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Old 01-11-2021, 12:22 PM
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Default Avid Carbon interface brief review and 1st recording

So I have had the new interface for about a week and have done one quick test recording. (Photos below)
Got to say the sound (both recording and play back) is very good indeed, and recoding with it does feel more like "full analog" ( ie no latency heard or felt) And until I experienced recording at home using DSP I didn't realize the difference compared to my old system, even with old system recording dry (no plugins) and at 32 samples buffer. Not so much that I heard latency on my old system ,,,more that the new system simply feels tighter, more right there, which makes it easier IMO..

Recording is of an original of mine "Turn Out in the Wind"
This recording consists of three elements (instruments) all done very quickly, and done with one pass/one take each.

.
Guitar tracks are two mono tracks each, with a spaced pair of ribbon mics (AEA N 22) and Vocal is mono track with ADK Z Mod 251 mic
Mic's were all plugged into the Carbon pre's .

Recording order
#1 Acoustic guitar rhythm track, panned 100% L & R
Then dub:
#2 Acoustic guitar lead/riff track, panned 40 % L & R
Then dub:
#3 Vocal panned center

Mixing was fairly simple and straight forward no editing other than deleting a few wrong notes in the lead guitar riffs,,, do to my inexperience at lead guitar.
As far as plugins /FX ? EQ on every audio track for High pass filter
Some very mild compression on the guitars Bus/Folder tracks just occasionally ticking the meters.

EQ on vocal was again High pass filter and then Avid's Channel strip (EQ and Comp, on the male vocal preset with some adjustments )
Guitars and vocals sent to parallel FX aux track (Avids "Space" convolution reverb )
Vocal also sent to Avids "Tape Echo" tape delay also on a parallel FX aux track.
And lead guitar also has the same Tape Echo plugin directly on its Bus/Folder track.


So here is the Sound Cloud link and note it is in the lesser quality streaming format SC uses for the free account streaming.... AND be aware any timing anomalies, and or raspy distorted-ish sounds on the vocals or guitar are all on me, not the system so focus on sound not the playing/singing ( I even forgot to record an intro on the first take )



Here are the mic setups





The session set up



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Last edited by KevWind; 01-11-2021 at 12:50 PM.
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Old 01-11-2021, 01:02 PM
jim1960 jim1960 is online now
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Is there any kind of software between Carbon and Pro Tools? I mean something along the lines of UA's Console software which I have to use to some degree.

I'm also curious about the latency claims regarding aax plugins and whether that holds up with all aax plugins.
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Old 01-11-2021, 02:15 PM
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Originally Posted by jim1960 View Post
Is there any kind of software between Carbon and Pro Tools? I mean something along the lines of UA's Console software which I have to use to some degree.
No nothing between Carbon and PT. Carbon is seamless and literally runs directly on Pro tools, either PT regular, or PT Ultimate.

The only difference between running PT on Carbon and any other Avid interface is the PT GUI on Carbon shows up with additional little rectangular shaped button on the channel strips between the Automation section and the groups indicators just above the panner knobs (with little stylized S or lightning bolt icon on it ) which are how you put the track into and out of DSP mode so that it goes onto the HDX DSP chips in The Carbon unit itself , rather than running on the native computer processor. See my screen shot of the mixer window right about mid way vertically in the track channel strips


Quote:
I'm also curious about the latency claims regarding aax plugins and whether that holds up with all aax plugins.
I am not sure I understand what "claims" you are talking about ? I have no latency numbers, and I was only tracking with a few plugins on. Understanding that AAX plugins come in either "Native only version" or both Native and DSP versions.
The EQ III's on all the audio tracks were in HDX DSP mode Except for the one EQ III that was on the Space reverb Aux track (because AAX Space reverb plugin (currently) only comes in the Native version, so in order for it to be engaged while recording, the EQ III , had to be in native mode also
BUT honestly I neither heard or felt any latency issues.
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Last edited by KevWind; 01-11-2021 at 02:35 PM.
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Old 01-12-2021, 08:51 AM
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Jim I will try in the next few days to do a quick screen recording of booting up the test session and running through the work flow. So you can get a feel for how it might compare to your UAD . Although I think you are correct currently it does not seem well suited for systems that may use more than 8 analog inputs at a time.

Here are some screen shots of the I/O matrix.

Input tab as you can see you only have 8 analog inputs (while you could have up to 18 analog channels physically connected to the Carbon , you can use 8 simultaneously at any one time) beyond that it would need to be via ADAT



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Old 01-12-2021, 11:38 AM
jim1960 jim1960 is online now
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Part of me is wondering if I wouldn't have been better off getting the Carbon and pairing it with the Rosetta 800 rather than getting the X16, if for no other reason than to unburden myself of the Console software which is a pita at time.
On the other hand, I did well on the sale of both the X8p and the Rosetta. After buying the X16 and selling both of those units, I had an extra $400 in my pocket.
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Old 01-12-2021, 11:52 AM
Brent Hahn Brent Hahn is online now
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Originally Posted by jim1960 View Post
Part of me is wondering if I wouldn't have been better off getting the Carbon....
Having experienced the cue setup and overdub process with PT TDM and PT HDX (and Fairlight MFX3 as well) and then coping with Console, my vote would be yes. Console, though, doesn't turn into a Really Major PITA until you try to track a whole band with it. Which you can't do at all with a single Carbon without either doing 3-mic drums or adding in an ADAT outrigger of some sort.
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Old 01-12-2021, 12:20 PM
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Default Short video on using DSP mode

Ok still didn't get the volume up much (still figuring out screen recording)so I'll shoot it again with more voice over level ::: but here is a short video on the workflow
for actually using the HDX DSP mode in Pro tools Carbon

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Last edited by KevWind; 01-12-2021 at 04:51 PM.
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Old 01-12-2021, 07:20 PM
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Not that I'd even consider buying two Carbons, can they be linked to create a 16 channel system? Or would the second Carbon only provide channels?
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Old 01-13-2021, 08:39 AM
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Originally Posted by jim1960 View Post
Not that I'd even consider buying two Carbons, can they be linked to create a 16 channel system? Or would the second Carbon only provide channels?
To clarify by using the ADAT In and OUT it is expandable BUT fully analog,, no, not at this time.

My understanding is that currently Carbon can't be linked to another Carbon or any current Avid I/O hardware unit.. But rumor/speculation is that looking to the future Avid (may) be thinking some kind of daisy chaining to additional hardware (perhaps a new additional I/O box ) if only because it has two AVB Ethernet ports (which is the connection protocol they currently use for their hardware console units for example )


Also to add to my video I just found this from the Carbon user manual about the DSP buttons .
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Old 01-13-2021, 02:28 PM
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Originally Posted by KevWind View Post
To clarify by using the ADAT In and OUT it is expandable BUT fully analog,, no, not at this time.

My understanding is that currently Carbon can't be linked to another Carbon or any current Avid I/O hardware unit.. But rumor/speculation is that looking to the future Avid (may) be thinking some kind of daisy chaining to additional hardware (perhaps a new additional I/O box ) if only because it has two AVB Ethernet ports (which is the connection protocol they currently use for their hardware console units for example )
That's a pretty serious limitation. They're really limiting who will buy this with that. I often don't understand AVID's logic when they do stuff like this. For years it's felt like they weren't really interested in appealing to anyone who wasn't willing to buy the more expensive PT software (HD, Ultimate) by producing hardware that only worked with that. Then they doubled the re-up price on the lower priced software which pushed a lot of people out. Then they come out with this box that has limited expandability within the AVID ecosystem. It feels like the company has two halves arguing with each other.


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Originally Posted by KevWind View Post
Also to add to my video I just found this from the Carbon user manual about the DSP buttons .
Knowing myself, I'd have to really make an effort to be aware of that button.
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Old 01-13-2021, 06:41 PM
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Originally Posted by jim1960 View Post
That's a pretty serious limitation. They're really limiting who will buy this with that. I often don't understand AVID's logic when they do stuff like this. For years it's felt like they weren't really interested in appealing to anyone who wasn't willing to buy the more expensive PT software (HD, Ultimate) by producing hardware that only worked with that. Then they doubled the re-up price on the lower priced software which pushed a lot of people out. Then they come out with this box that has limited expandability within the AVID ecosystem. It feels like the company has two halves arguing with each other.
Ok I guess it is all relative to perspective and specific I/O requirements

Again to clarify it is expandable to 16 more channels via ADAT optical . And you could pair it with any number of brands of interfaces that offer ADAT outs. From Behringer (on the low price end) to Focusrite , Presonus, Midas, Ferrofish RME etc. in the middle and Prism or Apogee on the high end ??

I have not kept up with PT Regular pricing are you saying that the renewal price went from something like $99 to $199 ? That does seem like a big jump. The HD and then Ultimate has been the same renewal price now at least 4-5 years if I remember correctly.



Quote:
Knowing myself, I'd have to really make an effort to be aware of that button.
For me personally it seems little different than being aware of the Record and Input monitoring buttons . Plus given there is no reason or processing advantage, to use the DSP function for anything other than Recording, being able to have it engage with Record but is a pretty slick option
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Old 01-13-2021, 09:05 PM
jim1960 jim1960 is online now
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I have not kept up with PT Regular pricing are you saying that the renewal price went from something like $99 to $199 ? That does seem like a big jump. The HD and then Ultimate has been the same renewal price now at least 4-5 years if I remember correctly.
It did. They did that last year. or maybe the year before ...time is a blur lately. I paid up seven years in advance at the old rate after they announced the increase so I'm good until Sep 2026 but the increase felt like a kick in the teeth. And since they had no hardware for the non-Ultimate user, it really did feel like they would have been happy to see us move on to another daw ...and then along comes Carbon. Like I said, their strategy is confusing.
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Old 01-14-2021, 08:06 AM
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It did. They did that last year. or maybe the year before ...time is a blur lately. I paid up seven years in advance at the old rate after they announced the increase so I'm good until Sep 2026 but the increase felt like a kick in the teeth. And since they had no hardware for the non-Ultimate user, it really did feel like they would have been happy to see us move on to another daw ...and then along comes Carbon. Like I said, their strategy is confusing.
I don't pretend to know, or have any inside info about Avid's strategy and I am not defending it, just observing ....

As far as hardware for Regular PT it does seem that after Digi 003., they lost interest developing hardware for PT regular And perhaps more importantly especially after they made PT non proprietary and able to run on other brands of hardware,,,, (which in point of fact Pro Tools Customers had been asking/demanding ,,for years) they appeared to have decided at that point not compete in the lower "price point" interface market. Which makes a kind of business sense, given there was already a glut of price point interfaces competing for those dollars ,,,, Kind of reminds me of the the old axiom "be careful what you wish for" ...

As far as Carbon, I see it as more interesting than confusing . And given it's $ 4k price , I think it's safe to say (even though it can run Regular PT) is not a price point interface.

As far as overall strategy I think that Carbon also able to run on Regular PT is only a nice option,, and not the main focus of the Avid strategy moving forward .I think the main focus is the "Hybrid" aspect to running on HDX chips and also running in Native processing at the same time,,, which is unlike anything Avid had offered until Carbon ...
And may be a clue as to where their focus and strategy are going.

My guess (and only a guess) is in the next few years ( because native computer processing is getting so powerful) , you may see this "Hybrid" functioning incorporated into the entire lineup of HDX I/O Hardware,, and you may see them also move away from the proprietary DiGi link connection protocol, and towards AVB Ethernet . And if so ? it seems logical that future Avid I/O boxes would then be able to plug into Carbon
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Last edited by KevWind; 01-14-2021 at 09:30 AM.
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Old 01-14-2021, 10:46 AM
jim1960 jim1960 is online now
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As far as overall strategy I think that Carbon also able to run on Regular PT is only a nice option,, and not the main focus of the Avid strategy moving forward .I think the main focus is the "Hybrid" aspect to running on HDX chips and also running in Native processing at the same time,,, which is unlike anything Avid had offered until Carbon ...
And may be a clue as to where their focus and strategy are going.
So Regular PT compatibility may not have been the prime consideration in the development of Carbon. I hadn't looked at it that way but it would explain things to a large degree.
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Old 01-14-2021, 02:05 PM
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So Regular PT compatibility may not have been the prime consideration in the development of Carbon. I hadn't looked at it that way but it would explain things to a large degree.
At least that is what I am gleaning from some of the comments over on the DUC by the guy heading up the Carbon design team. The ability to have a new "Hybrid" system that could run some of the processing for recording and mixing on HDX DSP chips for sub 1 ms latency and concurrently run Native processing at the same time was the major goal.

In current HDX systems where "all" the processing for all the tracks is done on the HDX DSP chips, and the native computer processing is really only running the OS and Booting the DAW software. So currently HDX has voice/track count limitations per chip and why for example as you increased the number of tracks in your sessions you had to keep adding additional HDX cards to the system to not run out of voices for tracks .

This Hybrid system however while it will still have voice and track count limitations for the number of DSP enabled tracks you can run on the DSP chip ,,,, BUT like any full native system you theoretically have an unlimited number of tracks you can run natively ,,,,, limited only buy the processing power of your computer
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Last edited by KevWind; 01-14-2021 at 03:24 PM.
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