Clarifying “Final Sale Date” and “End of Support” and what they mean to owners and buyers.
For a manufacturer, in this case Avid, it is an important requirement to notify customers when a product is no longer offered for sale, and to give reasonable notice as to when it will no longer be eligible for support, for spares, or compatible with the latest release of software on which it is dependent to function.
Definition of Terms
- Final Sale Date is the last day a product was available for sale, typically because it was superseded by a new or updated model (eg Icon -> Avid S6).
- End of Sale, used interchangeably with Final Sale Date, is the date when a product may no longer be ordered or shipped.
- End of Support is the date on which all forms of manufacturer-supplied service and technical support for a product cease. Typically this will be 5 years from Final Sale Date.
After the End of Support, it is no longer guaranteed that drivers and other aspects of compatibility will continue to be updated. In many cases they are, for many years. The important thing to keep in mind is that notice has been given and there are no guarantees past this point.
What are the relevant dates for Resurface readers; for owners and buyers of a used avid console, and what do they mean in practice?
Below are the dates from Avid’s website on the key control surfaces, both from Digidesign/Avid and Euphonix (more products can also be found here)
|Product / Model||Final Sale Date||End of Support Date|
|D-Command Main (original blue)||12/31/2009||12/31/2014|
|D-Command Fader (original blue)||12/31/2009||12/31/2014|
|D-Control Main (original blue)||12/31/2009||12/31/2014|
|D-Control Fader (original blue)||12/31/2009||12/31/2014|
|D-Control Surround Panner (original blue)||12/31/2009||12/31/2014|
|D-Command ES Main (black)||8/31/2013||8/31/2018|
|D-Command ES Fader (black)||8/31/2013||8/31/2018|
|D-Control ES Main (black)||8/31/2013||8/31/2018|
|D-Control ES Fader (black)||8/31/2013||8/31/2018|
|D-Control ES Surround Panner (black)||8/31/2013||8/31/2018|
|XMON (original blue)||9/17/2010||9/17/2015|
|System 5 (System 5P, S5 Fusion, System 5B, System 5BP, MaxAir)||3/31/2016||3/31/2021|
|DF-64 DSP Core||3/15/2008||3/15/2013|
|S5-MC (MC Pro & MC-408)||12/31/2013||12/31/2018|
|SC261 System Computer||3/15/2008||3/15/2013|
|SC262 System Computer||3/15/2008||3/15/2013|
|TT007 Machine Control Interface||3/15/2008||3/15/2013|
|253D Digital Pilot||3/15/2008||3/15/2013|
|253DX Digital Pilot||3/15/2008||3/15/2013|
|253I Interface Pilot||3/15/2008||3/15/2013|
|253IX Interface Pilot||3/15/2008||3/15/2013|
|254D Digital Pilot||3/15/2008||3/15/2013|
|254I Interface Pilot||3/15/2008||3/15/2013|
In Practice: Black and Blue
From the perspective of an Icon D Control ES owner (black), this control surface was no longer something that could be ordered new via channel partners once its successor – Avid S6 – was announced (31st August 2013). This is the Final Sale Date stated in the table above.
At that point, the clock began to tick towards End Of Support, with five years’ notice. End of Support is therefore 31st August 2018. During this period, Avid guarantee the ongoing compatibility of Icon D Control ES with subsequent releases of Pro Tools. It is also still possible to buy spares – faders for example – from Avid and their channel partners for D Control ES up until the End of Support.
For guidance on what happens after that date, we can look to the predecessor of D Control ES, which was D Control (blue). D Control (blue) reached Final Sale Date having been superseded by ES, on 31st December 2009. Five years later it reached its End Of Support date, 31st December 2014.
Since that date, a blue D Control has enjoyed full compatibility with subsequent releases of Pro Tools (v11, v12 and the 10.3.10 maintenance release), although – see above – this was not guaranteed. Spares, on the other hand, can no longer be ordered for D Control surfaces of this type directly from Avid.
However, here at Resurface we are able to supply brand new Icon D Control faders for Icon consoles of any vintage. Contact us if you are in need!
Arguably, the ongoing compatibility of D Control (blue) is a by-product of the fact that D Control ES (black) is still subject to the five year support guarantee, the two products being largely the same ‘under the hood’. By that rationale, once D Control ES (black) is End of Support, there is no obligation for either product to be supported by subsequent releases of Pro Tools.
Which is not to say they won’t be. For guidance on what might happen – and remember historical performance is no guarantee of future outcome – we can look at Pro Control. Launched by Avid (branded Digidesign) in 1998, Pro Control had a Final Sale Date, having been superseded by Icon, of 31st December 2004. You’ll have got the hang of this by now enough to know that the five year period guaranteed compatibility until the End of Support date of 31st December 2009.
It was not without controversy – not that we’re going to go there – that the release of Pro Tools 11 in 2013 rendered Pro Control no longer compatible with the latest version of Pro Tools. On the one hand, nine years after End of Sale, and four years after End of Support. On the other hand leaving users unable to benefit from new functionality without investment in a new control surface, their existing investment now devalued in the secondary (used) market: less attractive to buyers.
What does this mean for me, an owner or a buyer?
Short answer is it depends. Resurface readers are coming at it from myriad angles. Like a strong/weak currency – so pertinent to those of us in the UK right now – whether it’s a good or a bad thing, whether to buy/sell, to hold ’em or fold ’em depends on where you’re coming from and what your options happen to be.
The important thing is to be aware, understand the game and to plan accordingly. The point of publishing End Of Support dates is to provide a reasonable period of certainty. Beyond that, all bets are off.