Avid introduces Pro Tools Instrument Expansion Pack


Avid’s only news at this years NAMM was updates, some were minor, some were bigger, all were welcome and all were AIR.

Basically, the five AIR instruments Structure, Transfuser, Hybrid, Strike and Velvet have all been updated. They all now offer deeper interaction with Pro Tools (probably a sign of what’s yet to come) with drag-and-drop functionality. As for the individual changes, I’ll go through them one by one with some copy+paste from the press release as well as my own comments.

Structure, a powerful professional sampler workstation, allows customers to create, sculpt, edit, and refine everything from acoustic instruments to complex soundscapes in real time. This release now includes over 5 GB of new sounds, offering users more sonic possibilities than ever before. Structure now also supports more sample formats natively, including both Giga-Sampler and Kontakt 3, providing customers an easy way to integrate existing sample libraries and begin using them in Pro Tools right away.

While the new sounds are welcomed additions, the other things are basically functionality that should have been in the very first release. Great that Kontakt 3 is now supported! Too bad Kontakt 4 has been released. Nice update for Structure users for sure but Avid is at least one step behind with this one.

Strike, a virtual instrument that emulates the performance style of a real drummer, makes it easy to create, control and produce professional drum performances from within Pro Tools. It now offers new, high-definition acoustic and electronic drum kits, providing users with a more wide-range of percussion options. Strike now also offers expanded options for customers to use their own samples. allowing for highly customized drum sounds and virtual performances that will put a human touch on any track.

I can’t say I’ve spent much time with Strike but from what I saw at NAMM this was all workflow improvements that I’m sure will make Strike users happy.

Velvet delivers realistic emulations of a variety of classic electric pianos, and offers more sonic possibilities than previous versions, including classic “digital” e-piano sounds of the ‘80s and a new enhanced reverb effects module, which provides vintage sounds that provide a classic touch to recordings.

Excellent update in my book! Continuos updates should be something more companies should supply. A brand new e-piano is a good addition and will help keep Velvet alive a little longer. Too bad it took them so long. Not exactly Modartt tempo on Avid when it comes to updating pianos.

Transfuser is an innovative, real-time loop, phrase, and groove creation instrument, which now offers a new bass module inspired by the Roland TB-303, allowing customers to re-create these original vintage sounds as well as more modern synth bass. Transfuser also includes 1.6 GB of new audio loops and content, including new electronic drum kits and a new 6-band parametric EQ, providing more options and more creative control within the instrument when creating beats and grooves.

Pretty much same as with Velvet. I really hope this update trend is something that will stick. Before it has almost seemed that you bought an instrument from Avid and that was it. That approach makes sense with a hardware guitar, but when it comes to virtual instruments expansion is where it’s at and where it will be in the future.

Hybrid is a high-definition software synthesizer plug-in that combines the warmth of legendary analog synths with a full range of modern manipulation capabilities. It now delivers all-new tonal possibilities with more than 250 new patches, and includes multi-square waveforms and new Blue, White, Mod, and Crackle waveforms for the noise oscillator, enabling customers to create anything from fat, retro synth sounds to edgy modern leads and everything in between.

Also a rather nice one. I like Hybrid and I’m sure this will only make it better. Avid has been blowing it out here and there recently so in a way it’s a little late to breath life in it to up the sales. Fortunately this will make people happier regardless of sales.

The Pro Tools Instrument Expansion Pack will ship in Q1 of 2010, and carries a USMSRP of $499. Upgrades will be available for existing customers.



  1. TCM says

    I think you are right, Stiff, some things are a little late. And I hope that Avid will overcome this “always one step behind” problem.
    I have all of the Air instruments (early adopter of full Structure, as well) except Velvet. But my main concern was and still is that Avid improves the stability and prospects of the PT platform. Their plugins are secondary only, because if I have to jump ship, these plugs would be useless. Therefore, my and the attitude of some others I know is to buy no more Rtas plugs and go where Rtas AND VST/AU is available.
    I am not prepared to pay $ to upgrade especially Structure(!) for this reason.

  2. says

    Man, FINALLY something happening with Strike, though the user samples may be limited – Strike’s samples have direct, overheads, rooms, etc., and supposedly they use some sort of “vector” tech for velocity – and then there’s the whole mappable “intensity” setting which is pretty cool, affecting pitch, attack, timbre, etc.

    The DUC has hundreds of user comments dealing with Strike’s oddities – though Strike was pretty groundbreaking out of the box, it got users salivating for some useability improvements. Once you get to know it, it’s freakishly impressive IMHO. The canned lops are very very good, and plentiful, but if you have some ability to write realistic drum parts on a grid, you can do stuff that’s remarkably convincing.

    But the dearth of meaningful improvements over, what – two years?? I find that kind of stunning. It’s the only AIR instrument I use regularly (unless you count Xpand for the occasional handclap or bell, which I usually replace with a real, mic’d track anyway). Very, very odd to release something that got so many press accolades and not try to push it over the top.

  3. TCM says

    Yep, mc, Strike is quite good, and I also like Transfuser. Actually used the latter for things that I wanted to do in Structure.

  4. says

    I bought into everything they made when released and after a few years with no updates I have no plan on putting any more money in their pocket as they’ll probably disregard bugs and mod requests as they’ve done in the past.

    I just don’t trust them outside of PT software.

  5. says


    >> “Therefore, my and the attitude of some others I know is to buy no more Rtas plugs and go where Rtas AND VST/AU is available.”

    This is something I hear a lot and feel more and more people actually think. Thankfully, most plug-ins are now cross-platform – even McDSP! – there’s only Digidesign and Massey left pretty much.

  6. says


    >> ” bought into everything they made when released and after a few years with no updates I have no plan on putting any more money in their pocket as they’ll probably disregard bugs and mod requests as they’ve done in the past.”

    The only cure to this that I can imagine is of course more frequent updates. This is something I’ve suggested to Avid many times, most recently yesterday!

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