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Helius 13th May 2013 02:47 PM

Pro Tools 11 and HDX still worth it?
 
Yesterday I read an article in the Pro-Tools-Expert Forum and they did a test run with Pro Tools 11 and HD Native. I upgraded my HD2 System last year to HDX1 and now I'm scared that I wasted too much Money. I always loved the Avid (Digidesign) DSP Systems, but now Waves is not doing AAX DSP and other companies like Soundtoys (which I use a lot) have not decided on supporting AAX DSP. In the past I bought so many TDM Plugins (Soundtoys, Waves Mercury, Echofarm.....) and now all the companies Switch to native only :-( Even Cranesong Phoenix which used to be TDM only is now available in AAX native (fu....) To me Pro Tools HD had always something exclusive and an high end touch, but it seems like Pro Tools 11 HD Native almost outperforms Pro Tools HDX (due to the new architecture).
Who thinks Pro Tools HDX is still a good buy? In start thinking that I just burnt a lot of Money on TDM Plugins and DSP Hardware :facepalm:

Is HDX really only a good buy for post production Studios anymore?

BigGreen 13th May 2013 03:02 PM

That is how it looks to me.

Sent from my ADR6300

Confused 13th May 2013 03:18 PM

Why not wait and see what happens?

PT11 isn't even out yet and you are getting worried. People are creating all kinds of preconceived notions of PT11 and its all a bit premature... Isn't it?

The article you mention says very little about what a native system can do compared to a HDx system. They also mention using an omni for an interface which has low I/O numbers. Who knows how it will turn out.

sharpeleven 13th May 2013 04:14 PM

I share the same concerns. I've purchased (upgraded) every TDM/HD system since the 'Mix+' days but have decided to get off the avid carousel for the time being. Ill just hold out with PT9/HD3 until the dust settles. Just too many variables an questions surrounding that topic, ie future of MacPro, Avid, connectivity etc.

Helius 13th May 2013 08:24 PM

I know that you can have more I/Os on HDX than on HD Native, but I mean several former TDM plugins won't be AAX DSP (TDM plugins costed about twice as much as the native version) Some formerly TDM exclusive plugins are now available as AAX native (e.g. Cranesong Phoenix)
It's really sad from an HDX user point of view. All the exclusivity seems to go away and why should I need the processing power of an HDX card if most 3rd party plugins are only AAX native :-(

It's just not fair that native gets so close to the High End stuff

psycho_monkey 14th May 2013 01:00 AM

Fair?! Not sure how I get that...besides, plenty of native stuff IS high end.

I'd still rather have a DSP assisted rig for tracking any day of the week. Mixing...is less significant, but it really depends on who your clients are and what they expect. Maybe native would have worked for you; maybe it wouldn't. It certainly works for me in a mixing setup, but not for a tracking session.

T_R_S 14th May 2013 01:06 AM

I was never able to stick with 96K from start to finish in TDM Native can't cut it for me @96k also I have 8 interfaces for 128 channels of I/O so HDX2 was the only answer.
True waves in not doing DSP but there are so many plug in companies that are doing some amazing AAX DSP plug-ins now waves really is passé.

Batiatus 14th May 2013 01:40 AM

i believe it has to do with Avid terrible programs for developers (or should i say franchisees), no indie developers are allowed to create nice plugs without jumping into too much hoops, this ensures Avid's cake portion.

monolithrec 14th May 2013 05:22 AM

i have both an HDX and HD native system, and i love'em both. don't feel "cheated" in any way
so many people are freaking out over the waves DSP thing, i don't get it, their plugs have always seemed thin and 2 dimensional to me, great for 12 years ago, but pretty unimpressive by today's standards

Helius 14th May 2013 07:49 AM

At the moment 80% of my projects is mixing and mastering. Tracking decreased a lot over the last few years because more and more musicians want to have lots of time to do the tracking without burning money. And as you know: time is money in a commercial studio environment.

Regarding the I/Os, I think I would never need more than 32 In/Outs and this would be possible with 2 HD I/Os connected to HD native card.

In the past Pro Tools HD software was always a lot more powerful than the "normal" Pro Tools software. Now with HD Native you can use Pro Tools HD software just without being able to run DSP plugins. So the software for the Native guys became a lot more powerful.

Heat and Phoenix (which I like a lot) were also TDM exclusive and now you can use Phoenix also on the Native systems.

Talking about plugins I have to admit that I didn't use the Waves Plugins as much as I did 5 - 10 years ago, but still, Mercury TDM costed twice the price of native and it would be nice to continue to use their plugins on the DSP HW (I think their latest plugins like Manny Marroquin bundle is not really bad)

I care more about other Plugins like Soundtoys. I really love their stuff. Echo Farm was also on almost any session.

I also would like to see some really good reverb (algorithimc) running on the HDX card, but I don't know of any which is planned as AAX DSP.


Like some other guys I also think that Avid is not too much interested in development of 3rd party AAX DSP plugins. They should really make life easier for developers. Small companies just could not afford to buy HDX at full price. They should support developers so that we can see more great AAX DSP plugins in the future. Then HDX would be a lot more appealing again

KevWind 14th May 2013 02:19 PM

So I have a question In the example of Waves for instance can HDX users run AAX native plugins natively on their systems instead of in DSP ? Or is that not possible ?

RyanC 14th May 2013 02:32 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by KevWind (Post 9038555)
So I have a question In the example of Waves for instance can HDX users run AAX native plugins natively on their systems instead of in DSP ? Or is that not possible ?

Yes you can. The downside is anytime you have a native plugin after a dsp plugin or on an aux, where it has entered the dsp mixer, it has a round trip host buffer latency. Like a UAD card in reverse. Multiple native plugs in a row only incur 1 rtl. So a lot of native can get messy in order to get your session back to a place where it has the ultra low latency.

KevWind 14th May 2013 04:15 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by RyanC (Post 9038592)
Yes you can. The downside is anytime you have a native plugin after a dsp plugin or on an aux, where it has entered the dsp mixer, it has a round trip host buffer latency. Like a UAD card in reverse. Multiple native plugs in a row only incur 1 rtl. So a lot of native can get messy in order to get your session back to a place where it has the ultra low latency.

Thanks for the reply. Am I correct in assuming this would be more of an issue in multi tracking with a number of native plugs as opposed to mixing ?

Helius 14th May 2013 04:26 PM

Yes. Tracking with native FX enabled is not really that great. At least not at the moment. Let's see if it is different in Pro Tools 11 with the new audio engine

RyanC 14th May 2013 04:34 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by KevWind (Post 9038871)
Thanks for the reply. Am I correct in assuming this would be more of an issue in multi tracking with a number of native plugs as opposed to mixing ?

Pretty much. A very high latency for mixing is a PITA (move a knob and wait 2 minutes to hear the result)...but in practice the OP here is complaining more about the lack of exclusivity and the lack of value of HDX.

I can't argue with that, on the numbers at mix a 3930k will do 850 d-verbs, an hdx card only 122. That works out to about 60 cents a d-verb for native vs 60 bucks for hdx. 11 will only widen that value gap...If hdx had a bricasti killer or something it would be a different ball game.

Still if someone already bought HDX, it is what it is. Maybe that will allow the OP to stave off a round of computer upgrades in the next 3-4 years, which would save money and time. In that sense it could still be a pretty solid investment. Just probably not as good as TDM was.

Doc Mixwell 14th May 2013 05:01 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Helius (Post 9035516)
but it seems like Pro Tools 11 HD Native almost outperforms Pro Tools HDX (due to the new architecture).
Who thinks Pro Tools HDX is still a good buy? In start thinking that I just burnt a lot of Money on TDM Plugins and DSP Hardware :facepalm:

Is HDX really only a good buy for post production Studios anymore?

TDM plugs that are antiquated and no longer updated should be sold off. Immediately. Not happy with Native processing power? Get a better computer.

Whether or not HDX is a good buy, is very much end user dependent. If you need more power, HDX is it. If you need more I/O, HDX is it. More Voices? More More More!

Pro Tools HDX is more powerful than native and it's precursor -- HD TDM. It is clear that Pro Tools HD11 will also be optimizing the HDX card system as well as the HD Native and PT11 Vanilla systems. No question about it. PT11HD with HDX will be amazing. HDX was made for it.

HD Native does not compete with the HDX core card system, because HDX1 adds the power of a quad core regarding processing strength to your Native Host Machine. The HDX card is strictly dedicated to running the entire Pro Tools HD system, [lowest latency, all I/O controllers, the entire software framework of PTHD] in addition to a scuba tank of extra DSP for running AAX DSP plugs.

Helius 14th May 2013 05:02 PM

Yeah that's right. It's the exclusivity and value I am missing at the moment.
At the moment I am waiting for the next Mac Pro (if it's released sometime). With the latest computers you can run tons of native plugins, but I would really like to see some heavy processor demanding plugins like a Bricasti or so that I can run on the HDX card. We should have AAX DSP plugins which would kill even the latest native systems heh

Helius 14th May 2013 05:08 PM

I really like my HDX and have it running on the latest Macbook Pro (not retina) in a Magma Expressbox 3T or in my Mac Pro 8-Core from 2009. Native Power is not an issue at the moment and I have to agree that I must get rid of my TDM plugins. I'll probably keep my Waves Mercury TDM and Soundtoys TDM Bundle because it makes no sense to sell it and buy the Native version instead.
Does anybody know about the Abbey Roads stuff. Are the going to make AAX DSP?

RyanC 14th May 2013 05:10 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Doc Mixwell (Post 9039028)
HD Native does not compete with the HDX core card system, because HDX1 adds the power of a quad core regarding processing strength to your Native Host Machine.

What quad core? I was getting about 600+ D-verbs on a I7 3770k, vs 122 on HDX. Sure the HDX is low latency, but 11's hyrbid buffer should make that a non-issue in most cases.

JSt0rm 15th May 2013 08:24 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by RyanC (Post 9039057)
What quad core? I was getting about 600+ D-verbs on a I7 3770k, vs 122 on HDX. Sure the HDX is low latency, but 11's hyrbid buffer should make that a non-issue in most cases.

You have to be careful with those tests. If the plug ins aren't actually running audio they don't use as much CPU. The dsp systems block out the processing before needing it hence a lower count. I've worked native sessions near the red line and its frustrating to say the least. I run hd native though.

RyanC 15th May 2013 03:24 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JSt0rm (Post 9041202)
You have to be careful with those tests. If the plug ins aren't actually running audio they don't use as much CPU. The dsp systems block out the processing before needing it hence a lower count. I've worked native sessions near the red line and its frustrating to say the least. I run hd native though.

They were all running audio (1k sines from signal generator), the 3770k was overclocked to 4.5. It's just a d-verb test which isn't the ultimate real world scenario, but I was curious to know if Adam actually ran some numbers and if so with what CPU/PI's etc or if that was *anecdotal*.

But sure, native systems are a hassle right at the edge, but even if we call a 3770k 400 d-verbs-worth or 350 and leave some overhead, it is still more like 3 HDX cards. And all of that is with 10, 11 will push the usable numbers up, how much we will have to wait and see.

UnderTow 15th May 2013 06:50 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Doc Mixwell (Post 9039028)
It is clear that Pro Tools HD11 will also be optimizing the HDX card system as well as the HD Native and PT11 Vanilla systems. No question about it.

There are plenty of questions. Like: Why do you think the HDX cards will run any better with PT11?

There are very good reasons for the native parts of PT11 to run better than PT10: The whole legacy RTAS and TDM code is gone. All 32 bit legacy code is gone (or should be at least). That is good reason to assume that PT11 native will be much faster than PT10 native. (And all early reports confirm this). With the HDX cards this does not apply. There is no RTAS or TDM code running on them. Neither in PT10 nor in PT11. HDX cards just run the DSP code. Nothing else. There is no reason to believe the code running on the cards is any more efficient in PT11 than in PT10. Remember this is not stuff that is OS or application bit depth dependent. This is already highly optimized DSP code right now in PT10. If in PT10 a HDX card can run X number of plugins there is no reason to believe it will be able to run more in PT11!

That said, assuming there are no early days kinks and quirks that need to be ironed out, HDX users will probably have a better experience with PT11 but that has nothing to do with the HDX cards themselves. Rather, everything NOT on the HDX cards should be faster and smoother. The same will apply to Native users!

Quote:

HD Native does not compete with the HDX core card system
Only because Avid cripple their native systems to encourage people to buy expensive hardware that, in most cases, they do not need.

Quote:

because HDX1 adds the power of a quad core regarding processing strength to your Native Host Machine.
Do you mean a G5 quad core. ;)

Quote:

The HDX card is strictly dedicated to running the entire Pro Tools HD system, [lowest latency, all I/O controllers, the entire software framework of PTHD]
This is probably just a terminology thing but the HDX cards only run the DSP code. Not the entire PT software framework.

Alistair

Confused 17th May 2013 01:41 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by UnderTow (Post 9042611)
There are plenty of questions. Like: Why do you think the HDX cards will run any better with PT11?

There are very good reasons for the native parts of PT11 to run better than PT10: The whole legacy RTAS and TDM code is gone. All 32 bit legacy code is gone (or should be at least). That is good reason to assume that PT11 native will be much faster than PT10 native. (And all early reports confirm this). With the HDX cards this does not apply. There is no RTAS or TDM code running on them. Neither in PT10 nor in PT11. HDX cards just run the DSP code. Nothing else. There is no reason to believe the code running on the cards is any more efficient in PT11 than in PT10. Remember this is not stuff that is OS or application bit depth dependent. This is already highly optimized DSP code right now in PT10. If in PT10 a HDX card can run X number of plugins there is no reason to believe it will be able to run more in PT11!

That said, assuming there are no early days kinks and quirks that need to be ironed out, HDX users will probably have a better experience with PT11 but that has nothing to do with the HDX cards themselves. Rather, everything NOT on the HDX cards should be faster and smoother. The same will apply to Native users!
Alistair

The last paragraph is what I assumed Doc to imply. Concessions were made to provide compatibility for both HDx and TDM in previous versions. While you are correct that HDx only does DSP processing, in a lot of aspects the host computer is limited to what the DSP can execute.

Case in point: Offline bounce. The removal of TDM compatibility means HDx DSP implementation can be fully realized (read: optimized) through the host computer.

I don't doubt further optimisations will be made... not in terms of plugin count, but software features that were previously not possible within the TDM system.

T_R_S 18th May 2013 09:30 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by UnderTow (Post 9042611)
HDX cards just run the DSP code. Nothing else.

Actually that is not quite correct, The Audio Engine in HDX is hardware based on the HDX cards. Thus no matter how many audio tracks you are running 16 or 768 there is no stress on the host CPU. Thus 100% of the host CPU is used for Native plugin processing.


http://www.n2growth.com/blog/wp-cont...he-Facts-2.jpg

UnderTow 18th May 2013 10:17 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by T_R_S (Post 9051824)
Actually that is not quite correct, The Audio Engine in HDX is hardware based on the HDX cards.

How is that not correct? That is DSP code. Why do you think they are called DSP chips? DSP doesn't just mean effects processing. It is everything done with the audio. Summing, routing, gain changes, FX processing etc. Most of the code to do this will be running on the DSP chips, yes, but that is not the whole story.

Quote:

Thus no matter how many audio tracks you are running 16 or 768 there is no stress on the host CPU. Thus 100% of the host CPU is used for Native plugin processing.
Well besides the fact that the audio has to be fed to the DSP cards to start with, and that can put some load on your system, every time you add native AAX plugins, especially between AAX DSP plugins or on auxes, the audio signals need to be shuttled to/from the CPU to/from the DSP cards. This causes a load on the CPU completely independently from the actual processing the plugins might be doing.

This is easily tested: Create a session with loads of tracks. Let's say 256. Fill up ALL the inserts with AAX native trim plugins set to unity. Check the CPU load on playback. It should be at or close to zero. After that, start again but put an AAX DSP plugin as first insert on all tracks, then an AAX native trim plugin on the 2nd insert, again at unity, then insert an AAX DSP plugin on the 3rd insert then again the AAX native trim on the 4th insert and so on and so forth until all inserts are used up. The idea is to force PT to keep sending the audio signals back and forth between the CPU and the HDX cards. Check out the CPU load.

I'm quite sure the CPU load will be higher in the second scenario even though there are LESS plugins running natively.

As for the facts, don't confuse the superficial marketing version of the facts for the real facts. :)

Alistair

Confused 20th May 2013 09:32 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by UnderTow (Post 9051929)
How is that not correct? That is DSP code. Why do you think they are called DSP chips? DSP doesn't just mean effects processing. It is everything done with the audio. Summing, routing, gain changes, FX processing etc. Most of the code to do this will be running on the DSP chips, yes, but that is not the whole story.



Well besides the fact that the audio has to be fed to the DSP cards to start with, and that can put some load on your system, every time you add native AAX plugins, especially between AAX DSP plugins or on auxes, the audio signals need to be shuttled to/from the CPU to/from the DSP cards. This causes a load on the CPU completely independently from the actual processing the plugins might be doing.

This is easily tested: Create a session with loads of tracks. Let's say 256. Fill up ALL the inserts with AAX native trim plugins set to unity. Check the CPU load on playback. It should be at or close to zero. After that, start again but put an AAX DSP plugin as first insert on all tracks, then an AAX native trim plugin on the 2nd insert, again at unity, then insert an AAX DSP plugin on the 3rd insert then again the AAX native trim on the 4th insert and so on and so forth until all inserts are used up. The idea is to force PT to keep sending the audio signals back and forth between the CPU and the HDX cards. Check out the CPU load.

I'm quite sure the CPU load will be higher in the second scenario even though there are LESS plugins running natively.

As for the facts, don't confuse the superficial marketing version of the facts for the real facts. :)

Alistair


So now you are saying that AVID can optimize PT HD11 for HDx cards because it isn't just DSP code running?

I can hardly keep up.

UnderTow 20th May 2013 02:10 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Confused (Post 9055656)
So now you are saying that AVID can optimize PT HD11 for HDx cards because it isn't just DSP code running?

Huh? I am responding to T_R_S' comment: "Thus 100% of the host CPU is used for Native plugin processing."

A part of the host CPU will be used to shuttle the audio data back and forth between the CPU and the HDX cards. (Something that doesn't happen in a purely native system). That means that you don't have 100% CPU left for native processing.

Did you try the test I proposed?

To make it perfectly clear: All things being equal, when using a DSP system, you have less native computing available than when using a purely native system. This means that the old argument that DSP+Native always trumps Native alone is false.

So then the question becomes: Does the DSP system in question add more power to the Native setup than it removes (by loading the host CPU to shuttle the data back and forth)? For some old DSP technology the answer is no. In the case of HDX, the answer is maybe yes for now[1] but as CPUs get ever faster, there will come a tipping point where native computing alone will be more powerful than HDX+native computing. If we haven't already reached it...

[1] I haven't seen any exhaustive independent benchmarks. That is why I write "maybe".

Alistair

Confused 20th May 2013 04:39 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by UnderTow (Post 9056118)
Huh? I am responding to T_R_S' comment: "Thus 100% of the host CPU is used for Native plugin processing."

A part of the host CPU will be used to shuttle the audio data back and forth between the CPU and the HDX cards. (Something that doesn't happen in a purely native system). That means that you don't have 100% CPU left for native processing.

Did you try the test I proposed?

To make it perfectly clear: All things being equal, when using a DSP system, you have less native computing available than when using a purely native system. This means that the old argument that DSP+Native always trumps Native alone is false.

So then the question becomes: Does the DSP system in question add more power to the Native setup than it removes (by loading the host CPU to shuttle the data back and forth)? For some old DSP technology the answer is no. In the case of HDX, the answer is maybe yes for now[1] but as CPUs get ever faster, there will come a tipping point where native computing alone will be more powerful than HDX+native computing. If we haven't already reached it...

[1] I haven't seen any exhaustive independent benchmarks. That is why I write "maybe".

Alistair


So you are saying that you routinely max out a hdx card in day to day work?
That's egrets impressive.

I don't really have any interest in doing the test... Based on the fact that it bares zero resemblance to how a user runs a session with protools. There is really no point in creating such artificial examples and saying "hey look! The CPU spiked a bit". It's probably best to keep things in the real world.

But anyway. Whoop dee doo. I guess some guys just need to prove this stuff to sleep well at night. I don't even max out my HD system.

Andy_bt 20th May 2013 04:46 PM

Slightly OT but I did a test running a 96kHz session on a PT10 HD native rig (as I think the card is supposed to take care of the mixer duties) compared to the same system running Reaper (64 native using AU), same buffer/settings, and the latter totally killed PT in terms of efficiency, something like 2x more plugins.
I'll test again when PT11 is out.
A.

UnderTow 20th May 2013 06:33 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Andy_bt (Post 9056497)
Slightly OT but I did a test running a 96kHz session on a PT10 HD native rig (as I think the card is supposed to take care of the mixer duties)

No it doesn't. The mix engine is fully native. The card only does the I/O. (And the 8 channel wide zero-latency monitoring).

Quote:

compared to the same system running Reaper (64 native using AU), same buffer/settings, and the latter totally killed PT in terms of efficiency, something like 2x more plugins.
I'll test again when PT11 is out.
A.
Yes Reaper is MUCH more efficient than PT10. When it comes to VI's the difference is even much bigger.

Here is an old graph (with Cubase, not Reaper. Reaper is more efficient than Cubase).
http://dawbench.com/images/dawbench-vi-cv.jpg

In the worst case scenario Cubase outperforms PT9 10 to 1. :amaze:

I'm looking forward to see how the 100% AAX PT11 performs. :)

Alistair


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