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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 www.mackie.com. 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?

http://www.mackie.com/onyxiseries