Following the un-bundling of Pro Tools HD software and hardware in the recent Pro Tools 12.6 update, this new interface from Avid at AES 2016 is really interesting to see. Although a new interface was over-due, who’d have thought a re-worked DAD AX32 was on the cards. The Pro Tools MTRX, which is clearly named as an abbreviation of ‘matrix’, will offer a multiple of I/O solutions for Pro Tools HDX and HD Native platforms. This new Avid HD interface is set to benefit from the high-quality converters by Digital Audio Denmark.
Avid Pro Tools MTRX Interface
There hasn’t been a new Pro Tools HD interface for a while and I believe this announcement demonstrates many of Avid’s intentions moving forward. Firstly, it’s really encouraging to see a new Avid Pro Tools HD interface, as there hasn’t been one released for a while. It’s particularly interesting to see this so soon after Avid un-bundled Pro Tools HD software and hardware. While you can now buy the Pro Tools HD software separately with a third party interface, you will need to purchase an additional license to use it. Here though, you can achieve third-party quality converters in a fully supported Avid interface.
Then there’s the fact this is a partnership with DAD, which besides the high-quality AD/DA converters, also opens up a wider selection of connectivity solutions. This is first Avid branded HD interface to offer Dante. Until now, the only way to achieve this was with Focusrite’s RedNet and Red 4Pre interfaces. Earlier this year there were reports of Avid having discussions with Focusrite, but apparently that didn’t materialise into anything and now we can see this partnership with DAD. This isn’t the first time Avid have worked with a hardware manufacturer of course, for example the Apogee Duet and Quartet were also re-branded.
I also find the Dante option interesting, as Avid are already using AVB as their chosen AoIP protocol for their live sound hardware. Recently however, Avid also released a Dante option card for their S6L live sound console. Avid have been criticised in the past for limiting purchasing options and pricing, but this feels like the beginning to new flexible Avid. It’s a start at least.
Following a press release from Avid, just as the DAD 32-channel interfaces offer, we believe the Pro Tools MTRX will support AES, MADI, Dante, and analog I/O. A full specification isn’t available yet, but Avid supplied the following info:
- Gain extended monitor control and flexible routing with Pro Tools | S6, S3, and other EUCON surfaces
- Use the converter as a high-performance 64-channel Pro Tools | HD interface
- Connect and route their entire studio through AES3, MADI, Dante, and/or SDI I/O (MADI, Dante and SDI I/O option cards sold separately)
- Add high-quality mic preamps as an option and remotely control them from Pro Tools
- Customize Pro Tools | MTRX to their needs through eight available 8-channel card slots
- Keep everything in sync through Word Clock, AES11, Video, and all digital I/O
- Get automatic sample rate conversion on AES inputs
According to the independent Pro Tools Expert website, they also believe that “DAD will cease using DigiLink on any of their interfaces”. That’s quite a big condition for DAD to have agreed too, but clearly they stand to make a lot more as a fully-supported interface manufacturer.
This news is extremely fresh and therefore there isn’t much more information available yet. Keep an eye on Avid’s website as information is sure to become available very soon. Avid have said that the Pro Tools MTRX will be available in the 4th quarter of 2016. Prices aren’t announced yet, but I assume the price of the DAD AX32 of around 2,898 GBP is a good guide.