agonizing decision to go with an expensive Proprietary system particular when I see the most interesting work in audio today (and for some time) based completely in the free/open source fields (PD specifically). I have to balance the need to meet expectations of 'industry standards' while gently gently encouraging students to work in less proprietary, more exploratory, less determinant formats. At the moment I am developing a course based solely on Ardour and PD. I hope that the fact that students can work on these tools on any machine they have lying around will see them more willing to invest time in exploration/innovation.

    If anyone is interested in working on an developing an open source audio course maybe this would be a good collaborative/wiki project.

    ProTools remains front and centre but I hope my students are well versed in the history of DAW and Sequencer development, and that they have access to Cubase, Live, Reason, Reaktor, Soundtrack and PD. Of course in my experience students with a real interest are already using Cubase or Live and they are keen to add ProTools to their belt.

    I use ProTools less and less – but with a deadline and 90 minutes of messy dial and effects to edit I know there is really only one option for me….

  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    Thanks for the comments!

    One thing I will say in Digidesign's defense is that the older a product, user interface, and codebase become, the harder it gets to innovate. Just dealing with the code can be a nightmare, and because you've got this user base that's used to the UI, you're often under pressure from your users to keep the status quo. I'm not sure that entirely explains some of the features PT users want that Digi hasn't been delivered, but it's definitely a factor. Competition has a way of motivating companies to find solutions to that, though.

    As for mobile ExpressCard interfaces — this is absolutely likely to be the first of many, especially given the throughput it's delivering! Just this week, we saw the Universal Audio stuff go ExpressCard. RME? TC/PowerCore? Digidesign? I'm sure we could see all kind of new hardware using that slot. (And this goes for the PC, too; Windows users were kind of scratching their heads initially as Mac users about what this mysterious new slot was …. here's your answer.)

  • Brett

    Every piece of Digi hardware has a freely available core audio driver, wave driver and ASIO driver. ie support for both major platforms and open software support.

    They may not be best of breed drivers, but to say their hardware ONLY works with protools just isnt true and is poorly researched journalism, a fact apparently overlooked here.

    I beleive in different tools for different jobs, but loathe uninformed decisions in the audio industry – there are enough sycophants around repeating the opinions of others without investigating what they are commenting on, without these sorts of comments being posted as a "review".

    I wonder if Peter has ever listened to the MBox Pros converters or used it with its core audio drivers and logic? If not, maybe you should reserve judgement.

  • http://ardour.org/ Paul Davis

    Mat – re: the video track in Ardour … we haven't added it for a couple of reasons. The few pro post- editors i've spoken with seem to favor the kind of functionality offered by ardour+jack+xjadeo, which mirrors the old h/w setup with dedicated video monitors. even when i push some of the benefits that i can (sort of) see to having selected still images from the video visible in a track, i just don't get much positive feedback on the idea. My impression is that the whole video track thing is a high quality piece of bling that draws in many people but ultimately turns out to be not that useful.

    I've also been encouraging the author of xjadeo to make a switch to using gstreamer as his internal streaming architecture, thus making it possible to leverage new codecs that are added to gstreamer with zero extra work on his part.

    I hope this clarifies things a little.

  • http://ardour.org/ Paul Davis

    Peter – although i understand that its exciting to be able to use a new macbook in this way, this still seems like old news. anyone with a PCMCIA slot (and there are, thankfully, quite a lot of intel/amd-based laptops with the slot) has been able to do this for a long time. if it wasn't for apple's insistence on new technology with (as yet) close to zero benefits for any audio applications, you'd have been able to do it on the macbooks of today, too. As it stands, it seems pretty cool to finally use that slot for something audio related, but the actual functionality is not novel, just available ;)

    plus, the lock-in to apogee seems problematic to me. i much prefer the (not-for-mac) RME-style solution that, like all good technology, uses an open/common protocol (e.g. ADAT or MADI) to connect modular components. with my RME PCMCIA card + digiface, i can connect to apogee, frontier designs, behringer or other converters, or just other digital gear. too many musicians only learn the benefit of this after the "its easy, just plug it in" approach bites them in the ass.

  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    Brett,

    Have I used Digidesign hardware with Core Audio and ASIO drivers? Yes, I have. (Incidentally, both the TDM hardware and the LE-class hardware, as well as a brief test of M-Audio's hardware with M-Powered.)

    Have I tested DAE compatibility with Logic Pro and DP on the Mac? Yes, though unfortunately not in a long time. I just don't have regular access to high-end Pro Tools hardware for my own personal testing. Interesting side note: I tried to get more information on DAE compatibility when I reviewed Logic Pro and DP for Macworld. It was very difficult to find people even using the DAE mode, partly because post production is so tied into Pro Tools for software compatibility.

    Have I listened to the Mbox Pro converters? Yes. But I wouldn't even think of comparing them to Apogee converters; these are an entirely different class of hardware, Digidesign isn't even marketing them in that class, and any direct comparison would be unfair. I think Digidesign would agree.

    Anyway, the point isn't the ability to use Digi's hardware with other software; the point is the reverse — the fact that Pro Tools software doesn't work with other hardware. Until other applications can fully support file interchange with Pro Tools, most PT users rely on the software and thus the hardware required to run it. And it seems to me that the primary advantage of Pro Tools has been and still is the TDM platform for plug-ins. Those advantages are lost when you have to switch to LE.

    I think there are lots of reasons to choose the alternatives, but certainly if Digidesign wants to sweeten the deal for its base of users, the best thing to do would be to provide a real, high-end mobile solution based on ExpressCard. It should be absolutely possible technically speaking.

    But, I'm sorry; I can't accept that I'm a "poor journalist" just because I point out that these solutions are fundamentally different. The reason the Core Audio drivers don't matter is that PT's whole solution is dependent on the TDM end of the equation. So, obviously I'm somehow being misunderstood. But it makes NO sense to me to pretend that the integrated hardware solution of Pro Tools is exactly like the native solutions, when it's the differences that are the whole advantage in the first place.

    I'm pointing out the disadvantages of this model, but one could just as easily point out the advantages — a consistent, hardware DSP-based platform that is really without equivalent. (Universal Audio and PowerCore are both DSP-based, too, and there are some great things about them, but they're certainly not equivalent to the breadth of plug-ins on TDM — not to mention there are some key differences in how they work technically, though that's a whole separate discussion.)

    Anyway, bottom line:

    1. Mobile native system: MacBook Pro gets the same plug-ins, same high-end converters, on the road.

    2. Mobile TDM system: MacBook Pro uses different plug-ins (no TDM), consumer-grade converters (LE/M-Powered line)

    (obviously, substitute PC, etc. here if you like)

    This is ONLY really the case with ExpressCard; if you're lugging around a PCI Express system it's a non-issue. But it's worth observing, and it's a statement of fact, not opinion. I was snarky, it's true, but the native platforms deserve a little snarky defense now and then because Apple hype aside, far more of the world thinks of Pro Tools and not its competitors. But, likewise, I'm always happy to look at the many serious advantages Pro Tools offers — and part of the reason native solutions like SONAR, DP, and Logic work as well as they do is the competition from Digidesign.

    Likewise, I can't imagine Digi will leave this gap for long, and that's why competition is ultimately a great thing for everyone.

  • http://ardour.org/ Paul Davis

    Noel writes: "The WaveRT signal flow permits direct access to the internal audio hardware buffers and sample position counters, allowing a DAW application to stream audio to the hardware in the most efficient manner possible. Direct access to buffers and sample position means no costly user mode to kernel mode transitions on each audio pump cycle."

    This seems wrong given what I know about OS design. Every audio pump cycle is initiated by an interrupt, either from an audio interface, a timing device or network hardware. Therefore, every cycle necessarily involves a kernel-to-user space transition (preceded by the opposite in order to service the interrupt). The only thing the new architecture allows is avoiding user-to-kernel space data copying. This has been a feature of well engineered operating systems for at least 10 years, and its really quite amazing to me that Windows can only offer this now.

    I don't want to drag CDM deep into kernel coding, but I really have a strong reaction when technical jargon is used to sell technology in an apparently groundless way.

    If I am mistaken, perhaps Noel could explain just how the user/kernel mode transitions can be avoiding with WaveRT drivers?

  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    Oh, and Paul, I agree completely … I mean, I understand why Apple and Apogee are excited about this solution, but yes, PCMCIA has offered these benefits for some time. I just think the new bandwidth here is important. It's hard not to imagine that RME won't take advantage of the improved ExpressCard bandwidth soon. Also, it's not just Apple that has nixed the older CardBus slots; lots of PC makers have, as well. (Hmmm, using Intel mobos — what an interesting coincidence!) Fortunately, it seems like it'll be a good thing in the long run … maybe more so in improved capabilities, in fact, than the move to PCIe.

    And I'm looking at the big picture as far as ExpressCard: I don't think, for instance, that Universal Audio could have gone to a laptop solution without the new bus, if I understand correctly.

  • http://www.johnnyrandom.com Flip

    I use both ProTools and Logic Pro, but prefer Logic Pro. Maybe because I've been using it for 10 years after I dumped Vision and a sequencer. (Boy that makes me feel old to say) Either way, I have enjoyed how it has evolved. Not that Apple didn't really screw it up for almost a year after they took it over from Emagic. Whether it's a TV spot, film score, mixdown, sound design, etc. I use ProTools only when I have to. I've never been impressed by the A/D in their hardware, not to mention the cost. There are constant innovations across many companies, so I feel that within even 5 years we'll see the more expensive, clunky equipment give way to streamlined, CPU engineered solutions. More than anything, I can't wait for computers to go silent with solid state drives. Moving part hard drives are nuisance!

  • Jad Cooper

    I think you have to look at it this way.

    Digidesign and Avid are fleas, and Apple is a pit bull.

    Digidesign has been providing audio hardware and software for years and everyone has been trained on their hardware/software at recording school and post school, it has the market share and everyone in the pro field uses it.

    Apple is slowly moving towards making interfaces – > this is just a phase.

    You don't think Apple just acquired Logic without thinking about growth or market share over the next 10 years?

    Can you imagine if Apple got into making audio hardware? Let that thought sink in… You have a huge (compared to Avid) company slowly gearing up to pull the same thing they did on digital music players and the music industry. No one would have thought 10 years ago that Apple hardware would be ubiquitous in modern society.

    Apple has time and money and plenty of eager engineers. It will take years, but I think they are preparing to make life hard for the people at Avid.

  • http://www.pspgohackz.com Debi Fedor

    Excellent news it is surely. My mother has been looking for this update.