Last Thursday, at the 129th Audio Engineering Society Convention in San Francisco, California, Avid unveiled a major new release of its industry-standard audio and music production software, Pro Tools. As a Sibelius user, you may have heard about this news already, but decided that it doesn’t mean anything to you. You may already have another sequencer or DAW in your studio, or you may not think you need one. With the release of Pro Tools 9, there’s never been a better time to take a fresh look at Pro Tools. More on why after the jump.
The biggest news about Pro Tools 9 is that it is the first version of Pro Tools that can run without requiring any Avid audio hardware to be connected to your computer. Previously you needed an Mbox or Digi 002/003 to run Pro Tools LE, or certain M-Audio branded devices to run Pro Tools M-Powered, or for top professionals some HD hardware to run Pro Tools HD.
Pro Tools HD still requires at the least the new HD Native card, but there’s a new version of Pro Tools, called simply Pro Tools 9, that is compatible with any ASIO- or Core Audio-compatible audio device; all it requires is the included iLok hardware key (sometimes known as a “dongle”), which carries both your Pro Tools license and also the licenses for any RTAS virtual instruments and effects you may use.
So if you’ve previously dismissed Pro Tools on the grounds that you would have to invest in more costly audio hardware simply to run the software, then you should take another look: Pro Tools 9 will now work with audio hardware made by any manufacturer.
The unique benefit that a Sibelius user will get when adding Pro Tools to their workflow is that Pro Tools is the only sequencer or DAW that can send a native Sibelius file directly from the score window of your project directly to Sibelius. You don’t need to send a MIDI file and then spend time editing or cleaning up the notation in Sibelius, because the notation you see in Pro Tools’s Sibelius-powered score window is exactly the same as the notation you will see when you send the project to Sibelius.
You can also ReWire Sibelius to Pro Tools, sending a stereo audio track of Sibelius’s playback output into an aux. track in Pro Tools, with the added bonus that the transport controls are synced in both applications, so when you move the playback line or start or stop playback in either application, the other follows suit instantly. (ReWire can also be used with other DAWs and sequencers.)
The folks on the Pro Tools team have worked hard to listen to the requests of users of the software in the features they have worked on for Pro Tools 9. Not only have they added the number one most-requested feature, Automatic Delay Compensation (which allows audio from different sources and plug-ins to be synchronised automatically), but they have addressed all of the top 10 most-requested features, including adding the timecode ruler (previously only available in Pro Tools LE or M-Powered after buying a separate add-on toolkit), and many more things besides.
Pro Tools 9 is available now at a recommended price of $599 US, and it requires Windows 7 or Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard. For Sibelius users looking to add a sequencer or DAW to their workflow, it’s a great choice that is worth a close look.
Big move . MAudio can’t be happy. Automatic plugin delay compensation has been a part of every other major DAW for years. Its about time Digi got their act together. Wonder if the other major piece of brain damage was addressed. The last time I checked, you couldn’t bounce tracks to disk faster than real-time (probably due to legacy Digi hardware issues).
Rewire support is cool. I hope that it will soon be possible for Sibelius to be the Rewire master, and be able of Rewiring to Reason, etc. for sounds.
Pro Tools 9 does not include faster-than-real-time bounce (or “freeze” or whatever it is called in other apps), though this is a high priority item for the Pro Tools team.
There is no M-Audio as a separate entity any longer, don’t forget. Everybody within Avid that I’ve spoken to is very positive about the shift in strategy that Pro Tools 9 shows, and are very excited about what this new open Pro Tools will mean for future product development.
Great move, that’s for sure.
I was pretty sceptic when Avid went on a shopping spree and bought virtually everything out there. But it makes sense and it seems to pay. PT9 certainly looks great.
Peter Roos, San Francisco
Yes, I noticed that. I suppose Avid is revamping Pro Tools to make it more attractive in terms of price / features when compared to other DAW programs, although at $600 it is still pricey when compared to eg Reaper (which is $50, has unlimited amount of tracks, and is native 64 bit application). It’s a positive direction though.
The one thing I couldn’t figure out is what improvements Pro Tools 9 offers specifically when compared to Pro Tools 8 – asfar as I am able to tell the features that version 9 has, were already included in version 8. The *real* cool feature would be a ‘link’ between pro tools and Sibelius, such, that you could ‘noodle under the hood’ by tweaking midi notes, while preserving the notation layout in Sibelius; and the end result would be playback that would take into account whatever you change ‘under the hood’. Pro Tools is not the most beloved program when it comes to midi, so that will require some major work on the part of Avid.
Why would I want ProTools 9 when I have Logic 9, which seems to be able to do all these things already?
It’s the ProTools everyone wanted from the start. @Mark Rosenberg, Avid own M-Audio now. And digi. And Sibelius. So they are all the same company. Hence it makes no sense that ‘M-Audio can’t be happy’. A positive move from Avid, but a much belated and over priced one. Crossgrade only from previous ProTools systems is overpriced and unnecessary.