Pro Tools is a professional Digital Audio Workstation for Mac OS X and Microsoft Windows operating systems. Pro Tools has three types of systems; HD, LE, and M-powered.
Effects processing and virtual instruments in Pro Tools are achieved through the use of plug-ins, which are either processed by the DSP chips as TDM plug-ins, or the host computer as RTAS (Real Time AudioSuite) plug-ins.
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Pro Tools HD systems:
When run from a host Apple Mac or Windows PC, HD systems perform most audio processing on DSP cards, and use external, rack mountable interfaces to handle incoming and outgoing audio. TDM, a proprietary interconnect based on time-division multiplexing, is used for communication between the devices. Click here for more information on Pro Tools HD systems
Pro Tools LE systems:
Consumer-level Pro Tools LE systems perform almost all data processing on the host CPU, with the exception of the Eleven Rack, introduced in September 2009, which includes on-board DSP via dual TMS320c6727b chips. A Digidesign audio card (bundled with the software) must be used for all audio I/O (recording and playback); Pro Tools LE will not run on a normal consumer-grade sound card. The hardware thus doubles as a copy-protection mechanism for the software, as the software will not function without the specialized Digidesign sound card.
The Pro Tools LE software is essentially a limited version of the HD counterpart, with a smaller track count, no Automatic Delay Compensation (ADC), and lower maximum sampling rate. As no additional DSP cards (with the exception of the on-board DSPs in the Eleven Rack) are required or supported, only RTAS plug-ins can be used. There is a VST to RTAS adaptation software utility made by FXpansion that will allow VST plugins to be used as RTAS plugins. Click here for more information on Pro Tools LE systems
Pro Tools M-Powered systems:
Pro Tools M-Powered contains almost all Pro Tools LE functionality but requires M-Audio hardware as an interface and an iLok licence to use Pro Tools M Powered. Mackie Onyx-i Series FireWire Recording Mixers are qualified by Mackie for use with Pro Tools M-Powered 8 on both OS, Mac and Windows. Click here for more information on Pro Tools M-Powered systems
Import MIDI, REX, ACID, WAV, AIFF, AAC, MP3, and CD audio files
Built-in DigiBase file management tool
Beat Detective LE automatic groove analysis and correction tool
Fully non-destructive editing
Powerful, intuitive MIDI sequencing
Real-time audio and MIDI processing
Advanced virtual instrument integration
Wide-range of compatible third-party creative software options (Audiosuite, RTAS and TDM plug-ins, ReWire-compatible applications)
Superior sound quality
Record up to 24-bit/96 kHz
Truly mobile recording options
Low-latency monitoring while recording
Powerful loop recording options
Industry-standard Pro Tools mixing environment
RTAS real-time effects processing
Advanced automation features
Wide-range of professional third-party processing options
Control surface options for hands-on mixing
The creation of Pro Tools 8 has now seen the addition of a MIDI edit window which enables the user to manipulate MIDI data in either piano-roll or score windows. It also includes the addition of MIDI edit lanes so that the user can see both note, velocity and other CC data in the same window. This move would take Pro Tools from the long held 2 edit window approach to now having 3 edit windows.