This new DAW controller by Avid was announced in October last year. Now the wait is finally over. I’ve seen one of these new Pro Tools Docks in the flesh at a trade show and know a couple of individuals who have already managed to spend some time with one. Initial reactions to the product are very good, but then you hear about the price, add on the cost of an iPad and it suddenly becomes a serious decision. Have Avid shot themselves in the foot – again…?
Avid’s design continuity
Having been lucky enough to use an Avid S3 and S6, their larger DAW controllers, it’s great to see a consistency to their product line. Until now, the range of controllers for Pro Tools has been vastly different and there wasn’t anything suitable in the lower price band. There is a high level of quality which their new product line can boast. Pictures of the Pro Tools Dock don’t really do it any justice in my opinion, possibly because of the matt grey finish. The dock is also designed to fit alongside an S3 to effectively offer an extension to that surface, with features that compliment an S3. This alone demonstrates the level of quality for the Dock, as an S3 is worth nearly 4,000 GBP. In terms of design and ergonomics with a quality feel, I believe Avid have got it just right with this new device.
The Pro Tools Dock introduced
It’s all about modern workflow. As mixing ‘in-the-box’ is probably the most common method for music and post production, more and more studios are doing away with a console altogether. Processing power has increased which has meant bigger production workflows. Channel counts are higher and the lack of hardware leaves us to resort to the keyboard and mouse to manage all these. The Pro Tools Dock answers both of these issues, whilst adding additional control for the small professional studio.
As a controller it offers the obvious fader (a single one in this case), buttons and rotary knobs in a small format. It controls many default parameters, and there are also a lot of user-definable controls. The use of an iPad offers excellent touchscreen technology, in turn letting you reach parameters in your mix swiftly and helping you navigating high track counts.
I really like this product and I think they made the right decision to utilise an iPad instead of building their own touchscreen. The iPad remote control of Pro Tools is excellent and the Dock provides the perfect extension. However, I’m slightly reserved at placing an order immediately because of the price. I don’t believe the price really reflects that you also need an iPad to use it, but as a quality product and a concept, I’d love one.
It can apparently be used as a controller for other DAW’s too, but there’s been little feedback at how well it works with anything other than Pro Tools. It will be interesting to see what users start to feed back, and if other apps will become available for running other DAW’s on the Dock.
The Pro Tools Dock is now available to order with only a couple of days wait, presumably as distributors wait for stock to finish arriving from the US. Prices are around 960.05 GBP. If it was half that price I think they’d be selling these like hot cakes, but at this price I believe the sales will be disappointing.
Check out Avid’s webpage about the Pro Tools Dock for more information.