Walking the AES show floor, there is just one company that draws the really big crowds: Digidesign. But while Pro Tools 7 is worth the upgrade for most existing users, there are a lot of features that are eliciting yawns among people I talked to. (The number one DAW saw on demo computers at various show booths? Ableton Live.)

Pro Tools 7 (HD/LE/M-Powered)

What’s new and cool is multi-processor support and flexible audio/MIDI region grouping. The latter feature is the sleeper hit of PT 7: people who love the PT mixing and arranging environment will just love this. There are some other really nice, if subtle, improvements that will save time. (Those are my favorite kind of improvements.)

But some of the other PT features fall directly into the “you really only got around to adding this now?” category:

  • REX/ACID loop support
  • Region looping
  • MIDI input quantization and real-time MIDI effects
  • The ability to use RTAS plug-ins on HD systems’ aux sends and master faders.

  • Don’t get me wrong: I think Pro Tools is a great solution for many people. But this is news? ACID and REX support has been in competitors for years. And I’ve been using real-time MIDI effects in several DAWs for over a decade. It was about this time last year that I listened to a Digi rep talk about how exciting the addition of step time entry was, something available in the 1980s Atari versions of Cubase. And, uh, some of your new features sort of point out glaring omissions in previous versions: you didn’t support your own RTAS plug-ins on HD’s aux and master fader? Really?

    Basically, this is a great upgrade for current Pro Tools users — and that’s a great thing. But I love competition. I’d like to see Digi lead a little here rather than just follow.