Introducing Pro Tools | Carbon

By in Audio Post, Music Creation, Pro Mixing


Pro Tools | Carbon is a new breed of audio interface designed for artists, bands and producers.  It features high quality I/O and intelligently combines the power of your native CPU with onboard HDX DSP acceleration. The result is a hybrid audio production system that lets you build complex mixes whilst tracking through AAX DSP plugins in real-time at the lowest latency. All inside Pro Tools.

Why did we make Carbon?

We want the performer to experience the immediacy that you would get with analogs addressing the main issue facing the recording musician in the digital world: latency. Latency simply means recording process. It is apparent to a recording artist when the sound from their microphone arrives late in their headphones.

Using DSP-accelerated processing results in ultra-low latency and this has always been one of the benefits of the flagship Pro Tools | HDX system; you can have both power and low-latency on demand because the HDX DSP chips are dedicated to the task of processing audio. Carbon now brings that flexibility to every Pro Tools user with the Hybrid Engine.

The Hybrid Engine

With the Hybrid Engine, the Pro Tools mixer is running natively on the host computer, giving you access to the full processing capabilities of your CPU. If you want to record or overdub then simply switch your record tracks from Native Mode to DSP Mode. This moves the tracks onto a low-latency path that bypasses the native mixer and uses the HDX DSP chips that are built into Carbon. You now have a dedicated low-latency DSP mixer that is running in parallel with the native mixer.

Once you have finished recording, simply switch back to Native Mode. You can achieve all of this simply by pressing a button without leaving the Pro Tools application.

When you use the Hybrid Engine the AAX plugin format really comes into its own. Plugins with AAX DSP versions will run on tracks that are in DSP Mode and will just switch back to AAX Native when the track is put back into Native Mode because every AAX DSP plugin has a native counterpart. This means that your session will run on any Pro Tools system, regardless of the hardware and it will sound identical.

Design Philosophy

Carbon was designed from the ground up with the recording musician in mind and we haven’t cut any corners when it comes to sound quality. Our converters have four ADCs per channel, providing 126 dB of dynamic range. From input, to the HDX DSPs, and into Pro Tools, the entire gain structure works at 32-bit precision, providing exceptional headroom without any signal degradation.

Clocking is also a critical part of the design. Our clock features a double resolution implementation of the patented JetPLL jitter elimination technology for the best possible audio integrity.

Carbon’s eight mic pre-amps are a padless design and are the most transparent preamps we’ve ever made. With Variable Z built in, you can adjust input impedance to optimize or alter the tone of any microphone or instrument—from dynamic and ribbon mics, to guitars and bass.


Pro Tools | Carbon is aimed at anybody who wants to record music and every design decision has been made with this in mind. Built on a rich heritage, Pro Tools | Carbon combines native power with DSP performance to create the ultimate hybrid audio production system.

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Pro Tools | Carbon

For artists, bands, and producers, Pro Tools | Carbon is a new breed of audio interface—built to capture brilliance.

I’ve worked in the audio industry for over 25 years and I’m still passionate about the technology that enables talented, creative people to produce amazing music, films and TV shows.