For DAW use, the current DAW/plug-in communication paradigm works fine — when you play the track, the audio being played is routed to or through the plug-in, just the way an analog signal path works. This is how today’s most popular plug-in formats, such as VST, Audio Units, and RTAS work.
But for a plug-in such as Celemony’s Melodyne, the software needs full access to the entire audio file on the track — for maximum effectiveness, it needs to see an overview of the audio from beginning to end.
Now, Celemony has developed “ARA” — Audio Random Access — a new plug-in interface that allows the plug-in and its host DAW to exchange information about the audio contained on a track, such as tempo, pitch, rhythm, and much more. The host and plug-in can then work much more closely together, in an integrated fashion, to more effectively process the audio.
PreSonus is the first manufacturer onboard with support for ARA, but Celemony expects the format to be adopted by other DAW manufacturers in the coming months.