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sicknero 27. Jan 2015 04:55 PM

Look what came in the post today :)
Something of a seminal moment in the history of audio studio software ... Avid are to release a 16-track freeware version of their industry standard DAW, ProTools.

It will be called ProTools First and will ship with 20+ plug-ins (effects processors and virtual instruments) along with the ability to use cloud syncing/storage.

No news as yet (that I can find at least) regarding system requirements but I imagine that like most DAWs it will be reasonably light until you start running plug-ins and multiple audio tracks. The professional versions are x64 only and heavy on minimum hardware requirements, but I'm hoping that this cutdown release will install and run on lesser systems.

garth 27. Jan 2015 10:55 PM

Interesting that, i'll probly have a look at it but 16 tracks isn't really enough for me to do any kind of serious project. It would need to be lighter on the system than Krystal Audio and especially Audacity to be a serious freeware contender i think.

torres-no-tan-magnifico 28. Jan 2015 12:28 AM

Thanks for the link! I've now signed up and I'm looking forward to trying out this software. :)

sicknero 28. Jan 2015 09:52 AM


Interesting that, i'll probly have a look at it but 16 tracks isn't really enough for me to do any kind of serious project. It would need to be lighter on the system than Krystal Audio and especially Audacity to be a serious freeware contender i think.
Fair comment, I mean this obviously won't be aimed at professional studios. Must say though I don't think I've ever used more than 16 tracks for recording bands and my own music tends towards being a bit minimalistic. I agree that resource usage might be a concern, going by the requirements of their commercial software. I'm hoping though that this cutdown version - for instance I don't think it will include video support - along with the typical user that this release will be aimed at, should mean that the minimum requirements are a bit less demanding.

On the other hand I think the name and reputation alone will make this a definite contender for many people.

Your comment puts me in mind of what a relatively recent advance unlimited tracks is, and how much great music in the past was recorded without even the luxury of 16 tracks.

Makes me a bit nostagic about early days on an Atari STe as well, before even digital audio recording was easily available :)

I've never really tried Kristal but isn't the free one also 16 tracks and quite limited with regard to VST slots? I've been using Reaper for ages now ... it took me a little while to get used to it but I'm very impressed with it considering it's (effectively) unlimited freeware. I think it's come on loads in the last couple of years although you do need a decent rig to get the best out of it. But then I think the same is true for any DAW.

I like Audacity but the lack of real-time VST processing puts me off using it much.


Thanks for the link! I've now signed up and I'm looking forward to trying out this software.
Same here, I'm really quite excited about it :) I'm especially lookiing forward to trying out some ProTools instruments and effects.

It will be interesting too I think to see if this sets a precedent, and whether any of the other big names will follow suit.

sicknero 03. Apr 2015 08:31 PM

They're not exactly being quick about it ...

sicknero 08. Aug 2015 04:20 PM

Has anybody managed to download this..?

I received an email last week with a supposed download link, I click the link, sign in to my Avid account, but then it just takes me to the registration dialogue which I have completed several times now. : (

I even got an email from them today to nag me about downloading my free Protools!


(I've tried it in different browsers and with all add ons disabled)

MidnightCowboy 08. Aug 2015 06:39 PM

This type of software means nothing to me but I looked at some of the questions in their FAQ and it looks very much like someone is having a laugh. If a process has to be this contrived and complicated then it must be a scam otherwise they would make it more straightforward. So Avid, if this is genuine, post it on Softpedia with a link everyone can use. :)

Anupam 08. Aug 2015 07:19 PM

nero, you should probably write to them about this, and see what they say.

Avid is a reputed company and has developed many good products like Pinnacle, so this shouldn't be a scam.. but looking at the comparison of various versions of Pro Tools, this seems more like a demo/trial that is often offered for commercial software. Still, as I have no idea about these types of software, so I cannot say how much useful this free version will be.

They have probably done this to get people to be interested in their products, when they send emails to them.

Probably best to wait for them to release this to public, rather than registering for the download link.

sicknero 09. Aug 2015 09:28 AM

Thanks for the replies : )

I agree it does seem to be whole lot of faff and palaver, but in my experience this isn't uncommon when getting freebies from companies who market commercial studio software. I have some excellent freebies from other companies, for which I have to enter a serial code or go through a call-response security process on installation. Why? I have not the slightest idea.

However this whole process of waiting 7 months since registration is something new to me, and has made me somewhat suspicious too. If it's just about spam though, then it's not been too bad at all ... mostly blog links and news and technical stuff which has been quite interesting.

I have written to them via their support page so I'll wait and see what happens .... the confirmation email that you get when registering seems to have no option to reply and confirm my own email address, which is unusual. Unique even.

I won't hold out much hope for a fully public release ... at least that hasn't been the pattern with similar releases from other companies.

I'll persevere a bit longer anyway and see if I get a reply from customer support. If genuine, and if the publicity is accurate about the limitations of the software, then yes it's most definitely worthwhile and I certainly wouldn't call it crippleware. The release did also get a mention in Soundonsound magazine which is my bible for all things audio, so that gives me some hope at least : )

sicknero 09. Aug 2015 07:15 PM

Update ...

I googled "Avid forum" and found a wholly separate website with several threads re this release. It's certainly a genuine product.

I found a few people having the same issue as myself and following advice given there, I created an entirely new Avid account for myself. Problem solved, I downloaded and installed the software a couple of hours ago.

Some problems getting it to play nicely with my dated studio hardware but I'm glad I didn't give up, I'll enjoy having a play with it.

Re limitations ... the freebie only allows three simultaneously existing projects, which can't be saved to any local drive but only to the Avid cloud, which us certainly bordering on crippleware. There are workarounds though.

Secondly the license only appears to allow personal use or "internal business use".

Nevertheless, I'm still glad to have a chance to delve into the software.

Anupam 09. Aug 2015 07:16 PM

Glad you were able to download it. Would be interesting to hear what reply you get from their support regarding the issue.

From what you say, it sounds like a crippleware... still, might be interesting for enthusiasts.

sicknero 13. Aug 2015 08:01 PM

They got back to me quite quickly ... Just a link to their FAQs and also to the forum thread that I found the other day.

I agree, this will only interest enthusiasts really. It's potentially a good way for people like myself to explore the software a bit and see why it's an industry standard, but the limitations will rule out any serious use.

Shame, but still an interesting release. I'll be away from my pc for a few days but I think I'll still be keeping the software a while just to have a play around.

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