The upgrade to Pro Tools 11 was released at the end of June and it promises significant improvements over past versions.
Unlike recent software revisions, version 11 is more a re-writing of Pro Tools software, employing a new audio engine that takes advantage of 64-bit performance.
Let’s look at some of the changes in Pro Tools 11.
Pro Tools 11 marks the introduction of the Avid Audio Engine (AAE). When using the same hardware configuration as a system running Pro Tools 10, AAE provides increased processing power, so you can increase the number of virtual instruments and plug-ins running in a session.
Since Pro Tools 11 is a 64-bit application it can access larger amounts of RAM compared to PT10; Pro Tools 10 is a 32-bit application, and 32-bit applications are limited to accessing no more than 4 GB of installed RAM. System RAM can be used more efficiently, allowing sessions with high track counts and dense automation.
The number of audio clips in a session is limited only by the amount of RAM installed in your computer. AAE provides efficient use of multi-core processors, evenly distributing the workload across those processors, resulting a marked increase in host-based processing.
Pro Tools 11 employs Avid’s new AAX (Avid Audio eXtension) plug-in format.
Unlike TDM and RTAS plug-ins AAX plug-ins run identically on both native and HD systems, meaning that opening an HD session on a native system will maintain consistency in plug-in settings and sounds. No more RTAS versus TDM.
Avid Audio Engine also provides dynamic plug-in processing whereby host-based processing resources are allocated on-the-fly as needed.
In other words plug-ins now only use resources when they are actually processing audio. A low-latency input buffer is automatically engaged for record-enabled tracks, allowing musicians to experience low-latency monitoring during overdubs, even in large sessions.
Unlike earlier versions, Pro Tools 11 has the ability to write automation data while recording audio, and automation data are time-stamped for accurate, consistent playback.
One of the biggest (and long-awaited) developments in Pro Tools 11 is offline bouncing.
Bounces can now be accomplished in less than real time and you can bounce up to 16 sources (consisting of up to 8 channels each) simultaneously. Bouncing options include simultaneous creation of MP3 files alongside another format such as a .WAV — meaning that you can bounce once to create a .WAV and MP3 of the same mix. Bounces can automatically be imported back into the session or automatically added to your iTunes library.
Now the not-so-happy news.
Under Pro Tools 11 only 64-bit AAX plug-ins are supported. TDM, RTAS, and 32-bit AudioSuite plug-ins are no longer supported.
Avid supplies a suite of standard AAX plug-ins with PT 11, much like the ones that had been part of the PT9 and PT10 packages. Third-party plug-ins must now conform to the AAX format.
Many software developers have been working to port their plug-ins to AAX but be aware that — as of this writing — Waves plug-ins are not yet available in AAX and therefore will not run under PT11.
Avid (and Waves) is aware of this issue and due to the concerns of many Pro Tools users, they are allowing Pro Tools 11 and Pro Tools 10.3.6 or higher to be co-installed on the same computer. This enables you to use Pro Tools 10 for existing sessions with 32-bit plug-ins (AAX, AudioSuite, RTAS, and TDM) while also being able to create new sessions under Pro Tools 11 on the same computer.
The co-install will help smooth the transition from PT10 to PT11 while AAX versions of popular plug-ins are still under development.
Pro Tools 11 is available in two flavors: Pro Tools HD 11 and Pro Tools 11.
Pro Tools 11 is officially supported for use with a variety of interfaces including the 003 family, third-generation Mbox, Mbox Mini and Mbox Pro, and a variety of M-Audio Fast Track interfaces.
Pro Tools HD 11 is officially supported for use with Avid HDX PCIe, HD Native PCIe, HD Native Thunderbolt as well as a variety of non-HD audio devices. Pro Tools HD 11 is incompatible with older Pro Tools|HD hardware.
For more specific information consult the Avid website: (http://www.avid.com/US/products/pro-tools-software).
Darth Fader is a frequent blogger a the L2pnet.com. Check out his review of the Waves REDD plug-in by clicking http://www.l2pnet.com/Waves_Redd_Plugin_Review