Pro Tools, the ubiquitous digital audio workstation, has been a staple of recording studios everywhere for longer than just about any other recording software. Its combination of rock-solid audio engine and required hardware make it the top choice for professional studios. But there’s one catch: it’s expensive. Even the most reasonable hardware/software packages will set you back around $500, and a full HD system can run $10,000 without even trying. Avid (formerly Digidesign) is ready to change that reality with the announcement of Pro Tools | First, a free version of the powerhouse DAW.
Free versions of Pro Tools have existed before, but they are usually crippled by serious limitations of the feature set. Pro Tools | First is light years beyond these neophyte offerings, and while its still got limitations, every serious producer should take a second look. Sure you’ll get lower track count, some I/O limitations, and lack of score editing, but you get free entry into arguably the highest quality DAW in existence.
So what’s the big deal about Pro Tools? Simply put, it’s what the pros use. Walk into any major studio, and you’re bound to find Pro Tools on the computer. If Ableton Live is the undisputed champion of the modern “non-linear” music composition style, Pro Tools is the king of linear. Using the platform provides you with studio-grade tools that will be compatible with any studio you end up collaborating with. Not to mention the audio engine sounds phenomenal, especially if you pair it with high-end Apogee or SSL converters.
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Avid is also releasing a cloud-based collaboration platform for Pro Tools | First called “Avid Cloud Collaboration,” which will allow producers around the world to collaborate on a project in real time. While the platform hasn’t been launched yet, if it’s everything Avid is promising, it could change musical collaboration in a big way. Avid seems to be taking a big leap to allow beginner producers to operate in real-time with the big boys.
And of course we want you to have fun and give yourself a chance to show your talent to the world.
Avid hasn’t announced an official release date for Pro Tools | First, but interested users can sign up to receive Pro Tools email notifications here. If you’ve ever wanted to get in on the same platform that production legends like Tony Maserati, Damien Taylor, Dave Navarro, Mike Shinoda, and Abbey Road use, now’s your chance!
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