Digidesign, a division of Avid Technology, will announce new DigiDrives, Pro Tools|HD, and an upcoming Mbox at this week’s NAMM show. (NAMM is the International Music Products Association).
The company has added 36GB and 73GB Ultra160/LVD DigiDrives to their storage device product line. The new drives provide 64 percent higher sustained data transfer rates than their predecessors, as well as processing data at 10K RPM (10,000 revolutions), allowing for higher resolution and faster seek times, according to company spokesperson Chandra Lynn.
The DigiDrives, which are compatible with Pro Tools systems, boast integrated multi-channel/surround and store over 148 minutes of a full 64-track Pro Tools session recorded at 24-bit and 44.1 kHz. The 36|10 DigiDrive provides ample storage for multiple surround format mixes, and audio and video files. In both cases, this newest generation of DigiDrives allows you to play 2:1 compressed video off of a single drive (two drives were required for the previous generation), and to play completely uncompressed video from only two drives instead of the previous four, Lynn said.
Fitted with Digidesign/Avid’s patent-pending QuietDrive technology, DigiDrive enclosures reduce drive noise by up to 20dB, she added. Both models support increased SCSI chain length (up to 12 meters); additionally, up to four units can be clipped and interlocked together in a stack configuration. An optional quick-release rack kit lets users rackmount two drives side-by-side in a 2U space.
The new drives also boast front-mounted controls and indicators; advanced thermal sensing circuitry; and the DigiDriveTuner application, which optimizes the drive for use with Pro Tools. The 36|10k model costs US$990 and the 73|10k is $1,550.
Digidesign will also release Pro Tools|HD, a new, high-definition Pro Tools system for professional studios. An integrated production environment, the Pro Tools|HD systems is available in three expandable core configurations: Pro Tools|HD 1, HD 2 and HD 3.
Pro Tools|HD 1 features the HD Core PCI card, supporting up to 32 channels of I/O, 96 simultaneous audio tracks, and housing a host of DSPs that provide dedicated mixing and processing horsepower.
Pro Tools|HD 2 includes the HD Core card and an additional HD Process PCI card, offering more than double the mixing and processing power of HD 1 systems, support for 64 channels of I/O, and up to 128 simultaneous audio tracks. Pro Tools|HD 3 features the HD Core card and two additional HD Process cards, supporting up to 96 channels of I/O and 128 simultaneous audio tracks. All three core Pro Tools|HD systems require at least one HD audio interface — 192 I/O or 96 I/O — to facilitate I/O functionality.
The remainder of the Pro Tools|HD hardware series consists of three new peripherals designed to complement the capabilities of Pro Tools|HD. SYNC I/O serves as the master synchronization device for Pro Tools|HD, supporting all major industry-standard clock sources and time code formats. PRE offers eight channels of microphone preamplification, providing an analog path into the Pro Tools|HD environment. MIDI I/O is the custom-tailored, USB-powered MIDI solution for Pro Tools systems. Featuring ten MIDI input/output ports, MIDI I/O also supports Digidesign Time-Stamping (coming soon) for timing accuracy.
Enabling communication between these devices is accomplished with a new series of cabling solutions called DigiSnakes and DigiLinks. DigiSnakes include various connector Configurations designed to facilitate transmission between your studio and Digidesign’s ProControl or Control|24 control surfaces, or 192 I/O or PRE interfaces. DigiSnakes are available individually or in kit form (for control surfaces). DigiLink interface cables connect Pro Tools|HD I/O peripherals to HD PCI cards, or HD I/Os to HD I/Os.
As with previous Pro Tools systems, software components account for the other half of Pro Tools|HD. Pro Tools 5.3 software comprises the visual interface to Pro Tools|HD. Plus, the Pro Tools system supports a wide range of signal processing and sound design plug-ins and applications. Pro Tools|HD system pricing starts at $7,995, not including an audio interface.
Finally, Digidesign will introduce Mbox, a “micro” project/home studio. A Digidesign-approved USB-compatible computer (which includes Macs) and the included Pro Tools 5.2 LE software are all that’s required for Mbox, which is due this spring for $425.
The 2-channel USB audio peripheral has a 24-bit input-to-output signal path and includes two TRS (1/4-inch) XLR analog inputs — featuring Focusrite mic preamps and 48 V phantom power — as well as 24-bit stereo S/PDIF digital I/O.A Mbox session can be migrated to another Pro Tools platform, from Digi 001 to Pro Tools|HD, for further manipulation.
There are front-panel gain knobs and a source selection switch. Two analog inserts and zero-latency monitoring provide on- and outboard flexibility. Output is facilitated by both 1/8-inch and 1/4-inch headphone jacks with dedicated volume control, and via two 1/4-inch analog rear-panel jacks.
Digidesign adds that, concurrent with the shipping of the new Pro Tools|HD platform, there will be an “extensive variety” of new plug-ins and compatible software products that have been upgraded to take advantage of the increased processing power available in Pro Tools|HD, and the sampling rates of up to 192 kHz available in their new line of audio peripherals.
NAMM 2002 Winter show
runs Jan. 17-20 at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, CA.