Pro Audio

Avid Pro Tools Carbon and Carbon Pre: World Class Interfaces For the Modern Studio

At the heart of any recording studio are the inputs and outputs. When building our studio Noise Machines we chose Avid’s Pro Tools Carbon and Carbon Pre — we’ll tell you why.

Avid — a technology and multimedia company well known for their industry standard software Pro Tools — released the Pro Tools Carbon in the year when remote and home studios bloomed…2020. It’s a 25 in, 34 out audio interface with HDX DSP acceleration offering latency-free recording that comes with a Pro Tools Ultimate Perpetual license which includes 120+ plugins, sound libraries and loops.

To add to all that glorious pristine I/O, Avid released the Pro Tools Carbon Pre late last year (2022). It’s an 8-channel preamp with ADAT and a word clock, so you can expand your Pro Tools Carbon, expand your setup with ADAT, or even use it as a standalone device.

The recording studios linked to us here at Happy mag have always been no expense spared, artist-focused, easy-to-use spaces. Somewhere that’s a magical place to be without the technical roadblocks.

From our Enmore Audio studio where we recorded the Live at Enmore sessions with artists like Spacey Jane and Lime Cordiale, to our stripped-back Live from Happy sessions featuring artists like Superorganism and Andy Golledge, to our new space where we record full bands like Thandi Phoenix and The Dead South, we’ve always had to have the best sound possible along with reliability to capture a special performance.

It’s no wonder we’ve always used Pro Tools as a DAW for such a task, so when sifting through the endless possibles of I/O for the new studio the answer presented itself when Avid dropped the Carbon Pre — we could run 24 I/O with a Pro Tools Carbon and two Carbon Pres.

Avid carbon

The Pro Tools Carbon is a solid audio interface, it’s got all the connections you’d want plus more and it’s really focused on modern music production. It’s got 8 mic preamps via combo jacks — or 8 lines of I/O via DB25 — plus stereo main outs, up to 16 channels of ADAT I/O (The channels depend on your sample rate), and 4 headphone outputs.

What’s great about the headphone outputs is that they work independently from the other outputs — unlike other interfaces that share the same routing.

The front panel has a full array of controls — for example, there’s an input encoder knob for gain and selecting inputs, an output encoder knob for the multiple monitor sources and the headphones, metering for the I/O, preamp controls, output controls and it features 2 instrument inputs and a talkback mic.

And don’t forget it comes with a Pro Tools Ultimate Perpetual license — that’s worth over $1200 AUD.

audio interface

The newly released Carbon Pre is an 8-channel preamp that has all the similar connections as the Carbon. It’s got 8 mic preamps via combo jacks — or 8 lines of I/O via DB25 — 2 instrument inputs on the front, up to 16 channels of ADAT I/O, and an easy-to-use front panel. And of course, the ethernet connections to expand on the Carbon.

It’s got that same sleek design as the Carbon and would make for a world-class extra 8 mic preamps in any studio (via ADAT). The preamps on the Carbon and the Carbon Pre are absolutely stunning, they’re super clean, and transparent and have a huge 60dB of gain.

All of your controls on both units can be controlled inside Pro Tools, from gain, phase, phantom power, and input type. This new direction for Avid is streamlined, and focused and has considered the modern studio. These are not cheap, but they will last you a lifetime.

Avid interface

The retail price on the Pro Tools Carbon comes in at $6999 Australian Dollars, and the Carbon Pre comes in at $5299 Australian dollars and you can get them at all good music stores.

To find out more about the Pro Tools Carbon and Carbon Pre head over to Avid.com