Avid’s Pro Tools is probably one of the most widely used digital audio editing software solutions used by professional musicians, audio journalists, and other folks who make and edit sounds for a living.
A full version of the software costs hundreds of dollars, although there are less powerful versions which are included for free when you buy certain hardware.
But now there’s another option: Pro Tools First is a free version of the software. It was announced earlier this year and now the Avid is starting to send out invitations to let users download and install the free version of its software.
Pro Tools First doesn’t have all the features of its expensive counterparts. Users only get access to four inputs, 16 simultaneous audio tracks and there’s no support for video.
But that should be plenty to get you started if you’re an aspiring podcast producer or musician on a budget: once upon a time bands recorded entire albums on nothing but a 4-track tape recorder.
Speaking of once upon a time, this isn’t the first time there’s been a free version of Pro Tools. There was once a version of the software cleverly called “Pro Tools Free,” but it was discontinued years ago and it was never updated to support operating systems newer than Windows ME.
Avid is doing a phased rollout of invitations to Pro Tools First. So if you’ve already signed up it might be a little while before you get yours. If you haven’t signed up yet, you can add your name to the wait list at the Pro Tools First website.
Don’t like the idea of getting a limited version of Pro Tools? There are other alternatives including Audacity (free and open source), Ardour (free and open source), or Reaper (copmmercial, but cheap for personal users).