I’ve been sitting on this news for a while but now it’s official. Avid has released three new Pro Tools interfaces, two of which offer a built-in soft-knee analog limiter. There’s also a new software option for Pro Tools HD called Heat ($495) designed with Crane Song’s Dave Hill, maker of the Phoenix plug-in. Avid is also releasing Pro Tools 8.1 in conjunction with these new products which they say is a minor upgrade. Despite the hoopla surrounding the products, the release leaves some unanswered questions about the new gear.
I’ll be seeing and hearing these interfaces next week at a studio in LA I’m helping put together for Esquire magazine. It’s a very cool project and I’ll have more news and pictures on this installation and what my experience is with the new gear very soon.
Here’s the product descriptions released by Avid today:
HD I/O, HD OMNI and HD MADI interfaces for Pro Tools|HD enable customers to achieve the highest-quality audio with improvements to digital audio conversion quality, a variety of new configuration options and increased support for open digital standards like the popular MADI protocol.
Features include advances in design, filtering and clocking and flexible digital I/O connectivity, which offers support for a variety of formats. Additionally, Curv, a new soft-knee analog limiter in HD OMNI and HD I/O, cuts the time customers spend re-recording and editing by tracking hotter signals when recording, preventing distortion when overloading inputs. The new I/O options include:
HD I/O (8x8x8 Analog/Digital $3995; 16×16 Analog $4995; 16×16 Digital $2495): Enables customers to achieve the highest-quality audio record and playback with three optional space-saving configurationsâ€”16×16 analog, 16×16 digital and 8x8x8 analog and digitalâ€”in a 2 RU rack mountable interface.
HD OMNI ($2995): Frees up customer workspace by integrating the functionality of numerous costly outboard components into an all-in-one premium sound solution for recording, mixing and monitoring. Features include state-of-the-art conversion, two world-class mic pre-amps, headphone outputs, a full-featured surround monitor section and a 14×26 channel persistent mixer that functions even when the computer is offâ€”letting users listen to CDs, MP3 players, keyboards and drum machines without the need for an additional mixer.
HD MADI ($4995): Opens up workflows and speeds production time for broadcast, live sound and post production sound professionals by offering the ability to easily connect Pro Tools|HD systems to industry-standard MADI infrastructures, without the need for a format converter. Built-in sample rate conversion on all inputs and outputs allow customers to integrate into workflows with multiple sample rates (upstream and downstream) using a single, 64-channel 1 RU rack mountable interface.
HEAT ($495)â€” Premium Analog Warmth in a Digital Package, Minus the Plug-Ins
Designed in collaboration with digital/analog engineer Dave Hill of Crane Song, the HEAT software option for Pro Tools|HD systems is an innovation for mixers who value the warmth and sound qualities of tubes, tape machines and analog consoles, but want to eliminate the complications and expenses of using tape machines and vintage outboard processors, or managing plug-in changes across multiple tracks. Customers can now directly add the best sounding euphonic qualities to every track in the Pro Tools mixer using a single, global control, dramatically enhancing sound quality and improving settings management.