Editing gain before mixing. Soon – Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together… mass hysteria!

At the AES show in New York, Avid as expected updated their flagship Pro Tools DAW to version 10, and unveiled a next-generation version of their higher-end HD line. Since it’s Friday, and perhaps not the best day for processing loads of information about new DAWs, let’s see if we can’t boil down the major points.

Pro Tools 10

Clip Gain helps you to set gain levels before you get to the mixer.
More flexible use of files: mix formats, and in a departure for Pro Tools, record and master natively in 32-bit floating points
Better performance on slow disk drives
Low-latency recording and direct monitoring at last added to third-party interfaces
New Avid Channel Strip plugs (based on the former Euphonix)
SoundCloud export (a bit surprised to see Avid beat some of its rivals to this… though, of course, you probably already know how to uplaod)

There’s also EUCON controller support, projects that now have a 24-hour timeline, and enhanced responsiveness.

This is really a Pro Tools upgrade for Pro Tools users – no splashy features, necessarily, so much as stuff their loyal user base is likely to appreciate. But I know Pro Tools users have a pretty long wish list, so PT die-hards, let us know what you think of the update, especially as you begin using it.

Pro Tools HDX

HDX is basically HD super-sized – and that makes sense, as it keeps pace with advances in technology (and particularly the vastly-expanded native processing capabilities we’ve seen over the past decade).

You get five times the DSP power per card versus the previous HD Accel, more tracks, and the new floating-point architecture.

It’s big news that Pro Tools has finally gone to a 32-bit floating-point architecture … well, anyway, if you’re into numbers. I’ll be curious to know if people can tell the difference. Sounds like we need a very controlled double-blind test, and comparing Pro Tools to Pro Tools would be perfect for the job.

Obligatory promo video. Hyperbole/marketing glasses at the ready!

And here’s a look at that new channel strip. Mmmm… channel strippy.

http://www.avid.com/US/products/Pro-Tools-Software

http://www.avid.com/US/products/pro-tools-hdx

  • http://fzero.ca Fabio FZero

    So, they basically ripped off the clip volume feature from Live. It's been there since 1.0.

    Their brochure should say "all the features you already have on all other DAWs – now ONLY 5 YEARS LATE – AND MUCH MORE EXPENSIVE!!!1!eleven!!".

  • Peter Kirn

    I have no idea who had clip volume first. I'm not sure it was Ableton. It's an incremental upgrade, no doubt. 

    • http://www.airconsoles.com Damon

      Sonic Solutions had it first in 1989!!! then spectral, then tascam

  • http://facebook.com/avene72 Glenn

    That's hillarious! They're making a big deal about 'clip gain' and 'real time fades', claiming that Avid have taken audio editing to a whole new level. These are features that Sony Vegas had since it was first released over 12 years ago. I remember doing sound design for a feature film in Pro Tools a number of years ago. Coming from Vegas, it was an absolute nightmare to work in. It's about time Avid finally got their act together.

    • http://avatar-studios.com jim

      Hear here, Glenn.  I've been using Vegas for 11 years.  I gravitated from Audiofile and found Vegas to be a great tool.  I still run ProTools in order to be compatible and for ADR session for H'wood studios, but primarily use Vegas (currently on Vers 11, 32bit).  Clip based gain and tail fades are like, for instance, GM installing cruise control for the first time in 2012.

      jmm in STL

  • synthetic

    Fairlight had clip volume and real-time fades in the 1990s. 

  • Ulhuru

    Now that PT has 32bit float even in DSP systems, look for people finding it now sounds more "clinical" than before… (ie no more distortion on plug-ins I/O).

    Though they'll still be able to do external analog summing (albeit definitely useless by now) to get some digital garbage from the multiple conversions.

     :-)

    Nuendo had clip gain since as far as I can remember. 

  • felipe paniago

    Is Pro Tools 10 a 64 bits software?

  • http://drivebyhighfive.net Brendan

    If anyone at Avid is listening:

    You talk about time being money and boast better, faster performance in v10. But what if I told you there was a way to speed up a mix session in direct proportion to the length of the project? It's called *offline bouncing* and every DAW has it except you.

  • e.Blue

    SONAR also has had clip-based volume for at least the last 3-4 versions. SONAR also has clip-based panning and you can even add effects to clips. I will admit that I do like the little pop-up fader feature, as opposed to using envelopes, that was demoed in PT10.

  • Bendish

    Love 40's tracks but damn boy better have got paid seriously loads by avid to chat all that gash. Cubase has had clip gain forever. Live has it. Logic doesn't. Many others do too. Avid must have their head in the sand.  

  • TravisM

    It never fails to surprise me how much negative comments every Pro Tools update gets here on CDM.  I for one am excited about this because this adds some useful features into the most functional audio workflow out there.  I think people feel the need to defend their competing platform whenever they hear all the jawing about "industry standard".  The thing is nothing else competes when it comes to tackling massive amounts of multitrack editing and mixing (except maybe Nuendo but it has its laundry list of problems as well).  Sonar, Logic, Reaper, Live they are great for project studios and music production but I think Avid realizes now that the music industry is downsizing and the bulk of their revenue is going to be providing the future workstations for video post production and video games.  Why compete against Reaper at its price point?  There's no point to that and the customers they would be trying to win over would never be happy until every features is realized and it comes out for free.  With HDX they now have the platform to beat.  There are certainly software features that slowly trickle in but with my total buy in on their software and gear I'm not losing any sleep over offline bouncing.  Printing stems in post is a necessary part of the job, you should be listening to your bounces anyways.  People need to lighten up, its new gear! 

  • sid

    Any idea how  PT10 hdx will run with a laptop, will it run with a laptop???

  • TravisM

    You need PCI-E slots for HDX

  • TravisM

    although you can buy external enclosures but their not cheap. &nbsp ;http://www.mypccase.com/pcexbox.html

  • garbonzo dog band

    no rendering yet.

    no stem export yet

    poor instrument implementation still an issue

    poor midi features still

    sony vegas has had these features since v1

    way too expensive update again

    not a huge jump to justify more money to avid

    they still dont get it becuase they dont have to with their large market share.

    reaper does more for a few bucks….

  • http://www.twitter.com/Birds_Use_Stars BirdsUseStars

    "I'm beside myself with excitement for the new pro-tools!" 

    "This is a revolutionary update!"

    "I left my wife so I could marry the new pro-tools"

    "I had the gun to my head, and I was ready to pull the trigger! Then the new pro-tools came out! It's keeping me alive!"

    "Come on already it's got 'Pro' right in the name!" 

  • sid

    thanks, Travis…  I'm looking to get rid of my hd3 desktop and go laptop/portable hdx looks like it will give me the power of my 3 cards in 1 so the external chassis will be a small price to pay in the scheme of things…

  • http://brianbotkiller.com brian botkiller

    I don't think the 32 bit thing is so much a hearing thing, as it is about being able to not clip as easily.  I think more headroom is good, but I worry that it'll continue to influence engineers to crank the hell out of their levels because now they have "more headroom" to make noise :P  

  • http://brianbotkiller.com brian botkiller

    By the way, Avid didn't beat anyone on Soundcloud export.  Presonus' studio one has been doing this for nearly two years now. 

  • http://zeroreference.blogspot.com zeroreference

    My aunt told us stories about her grandmother's clip volume during the Great Depression…..when playing the phonograph she'd threaten to take her silver shears (this was pre-analog; due to a bizarre series of events the same shears were later used by Steve Reich to cut tape) and clip off your nose (or sometimes your lips) if you didn't turn down the volume! She should probably try to sue Avid for patent infringement.

  • Terrible

    I was hoping for a paradigm shifting trackless timeline in Pro Tools X … (though fortunately the promo video did indicate this was a "paradigm shift").

  • ALTZ

    I think Protools is always aimed for sound engineers or the movie industry. As a electronic musician, from day one, I know I will never enter Protools club. Sometimes, it is like a tradition thing. You are told that you need to use Protools if you want to be a sound engineer. It is like the AKAI MPC thing in Hip Hop.

  • Peter Kirn

    Music software get trashed talked on CDM the way major-league sports teams do. Don't take it too personally. Anyway, it's not just an Internet phenomenon — you know what producers and engineers say about their tools of choice (and the tools they curse) behind the scenes.

  • Dversion

    I feel they could have made this PT 9HDx, and let everyone know that the $1000 upgrade is geared towards post houses and people mixing 200 tracks for a movie.  I feel people that make records don't need a large SAN/Storage network like a multiroom house.  Most of these companies have large profits and $1000 for saving 40 hours over the course of the year is a no brainer.

    If you are a small studio, the pricing is outrageous.  It would be nice to be able to load a session into RAM, but with an SSD drive, you'll not be waiting that long on a 60 track session.  Anyone not complaining about $1000 to update software I bought this summer must be getting promo copies or on Avid's payroll.  Avid are in money trouble, so perhaps Apple or Adobe could buy them out and make them more attractive.

    PS. It could have been called PT 9S, as it is not a full upgrade, and PT 9 is only on version 9.0.5.  They at least wait until 9.2 before fleecing us all for more money.  Welcome to the new world of software development.

  • Richard Nash

    This is an extremely expensive catch-up-date.

    Wurd.

    Peace.

  • J

    "Pro Tools has always been better than other DAWs.Now we've made it even better…

    by making it exactly like other DAWs!"

  • J

    "In the past Pro Tools was prehistoric in terms of setting levels and editing fades. Now it can be done in a minute!"

    "Pro Tools 10 is the most advanced technology available on the planet."

    "A life-changing experience!" – The Guardian

  • vance

    Well, Clip Volume is was one of the primary reasons I enjoyed working in Nuendo and Cubase so much more than PT for many years. So, I'm happy to see PT has it now.

    Protools has, in my mind, never (EVER!) been at the cutting edge of DAW technology and still has some serious shortcomings (no offline bounce?!?!) but it's actually been a little more attractive to me since V9.

  • http://www.prontosphere.com/ Mikael Jorgensen

    Apparently PT10 will be the last version to support TDM & RTAS plugins. Can anyone else confirm this?

    Man, I do not like how I am treated by AVID. #OccupyAVID

  • Juno

    If not RTAS, what will it support?

  • Ulhuru

    AAX.

    My understanding is that they had to move from TDM which was fixed point format targeted at fixed point DSP cards. So now with AAX they have unified floating 32bit plug-ins, native or HDX DSP.  RTAS was, had to be, 32bit Native. Supposedly AAX is an updated RTAS. With a new name, so Waves can charge twice the price :-)

    @ Brian: nothing ever stopped (mastering) engineers to kill the dynamics before, regardless of their DAW fixed or floating point structure. 

    PT had side chain compression since forever and jeez that was cool!

  • s ford

    It seems amazing a few (not many) reason users were complaining of the almost free upgrade in light of Avid's second major update to Pro Tools in less than 12 months.

    Pleased I'm not using their products after seeing this particular way they treat their consumers.

  • http://music.cornwarning.com Kent Williams

    Kudos to Avid, managing to find a way to wring more money out of studios. But it should be pointed out that 32 bit floating point as a 'feature' is kinda bogus, 

    1. There's no such thing as a floating point DAC.

    2. Modern '24-bit' DACs give you 24 bits of resolution, but most audio, even when expertly gain-controlled doesn't actualy have 24 bits of dynamic range. If the loudest sound representable in 24-bit is, say 130dBA — i.e. standing in front of the subs at Berghain — the quietest sound representable is the brownian motion of the air inside a sealed chamber in an anechoic chamber.

    The only possible reason to work with 32-bit floating point is that it is the internal representation used inside the DAW, and therefore saving files out of the DAW in 32bit FP saves a possible 'generation loss' from dithering down to 24-bit.

     Oh, and every other DAW has had 32 bit for years…

  • pentd

    defending PT makes no sense at all cos the world should know asap about these emperors new clothes. its a nightmare DAW with a frustratingly huge following.

    please try reaper

  • Jeff

    Logic has had region gain control in v9 and has had region automation since before there was track automation. It's not as grid based as Live's, but totally serviceable.

    Studio Vision had region gain since day 1. I believe that's about 1990-1991.

  • garbonzo dog band

    reaper is awesome for the low price, although the learning curve is slightly steeper than others…. but avid except for the fact that ever pro studio and pro post studio i work at for the last 15 years has been PT, like it or not…. yes it is very stable, and makes it easy to go from room to room, but for my personal rig, i will stick with 8.4 until i see a real jump in features i use with sony software, and independent vst/rtas stuff that is just as good or better than some of the pricey TDM stuff, and way cheaper….

    AVID has money issues thats why they keep on this ridiculous path…..

  • r

    You can adjust clip gain! Hahaha

  • r

    Is it still hyperbole if it's underwhelming?

  • James Y

    I don't think most of the writers are getting it at all….but thats OK. Everyone is allowed their preference of DAW. Why should I care what you use, as long as your end product is well!

    As far as I'm concerned, I tried to do away with PT in my home studio because of lack of a mid range option – NEVER to any satisfactory. Logic, DP, Reaper, Live, Sonar…None of them work the way PT does, for good or for bad. For me it was just frustrating. I've never been able to get my head around any of those other pieces of software.

    Don't get me wrong, I've written music in Live, and recorded many albums in DP while waiting for PT9 to come out for years, it just always took me about twice as long to do anything as I could at my office with PT LE (ugh, le 7 was even awful – but I could STILL edit audio quciker).

    Now, in the Post world that I find myself in, you really only have a few good options, and 99% of the studios only have the one, PT, so it of course makes sense to be using it. Now its of course much nicer to be using the same key commands at home and at work for constancy…

    but enough about talking up / down PT, lets get to the grit of it.

    The 2 biggest features of interest to me BY FAR are the audiosuite rendering (where now it will render the whole file instead of just the region, giving me the ability to finally have handles!) and the 32bit floating point. plug in manufacturers have complained for YEARS about not having headroom to do the math computations before dithering back down to 24bit. And when mixing in the box, or summing out to a decent quality digital mixer with 32bit floating point math, you can easily hear the difference (as long as you have a proper mixing environment). The stereo spread is much wider, the detail on instruments with high frequency content are much higher.

    Everyone here is talking about clip automation…which I have no idea why its such a big deal. I've used it in some DAWs and not in others, and never thought it was 'missing' before. I've never had a problem using my volume automation to do any clip based automation. It follows my clip wherever I take it!

    And yes, it does hurt a bunch when thinking about price, twice the price to upgrade to what seems like not as large of a leap…but only not as large if you aren't thinking about the fact that in order to go from 24bit fixed point to 32 bit floating point you kind of have to rewrite your entire code….it makes more sense.

    The sadder part is of course the lack of HD hardware being supported in the next release, which is due for next year. So a post house like the one I'm working at will have a HUGE upgrade process ahead of them…

    Maybe I'll write more once I actually get the upgrade…but if it has nothing else other than the few additions i've read about…its easily worth it.

  • James Y

    Oh, I forgot, I can't wait to see how my artist series controllers work now that EUCON is actually finished being implemented in PT.

  • Paul D

    WaveFrame had clip volume and real-time fades in the 1980s. So Sorry to Fairlight ,Vegas,Sonar,Live,Studio Vision,Logic,Nuendo and Cubase. I know,because I have worked on all the above and more.I'm just glad it's finally in Protools also.

  • Cory R

    "Printing stems in post is a necessary part of the job, you should be listening to your bounces anyways. "

    Is second and third this comment!!

    It's my opinion that bouncing full mixes off line is just plain laziness and bad practice, printing your stem mixes in real time also gives you one last shot at doing the odd tweak of something you might of forgotten or missed.

    I recently finished a high end film mix with a well known composer, I kept Finding bloody clicks and pops in thier mix stems, when I asked how they printed thier material they said they used offline bouncing in Logic, go figure!

    I can't argue that a lot of these improvements already exist and existed in a bunch of other software….who cares!

    Bottom line for those of us who use Protools this is a very welcome and hopefully a sign of good things to come.

  • Unders

    Even the little respected FL studio has been 32bit float for the past few years!

  • Capo

    ProTools has its supporters. Always talking about some "industry standard". 

    That is only a term invented to sell stuff. As a word, standard means that some parameters are set and they must be reached. I does not mean that you cannot do better than standard. 

    Try to make DSD or DXD on ProTools.

    Ok, that one is over the standard, but what about next one.

    Try to render offline with ProTools (in 2011…). 

    You can throw in the Pro-card, and say that offline bouncing is un-Pro. But isn't it un-Pro to design a program that cannot do it. The designers are said to be qualified to make industry standard.

    OK, today ProTools 10 can handle a stereofile. Quite nice achievement for a industry standard.

    Use your brains and think. It will help you.

  • Protools mount lion rip off

    As a Ex- protools user i have to say im very frustrated and un satisfied customer after spending more than 700 euros on them.

    pro tools has the worst audio core manager,where u can even use quick time.

    support is lame. and u just go around in circle on the web page

    if you are using mount lion forget about your protools 8 versions.
    I will never buy again from them. or recomend any of their products.

    stick to any other DAW- logic,reason, cubase or what ever