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Welcome back, Avid

Erica Basnicki 18 May 2015
Erica Basnicki

Moaning about Avid/Pro Tools has become to pro-audio users what moaning about the weather has become to the British. As the industry standard audio software, irritation takes on an added edge when things don’t work as smoothly as they should, or when basic features that are now standard on other DAWs (input monitoring
for non-HD users springs to mind) continue to fall by the wayside.

It’s also, much like moaning about the weather, a default position we might want to reconsider taking.

Since the beginning of 2015, Avid has rolled out quote a few new products, including the latest incarnation of its flagship software, Pro Tools 12. The software includes new online collaboration tools, the new Avid Plug-in  Marketplace, and a subscription option that has confused users as, well, it is (still) a bit confusing.

Of course, that’s what happens when things change: It’s confusing at first and doesn’t always go according to plan, but in the end it tends to work out. If Pro Tools users could hang on just a bit longer, better days are ahead.

In October 2013, I had the opportunity to sit in on the exclusive interview between Avid CEO Louis Hernandez Jnr and PSNEurope editor Dave Robinson (see Hungry for success: Interview with Avid’s Louis Hernandez Jr). During that interview, Hernandez spoke of resolving a technical accounting issue that saw the company’s shares pulled from NASDAQ, connecting with customers and creating an open platform that meets the needs of the community.

A year and a half later and the accounting issue has been resolved and shares are back on the market (and apparently still undervalued, if you’re the investing type). The Avid Customer Association has sold out all of its Avid Connect events to largely positive reviews. In addition to Pro Tools 12, the company has rolled out the free entry-level Pro Tools First, a free iPad controller app, and launched the new VENUE S6L console with Dante connectivity through its new partnership with Audinate.

These announcements don’t strike out every item on the collective Pro Tools users’ wish list. In fact, it’s fair to say that an iPad app isn’t nearly as useful as [insert common Pro Tools gripe here]. But iPad apps are the way forward, AVB connectivity is becoming essential and the fact that Avid ‘gets it’ says a lot about where the company is, and where it’s heading.

Expecting perfection from any piece of software/product is completely ludicrous but we have every right to demand as close to it as possible when it’s essential to the industry. We also have to accept that change is inevitable and frequently awkward. In the case of Avid, the company is changing for the better and for once I am genuinely (dare I say it) excited about things to come. Finally!

That and the sun is shining… what could be better?

Erica Basnicki is a writer and sound designer.

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