Avid Unveils New Generation Audio Software and Venue Live Sound Mixing Surfaces at NAB 2018

April 9 2018, 01:35
It’s a new era for Avid, now with Jeff Rosica as Avid new CEO and President. Of course the completely new generation of products announced at NAB 2018 (Las Vegas, April 9-12) is the result of years of preparation, but the way this latest wave of innovation was announced at the Avid Connect 2018 event is already a sign of changes in the company. Essentially, Avid is accelerating the delivery of new tools, apps, services, and solutions for creative professionals and media companies.

Avid Connect is the annual gathering of the Avid Customer Association (ACA) and largest press event, just before NAB starts. This year, Avid expanded its comprehensive product offerings with advancements across the complete range of products. As Jeff Rosica explains, “The massive changes in media and entertainment, while challenging, open up new doors for our customers and users to improve the way they work and secure better results for their businesses. We’re excited to help them unlock their full potential by further accelerating our delivery of connected, open platforms of tools, apps, services and solutions that ensure it’s easier than ever before to create the most compelling content.”

Avid announcements for the event included the introduction of new SaaS cloud services and solutions platform for media production, named Avid | On Demand, allowing companies to deploy products from Avid and third-party (i.e. Microsoft) on a per-project basis, including closed captioning verification, language detection, facial recognition, scene detection, and speech-to-text conversion. Another new important solution is the Avid NEXIS E5 NL nearline storage solution, a software-defined storage platform.

On the software front, Avid announced updates for nearly every single product within its Creative Tools Family, divided into new packaged levels in order to provide access to Avid’s iconic Pro Tools, Media Composer and Sibelius software from free versions for personal use, to large production teams. To help users deliver their best work, Avid also introduced the Avid Connect App, which will be available this summer to all of Avid’s 1.4 million account holders, delivering a centralized “one-stop” experience for artists to find, connect and collaborate with each other on any laptop, iOS or Android device. The app provides immediate access to everything an artist needs such as their profile, connections, projects and products.

On the music and audio software segment, Avid announced new configurations for Pro Tools First (the free version), Pro Tools (the standard version for personal commercial use), and Pro Tools Ultimate, with all the tools that companies need to complete projects, from music recording and post-production, to sound for film or TV using object oriented audio and immersive audio format support. Even Avid’s music composition software is now available as Sibelius First, Sibelius and Sibelius Ultimate.

As Alan Hoff, Vice President of Market Solutions at Avid explains, “By expanding our extensive creative tools, we’re giving artists a complete set of solutions that grow with them, from the time they start out, to the moment they enter the professional arena, to when they are at the top of their career. Hundreds of thousands of aspiring creatives have already started their careers on the right path with our free First products, and now we’re offering that opportunity to the music notation community.”

All three editions of the new Pro Tools family offer the same approach to composition, recording, mixing and collaboration in the cloud with a streamlined creative toolset, with the standard Pro Tools adding more audio and MIDI tools as needed for commercial use. Pro Tools Ultimate is the definitive and comprehensive toolset for music and audio post production, and now includes the Avid Complete Plug-in Bundle as well as Pro Tools MachineControl. It also offers cloud collaboration enhancements and immersive sound mixing integrations with Dolby Atmos.

The new Sibelius family includes also a free version designed for everyone from students to seasoned musicians, with a streamlined notation toolset and many of the same standard features including music composition transcription, editing and unique cloud-based workflows. The standard version of Sibelius adds enhanced cloud sharing, and augmented notation capabilities so users can quickly and easily share and review scores anywhere, while Sibelius Ultimate was designed for professionals, enabling users to create complex arrangements with an unlimited number of instruments, and to orchestrate high-quality, professional scores.

New Venue Configurations
On the audio hardware front, Avid introduced a spectacular new range of mixing systems and control surfaces. Basically, Avid announced a massive expansion to its Avid Venue S6L family of live sound systems, with three new control surfaces, a new engine, and two new I/O racks – all on a unified platform. Offering expanded modularity, scalability and flexibility to meet any size production, space, or budget requirement, the new Venue S6L provides 100% software, hardware, and show file compatibility across all system components.

Avid Venue S6L is a modular live sound mixing system that delivers configurations for front-of-house, monitor, broadcast, and theatre applications, with the same software, but more component options to configure and scale a system to meet any production, space, or budget requirement. Users can take control of their mix with a choice of five surfaces — including the new S6L-48D, S6L-24C, and S6L-16C — that offer from 16 to 48 faders. These control surfaces can be paired with a choice of three engines, including the new E6L-112, and can be connected to any combination of S6L’s four I/O rack options, including the new Stage 32 and Local 16.

The modularity of the new expanded Venue S6L enables engineers to scale systems up or down to meet their changing requirements for control, processing, and I/O. All systems share 100% show file compatibility and sound quality, regardless of the system configuration. And with S6L’s True Gain technology, engineers can easily share I/O racks across multiple networked S6L systems without any loss of audio quality, reducing I/O and cable requirements, set-up time, and transportation costs.

Offering unprecedented processing capabilities — with over 300 processing channels — through its advanced engine design, the new Venue S6L features modern touchscreen workflows, with higher track counts and more processing power than ever before. And with the new WSG-HD option card, the Venue S6L now provides engineers with unmatched integration with Waves SoundGrid systems, including extensive tactile and software control of plug-in parameters, a vastly simplified setup, system redundancy, legacy show file import of plug-ins parameters, and much greater creative flexibility.

As Dana Ruzicka, Chief Product Officer at Avid explains, “With 100% software, hardware, and show file compatibility and interoperability across the entire line, engineers can create the perfect system for any application, and scale the biggest stadium shows down to the smallest after-hours club appearance with ease. And because everything is on the same platform, it enables us to quickly bring new features and components to market.”

A complete Venue S6L System includes control surface, engine, and one or more I/O components­. The new control surfaces now include the following configurations
Venue | S6L-48D: 48 + 2 faders, 160 assignable knobs, 1 integrated Master Touchscreen, 5 integrated Channel Touch Modules
Venue | S6L-24C: 24 + 2 faders, 32 assignable knobs, 1 integrated Master Touchscreen
Venue | S6L-16C: 16 + 2 faders, 32 assignable knobs

New engine:
Venue | E6L-112: 112 input processing channels, 48 mix busses + LCR

New I/O racks:
Stage 32 — Maximum I/O flexibility in a smaller footprint for stage or remote I/O needs, with support for a mix of up to 32 inputs and outputs total, choosing from a variety of analog I/O, digital I/O, and Dante card options.
Local 16 — Expands control surface local I/O capabilities in a compact package that provides 8 analog inputs, 8 analog outputs, and 8 AES digital inputs and outputs

More option cards are available as separate purchases and not included with core systems. The new Venue S6L configurations and components will be available in Summer 2018.
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