Inside Eleven Sound’s Brand New Audio Post Mixing Suites Featuring S6 and HDX

We recently visited Jeff Payne, founder of Eleven Sound in Santa Monica California, a boutique audio post production facility. Reflecting Jeff’s humor, Eleven was named as an homage to Spinal Tap (something we can relate to). He has mixed dozens of Super Bowl and prime time TV spots as well as Emmy award-winning work including Chrysler’s “Born of Fire” for Wieden+Kennedy Portland and P&G’s “Best Job”. Jeff and his team have recently completed a major expansion with the addition of two brand-new state-of-the-art audio post production mixing suites.

TG: What is your main focus?

Jeff Payne: We’ve been around since 1999 and I started with Pro Tools and Pro Control. 97% of what we do is sound for Television spots. I really love working on commercials because I get to wear a lot of hats! I do everything from music editing, sound design, dialogue work, ADR, VO and of course mixing…


TG: What are the big challenges you face nowadays?

JP: We are the last stop in the chain and for the last few years picture is still being changed while we are mixing. Sometimes we mix and go on the air the same evening. It’s so much easier for our client’s client to make changes and things can move so quickly—that’s the norm now.


TG: What rigs are you currently running in your main room?

JP: We are running Pro Tools | HDX on the latest Mac Pro. I’m really happy with it— it’s really fast! We have some sessions that are as big as 30 gigs and it’s smooth. I have the Pro Tools | S6 M10 16 fader surface as well…

“Panning on the touch screen is something that I really love. It’s fast and intuitive.”

—Jeff Payne

TG: What brought you to Pro Tools | S6 and your setup?

JP: I’m very comfortable mixing in the box and for me, faders are really important for mixing music and dialog – you have to use your hands. I really like having the control surface angled to the side right next to my keyboard and mouse… With the faders and specifically the attention fader on my right hand, it’s super fast and very easy to tweak one fader at a time by just clicking on it in Pro Tools and it pops onto the attention fader. I never have to move my head or move my hand far at all. My left hand never leaves the keyboard (for transport) and my right is free to grab the track I need. It’s kind of an unorthodox setup but it works for me…

I love the Master Module touchscreen for navigating and the matching color-coding of tracks… And, 80% of what we do is in 5.1 surround sound so panning on the touch screen is something that I really love. It’s fast and intuitive. The fader feel on the S6 is really great too. The color-coded knobs have intrigued me more to start integrating that into my workflow and move away from the mouse a bit more for plug-in control.


TG: You also have an Artist Series VO/Sound Design studio upstairs as well?

JP: Yeah, it was the concept and layout of my assistant AJ. He uses Pro Tools and the Artist controllers very similarly to how I use S6 where you can simply click on a track and it brings it to the lower 12 faders. The upper 8 faders we lock down for static tracks like Mic input, ISDN return, ISDN send, phone patch, etc… with Layouts. It’s pretty cool and the price point was just right for that room.

You can watch and listen to some of the big spots Jeff has mixed here. Below is one of my personal favorites…

Pro Tools | S6

Mixing Redefined

Choose a pre-configured S6 system or build your own. Speak with our experts to determine the best fit for your workflow and business.


Today’s Pro Tools 12.2 Release Has New Plug-ins, New Plans, and a New Lower Price

Pro Tools 12.2 Release

There was a lot exciting news packed into the recent Pro Tools 12.2 release announcement so we wanted to dig in a little deeper and explore what this all means to you. To start with behind the scenes at Avid, both of our new VP/Chief Product Officer Dana Ruzicka and VP of Audio Products Tim Carroll, (with a combined 38 years at Avid!), are both longtime recording musicians as well as Pro Tools users and much of what you see changing here has been crafted by them, and much has been a result of your feedback in the community.


What’s new in Pro Tools 12?

There have now been three releases for Pro Tools 12. Here’s a short rundown on some of the key enhancements.

Pro Tools 12.0 on March 23

Improved I/O Setup and Monitoring/Auto Down-mixing, unlimited busses, in-app plug-in purchases and rentals, stability improvements.

Pro Tools 12.1 on June 30

Increased track count (128 Audio, 512 Instrument), Track Input Monitoring, AFL/PFL Solo Modes, Copy to Send, Pro Tools | Control support, support for Pro Tools | S3 VCA Spill, and stability improvements.

Pro Tools 12.2 on September 2

VCA Masters, Disk Cache, Advanced Metering, Gain Reduction Metering, Avid Access Plan options including new Plug-in Bundle.

Pro Tools 12.2 with VCA Masters, Extended Metering and Plug-In Bundle

Now let’s dive in and break it down by customer scenarios so you can find the information that best suits your needs.


New Pro Tools 12 (Standard) Customer

If you are in the market to buy a new copy (also called a perpetual license*) of Pro Tools, the great news is that we’ve lowered the price by $300 to $599 and it includes one-year of software upgrades and access to a brand new plug-in bundle for that year at no additional charge (see the matching sidebar for the list of those plug-ins). It also comes with 1 free support call (to be used within 7 days after you’ve activated the software), if you’d like more support – it’s available for $99 for the year.

Or, for a much lower initial out-of-pocket expense, you can subscribe to Pro Tools for $29.99 a month or $299 a year. Subscription licenses come with full access to any upgrades in that period, full support and use of the plug-in bundle. It’s flexible and you choose which best suits you.

If you buy and activate Pro Tools 12 perpetual license or subscribe with an Annual Subscription before the end of September, you can also get a perpetual license for the great Amp/Speaker simulation plug-in Eleven. A $499 value!

* Just to review: A perpetual license works in perpetuity. You own the license and it keeps you running on the last version of upgrades you were eligible for. A subscription license only works during the active subscription period.


Pro Tools 9 or 10 or Pro Tools Express / M-Powered Customers Who Want to Upgrade to Pro Tools 12*

If you upgrade to Pro Tools 12 before the end of the year it’s $199 for Pro Tools 12, the upgrade plan (covering any new releases during that year) and the support plan as well as access to the new plug-in bundle. If you wait until 2016 and beyond, that price goes to $299. (Starting Jan. 1, 2016, upgrades from Pro Tools Express and M-Powered are no longer available)

If you buy and activate a $199 Annual Upgrade and Support Plan before the end of September, you can also get a perpetual license for the great Amp/Speaker simulation plug-in Eleven. A $499 value!

* Eligibility is limited to: Pro Tools 9 & 10, Pro Tools Express (licenses bundled with Mbox, Fast Track Solo & Duo only), Pro Tools M-Powered 6–8 & Pro Tools MP 9.


Pro Tools Plug-In Bundle on an Annual Plan

Pro Tools 11 Customers Who Want to Upgrade to Pro Tools 12 (Standard)

You have a few options to upgrade to Pro Tools 12 before the end of the year:

  1. Like above, it’s $199 to get the upgrade to Pro Tools 12, the upgrade plan (covering any new releases during that year), the support plan as well as access to the new plug-in bundle
  2. You can upgrade to Pro Tools 12 and just get software upgrades for the year for only $99
  3. You can get just support and access to the new plug-in bundle for $99
  4. You can wait until 2016 and beyond and get back on an annual upgrade plan for $299—access to the plug-in bundle and support would cost an additional $99

If you buy the $199 Annual Upgrade and Support Plan before the end of September, you can also get a perpetual license for the great Amp/Speaker simulation plug-in Eleven. A $499 value!


Current Pro Tools 12 (Standard) Customers

You’re all set! You are currently on a plan and have access to new feature updates, the plug-in bundle and support for the term of your plan (check your Avid account for details). Before your plan expires next year, you can renew everything for $199 or choose to just renew the upgrades at $99. If you let the plan expire, jumping back on at a later time will cost $299—access to the plug-in bundle and support would cost an additional $99.

Pro Tools | HD Plug-in Bundle Plan

New Pro Tools | HDX and HD Native Customers

If you are buying or have bought an HDX system and HD Native with Pro Tools 12 in it—you are currently on a plan! You will get access to new feature updates, the new HD plug-in bundle and support for the term of your plan. Before your plan expires next year you can renew everything for $399. If you let the plan expire, jumping back on at a later time will cost $999, which will get you up to the latest version and includes updates for the next 12 months, plus access to the plug-in bundle and support. The next year you’ll be able to renew your plan for only $399 going forward.


Pro Tools | HD 9, 10 or 11, or Complete Production Toolkit Customers Upgrading to Pro Tool | HD 12

Your upgrade path before the end of the year is $599, which gives you the upgrade plan covering any new releases during that year and the support plan as well as access to the new HD plug-in bundle. If you wait until 2016 and beyond, that price goes to $999.

After that, plan renewals cost only $399 each year. Again, if you let the plan expire, jumping back on at a later time will cost you $999 (and then $399 option to stay current going forward).

With the Pro Tools | HD 12 perpetual license you can run Pro Tools 10, 11 and 12 HD on your computer at the same time, if you so choose.


HD 7 or 8 Customers with Older HD (PCI and or PCIe) Hardware

Your best bet is to take advantage of the HD Exchange promo that offers savings up to 40% off an HDX system with Pro Tools 12 HD software (includes an annual plan) and or up 20% off exchanging to an HD Native system with PT12 HD (also with plan). This pricing offer ends December 23rd for a new offer that won’t be nearly as good a deal so don’t wait too long.

Thanks for your continued support! You can check back here for links to the archived version of the webcast where we discuss Pro Tools 12.2 and the new plans.

Pro Tools 12.2 Release

Own Pro Tools for just $599

New to Pro Tools? Purchase and own the software (a perpetual license) for the new low price of $599—a savings of $300. Get free software upgrades for 12 months plus access to 17 bonus plug-ins—free.


Deluxe Hollywood Leverages Avid Pro Mixing Integrated Solution

I recently visited the long time classic Hollywood sound mixing studios at 900 Seward St. now owned and managed by Deluxe. While these rooms are classic in design and sound, they are absolutely state-of-the art in the latest in post mixing technology including Pro Tools HDX and Pro Tools | S6 outfitted in every room as well as several stages equipped with Dolby Atmos. The first part of the interview focuses on the design and engineering philosophy with key Deluxe personnel Chris Reynolds and Doug Higgins (both Directors of Audio Services). The second part is a quick chat with two independent Re-Recording Mixers who’ve just completed projects on the new stages.

Deluxe Hollywood lobby

Stage 2 Dual Operator Pro Tools | S6

TG: What were the key reasons you designed Deluxe Hollywood around Pro Tools | S6 and Pro Tools | HDX?

Chris Reynolds: “At the heart of it—it’s definitely the ‘transportability of a mix’. Being able to scale from taking work from small bays to a medium stage to a large final stage, keeping all of our work intact from the temp mix work to the final printmaster. Everything has to be very dynamic to move quickly and an Avid infrastructure is key to what we’re seeing now and where we think workflows are going. Also the learning curve of getting people up to speed on a mixing surface like S6 is faster and easier because they know Pro Tools. From an internal facility maintenance and support standpoint, it makes it much easier to have the same console and infrastructure throughout making it much better than if we had disparate equipment.”

Doug Higgins: “We knew that customers needed to be able to come in and out of Deluxe with their audio content and not have any lost time in lengthy recalls or setups. With the shrinking budgets and timeline compression, it’s more critical than ever. From Deluxe’s Worldwide Facilities—we need to be able to quickly move projects and mixes around the world on this uniform platform.”


TG: Can you talk a bit about the philosophy in the central machine room and controlling systems from anywhere in the facility?

Chris Reynolds: “It means flexibility. All systems are on an IHSC KVM. We can completely dynamically allocate any system(s) to any room rather than the older model of ‘these 6 systems are tied to this specific stage’. When stages are operating at capacity, you could create deliverables on another stage by just patching that system to another room. You could take the same system, with the same plug-ins, same HDX cards, same settings from room to room.”

Doug Higgins: “It also means that we can quickly reallocate another system without any downtime should a failure occur.”

HDX, HD-MADI, HD-Omni, Sync HD in the Machine Room.

“Everything has to be very dynamic to move quickly and an Avid infrastructure is key to what we’re seeing now and where we think workflows are going.”

—Chris Reynolds

TG: And this principle translates also to a new hybrid design room you have on Stage 5, as well?

Chris Reynolds: “Yes, Stage 5 was originally just an ADR stage and is now a hybrid ADR/Mix room where we can be recording principle ADR in the day using 1 system and in the evening shift swing out the S6 dual operator console on wheels and patch in the 6 systems needed with dynamic pooling of systems for a quick conversion without renting more systems.”


TG: What were the key features that drew you to the S6 console?

Doug Higgins: “We knew that going forward we needed the newest, longest lasting infrastructure and that meant we needed the S6 over legacy equipment (ICON).”

Chris Reynolds: “For specific features the S6 is more appealing than the ICON. For example the ergonomics; the encoder depth and fader width and being able to reach everything. The fader quality too—mixers are always commenting on how great they feel (compared to ICON). The modularity has allowed us to change the order of the knobs to the second position versus the process module – and we’re not locked into it. It’s easy to troubleshoot, pop out and swap a module if there is an issue. “

Doug Higgins: “Having an easy module swap means that our internal engineering department can quickly solve 99% of any issues. And the new Vegas mode takes it to a new level!”

Stage 2 (Atmos) Dual Operator Pro Tools | S6 M40

“It’s crazy that we’ve found ourselves using fewer systems because the horsepower of HDX is so strong.”

—Chris Reynolds

Stage 7 (Home Atmos) Dual Operator S6 M10

TG: How has Pro Tools | HDX performed for you to handle big mixes?

Doug Higgins: “One of the initial requirements going in was we knew we wanted to focus high track count and high I/O count to deal with immersive audio mixes. We wanted to focus on a mostly exclusive MADI I/O environment. The power of HDX is pretty incredible and has been able to handle the big track and I/O count that we rely on. To have 192 audio ins and outs on one system within 3 rack spaces, patched with 6 coax cables, is what I would consider an efficient use of space.

Chris Reynolds: “It’s crazy that we’ve found ourselves using fewer systems because the horsepower of HDX is so strong.”


TG: How has Avid’s technology and integration brought this all together?

Chris Reynolds: “Satellite link has been very reliable as a way of syncing systems together.”

Doug Higgins: “The response of satellite is so quick… It’s funny to hear some people’s criticism or frustration when there is less than a split second of sync-up time for multiple systems starting playback. Compared to just a short time ago of locking up to LTC – it’s just funny to hear that is someone’s pain point!”

Chris Reynolds: “And with EUCON, a common thing that we do is reallocate fader modules on the console to different Master Modules and take them over from another system in a matter of 30 seconds. Things like that are so much faster with the Avid integration.”

ADR Stage 16 Fader M10

“The S6 is the natural progression from ‘mixing in the box’, it’s supremely powerful…”

—Joe Barnett

Gary Bourgeois – Independent Re-Recording Mixer: Criminal, Captain America: The First Avenger, Ghost Rider, Step Brothers

“This past February I mixed one of the first feature films on the S6 in Bulgaria and I was fairly tentative going into that experience and it took a couple of days to get going and build the mixer, every day I liked it more and more and by the time I was finished I felt that there is no other way that I want to mix, ever…

For me, the workflow has evolved into no need for pre-dubs anymore and the way we used to deal with individual layers of mixes are not needed anymore because of the S6. My mixes are more efficient and go more quickly. I’m able to work by myself a great deal now. The board is very efficient and intuitive. Layouts make it very quick. Version 2.0 software update answers a lot of questions and comments that were out there.

Mixers like myself who’ve embraced the S6 workflow and love to mix on S6, we’ve brought work to the Deluxe facility because it’s in every room. We can go from room to room or location to location from temp to final easily. If they had installed older digital consoles – I wouldn’t have bothered. That’s older technology and not flexible.”


Joe Barnett – Independent Re-Recording Mixer: Hands of Stone, Dumb and Dumber To, The Perks of Being a Wallflower

“The S6 is the natural progression from ‘mixing in the box’, it’s supremely powerful – specifically carrying your mixes forward from temp to final. With budgets getting smaller and schedules shrinking – anything you can do to save and transport information forward is a must.

I’ve just recently done a mix on ICON across town and then came here to do ‘Hands of Stone’ on the S6 (for the first time) at Deluxe. I love the S6; I think it’s a very professional product. It’s definitely the next step in the evolution. The ICON is functional and cool but the S6 takes it to the next level. My favorite feature is the Displays with scrolling waveforms and gain reduction meters on every channel. It’s pretty great.

We mixed the show natively in Atmos, as well. We were able to carry the temp mix automation all the way through the pre-dubs into the final. It was a great starting point and it really helped with the timeframe we had and the large size of the show. We might not have been able to complete the show without this workflow. ”

Pro Tools | S6

Mixing Redefined

Choose a pre-configured S6 system or build your own. Speak with our experts to determine the best fit for your workflow and business.


Pro Tools | Control for iOS Now Available on the App Store. Download Today.

“The best things in life are free… But you can keep them for the birds and bees…”

—Berry Gordy & Janie Bradford
Recorded & Performed by The Beatles 1963 “With The Beatles”

The Best Things Are Free…

The Beatles were always pushing recording technology to the limits and I believe that if they were making records today they would be using Pro Tools and pushing it to the limit too. I can envision what they would do if they got their hands on Pro Tools | Control, our new FREE iOS app for remote controlling recording, mixing, and navigation in Pro Tools and other EUCON-enabled applications from your iPad.

Sir George Martin, Sir Paul McCartney and Ringo Star at the console

Knowing what I do about how the Beatles liked to take production into their own hands, I could see them running things remotely from the live room while in the studio, using it to build demos in their home studios, and even mixing from the couch in the control room at Studio 2 Abbey Road – I’m quite sure they would continue to make the engineers crazy! (You can see Paul McCartney using Pro Tools in a very fun hour long 2005 TV Special called “Great Performances: Paul McCartney Chaos and Creation at Abbey Road” shot in the famed Studio 2).

Mixing in a car? Parked of course!

There are so many exciting and cool possibilities of how this free new app will be used by folks to get creative, to track, to navigate, and to get better hands on control of their mix. One idea I had that I’d like to try is to take my laptop into the car –(parked in the driveway!)- to check and tweak my mixes in with Pro Tools | Control. Even with Offline Bounce, it beats burning endless versions that you load onto and check on your iPod in the car! I’ll plug the 1/8” mini jack of my laptop output into the “Aux-In” on the car stereo for monitoring. But, I wouldn’t really want to work on the laptop in the confined space, and clicking with the track pad just doesn’t work well for me. My Wi-Fi network reaches into the driveway, which will allow me to bring the iPad along and have multi-touch, wireless control over the different blends and even automate tracks. I’ll let you know how it goes – but hey, rememberDON’T MIX AND DRIVE! ;-D

What unique, creative, and cool way will you use Pro Tools | Control? We’d love to hear from you. Please share with us in the comments section below and also use Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook with the hashtag #ProToolsControl and tag us @AvidProTools.

Pro Tools | Control 'Mixer' view

Take Control…

The ‘Mixer’ view is really the primary screen (emulating a mixing console). It provides users with multi-touch control of faders, solos, mutes, pans, and automation modes, whereas the mouse only gives you the ability to grab one control at a time.  The ‘Mixer’ view really gives you the power (and feel) to balance and blend multiple objects in a space simultaneously.

The secondary ‘Tracks’ view is more about a wider view of your session and navigating and controlling it more efficiently. Derived from the S6 Master Touch Module, the ‘Tracks’ view allows Artist Mix and S3 users faster and easier ways to navigate big sessions and bring tracks to the surface. This provides what we like to call a ‘Hybrid’ approach: the best of touchscreen benefits for scrolling/navigating combined with a physical control surface for the best of faders, knobs, and switches for tactile control.

Grammy winning producer Jared Lee Gosselin at the S3 with 'Tracks' view on the Control app

Both the ‘Mixer’ view and ‘Tracks’ matrix view are 100% free with no additional hardware needed. After our ACA/NAB/Musikmesse announcement of the app in April we heard from our mixing customers that they would really like to use the Tracks view without an Artist Mix or S3 attached. We’re happy to share that those without a surface can also use the Tracks page to scroll through tracks and solo, mute, record arm and even bring up a single fader on the touch screen to mix with. Pro Tools will even follow such navigation selections on the ‘Tracks’ view – saving scrolling time with the mouse or track pad.

More examples of Hybrid mix control enhancements are the ability to recall Layouts from the Track Types/Layouts popover for both Artist Mix and S3. This is especially useful for Artist Mix users as previously there was no way to recall a layout nor see the layout name without going to EuControl Settings. Soft Key shortcuts are also a great speed enhancement. The app comes with the same default Soft Keys set as the Artist Control, but users will receive a link to download and install a customized version specifically designed for the app. You can read more about Soft Keys in the Pro Tools | Control guide.

Delivering on Avid Everywhere…

Pro Tools | Control offers more integrated and innovative ways to control and mix Pro Tools as well as other EUCON applications. This further delivers on our Avid Everywhere vision for the industry in response to the big challenges faced by media professionals with the specific goal of leveraging integrated (yet open) technology to bring content creators closer together and streamline their workflows. We are incredibly excited to release this app—and other upcoming innovations—thanks to the flexibility of the new licensing plans.

Below is a list of the qualified iPad models and EUCON media application versions on the product page. But, older iPad models and application versions may work fine as well. For the best experience, be sure to get up onto Pro Tools 12.1 (or your favorite EUCON application listed).

System Requirements

  • iPad Air or iPad mini 2 or later running iOS 8.3 or later
  • Qualified Mac or Windows-based computer running any supported EUCON-enabled application and EuControl 3.3
  • Accessible wireless network (5Ghz Wi-Fi network recommended)

QHost Applications

  • Avid Pro Tools 12.1 or later
  • Avid Pro Tools | HD 12.1 or later
  • Avid Media Composer 8 or later
  • Apple Logic Pro X
  • Steinberg Cubase 8
  • Steinberg Nuendo 6.5

Thanks for reading – download it now and happy #ProToolsControl mixing!

Download Pro Tools | Control on the App Store

Pro Tools | S6

Mixing (r)Evolution

Avid has been leading the Pro Mixing evolution for the last 20 years pioneering mixing “in the box” with its highly integrated Pro Tools® software, hardware, plug-ins and control surfaces .


Pro Tools | S6 Software Version 2.0 Now Available—Twice As Nice!

2.0 Is Here!

S6 version 2.0 represents the 8th software release to support the modular and ergonomic EUCON control surface since its launch in September of 2013. (Timeline pictured below: major releases on the top and minor releases at the bottom)

It also represents the biggest advancement yet in streamlining and simplifying pro mixing workflows by offering mixers flexible new ways to manage complex, big sessions. Our new surface track management features genuinely offer the biggest improvements to date in quickly bringing the exact tracks you need onto the surface with advanced visual feedback, allowing you to get more done in each mix pass. These new features when combined make mixing large sessions nearly effortless. But first—what are those great features?! Here’s the laundry list of good stuff…

  • Two separate assignable spill zones for VCA’s, Track Types, Workstations and Layouts
  • Banking within spill zones
  • Flip Rotary Knob rows to motorized Faders for more visual and tactile control
  • Up to two Dedicated definable Knob Expand Zones for full access to EQ, Dynamics, Pan, Sends and more following ‘attentioned’ track (one zone on M10)
  • Improved EQ mapping in Expand mode
  • EQ/Dynamics curves displayed in expand mode (M40 Display Modules)
  • View scrolling automation lanes over waveforms on Display Modules (M40 only)
  • Automatic saving of layouts into DAW Sessions
  • Ability to show and work with Hidden Tracks in Pro Tools
  • Ability to adjust Knob Speed and Sensitivity
  • A single assignable knob per connected EUCON DAWs (currently not Pro Tools)
  • Pro Tools Mix/Edit windows follow banking on surface
  • Default Soft Key streamlining and enhancements for Pro Tools
  • Default Soft Keys for Nuendo and Cubase
  • More customization preferences
  • XMON improvements

Leveraging the Zones

As I said—the true power of 2.0 comes from combining these new features. So let’s start by talking about how the definable spill and expand zones have changed the game and really allow every mixer to be more efficient and have more control. There are now user definable preferences to setup zones on your desk—below is pictured a 32 Fader 9 knob S6 M40:

First, you can see the purple triangles above labeled 1 and 2 to the left of the Master Module. These are your new Knob Expand Zones and there are preferences to set them to your choice of expanding EQ, Dynamics, Inserts, Pan, Sends and more as well as where you’d like them to appear on the surface. The most common setting would be EQ and Dynamics like the ICON series surface—such that any time you ‘attention a track’ it would expand its EQ and/or Dynamics plug-in onto these expand modules with a predictable layout. You also can choose a secondary option if there is no EQ or Dyn plug-in on that channel, like Inserts to get to say a Reverb or Delay or even all the sends on that channel. These dedicated expand modes free up the Master Module knobs for other functions.

Below that you see two purple lines indicating that I’ve selected 16 faders to the left of the Master Module to be channel spill zone 1 and 16 faders to the right to be spill zone 2. What’s really cool is that these two separate zones are very flexible at any time to quickly show what you want, whether its track types like VCA Masters or Aux faders, specific DAW’s or Layouts that you’ve created. It gets better… These spill zones are bankable inside the zone and offer many flexible options to how they are justified (or how they populate the spill zones). Also, the menu buttons in the spill zone are color coded to represent the different types of tracks in the zones. Dark blue for Layouts, light blue for Track Types and Workstations, dark green for VCA Masters, and light green for a VCA spill. This makes it quick and easy to see what is currently in a zone.

In the photo below—I’ve set up the right side spill zone to be track type—VCA masters across the right side 16 faders, justifying to the first fader left. No need to build a layout anymore for VCA masters and this is a much easier process than it was on ICON D-Control systems. I’ve also arranged the physical knob modules closest to the faders on this side of the desk (like Mick Guzauski talked about in our recent webinar) and since VCA Masters typically don’t need channel knobs above them, have identified the two modules closest to the Master Module to be Expand Zones showing EQ (magenta) and Dynamics (green).

With Auto-Spill function on, I can spill any of the VCA group members into the left 16 fader spill zone by simply pressing the ‘Attention’ switch on the channel (the little triangle button above the fader). Once spilled, I can then easily ‘Attention’ any single channel to the center Attention fader giving me the super channel view with the expanded knob zones. You’ll notice below —the touch screen can also be your panner module as well—giving you this super channel (EQ, Dyn, Pan) view of any attentioned channel.

These knob expand zones also have improved mapping of the controls in a uniform way from plug-in to plug-in including display of all filter controls, gain, freq, Q as well as ins and outs. While in the expanded knob zone and tweaking your EQ or Dynamics plug-in, your M40 Displays can show you a very cool expanded view of the knob positions and EQ curve or Dynamics plot with a yellow line around indicating the mode for the attentioned channel ‘136 BG A2’—pictured below:

Other Key 2.0 Enhancements

Version 2.0 also other enhancements that mixers will love including flipping the knobs to the faders—one row at a time. Mick Guzauski commented that this was one of his most anticipated features in the recent webinar, allowing him to better finesse send levels and plug-in controls on the fader. Another popular user request was the ability to adjust the sensitivity of the rotary knobs, giving each mixer the optimal feel and control for plug-ins, sends and pans. Also, mixers will no longer need to save their Layouts separately with each session with new automatic saving of layouts into DAW Sessions, which saves time and eliminates confusion.

There are a few key improvements specifically for Pro Tools mixers that offer more integration, control and visual feedback. The first is that the Pro Tools Edit or Mix windows now follows banking on the S6 surface (when not spilled or in Layouts). This helps mixers follow along more easily on the screen and not go searching with the mouse, if preferred. Mixers can also now see and access Hidden Tracks in Pro Tools on the S6 surface. With S6 M40 surfaces with Display Modules, Pro Tools users can now also choose to turn on scrolling automation lanes with breakpoints over the waveforms—with preferences to choose the opacity and the side that is the top. (pictured below). These will show you automation moves as you write them in red over the underlying automation and waveform, providing the same feedback the PT edit window used to give you, but where you need it on the console.

Supported Applications and Hardware

  • Avid Pro Tools 12.1
  • Avid Pro Tools 11.3.2 (not yet released)
  • Steinberg Nuendo 7
  • Steinberg Cubase 8
  • Apple Logic Pro 10
  • Merging Pyramix 8 Native only
  • Merging Pyramix 9.x
  • Avid Studio Monitor Pro
  • Avid XMON S6
  • DAD/NTP Technology PRO | MON monitor control


How Can I Get 2.0?

In order to receive the 2.0 software update and any other updates going forward you will need your S6 console to be on a current Avid Support Plan. Your console came with 1 year of Avid Advantage ExpertPlus support with Hardware Coverage so please check your support plan expiration date. There are several options for renewing coverage (even if your plan has recently expired). If you are a registered owner, you will receive an email with details or you can contact Avid directly to hear about your options at : 1-650-218-4058

You can read more about version 2.0 and explore other features and functionality in the interactive S6 Operation Guide.

Pro Tools | S6

Mixing Redefined

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Remembering James Horner

Remembering James Horner

On June 22nd 2015, the world lost a brilliant artist with the untimely passing of film composer, James Horner.  Among his most celebrated achievements were original songs and scores for Avatar, Braveheart, A Beautiful Mind and his Oscar-winning work on James Cameron’s Titanic.  Following the release of Avatar, we spoke with James…

On a personal note – I was lucky enough to have worked on a few films in the mid 2000’s with James as a Pro Tools operator and am very grateful for the experience. He was a soft-spoken man who was very thoughtful, kind and incredibly talented. I sat at the Pro Tools console one evening in 2006 in utter amazement as he crafted a cue for “Apocolypto” with just a few of us in the room, building the framework one part and instrument at a time. What started out as a single instrument slowly grew into a full-fledged masterpiece that was crafted perfectly to the film. It was a night I will always remember as magical.

All of us at Avid are deeply saddened and wish the best to his family and friends at this difficult time.

Mixing Music for Post

Master the Art of Post Mixing

In the final episode of our Master the Art of Post Mixing series, we examine music mixing for film post production. In order to craft a mix for your film, receiving split stems from your composer is important. Mixing both individual stems and then groups of stems together with VCA Masters is a good way to manage your music mix and also blend against the other elements like dialog and effects. Placing stereo elements in surround is also an important film mixing technique discussed in this episode. Let’s take a look.

Pro Tools | S3 control surface

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Experience the deep and versatile DAW control that only Avid can deliver and put tightly integrated recording, editing, and mixing control at your fingertips.


Mixing Foley

Master the Art of Post Mixing

Foley footsteps, cloth movement, and prop handling sound additions are critical to making a convincing and fully enhanced soundtrack. Mixing them into place and making them believable can be challenging. In Episode 5 of Master the Art of Post Mixing, we explore ways to blend and control foley on the individual level and then blend overall with hard effects and production sound. Let’s take a look.

Pro Tools | S3 control surface

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Experience the deep and versatile DAW control that only Avid can deliver and put tightly integrated recording, editing, and mixing control at your fingertips.


Mixing Sound Effects

Master the Art of Post Mixing

Discover the difference between Sound Design and Sound Effects/Hard Effects and how to mix them into place in Episode 4 of Master the Art of Post Mixing. Explore fast mix tips and techniques using the Pro Tools | S3 control surface, Preview Mode and Aux ‘Chains’ to Pre-Dub the effects tracks. Also see tips on how to handle and blend the LFE or Sub channel to your sound effects to make them larger than life.

Pro Tools | S3 control surface

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Experience the deep and versatile DAW control that only Avid can deliver and put tightly integrated recording, editing, and mixing control at your fingertips.


Mixing Backgrounds

Master the Art of Post Mixing

Backgrounds and ambiences are often overlooked, but can help you set the mood quickly. They also dramatically increase the production value of your film. In Episode 3 of Master the Art of Post Mixing, find out how easy it is to mix backgrounds into place quickly with Capture and Write-To-Selected automation techniques. Let’s take a look.

Pro Tools | S3 control surface

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Experience the deep and versatile DAW control that only Avid can deliver and put tightly integrated recording, editing, and mixing control at your fingertips.