NAMM 2015: Avid previews Pro Tools 12 and free Pro Tools First

NAMM 2015: Avid has announced Pro Tools 12, the latest version of its industry-standard music production software. It's also unveiled Pro Tools First, a free version of the software.

As far as version 12 goes, it looks like the focus here is more on how you pay for and use Pro Tools than it is new features. As well as being able to buy outright, you can now subscribe to Pro Tools on a monthly or annual basis, while new support plans are available, too.

There's also Avid Cloud Collaboration, a forthcoming set of features that will enable you to "compose, record, edit, and mix sessions collaboratively with other Pro Tools users as if you're all working together in the same studio."

Cloud-based project storage is on the agenda, too, as are a new universal metadata schema that will enable you to "manage, track, and document every asset and project you create," and the Avid Marketplace, which is designed to connect you with others in the audio community.

Pro Tools goes free

On top of this, Avid has also announced Pro Tools First, a free version of the software that's said to be "simple enough for beginners, yet sophisticated for experienced musicians". It seems like Avid is attempting to take a page out of Apple's GarageBand playbook with this one, by getting beginners hooked in the hope that they'll upgrade to a paid-for version at a later date.

Pro Tools First lets you use up to 16 audio tracks (we're not sure if there's a limit on MIDI tracks), and Elastic Time/Pitch and MIDI editing. It also ships with the Xpand 2 workstation synth and a selection of plugins.

You can find out more about Pro Tools 12 and Pro Tools First on the Avid website.

Ben Rogerson

I’m the Deputy Editor of MusicRadar, having worked on the site since its launch in 2007. I previously spent eight years working on our sister magazine, Computer Music. I’ve been playing the piano, gigging in bands and failing to finish tracks at home for more than 30 years, 24 of which I’ve also spent writing about music and the ever-changing technology used to make it.