Meet the Newest Pro Tools: Digidesign Pro Tools 8

Pro Tools 8 has officially been announced by Avid/Digidesign and is showcasing a preview of the software this weekend at the 125 Annual AES Show in San Franciso. Digidesign is calling Pro Tools 8 “the most advanced audio creation and production software”.

Digidesign have announced a release date of “mid-Q4 2008” and “late 2008”. So, if everything goes according to plan, you should be able to get Pro Tools 8 in November/December.

This is information I’ve gathered from various Digidesign staff and resources. As usual, things can change up to the last minute. Please refer to the website for the most up-to-date and accurate information regarding Pro Tools 8.

Pro Tools 8 Features Overview

Pro Tools features a slick new interface, dozens of new plug-ins and virtual instruments, exciting new scoring and MIDI features, expanded editing and mixing capabilities, enhanced performance, and more. With Pro Tools 8, you get the most comprehensive music and sound creation features and functionality, and the proven, dedicated platform for world-class audio production, all in a single application.

Pro Tools 8: New Look and Feel

All of the standard Pro Tools functionality we’re used to is still in place, but with some subtle enhancements:

  • Ten Inserts Per Channel
  • Customizable Toolbar
  • Easier access to editing options
  • New Session Templates
  • Improved Color Palette
  • Show only your favorite tools
  • Tile or cascade your window arrangement
  • Navigate through sessions quickly using the Universe view

Pro Tools 8: New Plug-Ins

Pro Tools 8 comes fully packed with a huge, comprehensive collection of music creation and sound processing plug-ins, giving you a well-stocked studio right out of the box.

  • Mini Grand piano
  • Boom drum machine
  • DB-33 tonewheel organ
  • Vacuum synth
  • Xpand!2™ synth
  • Eleven™ Free: Guitar Amp Modeling and Distortion
  • SansAmp® Distortion
  • Play DJ with Torq® LE
  • 20 new AIR effects
  • 8 GB of high-quality loops

Boom Drum Machine Plugin included with Pro Tools 8

DB33 Organ Plugin also included.

Air Dynamic Delay ~ one of many new free plugins

Pro Tools 8 puts dozens of professional sound processing plug-ins and tools at your disposal — including nine new additions worth over $1,300 (USD) on their own — you can fix, enhance, and polish your mixes with ease.

Pro Tools 8: More Tracks!

  • Standard 48 Mono or Stereo Tracks in Pro Tools 8 LE
  • 64 Mono or Stereo Tracks with the new Music Production Toolkit 2
  • 128 Audio Tracks and 7.1 Surround Mixing Capabilities with the new Complete Production Kit

Pro Tools 8: Scoring Features

Pro Tools 8 adds a complete set of Scoring features to the program.

  • Compose music using the notation tools
  • Transcribe MIDI data into notation
  • Write parts on a single staff (treble, bass, alto, or tenor) or grand staff
  • Add chord symbols
  • Add Chord diagrams (for guitarists)
  • Transcribe MIDI parts in real time
  • Print out a complete score or choose specific instrumental parts
  • Export sessions as Sibelius (.sib) files for use with Sibelius software

Pro Tools 8: Tons of New MIDI Features

  • New MIDI Editor windows
  • New features for separating, consolidating, and muting MIDI notes
  • View superimposed MIDI and Instrument tracks for easier arrangement editing
  • Color code MIDI notes by track, type, or velocity
  • Audition velocity changes
  • Play MIDI notes when tabbing
  • Multiple Automation and Controller lanes for easier editing of automation and continuous controller (CC) data

Pro Tools 8: Elastic Pitch

Elastic Pitch is a Pro Tools 8 addition to the Elastic Audio feature. It looks powerful! Perhaps….too powerful….hmm.

  • Transpose an entire audio region in semitones
    — up or down up to four octaves — without affecting its timing or tempo
  • Retune vocals by altering the pitch of individual notes in cent intervals
  • Create cool sound effects using the Varispeed algorithm.

Pro Tools 8: Smart Playlist Editing

Pro Tools 8 features new track compositing workflows, enabling you to quickly and easily piece together the best possible version of a performance from multiple recording passes. While this type of editing has been available in other application’s for at least five years, it looks like Digidesign have taken the concept one-step further. I- for one – am VERY happy about this functionality being brought to Pro Tools.

  • View and audition Multiple takes in Playlist view
  • Select the best parts from the track’s alternate playlists
  • Copy them to the main playlist with a single click
  • Rate regions on a scale of 1 – 5 to help identify preferred takes

Pro Tools 8: Mixing and Editing Improvements

  • Lock regions to the timeline to prevent them from being inadvertently moved or edited
  • View and edit multiple lanes of automation (volume, pan, plug-ins, etc) without changing track views
  • View and edit multiple lanes of MIDI CC data (velocity, pitchbend, and modulation) without changing track views
  • 10 inserts to play with per track

More Pro Tools 8 Features

Pro Tools 8 has a number of new features aimed at helping you become more efficient, inspire your creativity, and provide more flexibility for your workflow needs. Here’s a quick look at some of them:

  • Check for Updates feature keeps Pro Tools and your plug-ins up to date
  • Windows Vista (32-bit Business or Ultimate) support on Pro Tools|HD
  • QuickTime HD support on Mac OS X-based systems
  • Enhanced session open and close times on Pro Tools|HD
  • Supports files up to 4 GB in size, letting you work with longer files with higher sample rates