If the postings in the DUC are to be believed (and we have no reason to doubt them) then Waves will NOT be supporting AAX DSP, which means Waves plug-ins will not take advantage of the HDX DSP processing, but instead rely entirely on the computer’s CPU for power.
So right now some of the biggest plug-in manufacturers; Waves and Universal Audio are not confirmed as DSP adopters, with other smaller brands still not showing their hand either for DSP. Of course the UA situation is slightly different as they depend on their own propriety UAD cards to handle the load, many of which are sitting inside Pro Tools HD systems now.
However, Pro Tools HDX has been a success, with early adoption rate being so strong that it was sold out in a matter of weeks. This means that that either most of those buying HDX really don’t worry about Waves, however ubiquitous they are, or they are betting their shirt on late adoption to AAX DSP.
We’ve spoken to early HDX adopters and the message is mixed, some feel a little aggrieved at this slow adoption, having spent money on HDX so that they could use DSP for plug-ins. However, many have decided to find alternative software, being equally disappointed with Waves, knowing that since the early days of plug-ins alternative developers such as McDSP, Sonnox and iZotope are making plug-ins that are as good, if not better. To be fair, most of Waves’ development budget has had to be concentrated on getting their, almost ridiculously huge, portfolio over to 64bit and also stop the bleed of income from the Waves cracks. No one would blame them for that, after all, when push comes to shove Waves have to take care of their own business first. The news is that Waves 9 is already cracked and doing the rounds on torrents - this may be a myth, but securing your software from piracy is a cat and mouse game between those who do it for money and those who do it for sport.
So one can’t help feel there’s a kind of game of Russian roulette going on between Avid and some of the developers, with developers hedging their bets on AAX. Perhaps Waves are saying that their future is in Prosumer? Avid’s future is definitely in pro and our view is that this pro stance will continue to be strengthened by Avid in the future. This may not be exactly what everyone wants to hear, but we think it’s a good thing; the current disparate nature of the Avid offering makes them a jack of all trades and master of none. We would prefer they keep the main thing the main thing and reclaim the innovative edge that made Pro Tools number one in the first place. If it is a game of Russian roulette, then early indications seem to show that if people are forced to choose between Pro Tools and Waves, then they keep Pro Tools and find alternative plug-ins.
Customers can take bad news; Apple have delivered enough in the past with some of their axe-falling announcements on software and hardware several times to the pro market, but people adapt and life goes on.
What customers can’t deal with is ambiguity, it makes it impossible to plan for future investment in both equipment and training.
So perhaps that’s the only message we can leave with Avid, Waves and whoever else wants us to invest in their products; we can deal with anything as long as it’s the truth. At least then we know where we stand and we can make our decisions based on fact, rather than speculation. Discuss.