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Pro Tools 5.1 Coming Late 2000, Early 2001
New version adds integrated surround mixing, more processing power, enhanced MIDI functionality

by David Nagel
Executive Producer
[email protected]

Digidesign says it plans to release version 5.1 of its Pro Tools TDM audio suite late this year or early next—possibly a few weeks following the AES convention, which will be held later this month. Digidesign says the new version is a major upgrade to its digital audio workstation, introducing integrated surround mixing, more processing power, enhanced MIDI functionality and major enhancements to editing, navigation, session interchange and system integration.

Pro Tools version 5.1 will include 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 will support multiple output assignments for simultaneous creation of multi-format mixes, as well as independent multichannel panning. (A large graphical XY Panner display is provided.)

A new I/O Setup page provides custom routing, with I/O setting files that can be saved for import and export between sessions and other system configurations.

Pro Tools TDM 5.1 includes support for host-based processing with RTAS plugins, as well as MultiShell II for increased DSP power with TDM hardware.

Digidesign is also previewing at the IBC show this week in Amsterdam 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 surround knob-controlled panning, support for a new touch-sensitive plug-in flip mode and support for up to five Fader Packs for 48 total faders.

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 plugin, Kind of LoudŐs Woofie plugin for bass management in surround systems and the Tweetie plugin for surround monitoring and calibration.

In the new version, 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. With an expanded Track Arming Profile list to recognize more industry standard machines plus improved transport control, MachineControl offers more precise command of external linear decks.

New for TDM systems is Beat Detective, a creative module within Pro Tools. Beat Detective offers groove extraction, automatic tempo map creation, region conforming (quantizing) to the groove and the ability to trim the results automatically via Edit Smoothing.

Version 5.1 will also include a new MIDI Event List window. The single window can be used for input and editing of all MIDI data. 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.

Integration with Avid Video workstations also gain enhancements in Pro Tools 5.1. The AVoption and AVoption|XL will 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.

Other features include:

  • Multiple levels of undo
  • Automatic session saving at user-defined intervals
  • Multiple plug-in window displays
  • A duplicate track option, which preserves plugin instances, settings and automation
  • Drag and drop plugin duplication.

Pro Tools version 5.1 is expected to ship at the end of 2000. For more information, visit

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