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Entries in pro tools 11 (268)

BBE Release Sonic Sweet v3 Optimised For AAX 64 Bit & Pro Tools 11

The BBE Sonic Sweet bundle has been one of the plug-in bundles that I have been missing since I went Pro Tools 11. Sonic Sweet v3 Optimised has been released and so I can use it again. Its a little different, for example the modules are how “19” Rack form factor instead of half rack and there is a new module in the pack….

Good News

This has been a good week for me on the AAX front, BBE Sonic Sweet and Speakerphone available to work in Pro Tools 11 in one week, very nice ;) I will be doing a Show & Tell review of the sweet suite very soon and look out for it on the podcast from next week too.

Sonic Sweet “Optimised” has been completely re-worked from the ground up to be compatible with AAX and Pro Tools 11. The bundle has also been fully tested on the latest operating systems including Mac OS 10.10 (Yosemite) and Windows 8.

The BBE Sonic Sweet “Optimised” is a complete rewrite of the plug-ins that were included in the original “Sonic Sweet” plug-ins bundle. but there is a new 4th plug-in added to the collection, the Mach 3 Bass. At the heart of the bundle there is still the software version of BBE’s famous Sonic Maximiser hardware range, 

If you haven’t come across it before, BBE’s Sonic Sweet “Optimised” will add clarity to the top end and fatness to the bottom, just like their famous hardware processors do without the “fizz” or digital “sizzle” common to most other sonic enhancers. The refinements brought by this new “Optimised” version extends to a new optimised GUI and improved controls for fine-tuning your sound.

Unfortunately because Sonic Sweet “Optimised” was completely rebuilt, it is not compatible with previous versions of BBE Sonic Sweet Plug-ins. Any sessions with a previous version of Sonic Sweet loaded into it must continue to use the old versions of the plug-ins or you must use the new plug-ins and recreate the settings.

To celebrate this new version, BBE Sound has partnered with Don’t Crack to offer a special introductory price of ONLY $69 instead of the regular $149. Previous Sonic Sweet owners can upgrade to the NEW Sonic Sweet v3.0 with the new “Mach 3 Bass” for ONLY $29 !!! The promo is available from today through-out July, 2014.

Sonic Sweet Modules

  • Sonic Maximizer : The best way to get that professional sound and extra sparkle that is so difficult to capture,
  • Harmonic Maximizer : Increases Presence and Clarity, restoring Natural Brightness and adding Deeper and Extended Low Frequencies,
  • Loudness Maximizer : A mixing and mastering multi-band limiter plug-in. Its ultimate transparency allows the Loudness Maximizer to ‘dramatically’ increase the overall level of your mix without audible pumping effects
  • Mach 3 Bass : Take your low end to new sonic depths…

Sonic Sweet v3 System Requirements:

  • Windows XP, Vista, 7 & 8
  • Mac OS 10.6 and above (including 10.10 Yosemite)
  • AAX - VST - AU - RTAS
  • 32 & 64 bit Support
  • Up to 5 computers authorisation


Sonnox Announce SuprEsser DS - AAX DSP For Avid S3L And HDX

Our friends at Sonnox have announced SuprEsser DS. As a compliment ot their already popular SuprEsser, the SuprEsser DS offers low latency monitoring for users of the Avid S3L and HDX systems, citing a sub 2ms latency.

The SuprEsser DS is AAX DSP only and features a simple ‘quick fix’ mode for those who need to get a result quickly, however it still has a complete feature set for those needing to get more detailed results.


  • Highly featured professional De-Esser
  • Linear Phase Dynamic EQ
  • Operates from 1kHz - 20kHz
  • Latency of 1.9ms (at 48kHz sample rate)
  • Supported Sample Rates: 44.1 and 48kHz
  • Transparently controls aggressive frequencies
  • Automatic Level Tracking follows energy levels (no need to automate threshold)
  • Large intuitive graphic display makes finding frequencies very easy
  • Three different ‘Listen’ modes
  • Advanced Mode for ultimate control of the Dynamic EQ
  • Many creative as well as corrective uses
  • 64-bit compliant
  • Presets giving good starting points

To download a demo and to find out more visit the Sonnox web site

How Reliable Is Your Pro Tools 11 System? Poll

Depending on what forum you find yourself in and the thread you are reading you could be forgiven for either thinking that Pro Tools 11 is full of bugs or conversely rock solid. 

There are some well documented issues surrounding Pro Tools 11 which Avid have acknowledged, at Pro Tools Expert we get a lot of emails from users asking us about different issues not documented, are they general bugs or specific computer issues? It can be the case that how a computer is configured can greatly affect performance, you can read our report here.

However, we thought it might be helpful to see how often users of Pro Tools 11 have their workflow interrupted by Pro Tools bugs and crashes. Reliability is an essential requirement of any professional software application, so is Pro Tools 11 meeting the mark or falling short?

So take our poll for both Mac and Windows users, of course please also let us have your comments.

Are you on cloud 9 or ready to throw the towel in?

Kush Push Pusher And Clarify Clariphonic AAX Plug-in Releases For Pro Tools 11

Wunderkinds of the plug-in world Kush Audio deserve a headline like that when they announce AAX betas.

They have just announced the beta release of Pusher and Clariphonic plug-ins in AAX offering Pro Tools 11 compatibility.

Both units are on sale for $99 until tomorrow, so if you want to buy them then you had better act fast.

Kush Audio Pusher and Clariphonic join UBK-1 as three plug-ins now available in AAX for Pro Tools.

You can find out more from the Kush Audio website.

Avid Release Pro Tools 11.2 Software Update

Avid have now released software version 11.2 which contains many video improvements, especially for Satellite users, but to our surprise Avid have removed Gobbler support! 

“Avid are working with all of our partners to take advantage of Avid Everywhere and enhance our customers’ workflows with our platform. We will work with Gobbler and all partners in our industry to ensure that our customers have the very best seamless workflow experience with Avid products”.

Video Issues Resolved in Pro Tools | Software 11.2 

  • Avid DX Driver 5.9 released, compatible with Media Composer | Software version 7.0.4 (or higher). 
  • Improved Video Engine performance during fast forward, rewind, and cursor drags. 
  • Importing video files during playback will no longer cause Pro Tools to stop responding. To improve stability, importing video files to the Clip List via drag-and-drop is disabled during playback. 
  • Video Engine no longer momentarily displays an incorrect frame when returning to zero with Insertion Follows Playback enabled. 
  • HD video reference rates are now selectable when the Clock Source is set to Word Clock or AES. 
  • Scrubbing from a Satellite-linked system with Video Engine disabled will no longer cause dropped frames on a connected system that has Video Engine enabled. 
  • Scrubbing on a linked Satellite system no longer prevents playback on an unlinked Satellite system. 
  • Single-frame nudges performed in Pro Tools are now correctly followed by Media Composer when connected with Video Satellite.

Plug-in Issues Resolved in Pro Tools | Software 11.2 

  • The “Plug-in Controls Default to Auto-Enabled” preference no longer interferes with settings recall in multi-mono plug-ins. 
  • MasterMeter no longer causes CPU usage spikes. 
  • Improved audio stability when using the Preview function of AudioSuite plug-ins. 
  • Fixed an issue that could incorrectly change the automation-enabled status of some plug-in parameters to disabled. 

Miscellaneous Issues Resolved in Pro Tools | Software 11.2 

  • For the time being, we have chosen to remove Gobbler functionality in Pro Tools 11.2. As you know, we are working to transform the industry with Avid Everywhere and our new MediaCentral Platform. 
  • Fixed an issue that could cause Pro Tools to stop responding after using Bounce to Disk with a physical output as the Bounce Source. 
  • Clip Gain settings now remain intact after healing separations. 
  • Pro Tools no longer displays linked files on mounted volumes as offline when opening sessions saved with the volume un- mounted. 
  • Pro Tools no longer incorrectly truncates or removes volume names in file paths when saving a session. 
  • Fixed an issue that could corrupt audio files extracted from CD. 
  • Virtual instruments no longer continue sustain after the transport has been stopped. 
  • Fixed a case where using Import Session Data with Elastic Audio-enabled tracks could cause Pro Tools to quit unexpectedly. 
  • Imported tracks are now ordered correctly when using Import Session Data.
  • Pro Tools no longer quits unexpectedly when healing Clip Group separations. 
  • Fixed a case where Pro Tools would quit unexpectedly when performing Elastic Audio analysis while automatically re-linking files. 

 As always, we recommend that you perform a full system backup or clone before installation (just in case…)

Win Free Pro Tools 11 - One Week Left

Don’t forget to head over to the Pro Tools Users Facebook page, where you can enter to win a free Pro Tools 11!

Hurry, the last day to enter is June 30th!

Stillwell Audio Announce Version 3 With Free Upgrades For Pro Tools Users

Stillwell Audio have announced version 3 of their software which sees 19 plug-ins updated and adds compatibilty for both RTAS and AAX for Pro Tools users.

Even better it offers free upgrades to 19 of their plug-ins for which are now both 32 and 64 bit as well as RTAS and AAX for OS X and Windows users.

They has also announced a brand new web site, posting this news;

It’s been a LONG time coming, but it’s finally here. Version 3.0.0 brings many noteworthy features and fixes.  All known compatibility issues have been addressed for current users, and for those users that have been waiting patiently (or not), we’re finally fully consistent; all plugins are available 32 and 64 bit, both Mac and PC (with the exception of Psycho Dither which is still WIP and Microschope which has been retired due to lack of activity).  The most exciting bit for new users, though, is additional platform support.  We now support VST3 and (wait for it) Pro Tools.  Our plugins are available in RTAS (legacy), 32-bit AAX Native (Pro Tools 10), and 64-bit AAX Native (Pro Tools 11).  Where appropriate, we have also built in support for Audiosuite.

The plug-ins included in the new upgrade include the much loved 1973, Bombadier and Vibe EQ, the entire list is impressive and is shown in the chart below.

They also offer 100% functional trials of their plug-ins for you to try.

To find out more about the new version 3 plug-ins visit the Stillwell Audio website here

Jigsaw Offering Free Waves Bundles With Pro Tools Systems

Jigsaw Systems in the UK are offering free Waves bundles with Pro Tools Systems. 

We don’t know how they are doing it, but they are and the offer is only available for a limited period, so if you are thinking about a new Pro Tools system then check these deals out.

HHB Scrub Supplies Pro Tools HDX For Molinare Upgrade

Recently we featured a time lapse video showing the refurbishment of Molinare’s Dub A studio. Our friends at Scrub, a division of HHB Communications Ltd have told us that they supplied Molinare Post Production with major upgrades to its audio dubbing theatres that include a Soundminer v4.5 Pro installation and Pro Tools HDX upgrades.

Upgrade To Pro Tools HDX

Scrub in fact did a lot more, updating all eight dubbing theatres to the latest Pro Tools HDX hardware, a process that began with the installation of an Avid S5 Fusion console with HDX in Dub A and HDX in Dub B in the summer of 2013. The second phase included integrating HDX and the Soundminer Pro effects engine in all of Molinare’s dubbing theatres and support suites across both of its Soho locations. Scrub has helped with the installation of three Soundminer v4.5 Pro licences and 11 Soundminer HD Plus licenses.

Soundminer Installed At Molinare

Molinare’s audio facilities are connected to the Soundminer database over an Ethernet connection that is supported by a 24 terabyte storage system. It is a fully scalable system that allows Molinare’s engineers to access sound libraries from any computer in the network simultaneously. Soundminer is also fully compatible with Pro Tools and other leading DAWs. Molinare Supervising Sound Editor and Sound Designer Jeremy Price explains that Soundminer is an invaluable tool for managing his sound library of over 100,000 sound effects:
“Soundminer is fantastic because the advanced metadata functions provide instantaneous and relevant results for any search. Literally, within seconds I can find any one of my effects from an enormous library. I’m also constantly creating new sounds that I load back into Soundminer with metadata so that I am continuously building a search-friendly library.” 
Molinare General Manager - Technology Richard Wilding commented on upgrading to Pro Tools HDX, he told us…

“It is integral to our workflow that we not only have standardised technology across our studios, but that those tools are in line with the numerous external facilities we collaborate with. Updating to Pro Tools HDX has given us an incredible enhancement in speed and performance and provided a standard platform that enables better collaboration throughout the various stages of a project. Scrub was fantastic in assisting us throughout the process and their technical knowledge and support are a value-added service that we can rely on.”

Great Dealer Support

Yet again here is a proper dealer guiding their client through an upgrade process in a very busy facility that cannot afford to be ‘off’ because there was a problem or delay with the upgrade, Scrub and the team at HHB have huge amounts of experience of handling upgrades in large facilities like Molinare and Abbey Road.

Duplicate Clip Issue In Pro Tools - Updated

Fig. 1 - Region shorter than the bar.

Community member Dustin Anstey has wrote asking about an issue where duplicated clips change length after extended duplication.

To demonstrate he created a quarter note length clip containing a kick drum sample and then duplicated across the timeline for around 4 minutes. Even though the region is cut to the grid, over time it starts to change length and pushes the entire track out of time.

Even more odd is the fact that sometimes it shortens the clip (fig 1) and at other times it lengthens the clip (fig 2). In all cases it’s only by a matter of samples, but it is still not correctly placing the audio.

Fig. 2 - Region longer than the bar.

We have tested this ourselves and can replicate the issue.

Some users suggest that this is the sample rounding feature in Pro Tools, however on tests in other DAWs (some a fraction of the cost of Pro Tools) and this issue does not occur.

DAWs tested: 

  • Apple Logic Pro X v 10.0.6 - No drift with clip copied for 180 bars
  • Reaper 4 - No drift with clip copied for 180 bars
  • Steinberg Nuendo 6.02 - No drift with clip copied for 180 bars
  • Propellehead Reason 7.1 - No drift with clip copied for 180 bars

Dustin also comments in his email “It also seems to be a bit worse with midi regions and it varies depending on how much delay compensation is happening.”

However when using the Loop function or the Paste Special/Repeat To Fill Selection workflows the audio maintains the correct length.


Nigel Heath Demonstrates Penteo 4 Pro At British Grove Studios

Whilst we were recording podcast 117 on Monday evening Nigel Heath from Hackenbacker Audio Post Production was demoing the new Penteo 4 Pro Up-mix plug-in at Mark Kopfler’s British Grove Studios showing the many and varied ways to convert any stereo programme into a perfect and true surround sound. We should stress that Nigel doesn’t work for Penteo, but he does use it a lot as we will discover….

Pro Tools Expert managed to catch up with Nigel after the event and we had a chat about his experiences using the Penteo 4 Pro Up-mix plug-in. Tom Allom, probably best known for recording heavy metal artists like Black Sabbath and Judas Priest did a live mix of a Judas Priest song from around 1984 using the EMI TG 12345 console from Lagos that Paul McCartney had recorded Wings’ Band On The Run that now has found a home at British Grove Studios along with another sound board with, arguably, even more historical significance, the only surviving example of an EMI REDD.51.

NH. They had a 24 track machine with stems coming into this TG and Tom was mixing on this clearly stereo console out of the stereo buss via a couple of Fairchild compressors into Pro Tools with an instance of the Penteo 4 Pro plug-in. Tome was panning stuff on the stereo TG console and it was moving stuff around in the 5.1 environment accordingly.  You would have to be a very sad sound person not to feel a few goose bumps appearing. For me it was a great example of some stunning old technology, more than classic technology, with the latest digital stuff going on with the Penteo. It was a lovely marriage between the two and a golden moment to see it happen. To see Tom doing it was one of those lovely moments.

Click to read more ...

Mick Guzauski Talking About Pro Tools 11 & Sonnox

Our friends at Sonnox travelled to LA recently and whilst they were there they managed to catch up with mixing veteran Mick Guzauski.  Mick has worked on countless major records over five decades, and is still winning Grammys for his work, most recently for the Daft Punk record - Random Access Memories. He talks to us from his LA home studio about mixing over the years.

Avid Making Pro Tools More Accessible To Visually Impaired Users

In the past we have discussed how visually impaired users can use Pro Tools with varying degrees of success. Slau Halatyn is an audio engineer and producer at BeSharp in New York City and has worked with multiple Grammy-winning artists in the world of rock, jazz, musical theater and classical music. 
Having been diagnosed with a retinal condition that impaired his vision, and as it progressively deteriorated, he tried various solutions to help him keep working, including in the early days, inLARGE, a screen magnification program for the Macintosh and outSPOKEN speech synthesizer to access it without having to look at the screen.

Little did I know that 20 years later, I’d be so closely involved with Pro Tools and its accessibility for blind audio engineers and musicians.

Read on the Avid blogs how he has worked with Avid to improve the way Pro Tools can supported visually impaired users work with Pro Tools.



Pro Tools Expert Podcast 115

Using Some New Features Introduced In Pro Tools 11

Last week I had a final edit with one of my radio clients, which for a number of reasons was different to the normal 15’ or 30’ linear documentary.  This project was for an educational establishment and they wanted separate clips that they could populate a web site with, or use in teaching sessions to play to students. So my client edited all the interview content in one session with one or two interviews per track which ended up as a complex session as you can see above, so I adopted a completely different workflow to end up with the deliverables as they would need them.

Export Selected Tracks in Pro Tools 11

I quickly decided to use Export Selected Tracks as a New Session so that I could quickly and easily create a new session with just the edited content for that clip. Then I was able to work through and check and fines the edits and also use some plug-ins to improve the quality of the audio. 

Click to read more ...

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.

Click to read more ...

Pro Tools 11.1.3 Announced

Updated on Friday, May 2, 2014 at 2:02PM by Registered CommenterNeil Hester

Avid have announced Pro Tools 11.1.3 an update for exisitng Pro Tools 11 owners.

There’s a lot of issues resolved in the latest release, we’ve listed them all below.

We’ve been reporting a lot about video issues in Pro Tools 11, so it is good to see a long list of resolved issues for video.

Download Pro Tools 11.1.3 from your Avid account

For a full list of the issues resolved read on.

Click to read more ...

Avid Release Long Awaited Update For Pro Tools 10

Avid have also announced an update for Pro Tools 10.

Pro Tools 10.3.9 Update

System Requirements and Compatibility with Pro Tools 10.3.9 Software 
  • Pro Tools|HDX systems on Mac OS X 10.7-10.7.5, 10.8, 10.8.2 to 10.8.5 or Windows 7 SP1
  • Pro Tools|HD Native systems on Mac OS X 10.6.7-10.7.5, 10.8, 10.8.2 to 10.8.5, or Windows 7 SP1 
  • Pro Tools|HD Native Thunderbolt systems on Mac OS X 10.7.5, 10.8, 10.8.2 to 10.8.5 
  • Pro Tools|HD Accel systems on Mac OS X 10.6.7-10.7.5, 10.8, 10.8.2 to 10.8.5 or Windows 7 SP1
  • Pro Tools systems on Mac OS X 10.6.7-10.7.5, 10.8, 10.8.2 to 10.8.5 or Windows 7 SP1
Note:  Mac OS X 10.9 (Mavericks) is NOT supported by Pro Tools 10.3.x.  

For Mac Pro computer support with Mountain Lion, a Nehalem (4,1) or later is required.

Late Breaking Technical Issues

  • Troubleshooting steps for DAE error -9171/9172
  • Sound Designer II support

More Information on 10.3.9

Tip - Consider When To Upgrade To Pro Tools 10.3.9 or 11.1.3

Consider carefully whether to upgrade straight away. If you are in the middle of an important project you may want to wait until it is finished

New Version Of PT Prefs Helper Released

We recently highlighted PT Prefs in an ongoing thread looking at the best ways to do a clean de-install and re-install of Pro Tools.

Neil covered the Windows platform and shows how Trasher 11 can really help you to look after all the files and folders that you don’t want to loose.

I covered the same issues with the Mac and pointed out that there wasn’t the same options that Trasher 11 offers on the Windows platform and so listed the locations of all the files that I felt were important, made somewhat more complex as the files and their locations have changed with different versions of Pro Tools.

Then I remembered PT Prefs and covered what it could do. Well Pete Gates has been busy adding features to PT Prefs to give it the backup and restore options to make clean installers much easier on the Mac Platform.

It now covers I/O Settings, Plug-in Maps, Plug-In Settings and your Templates folders and so we now have a tool, thanks to Pete Gates’ hard work that will help all Mac users to do a full de-install and re-install of Pro Tools without loosing key settings and files with v1.6.3 you can now choose where to save your Backup.

Download Pete Gates’ Pro Tools Prefs here.

Any problems/queries/suggestions, do let us know here or on the special thread on the DUC.

Pro Tools 11 Video Engine Problems - A Possible Work Round - Part 2

In part 1 of A Possible Work Round For Pro Tools 11 Video Engine Problems Mike Aiton outlined some of the problems and experiences and is now ready to outline how he got on with the AJA IO XT Thunderbolt box and an AJA Kona 3G PCIe card instead of his Blackmagic Decklink Studio PCIe card.

AJA IO XT Thunderbolt Interface With Pro Tools 11

The AJA IO XT is a half rack width 1U box with an external psu on 4 pin XLR. It connects to your Mac or PC via Thunderbolt. There are a plethora of SDI and DVI I/O options to connect to your digital picture world. I downloaded the AJA IO XT software and installed it along with the AJA Avid Open IO plug-in that allows Avid software to talk to the IO XT software. I connected the Thunderbolt cable, the analogue video out and references on BNCs and powered up. I loaded my long form mix with the ProRes Proxy Quicktime, DHxHD Quicktime and DNxHD MXF media which as you can see from part 1 caused me a lot of problems. 

The AJA software installs an AJA control panel in the OSX applications folder. I couldn’t find the setting for making the analogue BNCs be composite rather than a YUV output. I set the output of the card to be colour bars, but could only see a monochrome output (the ‘Y’ or luminance signal). Upon loading my Pro Tools 11 session, the AJA control panel had a reassuring red “in use by Avid” flag in the top right hand corner.

I could see my pictures, but again in black & white. Feeling stumped, I fired an email to AJA support in California, not expecting a reply, I then decided to phone (just for fun) and leave a message, but to my surprise I got straight through to a very helpful support team (it was 4pm BST and I thought California was still asleep!). They informed me that they had already emailed me back (I missed it) and proceeded to explain that the composite selection option was regrettably left off the control panel version, but there was a “classic version” also installed which had this option.

They confirmed that I had done everything else correct and had correctly set up simultaneous down convert from the 1080i.

After opening this “classic version” I was cooking on gas and the Y output became CVBS (composite).

AJA Support also confirmed that it was OK to install the drivers and Kona 3G card simultaneously. A friendly support team and 15 minute email reply turnaround – they obviously take customer support very seriously indeed! By comparison I am still awaiting a reply from Blackmagic with a tech question from six months ago…..

Experiences Using The AJA IO XT Thunderbolt With Pro Tools 11

I had the session open for hours – looping away with incredulity and with the scrub with video hardware option selected as well. I just couldn’t make this box crash the AVE. It was much more responsive than my BM card and felt like an Aston Martin in comparison to a Mini.

I didn’t “measure” performance from a play start – I am not really equipped to test that, but as a user I can say it was snappy. I even tried to break this box with my h264 Disney session, not even with looping would it cough or hiccup. I am a smitten kitten! This is “one dandy box mamma”! Scrubbing video was not quite as smooth as Avid mxf media through a Mojo in PT 10, but was way better than my Blackmagic card in PT 11 with none of “the three frame jerk”. I suspect this will only get better as the AVE improves. The only slight downer was a small amount of fan whine from inside the box. I would be happy to use this box in a session in front of a client – and not expect the misery I experienced with the Blackmagic card. I bet those without thunderbolt are getting jealous!

AJA Kona 3G PCIe card With Pro Tools 11

For the non thnderbolters out there, there is a PCIe card option, which apparently is to all intents the same as the inside of the IO XT. The card seems to want to go in a PCIe x4 slot (alongside my HDX card) and not in the shorter slot that my BM card went in to. Check the size of the pins by the yellow sticker on the foil. The AJA card is on the left, the BM card is on the right.

After installing the Kona 3G driver, I had to update the firmware on the card to the latest. A quick 45sec and reboot later and I couldn’t get any picture out of the composite output (yes again). After calling John England at Digi-Box.Co.Uk, we were a bit stumped until we realised that I had left the thunderbolt IO XT plugged in and that was still outputting composite video. Duoh!  After a swift turn off, de-plug and reboot I was cooking on gas again.

I achieved the same great performance from the Kona 3G card (which is mind-blowingly capable of even 4K resolution - if that is your bent). After looping a 2 sec piece of video for over 30 minutes whilst I started to write this review, I did eventually get the “Pro Tools video Hardware is no longer referenced” issue – which then requires a reboot (forget trying to re-connect to the AVE, you will drink the next shipment of Beaujolais first!).

The only other issue that I could find was that after a re-boot, the composite video switched itself off again and I had to open the “classic AJA control panel” and remind it to play nicely. I suspect this flag for preference is not sticking, as it is not in the full version. Small chips though, and I am sure that it will be rectified shortly in the next revision.

AJA Or Blackmagic - Conclusion

AJA engineers were apparently instrumental in helping Apple design the QuickTime engine – and you can really feel it. These products are light-years ahead in response and stability compared to the BM cards. Industry colleagues, I am wondering if we have got it all horribly wrong, and been guilty of “me-too-ism” in buying BM cards, as despite Avid’s “supported” status of BM cards, they have been nothing short of a disaster with PT 11 so far for me. 

I don’t know what fixes Avid are rumored to have up their sleeve (and they had better have something very soon to appease their irate customers), but all I can say for sure is that these AJA video solutions are, so far in my initial testing, way better than my Blackmagic Decklink Studio! “The king is dead, long live AJA”!