Meet Pro Tools HD Native

In the third big product announcement this year, Avid has unveiled Pro Tools HD Native, a product aimed at filling the gap where LE leaves off and Pro Tools HD DSP starts. The new platform has more in common with HD DSP than LE, boasting a redesigned mix engine and greater access to the higher end features of Pro Tools at a fraction of the cost. Pro Tools HD Native consists of Pro Tools 8.5 (Snow Leopard and Windows 7) and a single PCIe card sporting two Digilink connectors each offering 32 channels.

The Pro Tools HD Native system offers:

  • The same feature set as Pro Tools HD DSP (minus TDM plug-ins, Heat and limited to 64 channels)
  • Delay compensation on hardware and software inserts
  • Input monitoring, speed control, destructive recording and Quick/Track Punch
  • The same track count and buffer count as HD DSP (192 tracks, 128 buses)
  • Full access to the new HD IO, HD OMNI, HD MADI plus Legacy “blueâ€? IOs (192 IO, 96 IO etc.)
  • Compatibility with Sync HD and Sync IO, Control 24, VENUE: DShow, MixRack and ProFile, ICON and Video Satellite
  • Lower latency figures than the native DAW competition (1.6 ms roundtrip delay at 64 sample buffer at 96kHz)
  • Full compatibility with RTAS plug-ins
  • Full hardware support for third-party ASIO and Core Audio apps

For near zero-latency monitoring in tracking situations, you can designate a single output as a “low latency monitor path�, meaning audio can be assigned from any input directly to this low latency path without hitting the computer. Once the track is taken out of record or input, it is then routed through the software mixer as usual.

Support for LE and M-powered will remain as is for now. I have a feeling there’s another product in the works but Avid is very tight lipped in this regard. On the downside, it’s not possible to monitor Pro Tools HD Native through the computer’s output without having an IO attached. Another limitation is that you can’t expand the system beyond 64 channels by adding another card. You’ll have to jump to Pro Tools HD DSP to go beyond the maximum.

For now there are three versions of Pro Tools HD specific to each hardware setup. Pro Tools 8.0.4 is for those using Legacy “blueâ€? IOs with HD DSP whereas Pro Tools 8.1 is for those using the new HD IO, HD Omni and HD MADI. Pro Tools 8. 5 is specific to Pro Tools Native. Eventually Avid will integrate all these into one app, but for now you must have the correct software for each setup and can’t easily jump from one setup to the other.

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