At AES in San Francisco last week, Avid released Pro Tools version 9. Far more than a typical next-gen update, Pro Tools 9 embodies the new Avid business model, hinted at but never specified in the retiring of its Digidesign a few months back. Pro Tools 9 offers customers the choice to work with Avid audio interfaces, third-party audio interfaces or no hardware at all when using the built-in audio capabilities of a Mac or PC. Avid used its ongoing user forum as the springboard to find and address the most wanted features and most noted issues with all previous versions, using them as a template in creating what amounts to a new Pro Tools ecosystem.
This software-only option for Pro Tools is the most open, flexible and feature-rich version ever incorporating professional features customers have requested. New support for the Avid EUCON open Ethernet communication protocol now enables customers to expand control surface options to include Avid’s Artist Series and Pro Series audio consoles and controllers (formerly Euphonix).
Pro features now included as standard will be a welcome addition to Pro Tools users weary of buying upgrades and plug-ins to meet specialized needs. High-value features formerly available as add-ons now available include:
- Automatic delay compensation: Users can now mix and record with increased alignment and phase accuracy without the need to manually compensate for latencies from hardware I/Os, internal and external routing and plug-in algorithm processing, the No. 1 request on the Pro Tools IdeaScale user forum.
- More audio tracks and busses: This allows more elaborate productions with support for 96 mono or stereo voices in the new software-only version (192 voices with Pro Tools HD systems), 256 internal busses and 160 aux tracks.
- Advanced production toolset: The toolset features professional tools for more polished mixes out of the box. Users can analyze and adjust timing across multiple tracks for tighter rhythm with the multitrack Beat Detective module, improve organization and asset sharing with the DigiBase Pro file management tool, and save time with full Import Session Data dialog.
Broadcasters will enjoy the following audio-for-picture enhancements designed to enable easy collaboration with other audio and video software users:
- OMF/AAF/MXF interchange and MP3 export provides customers with simplified session and file exchange between applications.
- Built-in time code ruler enables customers to achieve greater accuracy when syncing audio to video in post production (software only configuration of Pro Tools).
- Updated 7.1 surround panner allows customers to more easily mix multichannel surround for full film sound production.
- New variable stereo pan depths equip customers with authentic, precise track panning capabilities to achieve an analog feel.
Version 9 of the new Avid Pro Tools and Pro Tools HD software is now shipping, and starts at $599 for the full version, with upgrade paths available for existing users.
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