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Tag: HDX

S6 software update

Avid promised that the new 3.5 software was going to be mainly a performance update. This means load times will be reduced, certain functions reacts faster, and the whole surface feels snappier. As I happen to update one of our surfaces to test the new software I thought I check these claims if they are true.

One change has been made to the upgrade path, from now on, if you have a valid perpetual plan, you no longer have to re-authorise all the updates again and again. Once you go through the validation process you won’t have to do it again, which considerably speeds up the update process.

But back to the improvements. Empirically I really felt the speed change and the fact that the new software is indeed react faster, almost all functions, including the bulk commands like do to all and do to selected no matter what you choose to do. As usual though, humans are biased so I couldn’t decide if the new version is really that much better or I just imagine it.

Fortunately I made a session load video with my phone when we had been using the old software and now had the chance to make a new video with the new software version. Here’s the comparison:

Avid S6 session load times from Tamas Dragon on Vimeo.

As you can see, the new one is vastly superior when it comes to session load times. In my experience it is a better version all around, very stable, immensely fast in every situation. So I highly recommend it to every S6 owner/user.

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S6 software 2.2 new things #3

From the inception of the S6 I thought this was going to be the smartest surface on the planet, and frankly, it nearly already is. Here’s another addition which makes it even more valuable.

Virtual strips

As early adopters, for more than a year we had the simple layouts. Those are simply custom layers, a kind of build your own custom fader bank and save it type feature. From the start, it was huge. Having multiple layouts, able to easily create and recall them is a huge time saver during a mix.

The only limitation was we could only build layouts the size of our real surface. For example we have 24 faders, so I could build layouts that has 24 slots, that’s it. I think this was a feature request by many of us to have so called virtual layouts that go beyond the real hardware.

With version 2.2 we have the ability to build bigger layouts. To have them, first we need to change a setting on the S6. Go to the track view, then tap the local option (gear) icon. There you can see the option slider Number of strips in Layout. Here you can define your desired number.

virtual layout settings

My method. We have 24-fader units, so I choose to have 48 strips in one layout. Why? Because this way the layout is still small enough to see through while big enough to handle many things at once, and as an added bonus, with one button I can navigate from 1-24 to 25-48 and back. It’s simple and efficient.

Quick tip

As a goodie now we can also bank from the surface with the User buttons, no need to reach for the buttons on the Master module. This way it’s even quicker to fly through my 48 strip layouts.

This new User button banking also works in normal mode, without any layout defined. As you can find these on every fader module, it really doesn’t matter where you sit.

Modifying layouts

Also some very nice improvements here. The first and probably most valuable for me is that they hidden the Clear All command. It was there all the time and honestly I can’t tell you how many times I accidentally deleted my whole layout. It’s available if you need it, you have to use the Master Module’s shift and it appears on the screen.

layout editing 1

Some other truly great add-ons are the Insert, Delete and Clear Strip commands. Now we can modify our precious layouts with much more freedom than before. On complicated live broadcast mixes and score mixes I deliberately planned the layouts ahead because modifying them was somewhat inconvenient. It was possible, but not as easy as now. Forgot something? Insert it and the rest will adjust automatically. The same goes if you have more than you need. Just one command and the extra channel disappears from your layout, the rest, of course, readjusts. Stay tuned for even more!

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S6 software 2.2 new things #1

A few weeks ago I promised I’ll tell and show what has changed in the new version of the controller software. Lots of things happened since, but here’s the first part of the mini series to let you know what have been improved in this new version.


We all know that different colour coding is good for us because our brain learn the coding system and uses it to quickly, almost unconsciously guide us to reach for the good knob or button.

Although it’s not a ground breaking new feature, but on the Master module of the S6, the headers of the different pages as well as many button backgrounds received more vivid colouring.

mmodul single

It was used to be more moderate, only to give you an idea, now it’s proudly shinny, very contrasty so even without paying full attention to that area you can quickly realise if something is on or off, or which page you’re at.

mmodule 4 screen

This might seem unimportant, but as the whole S6 concept is built around the cleverly thought out colour coding, it is a nice step in the right direction. We already familiar if we touch EQ or DYN or Sends because of the different colours, now it was time to match this part of the surface with the knob and process module part. Stay tuned for the next bit!

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Avid subscription

At the end of this month was a marked day in my calendar as this is the day when my Avid Pro Tools HD subscription will expire.

If you’re a frequent visitor at forums you might get the impression that no one will renew it. Obviously this is huge exaggeration. There’s many users, including me, who is not satisfied with Avid, but we still use and actually love Pro Tools. Yes, with its shortcomings.


To be honest due to the nature of my job I encounter many different DAWs almost daily and even tried some myself. Because I wanted to know how good they are. In my experience the grass is not greener at the other side, to be honest, it’s not greener anywhere else.

The tools, the implementation, the workflow enhancements, the stability (yes, you read it right), the backward compatibility, etc. I could go on forever. Believe me, I’ve done my research quite well, but Pro Tools is far the best DAW on the market for my job.

avid customer care

The outcome

Plain and simple today I renewed my yearly subscription. Because I wanted to, because I depend on this tool daily and I love to use it.

With all that said, I’d like to see more bug fixes, more features and first of all, more open and honest communication.

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Button caps vs. Stickers on the S6 surface

Almost every S6 owner knows that when Avid launched this control surface, some of the buttons had different mapping, hence early adopters now has wrong labels on some of the buttons.

old text

The picture shows you the old state. This also means that the labels are wrong there. These are originally programmable buttons and almost right after the launch the engineers at Avid decided that they change the mapping to a more convenient one. Unfortunately when they did this, many S6 had been already sold.

new text

Now we have two options. One is obviously to learn the new mapping and ignore the current labels. That is what I did and I have no problem with that, but I can absolutely understand if someone find this misleading.


Avid offer a set of stickers for free for every S6 owner, so you can re-label the buttons with those. Why not changing the caps? Because by design our beloved control surface has different button structure which technically we call tree structure. So you can’t simply remove the the cap and change it. In order to remove the old and put in the new buttons, you should remove the whole module, break the upper surface (I guess it’s glued to something), remove the button tree from inside, install the new ones and assemble the module.

While it may sound easy, it is quite complicated, might render the module useless, although I’m not sure about that because I don’t know how they manufacture it.

I still don’t know if I will use the stickers, but I ordered them and if my colleagues want to see the proper labels then I might use them.

Every S6 owner can order the stickers free from here.

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