Avid Launches Pro Tools|HD Native Thunderbolt Interface
September 7, 2012 by David Weiss
There are plenty of laptop jockeys who have been hoping that the capabilities of Pro Tools|HD Native might be delivered into their realm.
Today, Avid officially responded to their prayers at IBC, by announcing the new Pro Tools|HD Native Thunderbolt interface. Designed to deliver HD Native’s impressively low latency and high sound quality for host-based audio workstations to Thunderbolt technology-equipped CPUs (laptop or tower), the Pro Tools|HD Native Thunderbolt interface brings the Pro Tools HD toolset – along with the conversion of Pro Tools HD Series interfaces — to a broader group of producers, engineers and mixers.
With the Pro Tools|HD Native Thunderbolt interface, Avid is building a bridge for its customers to move beyond PCIe cards (which will remain available for the foreseeable future), depending on how their current or next computer is equipped.
Prices are the same as today’s HD Native PCIe systems (see full pricing info at the end of this article). But the Thundberbolt interface – which resembles an Mbox– brings the added advantage of a high-impedance headphone output, and, of course, a great deal more mobility while connecting users’ Pro Tools HD 10 software to Pro Tools HD Series interfaces such as HD OMNI and HD I/O for capturing and monitoring audio.
“It’s important that Avid embraces new interfaces and new standards as they come out,” Tony Cariddi, Avid’s Audio Segment Marketing Manager, told SonicScoop. “Thunderbolt is something that the whole market is excited about. It brings enormous bandwidth to small machines, so we can deliver the low latency that was previously only available on a tower with PCIe cards, to laptops.
“The other promise of Thunderbolt is that it can support a much longer cable length, as compared to PCIe. That gives users a lot more flexibility for capturing live performances, and even setting things up in the studio, because they can keep their computers farther away from the machine room.”
According to Cariddi, the Thunderbolt interface’s anticipated effect on mobile recording practices holds the most immediate appeal. “This makes sense,” he says, “whether you’re an artist who’s on tour and wants a more convenient option than a really heavy Mac Pro tower to travel with, or you’re a live sound engineer that wants to record a show for an incoming touring act. With this system you can record 64 channels directly into the board using Pro Tools, and all you would need is the Thunderbolt interface and a [Thunderbolt-equipped] laptop – you don’t need the rack I/O or the tower.”
In a world where evolution is a must, no matter what, this latest update to the Pro Tools|HD Native scope is simply an important part of Avid’s development process. “Every time you take steps forward, you’re inspiring customers because things are working better,” Cariddi says. “When you’re removing barriers and enabling people to have a more enjoyable experience, that will inevitably lead to better results.”
The Thunderbolt interface is available immediately. Now get out your charts and calculators – here’s the pricing breakdown:
Pro Tools|HD Native is sold as a system that includes a choice of HD Native core —Thunderbolt interface or PCIe card — Pro Tools HD software, and a choice of Pro Tools HD Series audio interface.
System prices are the same for both core systems. In addition, customers who own a Digi 002, 003, or Mbox Pro can trade in their hardware towards a new Pro Tools|HD Native system and save $1,000 off GRP. System prices are as follows:
Pro Tools|HD Native (Thunderbolt interface or PCIe card), Pro Tools HD software, and HD OMNI system: $4,999
Pro Tools|HD Native (Thunderbolt interface or PCIe card), Pro Tools HD software, and HD I/O system: starts at $5,999
Digi 002, Digi 003, or Mbox Pro exchange to Pro Tools|HD Native (Thunderbolt interface or PCIe card), Pro Tools HD software, and HD OMNI: $3,999