Most of you by now have read elsewhere about the new Pro Tools 11 release, and I imagine some of you have already upgraded and are benefiting from its many enhancements. There are, as you'd expect, countless new features, but what's really unique about this release is that it's the first major rewrite of Pro Tools in a dozen years or more, with an all-new audio engine at its core. It took 80 engineers 2.5 years to complete PT 11, and that doesn't include the work done on the new video engine (which was the responsibility of another team at Avid). In March of this year, I visited Avid's headquarters for a presentation of PT 11 by Avid executives and managers. Afterwards, I had the opportunity to sit down in a conference room with Rich Holmes (Director of Product Management, Pro Tools), Chris Gahagan (SVP, Products and Services), Martin Kloiber (VP, Live Systems & Consoles), and Tony Cariddi (Marketing Director, Audio). I'll share some of the more interesting quotes from that conversation here. Clearly, Avid has a lot more up its sleeves, and Pro Tools 11 is a necessary stepping stone. Feel free to read between the lines ••• "We changed the propeller plane to a jet. It's not so much that we put a jet engine in a propeller plane — we built a whole new plane. First we had to build the engine and the infrastructure. Then the new planform — one that we could continue to use for the future." • "Pro Tools is fresh. It used to have an unusual odor in the room. It's built on a good foundation now. It's modular now, we can use the parts of it better." • "An alternate possibility could have been to keep the PT 10 codebase and kind of halfway stayed with the old HD Accel and the new HDX, and halfway moved that forward." • "If we had, we couldn't have done any of the workflow enhancements. When I talk about workflow enhancements, I mean hide the technology. Hide all of the underlying technology from the users — the system just works — and the users can spend all of their time creating music or doing audio-post. That's the biggest challenge the team set out to accomplish." • "We're still as open as we were with PT 9, and we plan to keep it that way. PT|HD has always been a system that works better because we can control the efficiencies of the hardware. But you can run HD with third-party I/O if you want to. No change there." • "Our users, because we are the preeminent platform, really spend their life working in Pro Tools. 8, 10, 12 hours a day — it's a serious part of their life. We get a lot of feedback, and we really focus on making their life as nice as possible. We are focusing in on their environment — not just the software. The stuff we do in our services, in our I/O boxes, in our hardware — and anything to do around all of that. Those interactions need to be as simple as they can be, but give you the flexibility and strength to be a pro product. We don't want to take people's options away. That stuff that doesn't need creativity behind it, take that away, so that they can be more immersed in whatever their inspiration is and do great work." • "Later this year, you'll understand that this connects to the other stuff we're working on — to really change how the whole audio experience works, soup to nuts. Without the massive rewrite in Pro Tools 11, we couldn't have done this."

Tape Op is a bi-monthly magazine devoted to the art of record making.

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