Thursday, October 7, 2010

Pro Tools HD Native Now Available from AVID

Am I a fan of all of AVID's restrictions and BS they make you work around with their LE systems? Not really what-so-ever.   Do I think it's the best DAW out their for Mixing & Recording... No doubt.

Nothing works like Pro Tools, it's seamless and beyond efficient for applying a speedy work flow to any project.  Pro Tools just works, bottom line, regardless of all the hardware restrictions. (They are only trying to protect their product from piracy. Can you blame them?) Pro Tools LE with the Music Production bundle was a pretty hefty beast of a DAW and you could do quite a bit with it but, it still lacked some very important features that were available with Pro Tools HD.  IE: Automatic Delay Compensation, 5.1 Feature, High Channel Counts, 192khz Resolution, Synchronization, Multiple Solo Modes, etc.  These limitations made working with LE a trying process at times and their is no doubt I've opened up and used Cocko's Reaper more than a couple times when I was just fed up with Pro Tool's limitations.  Still, I always ended up using Pro Tools in the end.  I honestly just can't change my DAW, I love the work flow I've created inside of Pro Tools way too much.  Maybe one day but, for now I'm a dedicated Pro Tools user and very excited about the new Native HD Systems that were just released.

With the release of Pro Tools HD Native, Pro Tools has changed the DAW game.  It's not even really "native" though, it still requires a PCIe card from AVID.  So the whole name is a little misleading.  They should have just called it, Pro Tools HD That Costs Less.  I guess it is kind of native, since it does take some advantage of your computers processing power unlike previous HD Systems.  However, I feel that to call a system "native" it needs to only use the power from the computers processor.  IE: Logic, Ableton, etc.  Now you can have all the benefits of a Pro Tools HD System (Minus TDM Plug-ins) at a price that's actually affordable though.  Who could really ever afford an actual HD system on a home budget anyways.  I don't know about you but I can think of about 100 other things I'd buy with 10 grand as opposed to some of Digi's other PT HD Systems.  Don't start thinking that Pro Tools HD Native will be "cheap" it's not trust me, it' retails for $3,500 without AVID's new Omni or HD Interfaces.  You can score a decent deal by picking up the Native HD System bundled with one of AVID's new Omni interfaces (8x8) for just under $6,000.  Compared to an HD 1 system you're saving a fairly big chunk of cash while still having the great quality, features & plug-ins that HD is known for.

Let's talk about who this system is for first because, it requires a few things which put it beyond the reach of some users.  In order to run the new Pro Tools HD Native system you need to have at least one of AVID's HD Interfaces.  Whether it's their new HD line of interfaces or an older 192/96 I/0 you still need one of these to run the HD Native system.  The HD Native system supports up to 4 interfaces.  Like I said before it doesn't have support for TDM Plug-ins but does support RTAS/AudioSuite Plug-ins.  You also need to have a computer with at least one open PCIe slot (Laptop Users Check this Out, you can get the PCIe power too)  AVID also recommends at least 2 gigs of ram and either Windows 7 or Mac OSX 10.6.4.

I suppose it's time for the specs now... Pro Tools HD Native features up to 64 channels of simultaneous I/O.  More than you'll likely ever fill.  Maximum number of audio tracks allowed varies depending on what sample rate your session is set to.  Since most of the new age kids are making their sessions all stereo (please stop doing this, there is nothing wrong with a mono kick) I'll list the stereo specs, these audio track counts are doubled for mono tracks.  @ 48kHz you can have up to 96 Stereo Audio Tracks, @ 96kHz you can have up to 48 Stereo Audio Tracks, and @ 192kHz you can have up to 18 Stereo Audio Tracks.  As I said before if you're using mono tracks these audio track counts are doubled.  There are other caps on numbers of instruments tracks, midi tracks, aux tracks, VCA tracks, & master tracks but they are such high counts most of you wouldn't be affected by these limitations.  If you still want to see them check out the specs page over at AVID.  Yes it does still require one of AVID's "native" PCIe cards and cannot just run off of your computer's host processor.  Beyond that, it's loaded with all the goodies and features of previous HD Systems, Including all the plug-ins and instruments!

Is this a truly "native" system? No, far from it in fact.  It still will cost you a nice chunk of cheese to set up a new Pro Tools HD Native system from AVID but, this is the most professional and highest quality format of Digital Audio Workstation available at an affordable price.  You can't expect it to be cheap, you're paying for quality and if you've ever used a Pro Tools HD system you know it's worth every cent.  The great thing is they've made this HD system affordable enough for serious home studio enthusiasts & producers.  I've included a few links below to AVID's website so you can do some digging of your own.  They haven't really made that much information available yet.  I'm sure we will all learn more as the days go by and the product begins to sell though, I'll keep you all posted on any updates related to this release, including the general consensus on it over at GearSlutz.

Pro Tools HD Native Overview

Pro Tools HD Native Features

Pro Tools HD Native Specifications 

Pro Tools HD Native Bundled Plug-ins



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