Pro Tools 12.1 has done a lot to appease Pro Tools Vanilla users with features like 128 audio tracks, 512 instrument tracks, Input monitoring, Copy to send feature for fast set-up of headphone mixes, and being able to solo tracks in PFL or AFL. The only new HD feature was native support for HEAT when used with HD licence.
As a result have Avid lost the confidence of HD owners? If so, what do Avid need to do to to win back the support of HD owners. To get the ball rolling here are 5 suggestions we believe Avid need to do...
Video Support in PT 11/12
When we were at the Penteo 7 Pro Event that we had at Hackenbacker, we were surprised at the number of post users that are still running Pro Tools 10 because they aren't confident with the reliability of the video side of Pro Tools 11 or 12. This is especially surprising when video performance was a key part of the Pro Tools 11 re-write with the introduction of the Avid Video Engine. So first off please sort out the video issues so that post users can use Pro Tools 11 with confidence. That said, how many issues with video and Pro Tools relate to Blackmagic hardware and drivers? Do check out the tests and experiments we undertook when comparing Blackmagic and AJA hardware and drivers. We also have more tests in the pipe line on this topic.
AAX DSP Plug-ins
One of the benefits of running an HD DSP system is to be able to use DSP plug-ins with very low latency when tracking. However this feature is only any help to HD owners if there are AAX DSP plug-ins that we can use. We still don't feel that we have the range of DSP plug-ins that we had before HDX came along. So working and tracking with DSP plug-ins is still restrictive with a number of key 3rd party developers still only offering AAX Native plug-ins when they used to offer both RTAS and TDM plug-ins, like Waves and Soundtoys to name two examples.
The High Cost Of HD Upgrade Plans
As the feature sets between Vanilla and HD converge, does the three fold price difference between Vanilla and HD support plans seem right? Especially for those HD owners who took advantage of the PT10 and CPTK2 upgrade path to PTHD software, does it seems reasonable to expect them to pay the same for an upgrade/support plan as an HDX3 owner with loads of hardware? How about converging the upgrade plan pricing structure by bringing down the price of the HD Upgrade/Support Plans.
Unbundle Interface and Hardware For HD Owners
How about unbundling the HDN and HDX cards from the interfaces so that HD owners can buy 3rd party interfaces? Then how about supporting and approving a range of 3rd party interfaces too? Vanilla owners can choose their interfaces, so why not HD owners? Also we would like the option to be able to buy an ND Thunderbolt Native box without an interface so one could choose to use it with a MacBook Pro and HD Omni or 8x8x8 interfaces.
Enhanced Surround Support
With Immersive sound formats becoming more popular especially in film production we need support for higher multichannel formats like 9.1, 11.1, 13.1 and so on. We need to be able to route, pan and process in these formats without having to resort to workarounds. In addition, there are fewer plug-ins that support the higher multichannel formats even now. Try opening up a session and see what options you have to insert a 5.1 compressor as compared with a stereo one on the same system.
So there you have 5 possible areas for improvement for Pro Tools HD owners. What do you think? Are there others we haven't thought about? Discuss....