So what’s new in Avid Pro Tools 11? Will your older equipment be compatible? With the host of new features being introduced, this is a historical change to Pro Tools and not just another upgrade. If you really look at what has transpired over the past 15+ years, we should be calling it Pro Tools, The Next Generation containing the most revolutionary change to Pro Tools, ever
History of Pro Tools with DAE
In order to truly understand where we are going, we first must take a look at our past. While Pro Tools, or it’s earlier cousin Sound Tools have been around since 1989, the true watershed moment came with Pro Tools III systems in 1994. These systems utilized a technology known as TDM, Time Division Multiplexing, essentially a telephone network, to provide dedicated power when working with audio. Every incarnation of Pro Tools after this, whether it was Pro Tools|24, Mix, or HD utilized the same basic TDM technology. Over the years there were revisions to the software and the cards, most notably the introduction of TDM II with the HD systems in 2002. However, the fundamental technology remained unchanged right up to Pro Tools 10. In my studio I am currently running the same HD cards I had 10 years ago running version 5 software. The only thing that changed has been the software.
With every version of Pro Tools released up until now, the only true differences have been feature driven, not in the language and technology of the core engine. Think of it this way, Pro Tools 10 is just a more capable version of Pro Tools 5. Both operate on the same engine and utilize the same TDM language, as well as access and distribute media in identical ways. This engine, known as the DAE (Digidesign Audio Engine) has worked in the background the entire time, keeping your audio dreams afloat. Over the years the software engineers have done a masterful job of refining the architecture and bringing new feature to life. While this tried-and-true technology is very capable of doing a good job, it has many features it can never perform due to its age. After so many years of dedicated service, it was time to retire the DAE and allow it to bow out gracefully. As Sheryl Crow said “A Change Would Do You Good”.