After months of conjecture, rumoured leaks (they obviously couldn’t be confirmed) and flame wars on the bulletin boards, Avid have come out of the darkness to announce a milestone release – Avid ProTools HD Native. Basically a host based system (no DSP Accel cards) that can connect to the new HD interfaces (that are expandable up to 64io) with all the features of PTHD (automation features, track counts, VCA faders, etc) AND automatic delay compensation for RTAS plugins AND extremely low latency!
The way it works, is a PCIe host card allows you to connect to your HD interfaces (including Sync HD, its got a digiserial port) using the new mini-digilink connectors, launched with the new Avid interfaces.
Interestingly, the specifications state it runs a 64bit floating point mixer, is this a potential step up or sideways from the 48bit fixed mixer on the existing PCIe Accel architecture? Fixed bit processing makes for less “rounding off” of data to the nearest binary integer, so it was always sold as superior to floating point, but if you throw in that extra resolution of 64bits, even with floating point holding it back, it will be interesting to do listening comparisons to the summing between the two systems.
For those in post, there was a link to the Satellite technology page from the HD Native home page, so I guess we are to assume its all good to go to lock up native rigs with HD rigs – Can anyone say cost effective video satellite/dubber? The US dollar value of their gear puts a HD Native system with a MADI interface and Sync HD for $10.5K. Throw in a Decklink card and you’ve got a 64 track native dubber with HD picture playback for around US$11K (plus a CPU). Not bad value really! For a comparable system before this release you’d need a minimum HD2 core instead of the native core and the difference in price would be US$7.5K. That’s a pretty big saving! (maybe you could afford to renew your WUP or something?)
For a cost effective surround edit suite, the bundle price WITH an OMNI interface (7.1 monitoring system built in and 2 preamps) is US$6K. Open HD sessions immediately – VCAs, all your automation features, syncing and dubbing options if needed. I mean, 6K in Australia would barely have gotten you a 192io a few years ago (when the dollar was down, admittedly).
Interesting times! I wonder what else they’re working on??