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Old 06-14-2020, 05:16 PM
Nephew312 Nephew312 is offline
Join Date: Feb 2020
Location: FL
Posts: 7
Default HDX or Native in this scenario

I’m making the jump from a third party interface to an avid system. I’ve heard using HDX when tracking with native plugins can hinder your system in terms of latency when tracking.

My question is this.. in 2020, is tracking with aax native auto tune or reverbs still a no go for HDX systems? Unfortunately a lot of my clients prefer to track this way and monitor themselves through auto tune, aux effects or both. I’m just trying to figure out what the better route is.. HDX or Native.

I know this has been discussed before but I’d like to hopefully get some feedback from some of you guys using these plugins. My rep at the shop I am purchasing the gear from is telling me there shouldn’t be an issue with HDX.
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Old 06-15-2020, 07:13 AM
albee1952 albee1952 is offline
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Norwich, CT
Posts: 35,728
Default Re: HDX or Native in this scenario

While there "shouldn't" be an issue with HDX, that doesn't mean there won't be, or that you need to spend that much money Here's my thoughts, based on my own experience:
1-Tracking with AutoTune has never made sense to me(unless you are going for the typical T-Pain/Cher overdone effect) and I would suggest that my singers learn how to sing....(okay, rant over)
2-Tracking with reverbs should not be an issue(although there might be some that work better than others in regards to latency or system usage)
3-HDX is a large investment and you might be perfectly happy taking the route I took, which follows(for a commercial studio in Nashville):
I went with an HDN card(available used for under $1K now). I started off with a single HD IO(8x8x8) and a used 192. In short order, I added a second HD IO and a second 192 and ran 32 preamps(for tracking), 6 stereo headphone mixes, 8 hardware inserts(which never got used) and still had room for more preamps(total of 64 IO available).

My typical band tracking session had 14 drum tracks(plus bus compression and reverb on AUX tracks), Bass DI and Mic(if they brought an amp), 4 tracks for acoustic(with reverb on an AUX), 4 tracks for electric(with 2 mono reverbs on AUX), a stereo keyboard track, 2 stereo Instrument tracks(with DB-33 and MiniGrand), a stereo Master track, 4 vocal tracks(with reverb and delay on AUX tracks) and 4 AUX tracks for talkback mics. All headphone mixes were done from PT with AUX sends and the session was well-populated with plugins(all drums had a channel strip, bass had EQ and BF76, acoustics had EQ and BF76, vocals had EQ and compression and at least 5 reverbs. With the playback buffer set to 64(48K sample rate), I never had an issue and never heard any mention about latency(no plugins with more than 10-11 samples of latency were used while tracking). My template also had another dozen plugins that were inactive while tracking(because of their latency). This was done on a second-hand HP z820 12 core PC that cost me less than $1500

I should also mention that I know a few HDX users that wish they could have the option to revert to native for mixing. And on the subject of tracking with AutoTune, while I never did it, I seem to remember that AutoTune Live 8(which I had in that studio) did run with no significant latency. And you could always keep that plugin inactive till needed, and freeze as you add tracks(so you don't have several active versions while you need a low buffer setting).

That's my experience. Now lets hear from others

Just a little more info:
My tracking reverbs were IK Classik Room(drums) and Plate(vocals), Sparkverb(acoustics) and Dverb(mono electric guitars)
Bass always had an AUX track with IK Amplitube SVX(Ampeg B-15 model)
The 4 talkback mics(on AUX tracks) were control room, drum room, main room and producer's desk(boundary mics) and were controlled with Sound Radix Mute-O-Matic plugin
Delay was either Echoboy or Waves H-Delay(if Echoboy, I would disable ADC on that strip as Echoboy has 32 samples of latency)
All vocal tracks had EQ III>BF76>SMACK!>Pultec(Bomb Factory version). At mix time, I would usually swap the BF Pultec for Waves Puigtech(but not always).
At one point, I added Softube's Console 1 to the setup and it added 7 samples of latency, which did not seem to affect any musicians(nobody ever mentioned latency in the phones unless I screwed something up)
Gigabyte X79/intel i7 3930K, 32GB RAM, DIGI003 Rack

The better I drink...the more I mix.....

BTW, my name is Dave, but most people call me.........................Dave

Last edited by albee1952; 06-15-2020 at 07:23 AM. Reason: a little more insight
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Old 06-16-2020, 06:17 AM
Nephew312 Nephew312 is offline
Join Date: Feb 2020
Location: FL
Posts: 7
Default Re: HDX or Native in this scenario

Thanks for the insight! I wish I could tell every artist that came in “learn how to sing” haha. Doubt I’d have any paying clients left tho!!! I think it’s more so a specific type of effect they are looking for. They want to bend the notes and be in key. TBH if I could avoid it completely I would!

I’ve been using a third party dsp version of Antares with their interface and it’s just time for me to cross the bridge and go full avid. I mean as long as HDX has been out you’d think avid would have developed a pitch correction dsp plug or at least delegated the task to a third party by now! It’s a useful tool regardless, and tbf we had Antares auto tune on tdm! Why not on HDX?!?!

It’s literally the only thing missing from a dedicated system for me and it’s unfortunate because a lot of these artists that are popular right now prefer to track with AT. Not all, but a lot of them.

I guess I just want to make sure I don’t have a latency downfall if I invest in a HDX rig you know?
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Old 07-01-2020, 03:36 AM
Mark Ziebarth Mark Ziebarth is offline
Join Date: Nov 1998
Location: Hamburg, Germany
Posts: 745
Default Re: HDX or Native in this scenario

HDX for realtime purposes is what’s left in most scenarios. I had all Pro Tools DSP platforms before HDX (Pro Tools III, Mix and HD) but left for HD Native two years ago. Monitoring with 64 Samples runs smoothly and my mixing can be done on every mac I connect my iLok with.
HDX cards are around 2000 Euro/USD but the plugs are more expensive than the native versions like Pro Tools Ultimate is double the price than vanilla... You can grab used interfaces to save money. I’m still using my old 192 I/O and am still satisfied with the sound.
If it’s for realtime Autotune monitoring only it’s an expensive solution imho.
For mixing and editing there’s no need for dsp solutions nowadays.


Mac Pro 2010 3.66 GHz six Cores, HD Native, 192 I/O, Avid Dock, Artist Mix and Pro Tools Ultimate
Mac mini 2018 i5 64 GB RAM, RME Fireface, Pro Tools 2019, Euphonix MC Control
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Old 07-01-2020, 10:19 AM
henningaround henningaround is offline
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Cologne, Germany
Posts: 128
Default Re: HDX or Native in this scenario

Be aware that IF you choose the HDX route with one card your system will have a huge bottleneck these days. Take into consideration that if you have HDX you must use it to use your DigiLink Interface. And with one card you will run fast into a dead end because it has to handle all mixer tasks. If you once started to use all inserts on your tracks for convenience your DSP chips on that one card will be full soon. I cannot run a simple 90 feature mix on one card.
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Old 07-01-2020, 12:48 PM
martthie_08 martthie_08 is offline
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Germany
Posts: 165
Default Re: HDX or Native in this scenario

running HDX, HD Native and Native on three separate systems here. If this is just for recording with Autotune or Reverb do not get HDX. HDX cards have a noisy fan and the computer running the HDX card should be moved into a machine room. There is no AAX-DSP version of Autotune so you would have to open it as a native plugin anyways. For this to work in any acceptable fashion you'd have to set the buffer size very low which compromises system performance and compatibility with some plugins that need larger buffer sizes. I would suggest looking at an uaudio Apollo as your front end in this case. As far as I'm concerned you can run Autotune (and Reverbs) on their integrated DSP chips while monitoring in "real-time".
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Old 07-01-2020, 05:02 PM
s.d. finley s.d. finley is offline
Join Date: May 2000
Location: Houston, TX. USA
Posts: 1,492
Default Re: HDX or Native in this scenario

At our studio we have 3 PT systems; HD Native with Ultimate, 2 Apollo 16s with Ultimate and Apollo 8 with reg PT. We run native autotune EFX3 on all 3 systems with additional plug ins on the insert, reverb and delays on auxes all on vocals with no problems. This is tracking tho, so we may not have 90 audio tracks in the session but we do have many native plug ins on our rap template and when I mean many I mean maybe 35.

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Old 07-02-2020, 07:33 AM
Stephen Bond's Avatar
Stephen Bond Stephen Bond is offline
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Bedfordshire, United Kingdom
Posts: 1,203
Default Re: HDX or Native in this scenario

I've been with Pro Tools native for yearly 20 years. I've never had an issue with latency for recording, especially as native power has come on leaps and bounds and buffer sizes can drop accordingly. I owned a Mix system for a period but that was more to have access to the TDM only plugins that were not uncommon at that time. These days it is common to have native only plugins. I certainly don't miss doubled prices of TDM plugins or the expense of the DSP cards to run them.

I've recorded numerous bands ensemble using native systems. I've never had issue with latency unless I have had the buffer set to something like 512 or 1024. 256 or lower has never been met with questions of delayed audio from the musicians. I've often tracked with virtual amp plugins and EQ and compression and unless using the odd plugin which needs too many CPU cycles to process, never had an issue.

If you need an autotune type plugin for a vocalist for some reason then try Waves Tune Real-Time. It is low latency enough to use live for sure, easy to set up and relatively inexpensive. I personally think vocalists would perform better without correction at the time of performance but if they insist...

Save an additional 10% off any purchase at Waves!

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Old 07-04-2020, 09:05 PM
bobo mark bobo mark is offline
Join Date: Dec 1969
Location: hongkong
Posts: 232
Default Re: HDX or Native in this scenario

i have been HDX user from day 1. After i used Apollo system, i really dont think HDX is worth at all. when using Apollo Pro Tools just become a tape machine. all monitoring is done on Apollo console.

The only downside is carefully plan which channels to used on 8P. since each channel is wire to DSP. So when i tracks drum, i may need to divide to 2x8P. I still used outboard pre to Apollo. I dont miss HDX at all.

When i mix HDX for outboard insert and EFX. Apollo provide me DSP.
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Old 07-05-2020, 05:13 PM
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JFreak JFreak is offline
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Tampere, Finland
Posts: 20,072
Default Re: HDX or Native in this scenario

Originally Posted by Stephen Bond View Post
If you need an autotune type plugin for a vocalist for some reason then try Waves Tune Real-Time. It is low latency enough to use live for sure, easy to set up and relatively inexpensive. I personally think vocalists would perform better without correction at the time of performance but if they insist...
Sounds like crap, but whatever you do DONT pitch correct the monitor feed.

I was once mixing a joker that insisted he hears his vocals tuned told him that sure I can do that but let's have a bet: if you can perform I buy you a beer after the gig, but if you cannot, you buy me a full steak dinner. Guess who won
What we do in life, echoes in eternity.
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