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Adventures In Audio with Audio Masterclass
Recording SoftWare for Blind people. Can anybody Please help?

Avid AudioVision Sound to Picture Editor (part 2)

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Avid and the Mac

A number of hard disk editors use the Mac as the user interface, and I personally
find this very helpful since I am by now familiar with the Mac and can get the
hang of new software pretty quickly. But to get the Mac to process audio you
need additional hardware, it doesn’t have the capability built in (at least
not to a level that would suit an audio professional). At the very least this
will be a card that slots into the Mac itself offering inputs and outputs next
to the printer and modem sockets on the back. Further up the scale, the hardware
will be in a separate box with a cable to attach to the Mac, which for some
deeply psychological reason I find more reassuring than mixing up my audio data
with all the other kinds of data whizzing around inside the computer itself.
Avid have taken the bold step of deciding not to manufacture any of this additional
hardware and they describe themselves as a software only company (or at least
a minimal hardware company). They buy in other manufacturers’ hardware,
write the software to drive it, put their badge on and sell it as a package.
This makes a lot of sense because, as I commented earlier, they are not reinventing
the wheel when there are perfectly adequate wheels made already by people who
specialise in doing just that, and because you are buying a package from Avid
you can rely on Avid’s reputation as a company (which I presume they will
take pains to establish and uphold) that the system will work as specified and
that any problems will be sorted out. I think that users who have tried putting
together their own packages of computer, software and peripheral devices to
use in digital audio will have realised that you can waste a lot of time and
energy, and even money, getting things to work correctly, and I think any audio
professional intent on doing this would have to ask himself whether his time
and trouble might not be better spent running the studio.


So what do you get when you buy an Avid AudioVision system? The set up I looked
at used a Macintosh Quadra 950 with a 2 gigabyte hard disk, two nineteen inch
monitors (yes two), two Digidesign Pro Tools interfaces, Digidesign Video Slavedriver
and the necessary video cards. Options would include a Panasonic optical disk
drive, Exabyte archiving system and a TimeLine Lynx II or MicroLynx for, “…if
you really want to talk SMPTE to the outside world”, as a spokesperson
commented. Of course, the Video Slavedriver will allow AudioVision to chase
incoming timecode quite happily.


At this point there is bound to be someone who is saying, “Well it’s
just a glorified Pro Tools isn’t it, and I can get that for less money
from Digidesign”. This statement would emphatically not be true because
Avid are only using Digidesign hardware, the software part of the system is
all their own, and while it can’t make the Pro Tools interface do anything
it is not inherently capable of, the applications and the look and feel of the
two softwares are completely different. This is something we are going to have
to get used to much more in the future I would think. If the Avid product succeeds,
I would imagine that the different types of expertise required for hardware
and software development will diverge and be less often found under the same
roof.

David Mellor

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David Mellor

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