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Pro Tools 11 first thoughts

First of all, let me state that I won’t mention any iLok related issue here as I already stated my opinion about that. Now let’s move on to the more important part, Pro Tools 11 has been released.

I immediately felt the urge to upgrade, but right now I use the 30 days Pro Tools 11 HD demo. Partly because it’s not a cheap upgrade, and partly because I want to experience the new features before spending the money. On a side note, I have nothing against Avid, in fact I’m a serious Pro Tools addict or fan if you like, but with PT11 there are many huge promises, and I really wanted to know that they are not merely promises, but rather facts.

Installation

First I updated the Pro Tools 10 install to 10.3.6 so it can co-exist with PT11. The first surprise is the much smaller size of the installer, the second is the convenient drag and drop installation. All the download and install process went smooth. Let’s rock it and see what we have.

After a few minutes of playing a bit and checking out the new features, I headed on with my usual test sessions. Amongst those there are some surround stuff, high track and high plugin count concert DVDs, etc. The very first thing I noticed is how extremely snappy PT11 is. It simply does things faster it seems. I have no scientific evidence but even after a few days of testing, I still feel the same.

Under pressure

I substituted all the missing plugins with something already compatible with the new release. If there is a big difference between the original and the substitute, I instantiated 3 or 4 plugs to emulate the real load of the original session. Even with some older machines, the difference is stunning! The whole operation is smoother not to mention that where I previously hit the processing power limit of the system, now I have serious headroom left. I could insert additional plugins into the session without any sign of system break up. At the end it turned out that in a huge session which gave me occasional DAE errors before, now I could use 20–30 more plugins and the session is still stable, no errors, no other hiccups. And all this with the new video engine switched to on, even when the session did not contain any video track.

It’s really very easy to get used to the configurable metering, and honestly I’m in love with the gain reduction meter on the channels, as well as the metering on the sends. My initial thought was it is nice but not a real big deal, but now as I started to use it, I say this is a big feature which I would rely on.

The new track creation methods, the offline bounce and really everything I tried so far is working as it should. I wait for some plugin developer to release the AAX versions of their plug and after that I try to convert all my activity to be in PT11HD.

The great thing about Pro Tools and particularly Pro Tools 11 now is that Avid takes proper implementation seriously. It’s not just packed with new features, but as you work and discover the new things, they are already in the right order at the right place just as you would expect from PT.

Well done Avid, it’s a really, really great release. Upgrade is going to happen very soon for me. And if you need some more info and tests, head over to Pro Tools Expert blog, they just posted a extensive review there.