Entries in avid (108)

New Avid Plug-ins On Show As 'Technical Previews' At IBC 2014

Look what I found on the Avid stand at IBC 2014. First is a Multiband Dynamics plug-in

The second is a Sub Harmonic plug-in. 

Technical Previews

Both plug-ins are being shown here at IBC 2014 as technical previews, which means there is no information on price or when they will be released. They may not even look like this. These are been shown as “look at what we are working on”. Just like Avid Everywhere which is also on show here at IBC, there is no information about price and final feature sets.


One thing that was stressed to me is that they will both be AAX DSP as well as AAX Native which hints at Avid’s frustration at the lack of HDX plug-ins.

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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Avid Apply For Patent On 'Smart' Recording Algorithm

Earlier this year Avid filed a patent application for what they describe as “Metrical grid inference for free rhythm musical input.”

The Problem Of Being Constrained By The Metronome

The basis of the patent revolves around the restrictions often placed the user when recording, in the application for the patent Avid state;

Systems that enable a user to record music for playback or for producing musical notation require that a tempo and a time signature for the music be supplied before the user can start recording. Once the user starts recording, he is constrained to play in time to a metronome click. This is an impediment to recording new ideas, as decisions about changes in tempo and time signature have to be made in advance and the user is unable to introduce timing variations that are a natural part of a performance. If the user opts to turn off the metronome click, he can record in an unconstrained manner, but the recording system is unable to interpret the musical data for quantization or displaying notation because the input is not aligned with an internal tempo map. The requirement to pre-select a time signature and tempo is particularly difficult for less experienced users, who may not be familiar with music theory or even with musical notation. There is therefore a need for musical input systems that free users of this constraint.

What The Technology Aims To Do

The patent goes on to suggest how the algorithm would work;

A free rhythm musical input system enables a user to record in a natural manner by not requiring the user to make decisions about tempo or time signatures. It also removes the constraint of playing at a constant tempo that follows a metronome click. In such a system, the user is able to indicate to the system that he is ready to start recording, e.g., by hitting a record button, and take his time to prepare this thoughts, at which time he can start playing in an expressive manner The system then interprets what the user plays to infer the locations of the measures and beats, and the corresponding tempos and time signatures that best represent the musical intentions of the user.

Audio Or MIDI?

As to the kind of input types the patent suggest both MIDI and Audio;

In the system described above, the free rhythm music is received in the form of a sequence of MIDI events, in which the temporal locations of the notes and their duration are provided explicitly. It may also be possible to receive the music in audio form, and use audio analysis tools to determine the temporal locations of the note onsets and, in some cases, also the durations of the notes within the audio, thus broadening the applicability of the described techniques to acoustic performances or recordings.

Other Similar Software

Other similar software is made such as UJAM technology which allows the user to sing/play into a microphone and then places the music around the free form performance. AudioScore is a similar technology that already ships with Sibelius.

Where Will We See This Technology?

The patent is unclear as to what Avid products would implement this technology, although Avid have been working to create core solutions that can be used in various products such as Pro Tools and Sibelius.

A Point To Mention

The inventor of this technology is Paul Walmsley, who was part of the disbanded Avid Sibelius team and now works with the new team at Steinberg.

The full patent application can be seen here

How To Change The Fan In Your AVID 192, 92 or HD I/O

We have talked a great deal of late about reducing the background noise in our own studios. To that end I decided to take on 3 of the loudest units in my studio, my Avid HD I/O, my 192 and 96 I/O.  


Words of warning. If you are not happy using tools or getting up close and personal with cables and the like do not start this project. Also if your units are new and still under warranty opening them up and messing with the power supply will make these warranties null and void. You have been warned. The plus side is that doing this will get rid of some of that frustrating background noise. The results are amazing.

I used only 4 tools for this job. A small and micro sized Philips screw driver. A small pair of pliers and a small blunt tipped tool. These are available in most PC tools kits. 

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Results Of Our Non Scientific Poll Of Interface Brands

We held a non scientific straw poll on Facebook of what audio interface brand Pro Tools Expert community members use. After 355 responses this is what you have told us.

Avid is at the top with 98 but what was surprising is that it isn’t by much. Focusrite come a very strong second with 81. 

Then we drop a long way to Universal Audio with their Apollo interfaces taking 3rd place.

What perhaps affects the results is that many people may own Avid interfaces as part of bundles or because they use HD/HDX systems. Focusrite have been aggressive with their pricing to features offering and this seems to have paid off for them.

What do you think of the results?

Replacing The Fan In An Avid Omni - Tear Down With Pictures

Until about an hour ago the noisiest thing in my studio was the Avid Omni audio interface. 

Yes, I read all the forums and did all the firmware upgrades, but still when it got hot during a busy session the fan kicked in then it was like sitting on the edge of the runway at Heathrow Airport. OK, perhaps not that bad, but when measured at 1 metre, with the Omni turned off then the ambient room noise was around 25db, with the Omni fan running this went up to 45db. It was so bad that when I was on a call to Mike it kicked in and he said he could hear it down the phone in Manchester.

Of course in the ideal world we would all have machine rooms, but what puzzles me most is the Omni is aimed at the home producer or small project studio, both of whom are likely to have the Omni sat in the same room as them. This does beg the question what were Avid thinking of? It’s not a design flaw as you can replace the fan, which I’m about to show you how to do, so it’s either down to money or incompetence, neither of which are good reasons to have a noisy fan in a costly interface designed to be used with the Pro Tools the industry standard professional DAW.

Furthermore, to try and get any information on replacing the fan from Avid officially is nigh on impossible. We have great contacts at Avid and we couldn’t get any information on if it was possible and if so how to do it. It may be the case in a company like Avid that to give this kind of information is a tacit admission to the fact that the fan noise is not good, which in turn makes corporations jumpy about the possible claims arising from any kind of admission. This may be one example of where our trigger happy litigious society may have shot itself in the foot, the very thought of being sued means that valuable information gets buried. It saddens me but you can’t blame Avid for wanting to avoid some wanker suing them over the noisy fan in their interface. At the very least, I’d be happy if Avid just admitted to themselves that the fan is so noisy it can be heard over the crowd at the Superbowl and quietly replace it in newer production units, if they have already then great.

In the end I could take the fan noise no longer and at the risk of taking a hammer to my Omni I did some research, hoping that someone else with the same concerns had figured out how to do it. This entire article is down to the hard work of Anju Tamaskan, who goes by the name of Meads on the DUC and who wrote this helpful article - so ALL CREDIT to him for having the brains, guts and caring enough to do this and then share it.

Here is my in depth article on how to do it.

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Avid Accounts Updated With Subscription Options

Avid account owners logging into their account will see an new set of menus that now include a ‘products I subscribed to’ option.

Avid announced subscription service option for Media Composer this week starting at $49 per month and it is expected that a similar option will be coming for Pro Tools owners at some point in the coming year.

No pricing has been confirmed for Pro Tools subscriptions to date.

Key Avid People Move To Gobbler

In a move that has shocked many, 4 key Avid people with a combined employment record of over 55 years, have left Avid to join Gobbler, the cloud based storage and collaboration service.

This includes long time Digidesign/Avid veteran Bobby Lombardi. Lombardi has been at the centre of many of the key developments within Digidesign/Avid and has been regarded as a tour de force within Avid, not only being involved in key products like Pro Tools and Eleven Rack, but Lombardi was also moved in to deal with the fall-out after the closure of the entire Sibelius team in the UK.

However the largest blow for Avid will be the fact that Lombardi was a central player in the new Avid Everywhere initiative, his role was described as;

  • Design Lead for Avid’s next generation creative products in collaboration, distribution, and online private and public monetization of digital assets 
  • Product Management lead for metadata and rights management strategy 

This could not happen at a worst time for the company, Avid Everywhere is being championed by the current CEO Louis Hernandez Jr as the future of Avid. The other people Andy Hall (14 years, Senior Architect), Bob Brown (15 years, Principle Cloud Architect), Brian Chrisman (10 years, Ecommerce) will all be a great loss to Avid as they seek to gain traction on their Avid Everywhere vision.

Of course no one is indespensible, but for an already strained Avid, this event is bound to put back Avid Everywhere developments signifcantly.

Gobbler are investing heavily in the next generation of their popular cloud based media storage and collaboration service, having people of such calibre join them is really going to drive the product forward.

No parties were available to comment.

Avid Everywhere for Audio Webinar

Our friends at Avid are hosting the Avid Everywhere for Audio Webinar, it takes place May 21, 2014 - 2:00 pm ET

This is one Avid webinar that all Pro Tools users should see, as it will explain and demonstrate how Pro Tools will work as part of the Avid Everywhere concept.

Register for this exclusive webinar and Q&A session with the Avid audio product design team to see exciting upcoming workflows:
  • Connect with talent around the globe using Pro Tools cloud collaboration
  • Preserve your work now and into the future with track Freeze and PXF archive
  • Manage, track, and document assets with rich, open metadata
  • Make connections—and license and sell content using the new audio marketplace
Don’t miss this opportunity to see this Pro Tools technology preview and join the conversation. Register now to attend the webinar.

Does Pro Tools Run Better On Dedicated Machines? We Tested It To Find Out.

If you’ve had trouble with Pro Tools then there may have been some point when you have been directed to a number of ways to try and solve it. Avid have some helpful trouble shooting guides as well as system optimisation.

We have an entire section on this blog to help you get the best from your Pro Tools system, kindly sponsored by dedicated Pro Tools computer builders, Pro Tools PC.

Some suggest that turning off network cards, Wi-fi, Bluetooth, Disk Search tools like Spotlight, and background apps that do things like monitoring hard drives can make a difference.

We often suggest that you do a clean build and also use an OS that may not be the most up-to-date snazzy latest version, but is proven to work better.

Perhaps you’ve taken all of these things with a pinch of salt and thought that your crashes or slow performance are down to software bugs and not the way your Pro Tools machine is set-up. Or perhaps you are one of those people who thinks, ‘why should I have to set my machine up around Pro Tools, surely it should just work?’ Well in theory that may be a fair thing to think, but car manufacturers suggest oil and fuel types for better performance, or the best tyre pressure to get optimum mileage and efficiency, of course we can choose to ignore the advice, but it may mean we end up with performance that is far worse than it could be.

The Pro Tools Challenge

I decided to see what would happen if I installed two identical Crucial M500 SSD drives in my Mac Pro and on one drive ran the Mac as I would any other computer I own, with all the Apps I would normally have installed on my computer like Office, Photoshop etc as well as plenty of handy little Apps and with every process running like it does normally. I am also unique in the fact that my machine has beta versions of plug-ins as well as demos and, as a reviewer, a lot more plug-ins than the average bear. The install of Pro Tools is 11.1.3 and not a clean install, simply an upgrade from previous versions. This Mac is running OS X 10.8.5 Mountain Lion

On the second identical drive, a Crucial M500 SSD, I formatted it from the box, installed OS X 10.8.3 Mountain Lion and then a clean install of Pro Tools 11.1.3. I then only installed the plug-ins I really use, so no betas, no demos, no stuff I use once in a blue moon. You can see the Applications installed in the image below, yep it’s pretty sparse. The suff in red highlight is the stuff that Apple install and won’t let me remove, it seems that Photo Booth is an essential system application! ;)

I won’t go into my issues with Mavericks in this article as that would just muddy the water, suffice to say, I’m not a fan, so this test is using Mountain Lion.

This is an identical machine, which has two start-up drives so I can dual boot, one for day-to-day work the other as my studio Pro Tools machine.

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