Snapshot automation in Pro Tools Ultimate can be a huge time-saver.
The distinction between Pro Tools Ultimate and Pro Tools used to be simple to communicate in the days when those products were known as Pro Tools HD and Pro Tools LE — though even in those days, we had the slightly confusing twin products of Pro Tools LE and Pro Tools M‑Powered. The distinction was principally one between a system that did its mixing and audio processing using dedicated DSP hardware, and one that used only the native processing available courtesy of the processor in the host computer. It's beyond the scope of this article to go over the changing landscape of computer hardware and the role of dedicated DSP in audio, but since those days the distinction in terms of features and capabilities between a Pro Tools and a Pro Tools Ultimate system has been something of a moving target.
One reason why features that used to be 'HD-only' have migrated to standard Pro Tools is to enable Avid's 'Avid Everywhere' strategy, which allows sessions to be shared online between users with very different systems. An example of a now-universal feature that used to be available only to HD/Ultimate users is VCA faders. VCAs used to be the number-one thing I'd cite when discussing the advantages of Pro Tools Ultimate software over standard Pro Tools, and having them available to all has really changed my perception of the two products.
An HDX rig offers low-latency monitoring and freedom from the 32-input limit, but these days, you don't need HDX hardware to run Pro Tools Ultimate software. Depending on the work you do, you might want to do so in order to gain access to surround formats, or take advantage of something which receives...