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Old 03-02-2007, 06:45 PM
DrDVD DrDVD is offline
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Default 003: PT LE is dead! Long live Pro Tools (but how?)


Like the rest of you, i'm flummoxed by the colossal non-event embodied in the 003 release.

So many of Digi's most dedicated users made our wishes so clear in our feature requests and in threads like this 003 wish list thread over the past 2 years, and i know that some of Digi's employees who are actually musicians and producers get it, so it's clear that this was a marketing decision. But one has to wonder who they're marketing to now, because most of the potential entry-level crowd they seem to be targeting with this would probably be better served by the M-Audio hardware.

As Dubai Fox and others have observed, the 003 is little more than a bug fix for the 002, which was already several years behind the competition.

To be fair, the *controller version* of the 003 seems to have a few nice little tweaks, but the 003r seems to be nothing more than a 002r with an extra headphone jack, WC, and an alt monitor out, all of which are very welcome additions, but nowhere near the top of our wish list.

The one hope we still have, as some have suggested, is a "Digi 003 Pro" that would give us what we've been asking for:

- Ability to expand I/O channels (via linking multiple units and/or adding extra I/O cards)
- 8-16 channels of AES I/O over DB25 ports with single-wire 192KHz support
- Surround monitoring support (also requires software support for at least 5.1 surround, perhaps as pay-extra "toolkit")
- Sturdy, road-ready 2U box with a dependable power supply
- Quality converters and clock with 192KHz sample rate support
- FireWire 800 or PCIe card
- Standard DB25 balanced +4 analog I/O
- S/MUX on dual ADAT lightpipe ports, for 8 channels at 96k (like RME et al)
- Phantom power switches switchable per channel, on the front of the unit
- At least one instrument DI input on the front panel
- At least basic 4-segment metering per channel on front panel
- Talkback mic input
- Support for CoreAudio device aggregation

If a control surface version of this is made, it should include surround monitoring control room features a la the Control|24, switching between 2 sets of 5.1 monitors and 2 pair of stereo monitors.

If Digi doesn't offer such a "Digi 003 Pro," then i don't see the point of them continuing the LE line - they should just drop it and let M-Audio handle all host-based systems (and remove the senseless crippling preventing AAF/OMF import/export in PT M-Powered).

Yes, it seems clearer than ever now that, unless we get a "Digi 003 Pro" with the features we've been asking for, then word will get out that M-Audio has leapfrogged the LE line on most counts, making the LE line both overpriced and obsolete for most purposes, and then naturally the exodus of pros from the LE line will accelerate. In that case, where we migrate to will depend on whether or not Digi offers a sub-$5000 HD product.

Personally, i'm fed up with the needless crippling of LE (hardware and software) and i'd much rather have a PTHD solution without DSP that i can get for around $3k street price. I use HD in the studio, but like most of the rest of you, i refuse to drop $8k+ for an HD system to work on my mixes at home. My Mac Pro kicks royal booty and I never run out of processor power anymore, even working at 96k, so there's no way i'll drop all that extra coin for DSP i really don't need.

Digi would be very smart to release a PTHD product without DSP - just 32-64 ins and out on a PCI card, like Apogee's Symphony, with a standard HD interface port. As someone else said, forget TDM - it's great, if you need all the extra power, but many of us don't, so give us the option to skip the DSP chips and use our RTAS plug-ins on our increasingly powerful native systems.

The question remains: with M-Audio overtaking PT LE on the hardware front, what is the relevance for PT LE? It is no longer a midrange option between the M-Audio stuff and the HD/Icon products - it is a dinosaur with delusions of grandeur, and existing Pro Tools users obviously know that already, and i can't imagine that the rest of the market will take too long to figure that out.

Hopefully Digi will surprise us with a fantastic "Digi 003 Pro" that finally incorporates the features that their most dedicated user base has been requesting, along with a PT LE software update (or add-on "toolkit" package) that offers support for surround mixing and 192k sample rates, so the sessions we do on HD in the studio can be taken home for tweaking, or on the road, etc.

Otherwise, i hear a decidedly mediocre recording of trumpets playing "Taps" for the LE line.

I can't imagine i'm the only one...?
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Old 03-02-2007, 10:49 PM
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JFreak JFreak is online now
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Default Re: 003: PT LE is dead! Long live Pro Tools (but how?)

Relax, people. This was all expected - not a surprise at all. Look at 001 --> 002R upgrade, what changed?

PCI to FireWire. This is the number one reason why Digi dropped 001 support. As both 002 and 003 are FireWire, there's no such reason for it now. Many think that this was a downgrade, but just as many are liking the portability. Feature-wise, it's hard to say if this is upgrade or not, but the fact that 001 support is lost makes it a downgrade.

Size grew from 1U to 2U and apparently made an excuse for cheapo power harness design. Again, nothing gained -- changes were cosmetical and in effect made the product worse.

Preamps, 2 more. This is nothing. Moving two inputs to back was more valuable upgrade than adding two more preamps. The quality of 002 preamps is however a step better.

Other than that, 002 upgrade gave people the choice between control surface model and a rack only model. That's the beef. Now what about 002 to 003 upgrade? Purely cosmetical changes and the only new feature is the wordclock i/o (which nobody yet knows whether it works at 96k or not).

I did not expect anything more than what was announced; however, I did expect that the product would even look good and usable -- these looks like crap.
What we do in life, echoes in eternity.
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Old 03-03-2007, 03:30 AM
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comprodman comprodman is offline
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Default Re: 003: PT LE is dead! Long live Pro Tools (but how?)

I was looking forward to the 003, I have had the 002 from very early on V5 PTLE and I have had a few problems with it, but over all I love the beasty. I was hoping the 003 would be a stepping stone to HD or a small cross over to the control 24. It does have a jog wheel, which I would love and the word clock, but it seems they have really missed the boat.

lets hope Digi, take stock and think about the future.
Pro Tools Editor, Producer, Mixer and Masterer since 1998
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Old 03-03-2007, 03:39 AM
Phil Jeffers Phil Jeffers is offline
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Default Re: 003: PT LE is dead! Long live Pro Tools (but how?)

Digi Tech speaks
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Old 03-03-2007, 04:16 AM
Phil Jeffers Phil Jeffers is offline
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Default Re: 003: PT LE is dead! Long live Pro Tools (but how?)

I never thought I'd say this, but maybe you should look at buying a HD rig. You can find them second hand for surprising cheap. I wouldn't count on any 003 or 003R "Pro". Read the Digi Techs comments from the Windows section of the DUC. From here; it's all about software advancements. I'm seriously hoping / wishing / praying this is for ADC and surround panning capability. Also, maybe some nice surround plug-ins to become available for Pro Tools LE (at the moment Waves only offer their surround bundles for Nuendo for Native apps i.e. not Logic or Digital Performer).

Another option you have, one that I and many other producers and engineers have taken is to invest in another software manufacturer, and use whatever hardware you damn well please... RME, MOTU, Lexicon: whatever. Hang onto Pro Tools for compatibility etc. and get down to some serious composing and mixing with other software and hardware.

Maybe M Powered would be better for you also.

Anyway, I don't want to cause offence or anything. This is the place to share ideas and debate. I think we all enjoy doing that. But, let’s keep it real.
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Old 03-03-2007, 05:13 AM
cheekypaul cheekypaul is offline
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Default Re: 003: PT LE is dead! Long live Pro Tools (but how?)

It's too big - again.
It's looks like "my first mixer" - again.
It looks like Digi will play the "pro" version trick - again.
It's WAY behind the competition - again.

Good news - older versions come down in price.
Bad news -Digi stop supporting the older versions.

Great software - Shame about the hardware - Again.

Embarrassing Boxes.

Long Live M-Audio....maybe.

Lots Of Love, PT user since '89.
Mac Computers/PT12/Lots Of Lacie D2s
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Old 03-03-2007, 06:38 AM
Stiff Stiff is offline
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Default Re: 003: PT LE is dead! Long live Pro Tools (but h

I never thought I'd say this, but maybe you should look at buying a HD rig. You can find them second hand for surprising cheap.
Just out of curiosity, what would you say is "cheap" in this case?
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Old 03-03-2007, 07:47 AM
cfb25 cfb25 is offline
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Default Re: 003: PT LE is dead! Long live Pro Tools (but h

since it seems no-one used that link to see what digidesign had to say, I'll re-print.... You can use the link up above for context....


Hi All,

Sorry for this relatively slow response post to what is clearly a headline issue for many DUC citizens – the thread arrived ahead of the actual launch, and I didn’t want to post until after we’d got the official news up on our own website, and given it time to propagate around the world a little.

As several posters have concluded, our intention with the 003 family was to provide a refresh of an already successful product. This is a smaller scale effort than some of the projects we do at Digidesign, and the decision to approach it this way limited our freedom to innovate with features, or change the price.

Why would Digidesign choose to just do a refresh? It’s certainly not our first preference: we’ve come into our current position in the creative world of audio on a foundation of innovation. We’re wired that way still. Even a relatively large company like Digi still has to make tough trade-offs over what to spend time on however, and since the 002’s continue to fit the bill for many users, we decided to go with a refresh. This left us free to pursue some other projects we’d long wanted to do, like the Mbox2 Pro, Mbox Mini, the Profile live console, a lot of Pro Tools feature development, and a bunch of other things I can’t talk about yet.

Despite the constraints of doing a “refresh only” project, we still worked at making improvements to every aspect of the design that we could.

The I/O complement had to remain the same, so the differences in that area are relatively few. The biggest change is in audio quality. The mic pres were completely re-designed, and we upgraded their dynamic range by almost 6dB, and their distortion performance by almost an order of magnitude from 0.004% to 0.0007% (note the three zero’s after the period.)

We found several ways to enhance the 002 control surface as we re-worked it for 003: it now includes dedicated automation controls, and you can use the meters to provide an auto mode status display. The 2-line display provides much better visual feedback for all functions, allowing you to see 6-character channel names at the same time as parameter value readouts. With a jog/shuttle wheel and an external clock input, the product is more at home than before in post production environments. And the updated MIDI mapping mode will make controlling other MIDI apps and devices much more fluid for music producers.

Despite these changes, I can see how this intro is disappointing to existing 002 owners who were looking to upgrade to a product that would take them to the next level. We don’t mean to limit anyone’s options, and clearly the 003 family is not intended to serve that “step-up” purpose – it’s for new users. We understand the desire, though: we are hard at work on products which will allow people to move beyond today’s LE family (whaaaat! like I said, I can’t talk about that stuff!)

I hope this post helps with understanding our moves (I know it won’t help much with the disappointment) and that we are thinking along the same lines as many of you. Despite some of the harsher comments, I’m glad we have such a passionate and engaged customer base – it makes the communication open and easy.

One last note: some of the posters on this thread were concerned that 002 support will be going away with Vista. As we state elsewhere on our website, we’re beavering away at Vista support right now, and I’m glad to confirm that 002 will be fully supported in the forthcoming Vista-compatible release of Pro Tools.

- David

Senior Director, Product Marketing
Chris Beaver Music

The Note Music
Dual 2.0Ghz PPC 3gb Ram, Digi 002R
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Old 03-03-2007, 08:34 AM
Windshore Windshore is offline
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Posts: 157
Default Re: 003: PT LE is dead! Long live Pro Tools (but h

I have to say, what I said at Gearslutz.... It's intriguing that Digi's Senior Director of Product Marketing would admit that the 003 was not designed to be an upgrade, but a "refresh". One might ask, Why not call it the 002N or some variation of the same name. (Nikon did that with the FM2N if you're into photography.) Dah... then everyone would have immediately realized that they hadn't put any real effort in it, and that it's NOT an upgrade to the 002.

I can see that if I didn't own an 002, and I was looking to get into PTLE, that the 003 makes sense, but the fact is that in the few years since the 002 came out, a lot of things have changed, particularly computer capability and what the competition offers.

I know I'm not alone in saying my production chops are far progressed from 5 years ago. I have the Blacklion Mod, but I now use API an NEVE etc., so sound quality has already been taken care of... The jog wheel etc., is a non issue for Rack owners, especially those of us with midi controllers.

Digi obviously have a new product or product line in the works for 002 owners to upgrade and we'll probably hear about it this spring (be prepared to open your wallets), but this Director of Marketing should probably lose his job, or at least get a good lecture from his superiors.
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Old 03-03-2007, 11:16 PM
Phil Jeffers Phil Jeffers is offline
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Default Re: 003: PT LE is dead! Long live Pro Tools (but h

I never thought I'd say this, but maybe you should look at buying a HD rig. You can find them second hand for surprising cheap.
Just out of curiosity, what would you say is "cheap" in this case?
Hi, there's a HD 2 system with a 192 interface on Ebay for $13,000 AUD (about $10,000 USD).

I have spent at least half that on LE gear and software, and much more on processors and plug-ins.
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