Avid announces the updated Pro Tools 2020.11 digital audio workstation and the brand new Pro Tools Carbon audio interface.
Today, the audio industry juggernaut Avid announced two new products with a very similar end goal: enhancing creative professionals’ lives everywhere. Pro Tools Carbon and Pro Tools 2020.11 were the focus of this afternoon’s live stream.
Pro Tools Carbon
During the beginning of the stream, Pro Tools Carbon took the mainstage. Carbon is a new rack-mount audio interface that promises to enhance artists’ and producers’ workflow in a few key ways.
To start, Carbon is a high-quality piece of gear inside and out. Sturdy aluminum encoders, backlit buttons, and LED meters line the front of the unit.
These provide a tactile feel for most commonly used controls such as monitoring and headphone levels, phantom power, stereo linking, and toggling a built-in talkback mic. The LED metering provides info for all eight inputs, headphones, and monitor outputs.
However, to me, what’s most impressive is what’s behind that control panel. Carbon’s internal components are sure to make any Pro Tools user excited and even gain the attention of users who already might own high-quality audio interfaces.
Inside Carbon are state-of-the-art audio converters and preamps. Each of the eight preamps has four analog-to-digital converters, which provide 126 dB of dynamic range. The result is an extremely low noise floor with high gain, while the audio remains crystal clear.
Another impressive thing about this signal chain is the high dynamic range which allows you to record high-gain sources without a pad. Removing the pad and having a shorter signal path ensures your audio runs only through the essential components to get the job done.
Converters and preamps are only half the battle when it comes to audio quality. Another impressive feature of Pro Tools Carbon is the double resolution JetPLL powered clock. This reduces jitter and ensures your audio sounds as natural in your recording as it did while you were playing it.
More info: Pro Tools Carbon
Pro Tools 2020.11
After Avid impressed us with the Carbon interface, Pro Tools 2020.11 took the stage. The updates and improvements showcased in Pro Tools 2020.11 were the most exciting part of the event.
Most notable, in my opinion, was the addition of the all-new Dark UI theme. The lack of a dark theme or a dedicated “night mode” in the previous versions of Pro Tools has been one of my longest gripes with the program.
Thankfully, Avid has dramatically exceeded my expectations in this regard.
Enabling the dark theme not only saves your eyes from the harsh whiteness of the classic Pro Tools look but gives a near-complete overhaul of the UI. Gone are the glossy looking icons and slightly reflective green displays; these are swapped for flat matte looking icons.
As with Pro Tools Carbon, the most exciting things lie beneath the surface of Pro Tools 2020.11. Audio-to-MIDI conversion is another notable addition to the Pro Tools feature set. This allows users to select an audio clip, then depending on the algorithm used, Pro Tools will convert the audio to MIDI notes with (hopefully) accurate pitch and note values. Exactly how accurate this works remains to be seen; however, Avid’s demo is impressive.
Avid also announced some miscellaneous things at least as far as music production goes—announcements of plugins included in Pro Tools Carbon from big names like McDSP, Brainworx, and Arturia. Features like Space Clips for sound designers and dialog editors, quality of life improvements for Dolby Atmos users, and a new “Bounce Mix” window.
From all the new features and products, big and small, I’m sure every type of creative professional will find something to get excited about from this Avid event.
More info: Pro Tools 2020.11