Now the dust has settled after the announcement of Pro Tools 11, most people have had a chance to evaluate the pros and cons of this new version of Pro Tools. We always make it clear that upgrades are not compulsory, some users will not need Pro Tools 11. Here are what we see as the pros and cons cut down to the basics of what you get, NOT what features are called.
- Access To More RAM
A 64 bit application gives a user access to all RAM within their Mac or PC. Now that Pro Tools 11 is 64 bit user who need as much RAM access as possible for virtual instruments and other CPU intensive task, can get to it.
- Faster Workflows
Offline bounce means you are able to get your bounces out fast, so rather than sitting through a track, or a 1 hour show waiting for a bounce, you can have it in a matter of minutes, if not seconds.
- Do More With Less
Pro Tools 11 offer better performance on the same machine, or indeed the same performance on smaller, less powerful machines. We have seen it running huge session on laptops and Mac Minis, this was never possible on earlier versions. The need to buy a new computer may be less necessary and therefore save you money.
- Work With Native Video
Pro Tools 11 now features the Avid Media Composer video engine which will be a welcome addition for those working with picture to sound. No more encoding proxy videos into Pro Tools compatible formats, simply import and then choose to watch in full screen or a low res version right from within the timeline. You can even do basic video editing tasks.
- Get Better Visual Feedback - HD Only
Legislation within the broadcast industry means that audio has to be delivered to more exacting loudness specifications, Pro Tools 11HD offers more extensive metering so that mix engineers can be sure that audio is within international specifications.
- You May Lose Essential Plug-Ins
Now that Pro Tools 11 is AAX only, that means some of your plug-ins may not work when it ships, they may never work. There may be some workarounds using VST hosts like Maschine or ReWire and then hosting them in a programme like REAPER, but that’s not ideal.
- It Has A Professional Price Tag
Let’s face it, Pro Tools 11 is not cheap, there are other DAWs on the market that offer far more for less, in some cases at a fraction of the price. If you don’t need to buy into a Pro Tools workflow and don’t envisage having to take your sessions to Pro Tools studios then Pro Tools may not be the best DAW for your needs.
- Updates Continue To Be Costly
When Pro Tools was shipped as part of hardware packages, Digidesign and current owner Avid, were able to subsidize the cost of Pro Tools software. Since it was decoupled from the hardware at version 9, compared to other DAWs, both new versions and upgrades have been costly. If you get on the Pro Tools train then expect to pay a minimum of around $300 every time an upgrade ships.
- To Get Some Features You Have To Buy HD
Avid continue to lock out some features such as the new metering and multiple offline bounce to HD only purchases, so there is a kind of hardware dongle that continues to plague Pro Tools. Some professional users don’t want to use Avid hardware but are stuck with either buying hardware they don’t want or not getting HD only features.
- It Still Has Limitations
Despite being the industry standard DAW, used on most albums, TV shows and movies, Pro Tools 11 still lacks composition and other audio features found in competitor applications such as Logic, Studio One, Cubase or even the budget DAW REAPER. For example the MIDI features in most competitor applications are far better, as are the plug-ins and instruments that ship with many other DAWs.
As you would expect we are Pro Tools users at Pro Tools Expert, indeed we are huge fans of Pro Tools, we can’t imagine that changing. However, we also appreciate that Pro Tools may not be for everyone, especially those who can’t justify the cost v features compared with other DAWs. Pro Tools 11 is not about giving users lots of new features, simply a more powerful, up-to-date version of their go-to app. Pro Tools 11 addresses many of the features Pro Tools users have been asking to have for several years.
Our job at Pro Tools Expert is not to get users to buy Pro Tools, but to support those users who have chosen Pro Tools as their DAW of choice. We hope what we have outlined here will help you make that choice.
Now take our Pro Tools 11 buyer poll and tell us what you plan to do.