Founded in 1989, New York’s c5 Sound is the go-to production facility for serious filmmakers, headed by Principals Ron Bochar, Philip Stockton, and Paul Hsu. The firm’s recent projects include Martin Scorcese’s ‘Silence’, Spike Lee’s ‘Chi-Raq’, and 2015 Oscar Best Picture Winner ‘Spotlight’; among others.
For the past 17 years, c5 Sound has relied on Avid’s Pro Tools to mix audio for its elite clients. “Pro Tools | HDX has been integral to our success,” said Paul Hsu. “It’s become the industry standard. We rely on it so much, that working without Pro Tools | HDX would require us to entirely re-think the way we mix.”
Today, c5 Sound has more than 30 Pro Tools | HDX mixing systems in use. This includes Paul Hsu’s Macbook Air laptop: “I use it when I’m travelling to work on sessions from the studio,” he said. “Although I have more features back at work, my portable Pro Tools | HDX is powerful enough to let me do serious work anywhere.”
There are many reasons that c5 Sound has built its success upon Pro Tools | HDX. One of these is the system’s “raw computing power,” said Hsu. With a single Pro Tools | HDX card system, a sound designer can work with up to 256 audio tracks; expanding up to 768 audio tracks within a three-card system. Pro Tools | HDX can also mix up to 192 ins and outs – and most importantly for c5 – execute a full range of audio mixing, processing, and file sharing and transport within a single Pro Tools | HDX installation.
Avid’s Pro Tools | HDX system
But power isn’t everything. Pro Tools | HDX’s operational flexibility and programmable user interfaces also matter, because they allow each c5 editor to configure the system to their particular needs and tastes.
For his part, Hsu likes to draw on the creative production techniques and workflows that he developed during his analog console days. “What’s great about Pro Tools | HDX is that it allows you to build that architecture within the computer, so that you can work the way you want,” Hsu said; “rather than the ‘in-the-box’ approach employed by other audio mixing platforms that require you to do things their way.”
As well, Pro Tools | HDX’s flexibility allows c5 to use the software in tandem with Pro Tools | S6 and Pro Tools | S3 consoles, as well as three Avid | ICON consoles, “which still get tons and tons of use,” said Hsu. “For me, they’re a perfect combination of tactile hardware and programmability.”
At the same time, Paul Hsu praises Pro Tools | HDX for sticking to the essentials of good audio production. “It doesn’t have gimmicky features that add little real value. Pro Tools | HDX has what you need to do the job,” he noted.
All told, c5 Sound has built a solid foundation using Pro Tools | HDX, and intends to do so for the indefinite future. “At our level of audio production, Pro Tools | HDX is the standard,” said Hsu. “It is powerful, reliable, stable, flexible, and delivers finished audio that satisfies our clients time and again.”