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Digidesign Ships Pro Tools 5.1
Audio suite also gets new plugins, controllers and disk drives

by David Nagel
Executive Producer
[email protected]

Digidesign has announced several new products in the last few days, including the release of Pro Tools 5.1. Pro Tools version 5.1 introduces integrated surround mixing, more processing power, enhanced MIDI functionality and major enhancements to editing, navigation, session interchange and system integration, according to Digidesign. In addition to Pro Tools 5.1, Digidesign has also announced Pro Tools LE 5.1 for Digi 001 and Digi ToolBox XP; the Control|24 tactile controller; EditPack option for ProControl; Reverb One (plugin); new DigiDrive disk drives; Echo Farm for Digidesign MIX systems; and the Orange Vocoder realtime audio effects processor.

Pro Tools 5.1 new surround mixing, editing and processing capabilities on Pro Tools|24 MIX/MIXplus systems (with support for all currently defined surround formats up to 7.1). Version 5.1 also features stereo and multi-channel disk tracks. Tracks now support multiple output assignments for simultaneous creation of multi-format mixes, as well as independent multichannel panning. For control when automating surround pan moves, a large graphical XY Panner display is provided. Other features include:

  • A new I/O Setup page for custom routing flexibility, with I/O setting files that can be saved for import/export between sessions and other system configurations.
  • Pro Tools TDM 5.1 includes support for host-based processing with RTAS (Real Time AudioSuite) plugins, as well as MultiShell II. (MultiShell II, an update to Digidesign's DSP chip sharing technology, is now supported by most Digidesign plugins.)
  • The Pro Tools MachineControl option has been enhanced to support slaving of Pro Tools to any 9-pin device, allowing remote triggering of playback, record and track arming.
  • New for TDM systems is Beat Detective, a creative module within Pro Tools that offers groove extraction, automatic tempo map creation, region conforming (quantizing) to the groove and the ability to automatically trim the results via Edit Smoothing (includes cross fading).
  • Version 5.1 includes a new MIDI Event List window. The single window can be used for quick and precise input and editing of all MIDI data. An Insert Event at Playback Location allows either notes or MIDI events to be added without a MIDI keyboard.
  • Additional new MIDI features include individual MIDI track offsets and multi-device MIDI recording.
  • A new Universe Window is now available on TDM systems for global overview of an entire session, allowing users to click anywhere within the window to navigate within a session.
  • Version 5.1 adds the ability for manual and automatic deactivation of tracks, routing assignments and plugins while keeping all settings and automation.
  • Digidesign's AVoption and AVoption|XL now allow capture, import and playback of multiple Avid-compatible video files within the Pro Tools application. The upgrade also includes limited video editing, including move, slip and copy of clips in the video track.

For a limited time, Pro Tools|24 MIX/MIXplus systems will include additional plugins specific to working in a surround-mixing environment. This bundle includes a new Digidesign surround metering plug-in providing a new and unique energy display meter for multi-channel mixes, Kind of Loud's Woofie plugin for bass management in surround systems and Tweetie plugin for surround monitoring and calibration.

Edit Pack for ProControl
Digidesign is also introducing its new Edit Pack option for ProControl. Edit Pack features two touch-sensitive motorized joystick panners, a QWERTY keyboard and trackball, dedicated edit switches and encoders and eight-channel, high-resolution, multi-channel metering. With version 5.1, new ProControl features include comprehensive surround knob-controlled panning, support for a new touch-sensitive plugin flip mode and support for up to five Fader Packs for 48 total faders.

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