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Avid Carbon: What we know on day one

If you’ve been looking for a remote or mobile Pro Tools solution to use in the lockdown, or have spent this time working out how to take a small setup to the next level, we have good news. Avid have just released Carbon, a compact audio interface designed to give smaller systems a hit of speed, power and sound quality. Here’s what we know so far…

Liz Sunter
 
What’s the big deal?

Carbon combines the power of your native CPU with eight onboard HDX DSPs to deliver realtime audio processing with zero audible latency (the actual figure is just under 1 millisecond). This means you can deliver perfectly synced cue mixes to everyone in your studio, track with zero latency and record lag-free.

Having extra HDX hardware under the hood also means you can handle bigger mixes, while Carbon’s new Hybrid Engine enables seamless switching between AAX plug-ins and their native counterparts in real time.

The key things about Carbon are speed and precision: it uses 64-bit float double precision processing and a custom designed FGPA (field programmable gate array) that routes audio blazingly fast. Meanwhile, your eight HDX DSPs combine to perform and eye-watering 22.4 billion operations per second.

 

So you’re saying it’s fast?

We are. But this being Avid, you also get the excellent sound quality we’re all used to enjoying, with 126 dB dynamic range and 32-bit/192 kHz audio conversion. Avid claim that Carbon features the most pristine preamps they’ve ever made, allowing you to capture performances without colouration (you can also bypass any preamp to use your own outboard gear). Carbon also has Variable Z built in, so you can adjust input impedance to optimise or alter the tone of any microphone or instrument.

 

So, it’s fast and it sounds good. Anything else?

It’s got a ridiculously accurate new clocking system. Avid have designed a double resolution

implementation of the patented JetPLL jitter elimination technology that runs twice as fast as typical JetPLL-based clocks for better sound and separation. And it’s twice as accurate, with extraordinarily low jitter, ensuring high fidelity capture and playback.

 

What about I/O?

With 25x34 simultaneous I/O, Carbon is ready to record any session—from solo artists to full bands. You get eight of those previously mentioned pristine preamps, four headphone outputs, and 16 channels of ADAT I/O, meaning plenty of opportunities for micing, cue mixing, and expansion. It also has a high bandwidth Ethernet connection.

 

What do I need to make this work?

At the moment, Carbon only works with hardware running macOS, as it relies on the AVB protocol (some Apple notebooks will require a Thunderbolt to AVB adaptor – get in touch with the team for advice). You’ll also need to be running the latest version of Pro Tools (a year’s subscription is included with Carbon when you buy it, along with 115 AAX plug-ins and a 5.4 GB sound library).

 

How much does it cost?

The base Carbon unit costs £3199 (£3838.80 inc VAT). Depending on your setup, you may need to a few accessories and adaptors to integrate this interface into your setup – we have some examples available here – but as always, you can get in touch with the team for advice on building a custom bundle, and figuring out whether your existing hardware is already up to the job.

 

Can I try before I buy?

Absolutely. We have one of the UK’s first demo units, and can provide remote and socially distanced demos. To book your slot, get in touch with the team using the form below.

 

How do I get hold of Carbon?

It’s currently only available from Avid Elite Resellers for Audio, and we’re one of only a handful in the UK. We’re also one of the UK’s leading Apple providers – they’ve recognised our great service by naming us an Apple Authorised Enterprise Reseller and an Apple Premium Service Provider, among other titles – so we’re the best people to ask about finding the perfect Apple hardware to support your Carbon workflow. For more info on Carbon, your Avid setup, and ongoing integration and support, get in touch!

 

Want to find out more or get hands-on with Avid Carbon? Get in touch with the team on 03332 409 210 or audio@Jigsaw24.com. For the latest news, follow us on on LinkedInFacebook and Twitter.

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