Community member Kevin Darbyshire-Bryant sent us in a response to our discussions on Podcast 199 - The Round Up of 2015 as well as with some comments which with Kevin's permission, we felt it would be best to share with you all. Over to you Kevin...
"Hi Guys! I thoroughly enjoyed podcast 199 "The 2015 roundup" even if I did yell out loud in agreement/frustration at some points, which got me some funny looks on the train I can tell you . I wanted to comment on the 'HD de-valued' section because I think some important bits have been missed.
Avid's change of policy regarding Transfer Of Ownership has effectively removed any resale value of Pro Tools HD. To be fair I think this equally applies to vanilla versions too, but the whole 'license tied to one ilok account and cannot move between ilok accounts' thing pretty much wipes any business value on the software license asset - there is no resale value to be realised - HD users with hardware do have more to lose.
As it currently stands, HD's selling points are 'lower latency' due to DSP(HDX)/tighter IO integration (HD Native), Surround and 'Advanced' Automation (preview mode, write to start/end/'selection' etc.) (Editor: which we cover in more detail in our story What Features Are Still Only In Pro Tools 12HD? which we posted since Kevin made these comments).
PT Vanilla has seen a trickle of previously HD only features of late, things that are of interest to me and hence have stuck in the brain cell are 'Proper PFL/AFL busses/outputs' and 'VCAs'. Lower latency may not be the killer app for many users as other 'in-built' DSP solutions now exist like Apollo, UAD etc. but so far 'Surround' and 'Advanced Automation' are out of reach for those 'Vanilla' hardware class users wanting that little bit more.
Avid's current policy is effectively that 'Surround/Advanced Automation' need matching Avid hardware - HD Native/HDX, which means you cannot purchase HD software on its own and so are strong armed into a hardware purchase. Again to be fair, a hardware solution opens up the possibility of using a 'Sync HD' to act as a synchroniser for video/film work. Alignment to frame edges and running video & audio at the same speed is important, but music mixes benefit from advanced automation too (Editor: But with Tapeless workflows the Sync HD boxes are not needed anywhere as much as when tape was in the workflow).
Avid used to sell 'Complete Production Toolkit'. This offered surround, VCAs and *very* stripped down 'advanced automation' for LE users. Pro Tools 9 opened up use of non-Avid audio interfaces and the enhanced CPTK included full 'advanced automation'. There were one or two differences between CPTK & HD, notably it didn't have 'Proper PFL/AFL busses' and I was told that feature needed DSP (so why could HD native do it?) but it was pretty close to the HD product. Avid actually amended the reference guide to match the software, rather than amending the software to match the guide on this point.
With Pro Tools 11, Avid dropped the CPTK upgrade option and strong armed CPTK owners into upgrading to PT HD at vastly increased cost, which did reduce slightly after pressure was brought to bare, if they wanted to retain previous CPTK features. Avid said at the time that this was for compatibility and performance reasons. Since then, Pro Tools 12 vanilla has seen a steady trickle of features that were previously either CPTK only, or even indeed HD only (PFL/AFL!) so clearly previous explanations were, and I feel uncomfortable using this phrase but I fail to find one more suitable, economical with the truth, maybe even lies.
As mentioned in your podcast, history shows with Avid that early adopters pay the highest prices and if I had been one of those 'tempted/strong armed' at the end of 2014 to buy 'an upgrade plan' based on forthcoming coming soon 'features', I would have been mightily unimpressed by how long it's taken Avid to deliver. As you said in Podcast 199, Pro Tools 12.4 is probably where Pro Tools 12 should have been on day one. That said, it's good to be able to say that Avid have finally started to make some progress toward the end of the 2015. What will be more interesting is to see what Avid deliver in the next 3 months to sweeten the deal for those early Pro Tools 12 upgrade plan adopters who got '15 months' for the price of 12.
Avid really need to start selling Pro Tools HD Software on its own, without being tied to hardware, based on its own strengths.
So where am I personally with all of this? Avid's reputation with me is in the dirt, the way they've treated customers, the way they've treated Pro Tools Expert is abominable. It is going to take a lot of effort on their part to retrieve that reputation and good will - I hope that Avid do put that investment in though. They've not had any money from me since the Pro Tools 10+CPTK -> Pro Tools 11HD upgrade 2+ years ago, and I don't care that I've missed out on the 'cheaper' 'Pro Tools 12 upgrade/subscription/perpetual by end of 2015 deal' (and by the way the whole licensing thing as you say is a complete and utter incomprehensible mess) I'm buying on features that are here *NOW*, not on 'coming soon' promises.
So like Dan, I'm sitting Pro Tools 12 out for as long as it's in my interests to do so. Avid may do another discount to tempt me to upgrade, I don't care. I'm watching what they're releasing and if I see something I like, I might buy it. 'Post Fader Inserts' is the feature I want to see, I'd buy back in then, but it'd have to be a hell of a deal before then along with no sign of being 'strong armed/gun to head'.
Thank you to all you guys for all that you do, and I celebrate that your editorial independence cannot be bought. May you keep speaking the truth for many years to come. Cheers, Kevin."
Thank you Kevin for taking the time to respond to our discussions. If you haven't listen to Podcast 199, I would strongly recommend you take a listen to it as we covered a lot of ground in the 70 or so minutes of us chatting round our virtual table. So you you agree with Kevin? Do
you think Avid have done enough with Pro Tools 12.4? Do share your thoughts in the comments below...