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Pro Tools 2019: Was It Worth It?

Avid Pro Tools Tips & Techniques By Julian Rodgers

Not a world-changing development, but worthwhile: tracks can now be named as they are created.Not a world-changing development, but worthwhile: tracks can now be named as they are created.

Did the first full year of incremental Pro Tools updates justify the cost of our subscriptions?

Like most things, Pro Tools has its detractors. The Internet being what it is, the disaffected are usually more vocal than the contented, and this can give the impression that the Pro Tools world is in crisis, with development at a standstill. But is that really true? Or are we just witnessing the deliberate change of direction Avid promised after Pro Tools 2018, where regular (and, it must be said, sometimes not-so-regular) releases concentrating on practical, workflow-based changes replace occasional paid-for integer upgrades with headline-grabbing big new features? Let's have a look back over the 2019 releases and see how much progress was made.

Pro Tools 2019.1: The Release That Didn't Happen

At NAMM 2019, Avid previewed a version of Pro Tools that promised increased voice counts for all. Driven largely by the additional demands being put on systems by Atmos workflows in post-production, maximum voice counts on HDX systems were to be increased from a maximum of 768 to 1152. Voice counts for all Pro Tools Ultimate systems were to be raised from 256 to 384, and to accommodate the easy transfer of large projects from HDX-equipped Atmos rooms to native powered workstations, additional voice packs could be rented annually or monthly.

Users of purely native DAWs often raise their eyebrows at the existence of any sort of voice limit in a world where their DAWs offer 'unlimited' track counts, but it must be remembered that on an HDX system these track counts are guaranteed. On any native DAW, 'unlimited' track counts are strictly hypothetical — and, indeed, voice counts aren't guaranteed on native Pro Tools systems, though in practice, a well specified host machine can comfortably manage them.

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Published March 2020