With the release of Pro Tools 2019.6, as well as fixing a number of bugs including an issue Avid uncovered where interruptions in internet connectivity can cause Pro Tools First, Pro Tools, and Pro Tools Ultimate to delete local (offline) Projects, Avid has made their analog saturation HEAT available to Pro Tools Standard users as well as Pro Tools Ultimate users.
The History Of Heat
In 2010 with the release of Pro Tools 8.1 came HEAT. HEAT (Harmonically Enhanced Algorithm Technology) software allowed customers to add the realism of vintage analogue sound to the Pro Tools mixer via a single global control, eliminating the time-consuming and complex task of managing plug-in changes across multiple tracks and allowing customers to remain focused on the craft of mixing.
Designed in collaboration with engineer Dave Hill of Crane Song, the HEAT software option for Pro Tools HD systems was an innovation for mixers who valued the warmth and sound qualities of tubes, tape machines and analog consoles, but wanted to eliminate the complications and expenses of using tape machines and vintage outboard processors, or managing plug-in changes across multiple tracks.
We have 2 videos from the vaults, one of a much younger Russ Hughes interviewing Dave Hill at Messe in 2012 in which they discuss his latest gear, AAX, HEAT and new stuff! The second is a video from Avid, again featuring Dave Hill explaining what's missing from the digital realm that many pros yearn for, and how HEAT gives your mixes the analog warmth you crave.
With the release of Pro Tools 12.1 in 2015 Avid brought Native support for HEAT but only when used with HD licence.
Then although the Pro Tools 12.8.1 was mainly a stability/maintenance release targeting to fix a number of bugs it did focus on the area of the HEAT plug-in.
Now with the release of Pro Tools 2019.6, Avid has extended support for HEAT to all Pro Tools Standard users with a current upgrade plan or rental subscription plan.
Avid HEAT Is A Paid-For Feature
Avid Heat is a paid-for piece of software like a plug-in. Also it is not included in the Avid Complete Plug-in Bundle.
UPDATE: Avid HEAT is now available from the Avid Store priced at $199, down from $495. The difference with Pro Tools 2019.6 is that it is now supported for use with Pro Tools Standard as well as Pro Tools Ultimate.
Can You Get The Warmth Of Using Avid's Heat On Pro Tools Instrument Tracks? Expert Tip
Avid’s HEAT mixer plug-in sounds great, It has been around for a while and with the release of Pro Tools 2019.6, HEAT is now available for all Pro Tools Standard and Ultimate users.
In spite of liking the sound Julian often overlooked it which is a pity because, especially now that so many more Pro Tools users have access to it, but even before the 2019.6 release it was probably more common than any of the third party alternatives among the Pro Tools community, and session compatibility is a valuable thing for many of us.
HEAT Only Available On Audio Tracks
Probably the biggest reason we overlook HEAT is because it is only available on audio tracks. As a subtle, cumulative effect, to get the benefit of the gentle saturation it introduces it should be used on every element of a mix and with any session which includes Virtual Instruments or significant numbers of Aux tracks otherwise this cumulative effect isn’t as cumulative as it might be.
How Can I Use HEAT On Instrument Tracks?
Unfortunately the only answer is to print the instrument to an Audio Track. Printing to tracks has become less and less necessary as the sonic differences between bouncing to disc and printing to track are no longer the issue they were years ago. The introduction of Track Freeze and Commit mean that it is no longer necessary to print to an Audio Track in order to free up system resources. However to use HEAT on your virtual Instruments it is still necessary to print.
How Should I Print My Virtual Instruments To Audio?
If you anticipate using HEAT in your session it is far better to mix into it rather than putting on your mix afterwards. Set the output of each of your Virtual Instruments to its own bus and route the inputs of audio tracks to these same busses. In this way you can work in input monitor on the virtual instrument tracks and you can print the output to that track and make your instrument tracks inactive if necessary.
Under some circumstances routing into audio tracks can present issues with latency compensation. HDX users have a dedicated Re-recorder workflow, referred to informally as Blue Mode. To find out more about this see the section in this article about Pro Tools 12.6, the version in which this was introduced.