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Posted by on Oct 22, 2011 | 6 comments

Pro Tools 10 at AES – Part 2

This is a follow up post to Jamie’s article from last night. I spent some time at the Avid booth today to get answers to questions I developed after catching up on the press release data; and to also address some of the points that Jamie brought up in his article.

Let’s start out with this fancy new multiple file formats in the session. It’s quite happy looking at nearly anything you can throw at it. This includes the RF64 wave files that Jamie mentioned in his post. Pro Tools will handle these types of files natively, without any issues. So, yes, multi-channel audio files over 4GB in size are now supported. It’s important to note, however, that bit and [was incorrect on this...multiple bit rates within one session is supported] sample rate conversions will still need to take place on import. The sessions will not support files of multiple rates, only multiple formats (aiff, wave, etc.)

Continuing with the multi-channel theme, editing will still operate in a similar manner to what we’re used to. In the Region List (perhaps now called Clip List), there will be a parent file that will explode down into a child list. This means that you will be able to drag the individual channels out onto multiple single channel tracks and edit them independently.

As for the mentioned stereo mix-down plug-in, it is a new feature of Pro Tools. This is not the Neyrinck software previously included in the Complete Production Toolkit. [note: the Neyrinck Soundcode (light) plug-in will no longer be included in CPTK purchases] The plug-in does not do matrix encode processing, like the full version of Neyrinck Soundcode LtRt. This plug-in is for monitoring purposes only.

There was mention of “advanced clip gain” in the HD version of 10. This was just confusing marketing speech. There is no difference between the clip gain functionality in any of the Pro Tools 10 SKU’s. The only “advanced” features are converting and coalescing clip gain to and from volume automation. This functionality is available in 10 HD and 10 with Complete Production Toolkit.

I was curious about the processing drain of the new Channel Strip plug-in. It turns out that it uses a little more in the way of system resources than EQ3, but not much. You can also edit the processing chain within the plug-in. It can be customized however you like in each individual instantiation. That’s a nice feature, but I’ll be interested in hearing how it sounds in a more controlled environment than the show floor.

For those who were worrying about the apparent disappearance of the upgrade path from older toolkits to the Complete Production Toolkit, this is just an issue of updating the online store’s contents. It’s not going away. It will return soon (as early as Monday, though no specific date was given). No information on whether or not pricing will remain the same.

The elephant in the room…TDM and blue face-plate (now legacy) I/O:

Pro Tools 10 supports current Accel and TDM technology, but…as stated…this will be the last version to do so. I was told, however, that 10 is “not optimized” for working with the older tech. I didn’t get specific details as to how this hits performance. From what I can gather, it seems the Accel/TDM hardware are fully supported, it’s simply that the new hardware is significantly more powerful. The software will not have the maximum resources available using the older tech. I’ll be following up on this one, to get a clearer picture, before the show closes.

Update: The previous generation hardware (Accel and blue face plate I/O) will function better wit Pro Tools 10 than they do with Pro Tools 9 or earlier. They will not however, come close to the power of the new hardware. Meaning you will not get all of the benefits of the new software with this hardware (i.e. increased delay compensation, voice count, etc….see comments below). In short, the TDM hardware will do no more than it can in 9, but it will do that better.

One of the big reasons that they’re phasing out the older hardware, is because the next version of Pro Tools will be built for 64-bit operating systems. [confirmed at the booth] The older hardware just will not work with that data structure. A transition window is all well and good, but they’re obviously well into planning on Pro Tools 11. The big question is, will that next release be in a year once more; or will they allow people a little more breathing space to recover from all of this. Regardless, a hardware upgrade is going to be required sometime in the not-too-distant future if your goal is to remain current in regards to HD versions.

If you want to upgrade older gear to the newer models, Avid will continue to run trade-in deals. Your best bet will be to contact authorized dealers to find out what it will cost to get the appropriate devices to get a comparable I/O and interfacing setup.

For those of you who are wondering about TDM plug-ins, they are unsupported on the new HDX cards. Your RTAS plug-ins will run just fine in 10 using the host processor. If, for now, you stick with the existing Accel systems, you will still be able to use your TDM plug-ins with Pro Tools 10.

As for Waves compatibility with Pro Tools 10, they are currently looking at the new AAX plug-in format. I didn’t mention anything about “working on” in that previous sentence for a reason. At the moment, they appear to have other priorities. They are going to hold off on establishing “compliance” with the new format until they have a better idea of market adoption and demand. Where does this leave us with our Waves TDM plug-ins with Pro Tools 10? It depends on your hardware, with respect to the aforementioned Accel vs. HDX concept. TDM will work with Pro Tools 10 if you stick with Accel hardware. If you upgrade to the HDX cards, those TDM format plug-ins are obsolete.

To list the plug-in compatibilities in a succinct manner:

AAX Native are equivalent to RTAS

-RTAS and AAX Native will run in Pro Tools 10 using the host processor

TDM are soon obsolete

-TDM will run in Pro Tools 10 with Accel/TDM hardware only

AAX DSP are the new HD plug-ins that use the DSP acceleration hardware (a.k.a. HDX)

-AAX DSP will run in Pro Tools 10 with HDX hardware only

Additional note about AAX Native and AAX DSP plug-ins. They will exhibit similar behavior to RTAS and TDM, in that if you put an AAX Native plug-in after an AAX DSP plug-in additional voices will be used.

6 Comments

  1. have heard so much speculation that it’s hard to separate ‘real’ from ‘imagined’. i’m pretty sure that even avid isn’t quite certain as to how this will all play out. if waves doesn’t ‘comply’ soon, it might put a wrench in avid’s plans. will go to the avid booth tomorrow and see if i can get some specific info. thanks shaun for the clear explanation.

  2. Hi Shaun,
    I hate to correct you, but unfortunately there appears to be a difference in the Clip Based Gain functionality between PT 10 and PT 10HD (or CPTK): The later version let’s you coalesce and convert clip gain settings to track-based volume automation and vice versa.
    Also not sure about the mixed bit depths, as PDF says this on the “Save Session Copy” dialog: “Sessions with mixed file formats and bit- depths must convert all files to the same file format and bit depth.”
    See page 14 and 29 of the “What’s new in Pro Tools 10″ PDF: http://tinyurl.com/3mutv9j

    • corrections are welcome. i definitely could have mis-heard the file bit/sample rate conversion specifics when i as speaking to the rep. as for Clip Gain, i was told there is no difference. the rep didn’t mention anything about coalescing, though. so, i’ll confirm the two points today…as well as add a few more details that have come up since posting this last night. thanks for feedback and corrections.

  3. The main features that many were hoping for for TDM systems do NOT work in PT10HD, as confirmed in Avid’s PDF. 

    No increased voice count. 
    No increased delay compensation. 
    No improved mix engine. 

  4. Matt, that is due to the limitations of the dsp’s on the Accel cards more than anything else. 

  5. Does it include mp3 export options right out of the box yet?

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