Avid has just announced its groundbreaking Pro Tools | Carbon hybrid audio production system that includes everything you need to start producing music right out of the box. Not only do you get access to pristine sound, versatile I/O, and premium converters, but you'll also get a one-year subscription to Pro Tools Standard and more than 120 DSP-powered plug-ins.

Pro Tools Carbon is a state-of-the-art audio interface that connects directly to your Mac via ethernet, delivering high-quality audio and built-in DSP acceleration with less than 1ms of latency. In this blog, we'll break down Carbon’s top features and explain why it’s such a powerful tool for songwriters, engineers, and producers.

Below, you'll find two videos that will offer more insight into Pro Tools | Carbon, including our demo and a conversation with Avid's Director of Product Management, François Quereuil. Continue on after the videos for more information on the new interface.

What's the Difference Between Pro Tools Carbon and Avid MTRX Studio?

At first glance, you might realize that the new Pro Tools Carbon interface looks similar to the recently-released Avid MTRX Studio interface. While there are similarities in the design and ergonomics, there are a few notable differences between the two devices.

Avid MTRX Studio is a modular device designed for large-scale recording studios and post-production facilities. It offers comprehensive monitoring and routing functionality, as well as expanded I/O connectivity for interfacing with a wide range of devices, including surround sound and Dolby Atmos systems. The MTRX Studio is technically a DigiLink interface, which means you'll need Pro Tools HD Native system or an HDX system to connect to your computer.

Pro Tools Carbon is a complete audio production system, designed from the ground up by Avid's engineering team for recording, editing, and mixing full bands. It features eight studio-quality mic pres, four dedicated headphone outputs, and a host of DSP-powered plug-ins.

Let's take a closer look at what makes Pro Tools Carbon such a studio powerhouse.

Versatile I/O

Carbon comes loaded with a full complement of analog and digital I/O for a total of 25 inputs and 34 outputs, making it easy to connect all of the gear you need. Designed for recording live bands, Pro Tools Carbon features eight built-in preamps—the same design used in the legendary Venue SXL live sound console, further enhanced for studio recording to deliver a transparent yet musical sound.

Each preamp features four dedicated stages of analog-to-digital conversion, providing an impressive 126 dB of gain. Because of this, the preamps do not feature pads, since there’s virtually no risk of clipping (just don’t tell the drummer). Four inputs feature a variable impedance circuit, enabling you to dial in the perfect sound and feel while tracking with different microphones.

Two front facing HI-Z instrument inputs make it easy to track bass, guitar and other instruments, while eight line-level inputs enable you to connect your favorite analog devices. Pro Tools Carbon also features four built-in headphone outputs, each with their own dedicated cue mix—perfect for tracking the whole band. Expand your I/O even further with DB25, ADAT, Word Clock and dual ethernet connections.

Pro Tools Hybrid Engine

One of the most impressive features of Pro Tools Carbon is the new Pro Tools Hybrid Engine, which uses the same technology found in HDX systems for zero-latency recording while using AAX DSP plug-ins.

With Carbon, you can run Pro Tools and all of your favorite plug-ins natively on your computer (using your PC's power) without having to connect your interface. But for moments when you need a little extra processing power, like punching-in or overdubs, you can engage DSP Mode to take advantage of Carbon’s onboard DSP.

In DSP Mode, Pro Tools seamlessly switches all of the plug-ins on a track to AAX DSP mode, powered by Carbon’s DSP accelerator. This enables you to record with sub-1ms latency—even with all of your plug-ins active—while your CPU plays back the rest of your mix. After nailing the take, switch the track back to Standard Mode to return to native processing.

Powerful Plug-Ins (and Software)

Pro Tools Carbon includes a one-year subscription to Pro Tools Standard, which includes 115 AAX Avid plug-ins, tech support, and updates. Don't worry—you won't lose access to Pro Tools after your subscription runs out. After the one-year subscription period, Pro Tools will revert to a perpetual license. You'll still retain all of the basic functionality of Pro Tools, and can easily jump back in when you decide to re-up your subscription.

In addition to the standard Pro Tools plug-in package, which includes the Avid Complete Plugin Bundle, HEAT, and UVI Falcon, Carbon comes with an impressive collection of premium plug-ins and sounds to get you started making music right out of the box. Choose from more than 250 AAX plug-ins from McDSP and Plugin Alliance, as well as virtual instruments from Arturia, UVI, and Native Instruments.

Ethernet Connectivity

Unlike USB and Thunderbolt interfaces, Carbon connects to your Mac via Ethernet, providing a high-bandwidth, low-latency connection based on AVB technology. In addition to guaranteed latency and expanded connectivity, AVB Ethernet enables digital audio resolution up to 32-bit—a first for the industry. That means you’ll always have plenty of headroom, making it easier to dial in clean, dynamic mixes.

Ethernet connectivity also provides greater functionality with your computer. Macs will recognize Carbon as an AVB core audio device with two dedicated paths—one for Pro Tools and one for system sounds, enabling you to play Spotify, YouTube, or even another DAW without closing down Pro Tools. This works especially well with Ableton Link, making it easier than ever to harness the power of Ableton in your sessions.

Bottom Line

Pro Tools Carbon combines pristine audio quality with versatile I/O and powerful DSP capabilities, making it the perfect tool for artists, bands, and producers in small spaces. Designed to be the centerpiece of your studio, Carbon never gets in the way of inspiration or capturing the best performance. It's intuitive, easy to use, and tailor-made with functionality and features to produce records. A true one-stop-shop for music production, Pro Tools Carbon has everything you need to start creating quickly.

Bill LearnedIf you would like to purchase the Avid Pro Tools | Carbon interface or have questions about other Avid gear, we're here to help! Please contact a Vintage King Audio Consultant via email or by phone at 866.644.0160.