At the annual NAB show in Las Vegas, Avid dropped big news: Pro Tools 11 is here! A new version of the most popular DAW in the world is always a huge deal, and version 11 is no different. This release targets both music and post production, with major changes under the hood to improve workflow and performance.
The big news includes Pro Tools’ new ultra-efficient 64-bit Core Audio engine. This 64-bit architecture takes full advantage of multiprocessors, and allows for more host plug-ins and better system performance and stability. Expanded RAM support means you can run bigger sessions, with thousands of clips and files, along with vastly increased sample sizes for virtual instruments.
The Avid Audio Engine provides a dedicated low-latency input buffer that enables you to monitor recording inputs with lower latency, even when your session is loaded up with a ton of plug-ins. Pro Tools now offers dynamic processing allocation, so the engine can “take back” CPU power from tracks that aren’t currently being used, creating a dynamic “pool” of CPU power that plug-ins can utilize.
Offline Bounce was a frequently requested feature for Pro Tools, and now it’s here! The Offline Bounce function allows you to render your mixes faster than real time, speeding up your workflow. Check this out: Avid says that Pro Tools will be capable of bouncing at up to 150 times faster than real time. It’s hard to fathom how fast that is, but think of it this way: a two and a half minute song could bounce in as little as one second! Of course, how fast offline bounce works depends on the complexity of the session, the density of data, and so on — but sorry, there will clearly be no more “mini breaks” while Pro Tools bounces your final mixes. You can even use Offline Bounce for sessions that are too big to play back on a slower computer.
Metering and Mixing
Pro Tools 11 also answers user requests for improved metering, now offering a variety of metering types (both scales and ballistics), including peak, digital PPM, VU, BBC, K-12, K-14, K-20, A-Linear, EBU, and DIN. The channel meters are now 30% larger.
More big metering news: gain-reduction metering is now provided on every channel, so you can see at a glance what all your dynamics plug-ins are doing without opening up their windows. Master tracks can use a different meter format than other types of channels if you want, and you can now display multiple send-level meters per channel, with additional mini send and mini gain-reduction meters.
One of my favorite PT11 features is the new key command for bypassing all of the inserts/plug-ins on a channel at once. This is guaranteed to speed up your mixing workflow, allowing for instant before/after comparisons. You can even change plug-in presets without opening up the plug-in window!
That’s not all that’s included in Pro Tools 11. There are major workspace browser improvements, which utilize the 64-bit architecture to optimize indexing, searching, relinking, and field-recording performance. Graphics performance has been improved for users of Apple Retina displays. And you can install both Pro Tools 10 and 11 at the same time, on one machine. This allows a “safety net” for users who have plug-ins that are not yet 64-bit compatible.
Clearly, Avid’s Pro Tools 11 brings major enhancements to the industry-standard DAW software!