Today’s announcements regarding both the end of Pro Tools M-Powered* and the introduction of Pro Tools Express change the landscape again. They also give us some clues about the strategy Avid have for the entire Pro Tools product line.
It was always going to be difficult for Avid to end the tie-in between hardware and software, for a number of reasons, least of all the broad product offering spread across a number of sub-brands. Even if the last 18 months have been a little messy, I’m not sure there was another way of Avid working through the issue.
However, what we now see emerging is a Pro Tools product line with clear delineation for the different markets Avid serve, from beginner hobbyist to full-time professional. It’s easy to miss the fact that Avid have made two products in the last 18 months aimed squarely at the lower end of the market; Pro Tools SE and now Express. So any thoughts that Avid is dumping everyone but the HD/HDX user are not backed up by facts.
The Pro Tools product line is now;
- Pro Tools SE - Ships with entry level M-Audio bundles and some budget M-Audio interfaces.
- Pro Tools Express - Ships with Mbox and Mbox Mini.
- Pro Tools - Ships with M-Box Pro, Eleven Rack and is available standalone.
- Pro Tools HD - Ships with Native and HDX hardware.
There are also upgrade paths for most versions.
Now Avid offer all options (well all options any reasonable person should expect from a brand serving the mass market) for both Pro Tools with hardware and Pro Tools as software.
Of course Avid will still have those who complain that none of the options suit them. I think it is a little unrealistic to expect Avid to make a version of Pro Tools to suit every possible requirement, it would run into several hundred versions. However as things stand, this now shows a real development path for users, don’t forget a session made on a subordinate version will open on another version up the food chain.
This isn’t perfection, but it’s a reasonable attempt by Avid to try and achieve it.
* M Powered will eventually end at some point, but right now it is still a current product and a smart person could grab an amazing deal and upgrade path to Pro Tools 10 and still have support for several years. Check with you dealer about the new low prices on MP product.