It seemed a long way away when we first published an article about Avid Icon End of Support , and what it means to owners and users. The intervening two years have flown by.
For the thousands (yes, thousands) of ICON D Control and D Command consoles in use worldwide, that all-important End Of Support date is now just two months away. 31st August 2018 marks the date – five years after End Of Sale – after which future versions of Pro Tools will no longer be guaranteed to work with ICON.
Not all of what happens next is certain, which makes it all the more important to understand what the options are. To figure out what we know and what we don’t.
End of Support, in terms of manufacturer-authorised repairs, spares and warranties, means exactly what it says. An ICON owner in need of repair or spares will need to find a solution outside of Avid’s official support channels.
New faders for ICON D Control are still available via Resurface. In fact, we recently allocated a decent-sized batch of stock to happy customers in New York, Paris and London. We have a small number left but more are on the way and can be pre-ordered. If you’re in need, drop us a line via firstname.lastname@example.org.
The bad news is that faders are moving parts which wear out over time. The good news is they were always independently-made 3rd party products and they are still in production. Lead times are volatile, however. Keeping a buffer of a spare or two on the shelf is recommended.
Time-limited promotional upgrade programmes exist for those wanting to transition to the current standard: S6. Your local S6-authorised reseller may well advertise at the top and bottom of this page, give them a call to discuss the options.
Upgrade programmes typically require a like-for-like trade in, and the best deals on offer are for a step-up in fader count. Conversely, if you’re hoping to make better use of S6’s assignability and session navigation by going smaller-footprint, say from a 24 Fader D Command to a 16 Fader S6: This isn’t on the upgrade promo menu. If the Avid S6 upgrade programme doesn’t suit your preferred pathway, Resurface can help you sell your ICON to part-fund an outright S6 purchase.
Fact is, the highest value to be had for a used ICON is in a private sale to an individual or studio for whom it’s their ideal surface. Check out our Buy page for examples of current pricing. Check out our Sellers Guide to go ahead and find a buyer!
There is no backward-incompatibility. The inevitable future release of an Icon-unfriendly version of Pro Tools into the accounts of subscribing customers, when it happens, will have no impact on prior versions. Those ICON users who aren’t inclined to chase the very latest version of OS and Pro Tools will be the last affected. We know of customers happily running Pro Tools 10 and ProControl. Just because the clock has stopped, doesn’t mean it’s the end of time.
We’re entering a period of uncertainty. Console historians will point out that ICON’s predecessor, ProControl, enjoyed four more years of support from its End of Support date, finally ceasing to function only with the advent of Pro Tools 11, 9 years after the last unit was sold. It was still a surprise when it happened.
Not that this is any sort of indicator, or useable benchmark, of what’s in store for ICON.
Typically, unsupported ‘legacy’ hardware will fall by the wayside as a side-effect of advances in other areas of the DAW software; Whether through necessity, design, coincidence or accident.
One benefit of Avid’s move to a subscription model is the little-and-often nature of software upgrades these days. In the ProControl example from 2013, software releases were, give-or-take, annual. Each new version represented a year’s worth of feature developments in one big hit. Living incrementally and month-to-month as we now do will reduce the impact of whichever version brings the curtain down on ICON: users will benefit from new features, right up until the final month. They can then choose to stick on that version as long as they’re prepared to ignore new functionality.
Console futureists and keen users of the internet will point out that even today, there are a couple of very clever people currently working on ways to resuscitate ProControl and Control 24, developing software tools which will at least partially bridge the gap between today’s Pro Tools (and other DAWs) and the surfaces of yester-year.
Whether/When these tools will find their way to market, or whether similar products may exist for ICON, remains to be seen. We’ll be sure to feature such things on these pages.
With over 5000 units sold, a high proportion of ICONs are still in daily use by some of the world’s biggest film studios, post production facilities and broadcasters. These consoles regularly change hands here on Resurface, with some of the ES-series models being the most asked-for on our wanted page.
Other than wear and tear on faders, which can be replaced, this industry standard workhorse shows all the signs that it could carry on going forever. The only sensible approach is to understand that it won’t, and to plan accordingly.
In the short term, the end of the world isn’t imminent.