It’s long been the case that if you wanted to run Pro Tools, you needed hardware from Digidesign. That’s why it was a surprise when Mackie announced new audio interface-mixer hardware that they said they had made work with Pro Tools M-Powered, which previously worked only with M-Audio gear. Digidesign parent Avid had made statements that they would champion “openness,” but it wasn’t clear at the time if that would extent to allowing third-party gear to work with Avid’s software crown jewels.

We get our answer today from LOUD. There is a catch – you’ll have to pay extra for the connection – but it does seem that the two will work together.

LOUD Technologies Inc. (parent company of Mackie®) today announced it has signed an agreement with Avid® that licenses the use of Mackie’s new Onyx™-i Series Firewire Recording Mixers with Avid Pro Tools® M-Powered™ 8 software.

To enable use with Pro Tools M-Powered 8, users will need to purchase the Mackie Universal Driver upgrade ($49.99 USD) at Once the driver is downloaded and installed, the Onyx 820i, 1220i, 1620i and 1640i mixers can be used with Avid Pro Tools M-Powered 8 software.

Of course, I imagine all of this prompts a collective eye roll from some of Avid’s competitors, since DAWs from MOTU, Cakewalk, Apple, Ableton, Steinberg, and others are all designed to work with a wide range of hardware – no fee-based driver upgrade needed. But for lovers of Pro Tools, this does mean a new choice, and it’s definitely a departure from tradition. If Pro Tools is your favorite DAW, this seems like very good news, as it’s an extremely versatile-looking interface-mixer that fills a gap M-Audio themselves hadn’t filled. Anyone with the new Onyx-i hardware want to let us know if you’re likely to bite?

  • Pro tools is going to die. I Stopped using Protools years ago it is way to closed for me . They lock you to those Crappy(shi_y) interfaces and you are always worried about what interface will work with your next update. I have a old Mbox and it wont work with Snow leopard it is useless I used to use it Just to open other peoples pro tools Files (o.p.p.f)

    but I don't care anymore. Long Live Ableton Live8 Suite,Logic 9,Record and a Apogee Duet.

  • I find this decision on Avids part so incredibly strange!

    Maudio was clearly intended for the consumer market, leaving LE for the pro-sumer and HD for the top range.

    Where does Mackie fit into this?

    Does this mean there will be more hardware available? If so will they also require a license key?

    I would love to work only in PT but buying HD at the moment only make sense if you're running a commercial studio. I don't see where Avid's taking HD in the future vs native and I don't want to lock myself into a 10 – 15K investment when there is clearly very viable alternatives out there. This makes me wonder about their strategy even more!

  • dead_red_eyes

    $50 for a driver? That's freaking horrible. Way to screw your customers over Mackie.

  • We seem to have some issues with who's doing what:

    1. This was a Mackie-initiated project, not an Avid-initiated project. Avid apparently didn't know it even existed until Mackie made a public announcement.

    2. While not explicitly stated in the press release, it's a safe bet to assume Avid, not Mackie, may have negotiated a license fee for the driver. There was no cost to the driver until after the Avid announcement, and this is a "license agreement." I can verify that if you want with one or both of the parties.

  • ericdano

    This is great news. Now ProTools users have a CHEAP way to record 16 tracks with one piece of gear. 16 Tracks with their own Preamps. Digidesign doesn't have anything in the M-Audio line that supports this.

    Now, the big question would be if you had 2 Onyx interfaces that could potentially record 32 tracks…..could you? I mean, the Onyx interfaces don't have motorized faders, but…….you could have a ProTools rig that could record 32 Tracks for WAY cheaper than you could if you bought it from Digi……

  • @ericdano @peterkirn – See this is what I mean. I agree that this is good news for people wanting to use cheaper gear other than Maudio but, will Avid support Mackie in future upgrades? If for instance RMI decides to "crack" the license will they also be allowed in to the Avid fold?

  • Let's admit: the first Mboxes were sorta crap…

    But a Mixer with Pro-tools could deliver. For those who use Tracktion (by Mackie), just offer the Nay-sayers a listen to the Final Mix plug, with a crossover that is far greater than many other that have a wide-spread crowd of users.

    I just like what I use with success, so this is just my personal opinion.

  • @Tom Piper: couldn't agree with you more. i wish people would realize that protools doesn't really offer anything more than other packages except for extremely expensive hardware and a name.

  • i've been using pro tools for more than 10 years professionally, and i hate it. i keep using it cos customers are used to it and expect it. I only use it for voice over recording and sound design. i use Live to make music. PT is completely obsolete in its very core, and the company's policies have always been crap. If you don't work with ad industry customers I advice not to buy PT. always select open systems.

  • i knew it was good to keep my copy of Pro Tools Free. I've never upgraded to anything else. however, Logic is my choice of DAW.

  • Greg

    I hope Pro Tools is going to die. We had to learn to use it at the uni cause this is the industry standard recording software. I hated every moment of using it. My teachers said learning the keyboard shortcuts makes using PT a breeze… I find the idea of forcing the customers to buy expensive hardware and overpriced plugins is wrong. It's so 1990's… Friends and fans of PT argue that it is brilliant for recording and mixing, but then you have Reaper or any other DAW which does the job. Looking forward tp the day Avid stops selling and supporting it…

  • Greg

    By the way, for the price of the driver you can get Reaper. One more reason to forget PT for good.

  • @Greg: that's the key – Protools is the "Industry Standard." Now how something can be an industry standard and spend so long with such HORRIBLE midi support is mind-boggling.

  • Blob

    Nothing wrong with Pro Tools per se – it's great for audio editing, mastering, post-production, recording. Not so good for composing (MIDI limitations), but it all comes down to what you need. But PT's continual lock down in an age of increasingly adaptable free and commercial DAWs, open source software and DIY hardware will probably spell their doom.

    I had a semester of PT in college a few years ago. Haven't used it since, but I'm fairly aware of its capabilities. Comparing it with competing solutions, I usually come to the conclusion that DAWs like Cubase, Logic, or even Ardour can achieve similar results, with a good combination of hardware and plug-ins.

    As a musician, I would have absolutely no problems recording in a professional studio running these solutions – I'd be more worried about their audio interfaces, microphones, and recording room configuration.

    Finally, if I were a professional studio owner I would definitely think twice (or thrice, for that matter) before locking myself down to a Pro Tools-based solution that would incredibly limit my hardware choices. Paying money for an interface, Pro Tools software AND a connection between these seems excessive, to be honest, even if you're not on a budget.

  • I would be more interested if they just used regular core audio. I would like to be able to use my Apogee gear with Pro Tools. I have heard rumors that Pro Tools is going to make a major shift very soon. I know they let go a lot of their DSP programmers. It should be interesting. I have to say I still love Transfuser. It is actually one of the main reasons i still use Pro Tools.

  • so did Mackie reverse-engineer PT to make this possible? that seems pretty cheeky.

    It's probably good for both companies in any case.

  • @Michael Chenetz: Agreed. I wish I could use an RME or Metric Halo box with ProTools—the Digi interfaces are just outdated. I get the feeling Digi is on the way out, but it does seem like they'll be doing something different soon. Perhaps NAMM?

  • @Devin Kerr

    Yeah, NAMM would make sense. I will be there. Hopefully some interesting stuff will come out of NAMM.

  • Digidesign needs to let go of their iron grip on trying to maintain their closed hardware platform. Their software still maintains a lot of loyalty, but even amongst the faithful, it is painfully obvious that the amazing proliferation of new audio interfaces, control surfaces, audio & midi mixers is leaving ProTools users in the dust. I have several musician/dj/producer friends who are very frustrated with how large their investment in ProTools is, and how slow Digidesign has been compared to most other software platforms, like Logic and Ableton Live especially. I think they can probably still get away with the closed hardware in the ProTools HD space since the facilities who can afford those systems are more interested in reliabile vendor integration than in cobbling together sprawling multivendor personal rigs, but the fact that the ProToolsLE/M-powered line already supports M-Audio (not surprising or open since Avid/Digidesign own M-Audio) also shows their user base that other manufacturers are excluded unnecessarily. The concern that @spinner brings up that if Avid was not on board this decision, chances are it will be become unsupported in the next update sounds likely. Mackie charging $50 for a driver is another slap in the face that is not fooling anyone as being necessary.

    I own PTLE7.x and don't want to upgrade it anymore. All the hardware I own and want works with Ableton (including my Mbox2) and not with ProTools, and the software installation of ProTools has gotten so obscene, several people have offered to pay me hundreds of dollars to install and register the 101 separate components for them, and I refuse. Its painful enough to do my own that I won't waste my time being frustrated with someone else's rig. Its too bad because there are a few things I like better in ProTools, but the hassles they put their users through are creating an exodus.

  • Look, for people who need to use Protools, this Mackie Hardware integration is nothing but a good thing.

    You get more options and more competition on the PT hardware front.

    And hey, since you can actually use the interface as a mixer, say hello to Zero Latency monitoring in Protools LE.


    It's about time.

  • LF42Milli

    I never really got into Logic,no money and lack of hd space, I do have an mbox pro 2 first choice of hardware.

    I bought an MPK-49 obsolete with pro-tools, I have ableton lite and reason (works great) I like pro-tools for audio, that's about it.

    can't customize anything, although in an sos article they stated that pro-tools did have a midi learn function, well to the drawing board with controlAID.

  • dyscode

    Some of these people here really don´t have anything more to offer than childisch kindergarten ranting and pestering?

    Such comments from people considering themselves at the edge of electronic music production is really poor!

  • Radiophobic

    Dyscode; glad to see you were able to contribute something of maturity and value to the conversation.

  • greg

    "Some of these people here really don´t have anything more to offer than childisch kindergarten ranting and pestering?"

    Who? What? Why? Who consider themselves at the edge?

  • I us Pro Tools all the time, both LE and HD, and love it. It's far from perfect and opening it up to third-party hardware is one of the things I always wanted to see change, (along with ADC in LE).

    But despite its flaws, it is still a very strong and very useful system. The HD hardware may be expensive, but it also allows me to do things in the studio that I could not do with any native DAW.

  • *raises hand

    oh i'm so close to the edge i fell into the future. 😀

    peter pointed out that most likely the cost of the driver is licensing fee, which is par for the course when it comes to protools. if you've based your entire business around the model that you exclusively control the software and the hardware that works with it, the only way to handle 3rd party hardware would be with a fee. its a business survival thing.

    honestly, i think avid/protools is falling into a similar trap that record labels did: this is our business model and we aren't changing. they believed that as consumers we wanted higher fidelity and physical media. unfortunately that was as far from the actual reality as they could get. most people wanted (and still want) convenience over fidelity. in the avid/protools arena, they are betting on the continued desire for "turn key solutions." the problem is that its not what we want: we want choices.

    @redvoid : i wish i could agree with the exodus from protools, but so far experience is showing me that most simply pick up the cheapest interface they can get for protools and go from there. they're "taught" that all the pros use protools so they should too if they want to be a pro. that's the myth that keeps protools proprietary.

  • I honestly don't think that Protools is going anywhere. I do believe that they are going to shift the way it is working now. I have no inside information… But, I think if they were smart, they would make a Native version that can be enhanced by DSP (Sort of like UAD). They would then provide the DSP hardware and resources.

  • @Mike Hiller

    I would be anxious to know what things you do with Pro Tools that you can't do with another DAW with hi end converters hooked up. I agree with most others that forcing users to buy expensive hardware which obviously becomes obsolete quite quickly might be good for company profits, but not for increasing your user base.

    I work in a commercial studio, and everything is done in Logic with no problems whatsoever. It's great to work with plugins from Universal Audio, Sonnox, etc. offering everything that was previously only available in PT.

  • Blob

    @ speakerfood

    Agreed. Currently, Logic and other DAWs achieve pretty much the same results as Pro Tools. As for Digidesign's hardware strategy, it's a bad business practice that generates short-term profit but might turn against them in the future as people like you move on to more flexible solutions.

  • @ericdano 18 channels is the max that you can track with PTLE, it's a limitation in the software. I'd considered that, because if you could, in theory you could pick up some of M-Audio's ProFire series interfaces and go from there. I'm pretty sure though, that you're limited to 18-in recording, and 32-channels of playback with ANY PTLE software.

    Pro Tools 8 actually has some major improvements over previous versions, and the included instruments sound really good actually. Recording MIDI and having immediate access to a printable score has been useful to me, as well as some of the other included tools. Elastic Audio has made it super easy to fix timing issues in live drum tracks.

    After reading all these entries, it seems like the majority of complaints are tied to their hardware. I don't think that software tied to hardware is a bad thing, always; for instance when you buy Apple, you buy Apple hardware. It seems like they've tied their software to their hardware very nicely, my guess is to prevent the Microsoft headache of having to be all things to all hardware. Now, i'm not comparing Avid to Apple; a short visit to Digi's forums will reveal long threads about hardware compatibility issues. I pretty much ditched Digi hardware, and use M-Audio + PT M-Powered just to have the flexibility and more importantly, stability of the M-Audio hardware.

    Most people have to get to a breaking point before they can consider completely jettisoning one solution for another. The reason I stick with PT, is because that is what lots of studios use, so session exchange is easy, and I've learned the workflow well. I've learned the same editing flow with Ableton, Audition, and Reaper, and I can still do the fundamental editing in PT faster. In fact, I'll track and edit in PT, then export everything and mix in Ableton because I think it's summing output sounds better than PT's, not to mention the ability to use VST plugins.

    I guess my real question is: what IF Digi did a revamp of their architecture, and made their DAW open to all hardware like everyone else has? Does it have a fundamental workflow, or features that would make you stick with it?

  • Joshua Bogart

    Screw Pro Tools……..enough said

  • dyscode


    So I see we are in the same boat.

    @Chris Hahn

    actually PT8 has 48 Channels.

    And yes, PT would have someting to stick with. As you said Audio Editing is FAR superior on PT than any other DAW. And that is PTs masterskill. PT is there to structure and finish an idea, while Logic, Cubase Ableton are there to explore an idea. Where you Mixdown is of personal Preference. Although my PT setup is minimal, the complicated Editing I am going would be a REAL pain in the ass in any other DAW.


    So I see we are in the same boat.

    @Chris Hahn

    actually PT8 gives you 48 Channels.


    A reason WHY PT became the industry standard was BECAUSE it was a closed system.

    People know what they can expect and troubleshooting is comperatively easy.

    Today, where there are a lot more users that are not tech savvy in any way and cannot acknowledge the QA afford AVID is doing and fall prey to the Markting Propaganda of Apple Logic, Steinberg etc. that they can get a working perfect system out of the box.

    Unfortunately AVID has succumbed to equal same propaganda recently (see Pro Tools Essential).

    This promises have never been true. If your system setup is shit then no software will work correctly.

    So Digidesign limit themselves to a small variety of systems their software works with.

    I see the victims of the Logic/Steinberg Propaganda nearly every day. They spent $300 in special discount shop PC and expect their stuff to work like a fine tuned $2000 Workstation.

    And complaints from the Digidesign field are comparatively low, except for the rising amount of complains of said propaganda victims.

    Effectively no one asked Mackie to break the Profire 2626 driver to make their ONYX Series work. The $50 fee is probably to cover for AVIDS loss for their units not sold.

    Which is a far better and more constructive solution than AVID sueing Mackie.

    That said, I think this is a FINE option to expand the AVID selection of audio interfaces

    and I really like to see other companies following… and PT finally gets ADC right.

    For me I never like Logic, hated every moment I had to use Cubase at work and think Ableton is totally overrun by people having no imagination how to use the potential of the software creatively. Just using it as sort of expensive clip trigger. The same goes for Reason.

    I had to listen so so much shit music created with Ableton or Reason, that I am losing interrest as soon as someone mentions he uses one of them.

    This suffered damage I now need to overcome since the numbers of interresting Ableton project

    is rising again, though comparatively small in number.

    But do I say they should die? No! Nobody is forced to use a DAW she/he doesn´t like.

    And saying something should DIE, just because it is there is the cancer of fascism.

    If you attend a recording school and cannot get to crips with the software they are using

    (be it Pro Tools, Ardour, whatever) maybe you should considering getting another education, because one will pay you for your opinion on your preferences.

    I am sorry to see this news thread turning into a flame war with only few reasonable comments. I don´t expect mine to be among them but I just had to vent off!


    @Peter, keep the good work coming!

  • flip


    I must have fallen prey to the "marketing propaganda" of Emagic, because I started using Logic back in '96 before Apple bought it. If this is what it's like being a "victim", then I love it!

  • @dyscode

    What kind of work do you do, meeting all these victims and listening to shit music. No offence, but maybe time for a change? 😉

  • flip

    Also @dyscode:

    "I see the victims of the Logic/Steinberg Propaganda nearly every day. They spent $300 in special discount shop PC and expect their stuff to work like a fine tuned $2000 Workstation."

    I've seen the opposite of that too. I think quality results have less to do with protools or non-protools: It's more to do with education and experience.

  • dyscode


    no offence taken.

    I do reports about music production mostly.

    So I talk/mail with a lot of people.

    At least that is what my employer pays me for.

    And yes, sometimes I am so fed up with it, when I am seeing the same old thing – that is exactly going on in this thread – for the last 10 years.

    But the good still outweighs the bad by a mile.


    I meant those "Record Instant Hits" or "Compose a song with 2 mouse clicks"-type slogans a lot of starting musician seem to dig Reducing this to Logic/Steinberg is unappropiate, yes.

    <blockquote cite="It’s more to do with education and experience.">


    That´s exaclty what actually made write this post. Just bashing for the sake of bashing is so immature.

    Since the essential development here – AVID (FORCED to) opening up ProTools, if only a bit – is a positive one.

    The machine cannot be blamed for the inability of the user. But too much comments here just did that.

    So I had to write this.

    best 🙂

  • dyscode

    sorry, damn tags.


    I think quality results have less to do with protools or non-protools: It’s more to do with education and experience


    That´s exaclty what actually made write this post. Just bashing for the sake of bashing is so immature.

    Since the essential development here – AVID (FORCED to) opening up ProTools, if only a bit – is a positive one.

    The machine cannot be blamed for the inability of the user. But too much comments here just did that.

    So I had to write this.

    best 🙂

  • dyscode


    oh and I forgot

    before my now journalist focus I was teaching music production at university for several years.


  • @dyscode

    Teaching can get you down, I know more people who had the same expercience 😉

    It just feels like your posts have a deep underlying frustration about marketing practices by DAW companies. I don't think you should blame them, they just want to sell as many copies as possible. Maybe it's more a problem of a majority of the new generation, who WANTS to believe that everything is only a couple of mouse-clicks and keyboard presses away?

  • dyscode


    you´re right,

    thanks for understanding,

    cheers 🙂

  • goF(ree)yourself

    fuck that let me know where and when they hack this too get regular midi working with pro tools, i want to save money and time, fuckface 😉

    I likes it simple.


    The machine cannot be blamed for the inability of the user. But too much comments here just did that.


    Well DUH! There is great music made, pre_DAW effectiveness, and on a budget, MPC cough*

  • Mikeeovitch

    Thank you @dyscode,

    You said it all.

    Funny thing is that I've used most of the main stream DAWS over the last 12 years, Cubase (love it), Ableton Live (Felt like a toy), Cakewalk (worked but didn't impress me), Logic (I like the creative aspects of it but editing seems to slow me down), Motu (didn't care for it) and more. Pro Tools felt the most natural to me when recording, editing, mixing, & sound design. I never used midi in PT until PT8 came out and it does everything I need it to do including easy editing. Yeah, it is a typical standard in studios, especially for post, Logic a close second.

    Don't get me wrong I've had my share of crashes and what not but Pro Tools is a tool that just makes sense to me.

    I'm looking forward to seeing if any of this motivation to open hardware compatibility happens in PT8 LE. I use the features of the DV Toolkit (most features some with Logic) and some Digi plugins like Syncronic & X-Form (although slow) are awesome for sound design but the drag is only with the hardware.

    It'd be great to leave the high end stuff to the HD line & open LE to better options like they're doing with M-Powered so pro users that don't feel the need for HD hardware like myself don't have to buy a extra preamp to go with their Digi 002/003 or don't have to spend over $2k to get their Digi 002/003 preamps, converters, & clock upgraded by Black Lion Audio. No offense to Black Lion, their work is killer.

    Oh yeah @Michael Chenetz,

    Not sure what you were getting at but Digi HD Core cards are made specifically for DSP. UAD-2 supports RTAS Plugin processing, Focusrite Liquid Mix Supports RTAS processing, SSL Duende Mini Studio Pack v3 Supports RTAS with a wrapper. I'm sure there are more.



  • jld!

    I work at an indy-owned music store and I can speak for a vast majority of my customers when I say that pro-sumer Pro Tools systems, be it LE or M-Powered, are very stable and capable DAWs. I've tried almost every DAW out there, in fact as a dealer I get them for free (if even only for 6 months to a year at a time) and I can say that PT is the only one I have ever been compelled to buy a licensed version of! I simply prefer the workflow and UI.

    They haven't closed off the DAW to outside manufactuerers to make themselves more money, they make a lot more money off selling a couple discs and a manual in a cardboard boz then an interface any day! They have done it in an attempt to standardize the hardware configuration in hopes to make for a more stable setup. It's the same reason they test chipsets, graphics cards, firewire cards, etc. They want to provide a system that they can help troubleshoot as easily as possible. I'll be honest, I'm pretty glad that no one shopping at my store can buy a $300 netbook, PT, a cheap condensor and a crap Behringer interface and get started… because when, without fail, the weak links in the chain let him/her down, it would end up in my lap to help them, no matter how much I tried to plead with them to help themselves out by spending more to get tested, approved and quality products!

    While I don't agree with all of Avid's practices and I can see the flaw in the "upsell" from PTLE/MP to HD by way of vast limitation and staggering price jump, I feel as a retailer and PT user, they have always protected their marketshare by providing a stable, dependable, and ever-improving platform. That's a big reason they are an "industry standard"… which is in itself, at the pro-sumer level, debatable.

    Also, one other thing to keep in mind, if Avid wanted to snuff Mackie's attempts, it'd only be a firmware update away. In fact they didn't condone this from the outset, but they will only stand to make even more money from people who wanted PT, but until now were skeptical of lack of choices in hardware. I think this could be a great step in the right direction.

    In the end, if it gets people into making music, isn't it a win/win situation?!?

  • Lee Arthur

    thinking protools hd core card and with my apogee rossetta 800 after I found out about the Logic 9 white noise burst bug. could always change it to the symphony system later once the bugs are out.