Sonic LAB: Pro Tools Carbon HDX DSP Audio Interface Review

Deep look at the new generation interface      22/04/21

When we came across the news that Avid were releasing their own audio interface specifically for ProTools it seemed at first like it came out of nowhere, but then it was like... 'well of course, that makes sense for them'.

It generated a lot of discussion on the 'Tools related forums, some supportive, some not so pretty..

So we thought we'd see if long-time ProTools user Steve Evans would be up for taking a look at Carbon, and he reached out to Avid for a loan review unit so we could check it out.

Luckily he could also persuade Avid's Simon Sherbourne to come on camera and answer some questions, so after Steve had spent some time with it we filmed a Q&A and got some insight into the background and workings of Carbon from an AVID perspective.

After that we filmed the review piece with Steve - and the resulting video is a pretty long deep-dive into the world of ProTools Carbon.

You can find details and specifications at www.avid.com/carbon 

And here's a breakdown of the video sections so you can jump to the bits you might want to see, and get a feeing for what we covered in the review, so grab a cuppa and a pack of biscuits:-

  • 0:15 Steve Evans:  Introduction
  • 01:26 Simon Sherbourne:   who is Carbon for?
  • 03:50 SE:  some Background;   ProTools, Native & DSP and latency
  • 06:47 SS:  key differences to other low latency approaches
  • 09:22 SE:  looking at the Carbon front panel 
  • 10:58 SS:  why AVB?
  • 12:37 SE:  more on the front panel
  • 16:31  no separate software,  it's all controlled within ProTools
  • 17:40  the back of the unit
  • 18:11 SS:  why a second AVB port?
  • 19:57 SE:  dual Line inputs
  • 20:52  variable input impedance
  • 22:20  A problem though; no snapshots
  • 23:04  Carbon setup within Protools
  • 26:52  another grumble - licensing
  • 27:38 SS:  so what do you get? (subscriptions, etc.) 
  • 34:53 SE:  what's the fuss all about? Audio example, showing zero-latency 
  • 40:07  DSP usage overhead
  • 43:03  SS:  some deeper options, AVB setup, etc.
  • 48:17   some good news for non-Carbon ProTools users
  • 51:51 SE:  Summary & final thoughts

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