ARA, short for Audio Random Access is a very clever exchange technology that enables standalone software such as Melodyne, Antares Auto-Tune, & Revoice Pro to communicate directly to a DAW environment for a seamless end user experience.
ARA is a development from Celemony, the makers of the popular pitch & time correction software Melodyne. PreSonus were then the first DAW maker to tightly integrate Melodyne into the timeline to offer seamless pitch and time correction using ARA.
Since its release, ARA has been adopted and integrated into other DAWs such as SONAR and Apple’s Logic Pro X. It is rumoured that Cubase is also slated for ARA at some point in the near future.
In 2018 the second generation of ARA (conveniently named ARA2) was announced, boasting an even quicker and slicker workflow.
ARA2 has received a generally positive response although to date the integration of ARA into Apple’s Logic Pro X has proved troublesome, which seems to be down to Apple and not the third party developers trying to write software that support it.
The latest update of REAPER 5.971 also has ARA2 integration built in.
The Elephant In The Room
The notable exception amongst DAWs supporting ARA has been Pro Tools, even though ARA has for quite some time been one of the more popular feature requests for Pro Tools.
That might be about to change now that Avid has included ARA in the current third annual ACA survey and vote in the 21 Pro Tools Software / Hardware section…
The fact that ARA is on Avid’s development radar is great news. For so many years Pro Tools users could see ARA being integrated into other DAWs but there seemed to be no indication from Avid that it was ever going to be on their roadmap until now.
If Pro Tools was to get the ARA 2 treatment it could look a little something like this concept image we have mocked up using Melodyne as an example. Take another look… can you imagine your Pro Tools workflow benefiting from ARA? We can!
What About Post-Production?
While the benefits of having ARA in Pro Tools for music production are clear, we suspect Pro Tools won’t receive ARA until the benefits can also be enjoyed by post production engineers as well. There is a growing number of ARA compatible software including:
Synchro Arts VocALign
Synchro Arts ReVoice Pro
The Synchro Arts products sit well in audio post-production workflows as well as music. In this video you can watch Production Expert’s Paul Drew demonstrating Revoice Pro with ARA 2 using Studio One…
Moving on, at AES 2018, Sound Radix announced that the upcoming update to Auto-Align Post will also be available in ARA versions for VST and AU equipped DAWs.
What about iZotope RX? Imagine what you could do with RX using the ARA2 workflow? The audio restoration software’s processing could be ready and active, but still editable, on the Pro Tools timeline, maybe it could look like this…
As always feel free to share you thoughts on ARA in the comments below. How do you think ARA could benefit your Pro Tools workflows?