AAX and Pro Tools 11: Which Plugins are Compatible and Which Aren’t

Pro Tools 11 is out now, and some users are already adopting early. However, one concern with the new platform is that some plugin developers have not yet ported their software over to PT 11′s new second generation AAX protocol, which runs now at 64-bits.

As of press time, a huge number of major plugins are already available – especially in Native – but there are a few key exceptions that might make users wait a tick before getting on board.

Fortunately, anyone who purchases PT 11 also gets a PT 10 license from Avid, and the ability to install both versions on their machine, which should help users get by until even more plugins become available for the new version of Pro Tools.

Which Plugins Are Available?

The list of plugins available for Pro Tools 11 is a long one, and it’s filled with many of the most essential small developers on the market.

For a searchable database of all the plugins that are currently available, see http://www.avid.com/plugins and filter the results by clicking the box marked “Pro Tools 11.”

Just about every plugin that Avid makes is currently available for PT 11 in Native.

AAX (Avid Audio eXtension) is the plug-in format introduced last year with Pro Tools 10

Look up your plugins’ PT 11 compatibility here.

The same goes for Plugin Alliance, Arturia, McDSP, elysia, SPL, Brainworx, the most popular entries from iZotope, and all 21 plugins made by Blue Cat.

Also on the list are Metric Halo, East West, DMG Audio, Fab Filter, Neyrinck, Nomad Factory, Synthology, TC Electronics, a good handful of the plugins from Flux, and for Mac users, all the FX and EQs by PSP. (PSP’s dynamics plugins and Windows versions are coming soon.)

Just yesterday, SoundToys also joined the list, releasing a PT 11 public beta of all their plugins for Mac users. They expect the “official” version to be ready by mid-July, and a Windows update should follow soon after.

Which Plugins Aren’t Available?

All put together, the AAX compatible list covers a huge number of plugins made for Pro Tools. But the exceptions are notable ones.

Leading the list of plugins that are yet to make it to Pro Tools 11 are Waves and Universal Audio, two of the biggest and most popular brands out there.

When asked for comment, a representative for Waves said they were expecting Native PT 11 compatibility “very soon.” The people at Universal Audio said that an exact date is “TBD” but that they expect to have all of their UAD plugins ported over “by the end of this year.” (UAD’s official FAQ can be found here.)

Also missing are Audio Ease, who say they are “close with Altiverb 7” and that “Speakerphone 2 will follow up soon after”; and Softube, who say their complete line should be available for Pro Tools 11 in September.

Antares’ AutoTune is currently missing as well, as is celemony’s Melodyne. celemony report that they are currently “working closely with Avid” to iron out Melodyne’s stability at 96kHz.

Currently the people at Massey report they are are “grinding pretty hard here on the ol’ AAX code” and expect updates “soonly.”* Also still to come are plugins from Slate Digital, Sonnox, Ohm Force, Mellowmuse, and Abbey Road/Chandler, who were not able to respond in time for this piece.

(*Update: Massey released their AAX versions Feb 11th, 2014)

AAX DSP Support?

Some plugins are also available for AAX DSP, the format that is set to replace TDM, but that list is a bit smaller.

Once again, Avid’s own plugins are pretty much all set. McDSP, Flux, Metric Halo Wave Arts and Neyrinck are on the list as well.

The Plugin Alliance has also gotten started releasing their line for AAX DSP. Already available are the MAAG EQ4, ProAudioDSP’s DSM v2, and some entries from Brainworx, elysia and SPL.

(A full list of Plugin Alliance partners can be found here.)

However, several companies have no plans to support AAX DSP, at all.

Obviously, Universal Audio will continue with their own proprietary DSP system, the UAD platform. But now, you can expect Waves to join that camp as well.

Word from the company is that they will be “releasing a Waves DSP solution for Pro Tools based on SoundGrid very soon.”

Computers have gotten so fast that some companies may decide to stay completely Native in order to help keep costs low to the user.

For instance, SoundToys say that they’re “going to investigate the AAX DSP format (i.e. how much DSP punch we get for the substantial R&D investment) but haven’t made a firm commitment.”

In a day an age when my humble 15” Mac laptop can run scores of tracks and hundreds of plugins, all under Native power, that may be a wise set of numbers to crunch.

Justin Colletti is a Brooklyn-based audio engineer, college professor, and journalist. He records and mixes all over NYC, masters at JLM, teaches at CUNY, is a regular contributor to SonicScoop, and edits the music blog Trust Me, I’m A Scientist. 

  • asco

    Sonnox?

  • TrustMeI’mAScientist

    To my understanding, the Sonnox line is not yet compatible with Pro Tools 11. We’re waiting for a reply with an ETA, and when we have one, we’ll add it to the article above and respond here as well.

  • http://www.pro-tools-expert.com/ Russ Hughes

    Take care with the Avid database as some of the info is incorrect even to the point of not knowing this until you download the installers and find they don’t work.

  • asco

    Thanks!

  • TrustMeI’mAScientist

    Hi Russ,

    Thanks for the heads up. What software did you experience this with? We’d be happy to look into it.

    Is it that the software in question didn’t work with your particular OS, or that it was listed as PT 11 compatible when this was not the case?

    If its the former, you should also be able to filter the plugin list by OS. It appears a handful of developers are releasing their Mac updates before PC. I know that’s been the case with SoundToys and PSP for instance, which we mentioned in the article.

    If it’s the latter, definitely let us know so we can investigate further! We’d add that to the story for sure.

    Thanks,
    Justin