Pro Tools | S3 Q & A

Avid's Simon Sherbourne Pro Tools Q & A

Apr 07, 2020 - 10:49

Q. What un-met need did Avid's developers see that prompted them to develop the S3?

A. The S3 was actually originally developed as the mix surface for our compact live/installed sound system S3L-X, but we quickly realised it ticked a lot of boxes as a mid-sized DAW controller. It’s probably the toughest and most portable controller out there, and the build quality makes it look and feel at home in pro studios. It has a feature set that addresses the needs of many pro mixers and audio suites that need more power than the Artist controllers, but without the space and budget requirements of a large-format console like S6.


Q. Who do you see as a typical customer for the S3?

A. There’s a lot of crossover with S3. Typical customers are independent audio pros, small to medium post edit and mix rooms, and colleges. It’s also popular with music composers and producers who might also be using a traditional recording console or pre-amps. 

Q. The publicity material for the S3 says that it "packs enormous power", tell us just how powerful it is?

A. What I love about S3 is how tightly the navigation is linked with your DAW. It can update extremely fast as you move around even large projects. Gone are the days of banking around trying to find things. As well as the faders, S3 gives you one touch access to all your mix parameters like EQ, Sends, and Plug-ins, using standardised layouts and colour-coding. Custom fader layouts are recalled directly from the surface, and there are dedicated controls for all the key Pro Tools automation parameters. The group spill modes are genius. letting you bring any section of a mix up on the faders without any initial set-up.


Q. What similarities are there between the S3 and the S6?

A. There are a number of shared workflows and design concepts that carry across, such as the colour coding and layout of channel controls, and the way you can use DAW linking, custom layouts or group spills to bring elements to your surface instead of searching for them. If you pair S3 with a PT|Dock, you get central touch control and navigation that has many similarities to the S6.

Q. Is the S3 the kind of small and portable product that will be out of date pretty quickly?

A. S3 is a premium mix surface that’s built to last. It’s functionality is not fixed in the hardware; it’s controlled by Eucon on your computer, meaning it can continue to evolve.


Q. Are there any other DAWs other than Pro Tools that are compatible with the S3?

A. Yes, S3 can control many other DAWs including Logic, Cubase, Nuendo and Pyramix using the Eucon protocol.

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