Will Avid Continue To Make Audio Interfaces Or Just Concentrate On Software?

With the recent announcement of Avid badging up Apogee interfaces and bundling them with Pro Tools instead of producing their own hardware, it does leave several questions. One of course is will Avid continue to make interfaces or just concentrate on software and services? Let’s consider what we know so far.

Avid Haven’t Made A High Quality Audio Interface For Several Years

The Avid third generation Mbox Family products (Mbox Mini, Mbox, Mbox Pro) were announced on September 14, 2010. In October 2011 the new HDX hardware was announced. There have been smaller consumer style interfaces such as the Fast Track Duo. It has been a highly contentious issues that there has never been a replacement for the hugely popular 003 series of audio interfaces released in 2007, but with a minor update in 2008 with the announcement of the 003 Rack+. With products like the UA Apollo it now makes the possibility of that unlikely.

One thing to appreciate is that R&D and product development can take years, so we may still see products yet to be completed, but that does not mean there is current ongoing development of future replacements for their current audio interfaces.

Many Third Party Interfaces Are Better Value For Money

When you compare the Avid interfaces to the offering of virtually every other third party, for example Prism, RME, Universal Audio, Focusrite and Apogee, then many people decide for a third party interface.

It is possible to use third party interfaces with Pro Tools HD/HDX, but one has to ask how many people would chose Avid hardware if they did not have to buy it to get Pro Tools HD software? The experience of Avid high end hardware from those of us on the Pro Tools Expert team has not been brilliant, both Russ and James have had to replace the fans in their Avid audio interfaces to make them usable in the enviroment they were designed for. Mike has his interface in a separate cupboard with his computer and drives. Add to this Avid’s long tradition of crippling products, for example not all the I/0 on the Avid Omni is accessible, you are forced to make a choice - which when comparing Avid audio interfaces with their competitors leaves one feeling that you are paying more for less.

The New Vision Is More About Software And Services

The new Avid Everywhere vision concentrates on the software and the services that Avid want to try and introduce to add value and hopefully create additional and long needed revenue streams for the ailing brand. In essence Avid want to take on the likes of Adobe and Autodesk, offering software rental, and finding ways to continue to get revenue from their user base after their initial investment. Avid aim to do this by trying to get you to sell stuff through their (yet to be seen working) content distribution store, keep your content on their servers and make profit from selling you third party plug-ins through their store. 

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Akai Announce MPC Series Version 1.7 Software - Massive Upgrade With Pro Tools AAX Compatibility

Akai have announced their MPC version 1.7 software with a massive amount of new features, one feature that will make Pro Tools users happy is AAX compatibility for Pro Tools 11.

Main Feature Updates For MPC 1.7

  • Reworked browser with adjustable volume on sample auditioning 
  • AAX plugin compatibility with Pro Tools 10 and 11
  • Real-time loop-style sample layering, “Direct Record” mode
  • Included Hybrid 3 synth
  • New mixer architecture with better metering and better control 
  • Filter the information displayed on the mixer for customized information views
  • Improved audio export
  • Expanded track automation, with visual feedback
  • Multi-processor audio path for better performance
  • More keyboard shortcuts

Akai MPC 1.7 Video

Check out the video preview of the Akai MPC 1.7 software here

Avid And Apogee Join Forces To Offer Pro Tools Duet And Quartet Bundles With Mac And Windows Support

Avid have today announced new Avid branded Apogee Duet and Quartet audio interfaces bundled with Pro Tools. Furthermore the new versions offer both Mac and Windows support for the audio interfaces.

The Avid badged Apogee Duet and Quarter interfaces offer all the same features as the regular Apogee versions of the audio interfaces but with some added options.

Added Extras With Pro Tools Apogee Interfaces

  • Both Mac and Windows support
  • EUCON-enabled Pro Tools I/O Control software, you can take direct control of your recording and monitoring

What’s included With The Pro Tools Quartet And Duet Packages?

Both packages include Pro Tools software along with the Apogee interface.

  • Pro Tools | Quartet or Duet audio interface
  • Pro Tools | Software activation card (requires activation and download)
  • AAX plug-in bundle with over 60 virtual instruments and effects (requires download)
  • Pro Tools IO Control EUCON-enabled software (requires download)
  • iLok 2 USB key (for Pro Tools authorization)
  • USB cable
  • Universal power supply with 3-pin IEC cable
  • Quick Start guide

Pro Tools Quartet Specifications

  • Record performances in 24-bit/192 kHz resolution
  • Connect mics, instruments, and more to high-quality I/O:
    Four combination mic/instrument/line inputs
    Eight channels of ADAT/SMUX input via Toslink
    Six 1/4” balanced line outputs for three speaker sets or 5.1 monitoring
    One stereo headphone output
    USB MIDI I/O for a MIDI keyboard or DJ controller
  • Premium AD/DA conversion delivers sonic fidelity and precision
  • Dynamically optimized mic pre amps provide up to 75 dB of transparent gain
  • Selectable Soft Limit® protects against digital distortion from clipping

Pro Tools Duet Specifications

  • Record performances in 24-bit/192 kHz resolution
  • Connect mics, instruments, and more to high-quality I/O:
    Two combination mic/instrument/line inputs
    Two 1/4” balanced line/speaker outputs;
    one stereo headphone out
    USB MIDI I/O for a MIDI keyboard or DJ controller
  • Experience the difference of Apogee’s legendary sound quality: 
  • Premium AD/DA conversion delivers sonic fidelity and precision
  • Dynamically optimized mic pre amps provide up to 75 dB of transparent gain
  • Selectable Soft Limit® protects against digital distortion from clipping

Avid Pro Tools | Duet And Pro Tools | Quartet Pricing

Pro Tools | Duet: $1,099 USD, €989 Ex-VAT, £970.80 Inc. VAT

Pro Tools | Quartet: $1,899 USD, €1,789 Ex-VAT, £1,762.80 Inc VAT 

Avid Pro Tools | Duet And Pro Tools | Quartet Support

From our conversation with Avid the support will for these new products will be handled by Avid.

Find Out More About The New Pro Tools Quartet And Duet Here 

For more information about the new Pro Tools Quartet click here

For more information about the new Pro Tools Duet click here

What Do You Think? Pro Tools Apogee Bundles… Hit or Miss?

Of course please also add your comments as to why you voted the way you did. 

Nugen Audio Announce New Products At IBC 2014 As Part Of Their 10th Anniversary Celebrations

Providing The Tools We Need

The reality is broadcasters and content producers have a lot of archive and legacy content which will need to be repurposed for the world of loudness normalisation and it is great to see tools that can handle batch conversion intelligently to help convert the back catalogues and also enable broadcasters to repurpose content for different platforms.

The Digital Production Partnership (DPP) have done a great job bringing together all the UK broadcasters to agree to one delivery spec, which makes our lives so much easier in UK content post production.  We would strongly recommend all broadcasters and territories to look at what the DPP has done and adopt the same process, please don’t re-invent the wheel, please can we have one standard.

At IBC this year Nugen Audio are announcing two new extensions for LMB which is an offline file-based batch loudness analysis and correction program for high throughput applications.

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Casio CZ Emulator Coming To Pro Tools With The Virtual CZ

The Casio CZ sound is coming to Pro Tools thanks to plug-in developer Oli Larkin.

For those with memories of the 1980s the introduction of the Casio CZ series of synths such as the CZ101 and CZ1000 put Casio on the map with their Phase Distortion synthesis.

The Virtual CZ

The Virtual CZ is a plug-in emulation of the original sound and features;

  • Recreates the unique synthesis engine of the CZ synths (it models the flagship CZ-1 but does all the other ones too!)
  • Works as a SYSEX editor/librarian for all CZ hardware as well as an emulation
  • 2 Phase Distortion oscillators per voice(each has 8 wave shapes, which can be different for alternate cycles)
  • 6 loop-able envelope generators per voice(switchable between easy-to-use ADSR and powerful 8-Stage MSEG mode)
  • Tempo sync-able LFO for vibrato, with 7 shapes
  • Ring Modulation and Noise Modulation
  • 32 voice polyphonic/mono/legato modes
  • Unison and detuning effects
  • Stereo panning effects
  • Vintage stereo chorus/ensemble effect
  • Microtonal tuning support
  • Easy to use interface: all key synthesis functions accessible on the front panel
  • Import/export presets for all plugin formats & cross-format preset browser
  • Includes over 200 high quality presets plus ability to load thousands of CZ patches online
  • Available for OSX and Windows in Standalone, VST2, VST3, Audiounit and AAX formats 

Sound Examples

Here are a few sound examples of the new CZ plug-in.


More Information

For more information on the The Virtual CZ click here

The Story of The Audio Restoration Of Neil Young's Human Highway To The Original Director's Cut

Once described as “The Wizard of Oz on acid,” Human Highway was Neil Young’s mind-bending 1982 post-apocalyptic musical comedy film conceived in the cauldron of Cold War America, which the rock legend wrote, directed and starred alongside an eclectic and eccentric cast including Dean Stockwell, Russ Tamblyn, Dennis Hopper and members of the band Devo and may also be the secret origin of The Simpsons.

Human Highway was first screened in 1982 at the Mill Valley Film Festival to mixed reviews which caused the producers to and over the intervening 30 years the sections that hit the cutting room floor in that recut have gone astray.

So Shakey Pictures decided to see if they could find all those missing bits and rebuild the film as writer, director and star Neil Young originally envisioned it. However restoration very quickly proved to be problematic and was was further compounded by the fact that several of the original masters were missing.

The team had to dig their way through over thirty years of archives, cataloging and viewing every element ever associated with the film in the hopes of finding the masters.

They found some 2” 16 track analog masters which were transferred to 24 bit at high resolution but it become clear that music and dialog were not on separate tracks and despite extensive searching they were unable to track down the master dialogue tapes. So as a final step, the search was on to find the original reels to get clean dialogue. The dialogue reels were located, and incredibly - the original Nagra IV-S machine was found as well – the exact same machine that had actually been used on set. Now the team had to identify the exact takes that were used in the film, transferred at high resolution and pain staking rebuilt the dialog tracks. Will Mitchell from Shakey Pictures described the process…

As I listened through boxes of Nagra reels, I really felt like a fly on the wall of the set” said Will Mitchell of Shakey Pictures “Often tape was rolling wild both before and after takes, so I got to experience the process and understand just where the crew was in capturing the master performances. As with many films, the improvised lines on alternate takes were incredibly creative and fun. It was clear that this was a fun shoot.

With all the different parts to the puzzle, some fully mixed, others partly mixed and others using the original source takes it was a challenge to bring them all together to produce a seamless mix and this task fell to Tamara Johnson, Sound Designer & Re-recording Mixer of Post-Apocalyptic Studios. I managed to catch up with Tamara and my first question was to ask here how she handled this enormous needle in a haystack.

TJ - When the tapes first arrived it was like walking into a room full of treasure. There was boxes and boxes and it really makes you appreciate that now you can put everything on a thumb drive compared to sometimes needing a fork lift to get everything in.

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Novation Announce A Combined Audio Interface & USB Hub - Audiohub 2x4


There is a pretty good chance that in any studio there will be an audio interface and a USB hub. That’s why Novation have designed Audiohub 2x4: designed for electronic music production.

Audiohub 2x4 At A Glance

  • Two in, four out audio interface and USB hub
  • 96kHz, 24-bit ‘Focusrite Sound Inside’ audio quality
  • Loud outputs for DJs and Live performers
  • Integrated USB 2.0 hub with three ports
  • Bus powered and class compliant
  • Ableton Live Lite and 1GB Loopasters samples included
  • Connects to iPad via Camera Connection Kit 

It provides an ultra-low latency stereo input, four high quality audio outputs and a super-loud headphone output, all in a compact and tough aluminium case with 96kHz, 24-bit ‘Focusrite Sound Inside’.

Its integrated USB hub powers up to three USB devices simultaneously, meaning a single power supply can power an entire setup, and connect everything to a computer (or an iPad with a Camera Connection Kit).

Novation have produced a video that demonstrates how Audiohub 2x4 is central to Nightmove’s (Tycho’s drummer) live performance rig.

No details of price where available at this point.

Mark Brown From Editors Keys Reviews The New Microsoft Surface Pro 3

We have been talking a bit about this new offering from Microsoft on the podcast about a tablet that is actually a full blown computer rather than a mobile device. This means you can run standard applications on it like Adobe Photoshop, or our beloved Pro Tools.

What Does A Mac User Think Of the Surface Pro 3?

Watch this video and see what Mark Brown from Editors Keys, a self declared Mac user of 9 years, has to say about the Microsoft Surface Pro.

Microsoft Surface Pro 3 And Pro Audio

Then Robin Vincent the other person behind Pro Tools PC with our own Neil Hester has put together a site dedicated to working with audio on the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 called SurfaceProAudio.com which is well worth checking out.
Robin has already put together several videos including his first impressions on the Surface Pro 3 from a pro audio perspective.

Universal Audio 1176 Hardware Versus The UAD 1176 Limiter Plug-in - The Results

Several days ago we ran a post giving audio examples from both the hardware and the software Universal Audio 1176 limiter and their UAD 1176 emulation plug-in. You can read the orginal post here.

We asked you to both vote on your preference and also to comment on why you made the choice.

It was a lot of fun and also somewhat revealing, remember this was about preference and not a test to see who has golden ears, so don’t expect a Grammy for making the choice if it you were right - there was no right answer. To be honest we made the audio and we had to label it so we got them the right way around, which leads us to the most revealing part of the exercise.

It seems that even those of us who use this stuff day in and day out could not spot the difference. The vote was split almost down the middle, which means Universal Audio have done a great job of making the plug-in.

Hardware Or Software 1176?

We have an 1176 hardware limiter at Pro Tools HQ, so does this mean we will be selling it and using the plug-in instead? Not at all, what it means is when we need more than one then we have the plug-in. It also means that if you don’t have the money to buy the hardware version right now, then you can still be assured of the plug-in sounding great in the mix. That has to be good news for everyone!

So which one shall we test next? Suggestions please.

Oh yes, which one was which? A was the plug-in and B was the the hardware.

TSL Announce New Soundfield Products 2 Years After Buying The Product Range

The Soundfield mic format has had a checked history being owned by a number of brands in its long life including AMS and KGM before settling in the TSL group two years ago.

At IBC this year TSL have revealed the direction they are taking the Soundfield range with several new products.

DSF-2 MKII digital surround and stereo microphone

This has a wide range of integrated system self-tests with alarming and correction including the monitoring of all supplies and the microphone cable health, showing detected errors on the front panel display and the SoundField Remote App, while at the same time auto-correcting errors as necessary to allow the event or recording to continue.  Soundfield mics are used alot in sport so these features are clearly aimed at that market.

The DSF-3 MKII digital surround processor

This new version now supports a new range of Object Based Audio formats, in addition to Stereo and 5.1. These new formats include height information – 5.1 + 2, 5.1 + 4 and 7.1 + 2. The new front panel design is based around two LCD displays, with a lock-out function to avoid accidental changes. These formats are aimed at the new surround formats and the 5.1 +4 describes the Auro Technologies 9.1 format with 5.1 on the bottom and 4.0 on the top.

Soundfield Remote App

Both the DSF-2 MKII digital surround and stereo microphone system and the DSF-3 MKII digital surround processor are now fully integrated into the SoundField Remote App, giving users a single piece of software for control and firmware updates and access to all the control units functionality such as mic-pre gain, Limiter On/Off, HPF, Stereo Polar and Stereo Width. The new models offer both Ethernet and USB connectivity to interface with the SoundField Remote App as well as a new front panel design based around an LCD display. The DSF-2 MKII features new low noise mic-pre design with 1dB gain steps and new low-jitter clock circuitry for further improved audio performance, as well as auto-ranging power supplies which reduce power consumption.

See them at IBC 2014

TSL Products are also launching the DSF-1 MKII which is aimed at music recording. The DSF-1/2/3 MKII will be available for demonstration on Stand 10.B41 at IBC 2014.

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