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RTAS - AAX Wrappers: Who Gets To Choose How Your Pro Tools System Performs?

There’s an ongoing discussion on the DUC regarding Avid’s ongoing policy regarding RTAS-AAX wrappers, which right now is that they are not allowed by Avid. Many theories are being put forward by both those for and those against the policy about why Avid have this policy.

The reason put forward by Avid is that RTAS-AAX wrappers are not allowed is because it compromises the stability and performance of Pro Tools, many users argue that the reasons are actually commercially motivated. Even if stability and performance are the real reason, surely it’s down to the user to make that choice, surely ‘caveat emptor’ applies here? If this is what Avid are most concerned about then surely (as with many of their products) they offer a “not supported” line about wrappers?

It seems absurd that a user can host VST and AU versions of plug-ins in Pro Tools 11 using various methods, but not RTAS. In fact since that article was written several other solutions have been offered by companies like Blue Cat Audio. This policy of ‘NO RTAS WRAPPERS’ seems odd (given that AU and VST are allowed) and undermines Avid’s own plug-in formats by suggesting that RTAS is less flexible and future proof than competitor plug-in architecture?

One reason cited is that 64 bit plug-in architecture makes any kind of wrapper impossible for older 32 bit RTAS plug-ins. Not so for Logic Pro X users, who with the Sound Radix 32 Lives software can run 32 bit versions of AUs in a 64 bit application, keeping their investment in plug-ins such as Abbey Road, TC and Lexicon alive.

If one buys a car, then there are certain fuels, oils and tyres that are recommended, if someone wants to use inferior quality products and in doing so experience inferior performance and possibly shorten the lifetime of the car, then as long as they don’t try and blame the dealer or the manufacturer then it’s their problem isn’t it?

The new 64 bit audio engine and improved architecture that made AAX necessary are without doubt a step forward, it offers vastly superior performance over RTAS, but if a user wants (or needs) to continue to use RTAS, then they should be allowed to do so, with the understanding that it will give inferior performance and will be unsupported?

I think what aggrieves users of legacy products such as RTAS or Control 24 and Pro Control mixers is not that they become unsupported or that development is ended, but that they are simply killed off. No one is suggesting that Avid should offer indefinite development and support for their older products, no other brand does so. However blocking the development of 3rd party solutions seems mean and petty minded, this seems to contradict the ‘new open Avid’ message that was introduced when Gary Greenfield was CEO of Avid and saw Pro Tools uncoupled from Avid hardware.

Surely if an RTAS wrapper is as possible as VST and AU versions then a user should get to choose how their Pro Tools system performs? Discuss.

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