In November 2020, Avid introduced the world to the Pro Tools | Carbon. The audio interface features a new Hybrid Engine from the pro audio brand. This unique hardware-software integration allows engineers to swiftly alternate between DSP and native processing. It's the perfect way to record with AAX DSP plug-ins with low latency and mix with the same plug-ins in Native Mode without overloading your Carbon's DSP.
Avid has announced that its Hybrid Engine will now be available for HDX Systems with Pro Tools 2021.6 or later. This means HDX System owners can create their own scalable solution featuring the Hybrid Engine that includes IO and DSP expansion, 18 to 54 DSPs (via one to three HDX cards), comprehensive Dolby Atmos Support, thousands of audio tracks and so much more.
Since so many engineers already rely on HDX Systems for handling extremely large sessions, you may be asking yourself, "How can the Hybrid Engine possibly help my rig?" In this blog, we'll expand on how the Hybrid Engine works and offer some insight into how it can expand your set-up.
How Avid's Hybrid Engine Works
The Pro Tools Hybrid Engine for HDX works by using your computer's CPU to handle your track and voice count, mixer and plug-in processing. When you're ready to record a performer or band, you'll click the DSP button in Pro Tools on the corresponding track or tracks. This will engage the DSP chips on your HDX card for these selected tracks.
The tracks using DSP will now be on a low-latency monitoring path that will play alongside the rest of your mix running in the native domain. This ultra-low-latency monitoring can have a major impact during the recording process and keep players in time with the rest of the song. Once you're all set, click the DSP button again to return each track to native mode and continue on your way.
More Voices At All Sample Rates
HDX Systems are known for eliminating recording latency with reliability. The only issue is the number of voices that are allowed in a session. Engineers working on big sessions with a high plug-in count will eventually start running into trouble as HDX is limited to 256 voices per card.
Avid's Hybrid Engine allows users to work with 1000s of native voices, as the new Pro Tools | Ultimate release increases the native voice limit to 2048 for all sample rates. With this simple change, Avid is increasing the voice limit to more than double what three HDX cards used to be able to handle. Now all HDX set-ups can take advantage of this extremely high voice count.
Increased Value At No Cost
Perhaps the most impressive element of the new Hybrid Engine is that it comes at no cost to Pro Tools users. This new feature will be available as part of the 2021.6 software update to anyone with an active Pro Tools | Ultimate subscription or update and support plan (Contact a Vintage King Audio Consultant if you need help). With this simple change, HDX System owners will be able to expand their rigs and split their processing across native and DSP for a much more streamlined workflow.