It has been roughly 11 months since Pro Tools 9 was released, and after only a 9.0.5 update Avid has released Pro Tools 10. With many new features geared towards post-production, they have also introduced the ability to work in 32-bit floating point, which increases the available dynamic range from 144dB @ 24 bits to 192dB (theoretically). That’s a big gulp of additional headroom with a super-low noise floor. Additionally, a new plugin format has been introduced – AAX. The last time Pro Tools changed like this, from 16 bits to 24 bits, it was 1998 and “Gettin’ Jiggy Wit It” was a new hit single.
You may be asking Why Avid isn’t advertising the hell out of something so revolutionary as a jump from 24 to 32 bits? Because they’re are no audio interfaces with 32-bit converters on the market yet! In fact, when searching online for such a device, all I found was a little integrated circuit made by Texas Instruments in 2009 (click here to see a PDF of the specs) – for those of us handy with a soldering iron. I can’t imagine Avid would build this functionality into Pro Tools if they didn’t have a 32-bit hardware product line planned for the near future. All I know for sure is that I certainly won’t be building my own 32-bit audio interface from scratch anytime soon!
The last time Pro Tools changed like this … it was 1998 and “Gettin’ Jiggy Wit It” was a new song.
At a rather expensive $700 (compared to the past few releases), I haven’t seen anything that makes me drool like I do for new Apple products. In fact, I am extremely dissapointed that yet again Avid has failed to deliver the 5 most requested features that users want: a 64-bit app, the ability to freeze tracks, the ability to bounce offline instead of being forced to do it in real-time, folders in the regions list for better organization and channel strip presets.
While Pro Tools 10 does have some worthy speed increases, I don’t think this release is worthy of the multi-million dollar salary that Avid’s CEO is getting; particularly cheeky while their stock is at an all-time low. The company has made nearly $257 million in profits from January through September of this year, up from nearly $246 million during the same period last year. They’ve also reduced their operating expenses by nearly $2 million in the past year. Why are users now being asked to spend so much for such an unworthy upgrade? Something doesn’t add up, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see a leadership change at Avid in the coming year.
What are your thoughts about all of this? Leave a comment on the right! In the meantime, you can read a positive review of Pro Tools 10 on the AIR User’s Blog to contrast my objections.
(financial data source: http://www.marketwatch.com/story/avid-announces-results-for-third-quarter-2011-2011-10-27)