In the first week of November, just as they began shipping an unprecedented new product called Pro Tools|HD Native, Avid made an even more stunning announcement: They would break free of Digidesign’s mold by demolishing the distinctions between HD and LE software to offer one platform – Pro Tools 9. For the first time, this software-based version of Pro Tools allows all users access to a full feature set, whether they run the program with Avid hardware, a third-party interface or even a laptop’s built-in soundcard.
“Digidesign was a great brand,” said Tony Cariddi, Pro Segment Marketing Manager for Avid, when we spoke to him for this piece, “but they would have never done something as bold as this.”
That statement is probably true. Long-time Pro Tools users, accustomed to an old parent brand that routinely met user requests only half-way, demonstrated shock and a welcome sense of disbelief when Pro Tools 9 was announced.
To those who aren’t familiar with the limitations Pro Tools LE imposed on laptop-lovers and entry-level users, this may sound like small news. For the rest of us, it bordered on earth-shaking.
It’s been two weeks since the instant upgrade became available for download. As this game-changing release began making it out to the market, we reached out to some of the earliest adopters in NYC. “Does it live up to the hype” we asked, “And what does it say about where the industry has been, and where it’s going?”
Producer/engineer Allen Farmelo (The Cinematic Orchestra, The Loom, Jonah Smith) says he was “skeptical at first”, but he didn’t mince words when it came down to the impact of Pro Tools 9: “It’s really the most significant upgrade of Pro Tools ever.”
So what’s the big deal? For starters, Avid decided to reverse course when they embarked on the Pro Tools rebrand. One of the first orders of business was to actively solicit user feedback through the online market research application IdeaScale. Although it took some time to turn a ship this big, they listened. Gripe number one, said Cariddi, was the absence of Auto Delay Compensation on LE systems. Farmelo weighed in again here:
“I am thrilled that the younger generation of folks getting into Pro Tools aren’t going to have to grapple with the unfathomable out-of-phase junk that was messing up so many LE-based projects. Quite literally, the world will have fewer f*d-up records because ADC is now being included….