What does 2023 have in store for Pro Tools users?
With 2022 behind us, now seems a good time to reflect on what was an extremely positive year for Pro Tools, and also to consider what might be next.
Last year saw an overhaul of the line‑up, which introduced the free Pro Tools Intro (a timely replacement for the discontinued Pro Tools First), and a new entry‑level version: Pro Tools Artist. This is a big shake‑up. A familiar grumble among Pro Tools users was that the standard Pro Tools product lacked features important to serious users, making Pro Tools Ultimate the only viable option for many. The new product range brings options appropriate to far more users.
Pro Tools Intro is everything Pro Tools First should have been: a free version of Pro Tools that shares the same codebase as the rest of the family, works with the same Session file format and can be used with third‑party AAX plug‑ins. Pro Tools Artist, meanwhile, is accessibly priced, and with 32 audio tracks is more than capable of handling typical music productions. However it is the mid‑tier Pro Tools Studio which is the stand‑out product for many.
If you are a serious music user who doesn’t use HDX, Pro Tools Studio is the product you’ve been waiting for. In years gone by, the distinction between LE and HD versions of Pro Tools was stable and reasonably well understood. If you wanted sufficient inputs to track a full band, enough tracks for big sessions, VCA tracks, advanced automation and surround mixing, you needed HD. Many of the most frustrating limitations were gradually lifted in the native Pro Tools Software which replaced LE, with an increase in the number of simultaneous inputs, and the availability of VCA tracks, but advanced automation features like Preview and Capture were a sticking point for serious mixers working in stereo. And if you wanted surround, you were still compelled to use Ultimate.
Replacing the old Pro Tools software, Pro Tools Studio has surround and Dolby Atmos capabilities, and advanced automation. Unless you need DigiLink connectivity for HDX hardware, or are working in post‑production, it will probably have everything you need, and is much more affordable than Pro Tools Ultimate.
While the top‑tier Ultimate product hasn’t changed, Avid did reverse their initial decision to provide Ultimate exclusively as part of the Flex package, which was aimed at large‑scale facilities. This had the unintended consequence of overlooking users who needed Ultimate but fell outside this target...
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