Yesterday Avid, the makers of Pro Tools. announced Pro Tools 12.3, the latest version of Pro Tools 12 with some new features added. So we took a look at the new features and decided to give our verdict. Setting this review in context, regular readers of the blog will know that we've not always been impressed with what Avid have done with Pro Tools since the announcement of Pro Tools 12, so we want to outline what is new in Pro Tools 12.3 and then give our verdict.
Pro Tools 12.3 Summary Of The New Features
This is effectively track freeze by another name, although Avid say that Track Freeze is still coming. Commit Track features a number of interesting features, you can read about them in more detail here.
Drag And Drop MIDI Commit
A very nice new feature is convert MIDI to audio simply by dragging and dropping the MIDI from an instrument track to a new audio track - it's very cool. You can see it used in the video below.
Track Commit Mix Delivery
This simplifies and speeds up the sending of stems to other people and has a number of workflows to make this process as painless as possible. It will also help with archiving future proofed sessions.
Clip Transparency And Fade Improvements
Another nice edition is the clip transparency feature that allows the user to see the original position of the clip/s as you drag them along the timeline. This helps to keep Pro Tools ahead of the game when it comes to audio editing.
The Batch Fades window now offers the ability to add different fades across the timeline at the same time, again this will be a huge timesaver for audio editors working with its of audio clips on the timeline.
You can have up to 5 memory locations for your favourite fades.
Pro Tools 12.3 New Features - Our Verdict
So does the latest of version due to be released in November - Pro Tools 12.3 change anything?
We think it does, we think this is the version of Pro Tools that should have been Pro Tools 12.0 - with new features that help bring Pro Tools up to date and in some ways implemented in very clever ways.
There are various versions of track freeze in various DAWs and the Commit Track features offer some very nifty options to make that feature very useful. It has to be noted that having track freeze in a modern DAW is expected, so no one should celebrate this as if Avid have just put a man on Mars, but it does mean that Pro Tools is now not lagging behind every other DAW on the market. That said, track freeze is less needed than it was when people first asked for it, as one comment said on this blog 'people have been asking for track freeze for years.' Yes they have and years later it's arrived, but it's not needed as much as it was when the feature was first asked for. One small point to make is that some suggest us calling it track freeze by another name is 'spreading a lot of misinformation.' So technically it's not track freeze as we've already pointed out at the start of this article, but for the most part it achieves the same thing, so we'll leave other people to split that hair, in the words of William Shakespeare 'A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.'
Does this mean we don't think it's a good idea? Of course we think it's a good idea, but one of the very reasons track freeze arrived in other DAWs was because the native computers could not handle the processor intensive plug-ins being used and track freeze solved that problem. Avid chose to solve the problem at that time by using DSP with their Pro Tools HD solution. Now that Pro Tools is 64 bit and handles VIs better than ever AND computers are more powerful the original reason for having it has largely gone away for a lot of users.
BUT credit where credit is due and Avid have done a nice job of implementing it into Pro Tools 12.3 which will make it a godsend for both music and post users alike, the video gives a lot of good ideas on how to use it.
We are not sure if it's by accident or intent, but Avid delivering a raft of features that users have been asking for and being less obsessed with the Avid Everywhere cloud stuff is a smart move. In this single release Avid will have made a lot of Pro Tools users happy... with users saying on social media and in forums things like 'finally!' 'Avid are starting to listen.'
So the million dollar question is, should you buy it?
Well with the recent change of heart over pricing options, plug-in bundles and the unlocking of HD only features for all Pro Tools users, Avid have started to look like they are finally getting it. Yes there is an elephant in the room, which is how Avid take care of their HD users, but the mixed user base of HD and native Pro Tools users makes that a complex problem to solve - we don't envy Avid trying to sort that out.
So who gets Pro Tools 12.3? Well according to a blog post by Tom Graham on the Avid blog it says:
"(For HD and Standard Pro Tools) Track Commit and Track Bounce workflows, Clip Transparency while editing or moving clips or fades, batch fade enhancements and shortcuts, AudioSuite Pitch II"
Knowing you can get this for $99 as an upgrade makes it a no-brainer. It is for this reason we give the $99 upgrade deal of Pro Tools 12.3 Editors Choice.