The Focusrite Red 4Pre is capable of running as the HD interface for your Pro Tools HD, HDX or HD Native system using DigiLink. It can also connect to your Mac via Thunderbolt for next to zero latency I/O and it gets you into the world of Dante for audio over IP connectivity. Pro Tools HD Audio Interface and Integrated Monitor Section for Avid Control Surfaces, with 8 Analog Line Inputs, 8 Analog Line Outputs, Dante Network Connectivity, and Pro Tools HDX Core PCIe Card - Mac/PC. Or $649.00/month§ with. This Pro Tools First Tutorial looks at your Behringer audio interface setup to get the best latency settings. You can check out our other Behringer UM2 video. In theory, any interface that has Core Audio (Mac OS) or ASIO (Windows) drivers should work with Pro Tools. If you are not sure whether a specific interface is approved for Pro Tools use, check the manufacturer’s web site and in forums like the DUC, to see if there are any reports of issues. Mackie Big Knob Studio Monitor Controller and Audio Interface with Pro Tools First/Tracktion Music Production Software, w/Eris 3.5 Pair Studio Monitors, Condenser Microphone, 1/4” Instrument Cables.
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If you want to address more than 32 inputs and outputs simultaneously, you’ll need Pro Tools HD with Avid HDX or HD Native hardware.
Which audio interface is right for you and your Pro Tools system?
When they launched Pro Tools 9 back in 2010, Avid broke the links that tied the native version of their Pro Tools software to their own hardware. More recently, they have discontinued many of their own audio interfaces — namely, the Avid-branded versions of the Apogee Duet and Quartet — without introducing obvious replacements. So, if you are looking to set up a new Pro Tools system, but you don’t have the need or the budget for an HDX or HD Native rig, the chances are you will need to invest in a third-party interface. But which one?
In theory, any interface that has Core Audio (Mac OS) or ASIO (Windows) drivers should work with Pro Tools. If you are not sure whether a specific interface is approved for Pro Tools use, check the manufacturer’s web site and in forums like the DUC, to see if there are any reports of issues. In general I would suggest sticking with the well-known, established manufacturers, and especially those that have a relationship with Avid, such as Focusrite and UA.
Too Much Choice?
In the days when we were forced to buy from Avid’s product range, it was usually pretty obvious which interface would best meet our needs. Now that Pro Tools users have such a huge field of third-party interfaces to choose from, by contrast, it can be much harder to make the right decision. It might sound obvious, but the first step on the road is to ask yourself what you need this interface to do.
First of all, how many inputs and outputs will you need? Getting this right is important, and you should think about how your needs might change in the future — for instance, by making sure that your chosen interface has ADAT digital I/O as well as analogue inputs, so you can easily attach additional mic preamps. One thing to bear in mind is that with non-Avid interfaces, Pro Tools is limited to 32 simultaneous inputs and the same number of outputs, even if you’re running the HD Standalone version. This doesn’t necessarily mean you shouldn’t consider interfaces that have more than 32 of either, but if you do, be aware that Pro Tools won’t be able to take full advantage of them, and be sure to check that it’s possible for Pro Tools to address any 32 of its inputs and outputs, not merely the first 32 of each. If you need more than 32 channels of simultaneous I/O then you will need to go to a Pro Tools HD Native or HDX System. However, if you only need more than 32 channels of I/O occasionally, consider renting a Pro Tools HD system for those occasions. You will still be able to overdub and mix the resulting sessions on a native system — the limit is on simultaneous I/O, not the number of tracks that can be played back.
If you are going to be recording large multitrack sessions, it’s worth giving some thought not only to the number of inputs required, but to how many outputs you might need. Even if you have only a single pair of monitor speakers, and mix entirely in the box, you may well find yourself wanting to give separate cue mixes to multiple musicians.
At the other end of the scale, there are many situations where an interface with just a couple of inputs will be fine. If you are mainly overdubbing single instruments and vocals, editing or mixing, you will need very little I/O as long as you are not using outboard equipment.
If your work is mainly mastering or mixing and you work with a console or summing amp, you might not need many inputs, but you will require a decent quotient of analogue outputs to feed the mixer or summing amp. Likewise, if you are working in surround, you will need at least six output channels for 5.1, eight channels for 7.1 and possibly more if you want to be able to output stereo mixes as well at the same time. Note also that you will need the HD Standalone version of Pro Tools, as the standard native version does not support surround track formats.
Preamps & Monitor Control
If you already have a console or outboard mic preamps, you probably need only line-level analogue I/O, but if you are starting from scratch, it is worth considering an interface with integral mic preamps. This is convenient, especially if you do location recording, and is often the most cost-effective way to get a system with two, four, or eight mic preamps. If you only require additional inputs occasionally, consider an interface with an ADAT port, which will give you the option of hiring or buying an external mic preamp as needed. For location work, I have a UA Apollo Twin and when I need extra inputs I use my Focusrite OctoPre to give me up to 10 analogue inputs.
At the other end of the signal chain, consider how many headphone outputs you need, and what monitor control features you’ll require, if any. Many audio interfaces offer at least a hardware volume control, but some go much further, with speaker switching, talkback, dim and mono buttons.
As well as line-level and mic-level analogue signals, audio interfaces also offer numerous different varieties of digital I/O. ADAT ports are, as we’ve seen, a convenient way of attaching external mic preamps. Stereo S/PDIF and AES3 digital inputs are often used for the same purpose, but there are some contexts where you might want a lot of AES3 I/O to interface with other digital hardware such as older digital mixing consoles and multitracks.
For large digital I/O counts, you should also look into MADI and the various Ethernet-based audio-over-IP options. The MADI protocol allows up to 64 channels of audio to be transferred down a single cable, and companies such as RME make a range of cost-effective MADI interfaces. Many modern digital consoles have MADI I/O as an option, so you may need this to integrate your Pro Tools rig into an existing live or studio setup.
The best of both worlds? Focusrite’s Red 4Pre combines native Thunderbolt interface capability with the ability to act as a converter for an HDX rig.Audio-over-IP is a more complex proposition, with numerous competing formats on the market. There is a growing number of audio interfaces that offer audio-over-IP expansion in addition to built-in I/O, like the Focusrite Red 4Pre and 8Pre and the MOTU AVB series. There are also systems that are solely based on audio-over-IP, such as Focusrite’s RedNet range.
Finally, another fundamental point is to make sure that whatever interface you buy is compatible with the computer and operating system you plan to use. We are in a period of transition at the moment where FireWire has been largely superseded, and Thunderbolt and USB are evolving fast. In general, if low latency is important to you, you are likely to achieve better results with either a PCI or a Thunderbolt interface than with USB2 or USB3. However, not all Thunderbolt interfaces are supported on Windows computers, and Thunderbolt 3 peripherals are not backwards-compatible with Thunderbolt 2. Note also that there are some interfaces, such as the Focusrite Red 4Pre, which can operate natively as Thunderbolt interfaces, but which also have Digilink connectors that allow them to be used as converters for a Pro Tools HDX system.
There are, unfortunately, a lot of choices to be made when buying a new audio interface for use with Pro Tools, and it’s very important to do as much research as possible — an article like this should only be the start. On the plus side, the intensive competition means that audio interfaces are constantly getting better and cheaper, and as a result, sonic differences between them are nothing like as marked as they once were. If you do want to make the decision on the basis of sound, you’ll need to find a way to audition known material in a very good listening environment!
Where Is It Going?
Avid’s HD I/O interfaces have a built-in fan that could prove problematic in a quiet recording environment.This may seem like a strange thing to be worried about, but if your audio interface is going to be in the room you are recording in, it needs to be quiet — and not all interfaces are. The fans in the Avid HD interfaces, for instance, are pretty noisy; if you are capable you can replace them with a much quieter fan, but of course that will have implications on the warranty.
If the interface is going to end up in a machine room, noise is perhaps unimportant, but what if there are controls on the front panel that cannot be adjusted remotely?
Practically every system integration project we mange includes industry standard Pro Tools, and as one of the leading Avid Pro Tools resellers we know how to put together systems to fit your workflow and budget for music and audio post applications.
Pro Tools HD is now renamed as Pro Tools Ultimate 2019 and offers the Avid Complete Plug-in Bundle and Pro Tools MachineControl included with all Pro Tools Ultimate subscriptions and 1-Year Software Updates + Support Plans.
From 2017 Pro Tools 12.8 version included deeper Dolby Atmos integration and we are one of only 6 Dolby Atmos Mastering Suite dealers worldwide. There are a large number of options available for purchasing Pro Tools including subscription (rental), perpetual, cross grades and upgrades. Let us help you make the right decisions and also assist in packaging Pro Tools with other 3rd party hardware and software options.
Contact us directly to find out what we can do to include these new workflows into your media productions.
Pro Tools Ultimate software?
Pro Tools or Pro Tools Ultimate, that is the question.
For professionals who need the ultimate editing, mixing automation features, surround sound, Dolby Atmos, high track and I/O counts, Pro Tools Ultimate is the only choice, it’s as simple as that.
The majority of AID sales are for Ultimate (formally called HD) systems, either as standalone Pro Tools Ultimate software or as part of larger HDX DSP based systems.
Get Pro Tools Ultimate
Pro Tools Ultimate can be purchased as a perpetual license for $2,599 or as a yearly subscription for $799 and as an upgrade. Pro Tools Ultimate also comes included with Pro Tools HD Native and can be bundled with an HDX card. See below for details about how to buy.
Pro Tools HDX
Pro Tools Interface 2021
DSP or Native?
There is a lot of debate about Native vs DSP, and for many people who have less demanding applications the addition of an HDX DSP card is unnecessary, especially with ultra fast processors now available on laptops and workstations. So what factors should you consider when making the decision?
Main HDX DSP Advantages:
- Large Track/Plug-in Counts – Pro Tools HDX supports larger track counts (see the graphic above), higher plug-in counts, and multiple HD videos that can tax even the fastest systems
- Reliability – In a professional environment you need to guarantee the system won’t give up at a critical moment due to high track counts and too many plug-ins. HDX can take the load off your computer by using AAX DSP plug-ins.
- Low Latency – When recording multiple sources, especially for music, it is essential that you have the absolute lowest latency and HDX provides this. Recording 24 mics and sending back cue feeds from Pro Tools requires HDX.
- High Sample Rates – 96kHz and 192kHz recording and mixing really pushes even the fastest computers to the edge.
I think I can manage without HDX?
No problem, you can buy ($2,499) or subscribe ($999 per annum) or upgrade to Pro Tools Ultimate software and try it on your sessions to see if you can manage. HDX cards are now available on their own with ($4,999), or without ($2,999) Pro Tools Ultimate software so you can add HDX if needed.
How to Buy Pro Tools Software
While some companies such as Adobe opt for a subscription only model, that always includes latest updates, Avid have taken more sensible approach by offering both perpetual licenses and subscription as well as including access to updates, giving you a much wider choice.
This wider choice comes with a more confusing set of purchase options so let’s take a closer look:
Subscription and Perpetual Licenses
- Subscription – Monthly ($34.99 pm) or yearly ($29.99 pm) for Pro Tools, yearly ($799) for Ultimate. You get the ability to continually upgrade to the latest software and support at a lower initial cost, however if you stop payments the software no longer works after the subscription period expires. Best option for professionals that always use the software or only need the software for a short period of time. Easy way to get back up to the latest version.
- Perpetual – up front purchase with a year of support and upgrades ($599 Pro Tools, $2,599 Ultimate). You always get to keep the software but unless you purchase the yearly Annual Upgrade and Support Plan ($199 Pro Tools, $399 Pro Tools Ultimate) you cannot get further updates after your year has expired.
Considerations Between Perpetual or Subscription?
If you are a professional, or a multi-station facility, and always use the software get a subscription, it’s easier to manage. If you cancel and then want to open an old session you will have to subscribe again, for Pro Tools you can just do it for a month, but for Ultimate (formally HD) sessions you will have to get a full year subscription again.
For those that worry about not being able to open sessions at a later date, if you have canceled a subscription, or if you don’t need to keep up to date with new releases, a perpetual license is a better option as you will always have the software. If you go with a perpetual license and you want the latest features make sure you always purchase the Annual Upgrade and Support Plan on time.
Upgrades and Offers
Pro Tools Interface Bundle
Avid are continually offering various incentives for you to purchase and upgrade, including hardware upgrades. Contact us directly to find out the best upgrade option for your particular situation.
Interfaces for Pro Tools
You now have more choices than ever when selecting the right interfaces for your workflow. Avid has opened up Pro Tools Ultimate software and Pro Tools HDX cards to work with their own as well as 3rd party interfaces.
AID can help you to select the right software/DSP/Interface combination to fit your needs as we represent over 200 brands of products.
There are 10 Avid interface options and can be found in most professional Ultimate installations:
HD I/O 8x8x8, HD I/O 16×16 Analog, HD I/O 16×16 Digital, HD I/O AD Option, HD I/O DA Option, HD I/O Digital Option, MADI, HD OMNI, SYNC HD, PRE
3rd Party Interfaces & DigiLink
Pro Tools software works with any interface, however HDX systems require the interface includes the Digilink I/O connector and you must buy the Pro Tools Digilink I/O License for $299 to connect to these 3rd party interfaces.
Work with up to 192 input channels using Pro Tools HDX (with 3 cards) and access up to 64 input channels using Pro Tools HD Native.
Pro Tools Interface Drivers
Interfaces such as the Focusrite Red range include Digilink and access to Dante networks. Since we represent many top interface brands we can help you select a set of interfaces for a single edit/project room or a complete networked facility.
Pro Tools Interface 2020
Avid Pro Tools
Pro Tools Interface 16 Channel
Industry Standard Pro Tools Software