Tag Archives for " Avid "
Technology moves ahead, sometimes quickly and sometimes more slowly than we would like. That said, we’re all beholden to it more than ever, and that trend shows no letting up. Because tech is such a big part of our lives, here’s a report card on some of the tech products, companies and issues from 2016.
Another year has gone by and our favorite company has again failed to deliver on a new Mac Pro. The company seems to be fixated on iPhones these days, which brings in way more revenue, but Apple’s resurgence was on the backs of the creatives, and it would be a shame if we were ultimately abandoned. That said, there’s a lot of DAWs out there still running on iMacs and older towers, so that says a lot about Apple’s product lifespan.
Depending upon which end of the market you’re in, Avid is either the devil or the savior. If you’re in post-production, the new hardware and Pro Tools features are just what you need. If you’re in music, you’re probably hating the yearly subscription that you have to pay just for the privilege of using your DAW. And then there’s the company, which seems to be more aware of its stockholders than customers, but at least the new hardware products are pretty slick.
Digital Audio Workstations are getting more and more sophisticated, and the differences between them are beginning to blur. That said, most concentrate on music creation, and few look at postproduction, which means that Pro Tools is still king of the hill in that realm. I can’t help but feel that PT’s lead is tenuous though, and its users would jump to another DAW in a flash if and when a suitable alternative finally appears. This might have graded higher on this report card if the next great DAW was clearly on the horizon
The next generation of plugins are upon us, and this time a lot of the thinking is being done for us with automatic adjustments. Plugs like iZotope Neutron and Soundways Reveal and Low Leveler are a big step in the right direction when put in capable hands (and that’s the caveat).
Once looked upon as a marketing gimmick, mic modelers like the Slate VMS and Townsend Labs Sphere are proving that they’re a real alternative to the classic mics that most of us can’t afford. These are real tools, not toys.
The guitar amp’s days are numbered as amplifier emulators are now so good that even seasoned pros with huge amp collections use them instead of the real thing. And with in-ear monitors so prevalent on stage, there’s no need to move air any more. A decade from now, a generation of guitar players and engineers may not like the sounds they hear coming from a real amplifier compared to a hardware or software emulator. Line 6 Matrix and BluGuitar Amp 1 may be the final pieces to this major transition.
There was a lot of high hopes for the tablet to replace the laptop, but in most cases, it’s just not possible. The iPad especially is a great output device, but not so great for input. Microsoft’s Surface fares a little better, but the possibilities originally envisioned just haven’t materialized. That said, Avid’s Dock does a good job making it do what it does best.
While a good portion of the world relies on their smart phone for much more than communication, it still remains a flawed device. It’s a lot slower than a laptop (drives me crazy), and like the tablet, it’s a much better output device than input. While there are a few pro applications where it shines (tuner, bpm calculations, remote control of cue mix), it still hasn’t lived up to its potential in the professional realm.
Everyone thought that this would be the year, and especially the Holiday, where VR took off. Too bad that’s not been the case. VR has a lot of potential, and from an audio standpoint, there are a lot of great tools being developed, so there’s hope. My feeling is that Augmented Reality (AR) will end up being the killer app though. The good news is that there should be a lot more interesting work for audio professionals based around this technology.
Undoubtedly there are some things I missed in this year’s report card, and remember that the grades are strictly how I see it, but I come away generally optimistic on the direction that music tech is going. I’d say the future is bright indeed for tech in 2017.
Grammy-winning engineer Mark Linett certainly has an interesting background. From stints at the famed Sunset Sound and Warner Bros Amigo Studios, to work with Brian Wilson, Rikki Lee Jones, Los Lobos, Michael McDonald and the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, he’s seen it all.
But that’s only the start. Mark owns one of the coolest studios in Los Angeles completely decked out with vintage gear (including 2 original Universal Audio consoles), as well as a mobile recording truck filled with the latest in high-tech.
He’s also been The Beach Boys archivist for over 20 years, and he’ll discuss some of the more interesting aspects of those tracks (especially “Good Vibrations”) in our talk.
On the intro I’ll look at what $1 million in a buy-on gets you on a Motley Crue tour, and the big news of Samsung buying Harmon, and Avid in potential trouble with the SEC again.
The thing about the above new features is that other workstations have had these for a while now, so in many ways Pro Tools is still playing catch-up.
A few months ago Avid proudly put out a press release about how they just hired 250 new employees to staff new facilities in the Philippines, Taiwan and Poland, and how they would save $68 million as a result. Oh, and by the way, that was at the expense of closing down offices and downsizing its staff in the U.S.
Now the latest Avid press release touts how Taipei City is the “new home of hardware design,” the new “global support center” in the Philippines will be open 24 hours a day, and the new R&D center in Szczecin Poland includes “veteran staff for engineering, customer care and professional services.”
It’s also opening a new Boca Raton, Florida office for a “consolidated administrative support group, leveraging a strong work force to improve efficiency and productivity.”
Does this sound like a company that really cares about you, the user?
Does it sound like a great idea to can all the people in the U.S. responsible for the development of the hardware and software for the simple reason of finding cheaper ones off-shore?
How about taking the support for its complex products and moving it all to the Philippines?
These moves have nothing to do with the user, of course, since it’s all about looking good for Wall Street, which is something that Avid desperately needs. It’s stock is near an all-time low, down nearly 65% in the last year alone.
That’s the problem with public companies in general. For the most part, the execs get caught up in a game of “pleasing the Street” rather than looking out for its customers. In short, it’s stockholders become its customers.
Avid’s CFO and executive vice-president John Frederick has announced that he’s stepping down after the upcoming May 10th earnings call, which means that the outlook probably won’t be too shiny and happy, and the restructuring is a band-aid (and a poor one) at best on the hope that a few analysts will slap a “Buy” recommendation on it.
Those of us who use Avid audio products look at these moves with a great deal of skepticism, and at the same time keep an eye out for the next alternative.
Pro Tools and the other audio-related products are only part of the Avid’s product profile, but the company performance gives it’s users reason for great concern for the company’s, and their future.
(Photo: Maverx via Wikipedia)