New Toys: Avid Pro Tools S3 Desktop Control Surface

Avid_S3The compact Pro Tools® S3 is perfectly sized for project music studios and smaller post mixing/editing bays. The S3 features tight integration with Pro Tools software as well as control over other EUCON-enabled digital audio workstations such as Logic Pro X and Steinberg’s Cubase.

The S3 borrows the look and style of the smaller Artist Series control surfaces but has 16 channel strips with touch-sensitive motor faders. Besides the 16 channel meters, there are 32 rotary controllers with LEDs and 32 high-resolution OLEDs for viewing parameters, track names/numbers, automation modes and more. I like the Touch strip for easy access to transport controls, plus the many dedicated buttons and switches for navigation, automation and control assignment in Pro Tools. The S3 combines a traditional console layout with big time savers like custom and recallable channel layouts and “on-the-fly” switching between applications.

With 2 XLR mic/line inputs, 2 TRS and 2 XLR line outputs and a stereo headphone output jack, the S3 sells for $4,999 MSRP and represents the trend in affordable pro-level controllers for mixers.


Barry Rudolph is a recording engineer/mixer who has worked on over 30 gold and platinum records. He has recorded and/or mixed Lynyrd Skynyrd, Hall & Oates, Pat Benatar, Rod Stewart, the Corrs, and more. Barry has his own futuristic music mixing facility and loves teaching audio engineering at Musician’s Institute, Hollywood, CA. He is a lifetime Grammy-voting member of NARAS and a contributing editor for Mix Magazine. barryrudolph.com