November 17, 2010

Avid Pro Tools 9 First Look

It’s time to put Avid Pro Tools 9 through the paces. Does it really work with nearly every IO on the market? Avid claims that as long as there is a Core Audio or ASIO driver – you’re in luck. Just to be sure, we make TJ Martin (with Avid) use a Presonus, Focusrite, RME and a Line 6 interface with Pro Tools 9. We’ll also see anything else that’s new (and of importance) in Pro Tools 9.

What does Pro Tools 9 Come with?

(1) Pro Tools 9 software DVD (includes bundled software and guides)
(1) Pro Tools 9 drivers DVD
(1) Audio Loops DVD
(1) iLok USB Smart Key (for software authorization)
(1) Pro Tools 9 installation guide
(1) Intro to Pro Tools 9 guide
(1) Software activation card

What Avid Says:

Fuel your creativity with a huge collection of over 70 professional sound-processing plug-ins, virtual instruments, and effects, plus a massive library of high-quality audio loops. Whether you want to make music, record audio, crank up new guitar tones, polish sounds, or master mixes, you’ve got a full palette of options at your fingertips to shape ideas from beginning to end.

Virtual instruments and audio content :
Big Fish Audio 8 GB sound library
Boom drum machine and sequencer
DB-33 tonewheel organ emulator with rotating speaker simulation
Mini Grand acoustic grand piano
Vacuum monophonic vacuum tube synthesizer
Xpand!2 multitimbral synth and sample workstation

There is a wealth of information out there.  And we know all the stats are posted everywhere so we won’t bore you with them.  Find them here:  Pro Tools 9 (Full Version), Pro Tools 9 Crossgrade from LE, and Pro Tools 9 Crossgrade from M-Powered.

If you prefer you can go to Avid’s Pro Tools site as well to see even more in depth.

Video Transcript:

Hey this is Scott Magno, DJ MadFlip, here with Today we’re going to show you the brand new, recently announced, Pro Tools 9 software. So today we flew in a true professional, this is TJ Martin with Avid and he’s going to show us the new features of Pro Tools 9, one of which I read is that it’s not just going to be compatible with Avid interfaces, but with virtually every interface on the market. So, I went to the warehouse and I took all of these out so we can see exactly how that’s going to work. Here’s TJ.
Thanks Scott, I think we’re up to the challenge so let’s give it a whirl. Ok so, it’s time to start the challenge. So the first IO up is going to be the PreSonus Audio Box. That’s a USB interface, real simplistic here, and it also has a class compliant driver which made it really easy for me so I didn’t even have to install a driver, but, just to prove that it works in Pro Tools, let’s look at it in Pro Tools here.
So, I go up to the setup menu, I’m going to go to IO, and sure enough there it is. That’s the little icon for it, so, let me zoom in, and there it is. So, it is showing up. Now let’s do a quick  recording for you to show that it’s actually recording inside of Pro Tools. We’ll record enable it, now it’s time to hit record and play. It’s already drawing a wave for me, yeah sure enough. Alright, time to hit stop, excellent. So, PreSonus definitely works inside of Pro Tools 9. So now let’s move onto a different interface.
Alright next interface is going to be the Focusright Saffire Pro 24. This is a firewire interface, I’ve installed the drivers already for it. So let’s see how it behaves here, record enable. Got my wave form a little bigger so I can see it better. Record play, it’s already drawing. There’s my fancy E chord. Sure enough, that works as well so on to the next interface.
Alright so, let’s check out an interface by a totally different company now, RME, Called the Fireface 800 and I’m going in with a firewire into my laptop, drivers are installed, record enabled, it’s ready for my guitar. And record, and there’s the waveform being drawn, excellent. Alright so, here’s the UX2 from Line 6. Let’s take a look at this, get record enable going here. So four completely different interfaces here recording in Pro Tools 9, that’s obviously the biggest news.
One thing we need to talk about before we go on looking inside the software is the fact that really, the reason that all these different interfaces work inside of Pro Tools is because of Core Audio and ASIO support. So, in the mac world, it’s core audio that’s hidden in the background as your audio entry, and windows it’s ASIO. If you’ve got a driver written for that, you’re straight. Those are the interfaces you can use.
So let’s talk about what else is new, we’ve really given you more. So before you had 48 tracks of audio inside of LE or M power. Now, you’re able to do 96 mono or stereo, you can also do 512 MIDI tracks where before it was 256. What you’re going to do with all that MIDI? I have no idea. 256 busses versus 32 is what it used to be, and now you can capture 32 tracks of audio which before it was only 18. So more is more, that’s what you’ve been given inside of Pro Tools 9.
You’re also getting things like what used to be the music production toolkit 2 or the DV toolkit is now part of it. So what does that mean? Multitrack beat detective was part of the music production 2. You’re now able to slice and dice and quantise audio as if it was MIDI when you use multi beat detective. So that’s pretty cool having that.
Now let’s take a look at what else has been inside Pro Tools, before that, folks don’t even realise when they say things like, “well Pro Tools is pretty blank slate and you’re not starting with much.” But actually, inside of here you’re getting a lot of cool instruments like a grand piano, a B3 organ, and drum machine.
You’ve got the expand 2 which is kind of cool because it’s like your everything box. It’s got every darn sound in it just like you would with like, a Triton, or a Roland work station. You’ve got a virtual analog synthesizer inside of here, and we can also do fun stuff like comping. I can click and drag over a certain section, decide that’s the perfect take of my guitar, send that up to the master track, that makes life easier.
We said the DV toolkit 2 used to be extra, what does that mean? That was for video guys, that was for things like OMF support. OMF is important in video world, but even in audio land. Let’s say you’ve got somebody who’s running, let’s say, Logic and they’re in your band. They’ve started the session and you want to work with the same session. They can export as OMF and you can import that OMF file, and all your tracks are broken up for you in the software. You’ve also got a timeline ruler, so, if you need to do some serious editing inside of video and make an audio event happen at a particular part, boom! You can do it there, and automatic delay compensation has been added.
Automatic delay compensation is something that people have been asking for for some time, and now it’s possible inside of Pro Tools 9, native running on your machine. What you do is go to setup, playback engine, and here it is. There’s something dedicated just in the pulldown menu here. Delay compensation engine, and there’s short or long. Short is an efficient way to do it, but regardless that’s there now.
What happened before was, and often happens in audio land is, if you’ve got all these independent tracks running and you start inserting all these plugins. You’re asking your computer’s CPU to do a lot of work. By having automatic delay compensation you don’t have to work about introducing all these new plug ins and creating little delays whether they’re milliseconds or only samples in size. You can have your guitar arriving to the master bus just before, milliseconds before your bassline.
Automatic delay compensation makes up and does a lot of this work for you so you don’t have to think about introducing plug ins and what that means. We also have in there variable pan depth. That was more important to the HD crowd it seemed. If you wanted to emulate the DB difference between a pan. If you go dead center on an SSL, it behaves different from on a Neve. The British engineering society has a different DB difference when you put a pan dead center. So that’s hiding in there, In fact, there’s 73 pages in the “What’s new with Pro Tools” document.
So there’s a ton of new stuff. So, something that is worth pointing out now is that I’ve got my laptop here and my old ilock. They’re much cooler that come in the box now. But that it. It’s beautiful, I could be sitting there, watching dancing with the stars on the couch and editing MIDI at the same time. Whereas before you were always locked down to some sort of interface, so that’s no longer necessary and that helps a lot.
Now, it’s also worth going over the differences in these boxed versions that you can get through UniqueSquared. You’ve got M power Pro Tools 9, and that is the full blown version that you’re getting inside there and that does come with an ilock as well.
But then there’s the cross grades, and that’s really for the folks that are already using LE and using M power, and you want to get into 9. Just make sure you have your ilock, if you’re an M power guy, you’ve already got it, But if you’re using LE, make sure you get one before you get the cross grade or order it at the same time. But really, what you’re getting from Pro Tools 9, as you can see today, is you’re getting more, and it’s more powerful.
Amazing, Pro Tools 9 software. Look for it here at We’d like to thank TJ Martin for coming out from Avid. And we’d also like to thank you for staying connected with us, on our blog, on Facebook, and also on Twitter. If you have any questions about Pro Tools 9 or anything else, feel free to contact me Scott Magno DJ MadFlip. Be you, be unique, at