Join Scott Hirsch for an in-depth discussion in this video What you need to know before watching this course, part of Learning Pro Tools.
- As you develop your skills as an engineer or musician it’s smart to know a variety of digital audio workstations or DAWs. You’ll develop a preference for the subtle differences DAWs offer, much like different tools in your toolkit. You could describe it as a collection of electric guitars: they all do the same thing, but sometimes you prefer to use a Fender Telecaster over a Gibson Les Paul for a specific song. The same is true for DAWs. You might choose to use Pro Tools for one type of music or song, and you might choose to use Logic, or Reason, or Ableton for some other different types of songs or music.
Inevitably though I always get the question: what DAWs should I invest my time and money in? Well, here’s some thoughts: If you’re gonna work exclusively in your own domain to produce music and not really interface with the outside world, I say try a few of them. Try Pro Tools, try Logic, Reason, Ableton, and then pick the ones that suit you best and master those. However, if you want to collaborate with the outside world, work with other engineers, and work in a variety of studios, my answer is usually to learn Pro Tools, because almost every studio I know uses Pro Tools.
Avid, the maker of Pro Tools, has adopted the phrase: “Industry standard” for a good reason. It’s largely true. Now, with the release of Pro Tools 12, Avid is poised to expand on this kind of collaborative thinking, because Pro Tools 12 implements something called ‘Avid Cloud Collaboration’ for connecting and working with other musicians over the internet within software of Pro Tools 12. Pro Tools 12 also offers flexible licensing options and this makes start-up costs a little easier for everybody.
And to go back to an earlier point, anybody can try Pro Tools now with the addition of Pro Tools First. Pro Tools First allows users to work with the software for free. Yes, that’s free without committing anything. So before we go any further, I want to actually show you a list of all the financing and subscription based options that are now available with Pro Tools 12. This is the first time Pro Tools has offered this kind of way to get in to the software through subscriptions, and it is admittedly a bit confusing, so I want to take a look at these and just kind of go over the main points of them.
Now, I also want to point out here that these numbers and options are current as of the recording of this course, but they may change over time so make sure you look at Avid.com to stay current on these options. Okay, now as I said, Pro Tools First is free. Anybody can download it and use it, you don’t even need an iLok. If you’re not familiar with an iLok, an iLok is a USB key that’s used for security reasons in terms of downloading and using any kind of third party plugins, as well as other versions of Pro Tools.
It’s a necessity for having your authorization for those softwares. For Pro Tools first, however, you don’t need one. Now, one of the limitations of Pro Tools First is that you save your projects to the cloud. So you’re working with a limit of three cloud-based projects only. And for that reason, Pro Tools first really is for trying out Pro Tools more than anything. And it’s great for people who want to kind of see what it’s all about, and learn a bit, and then at that point move on to some of the subscription based options.
The other cool thing about Pro Tools First is that if you’re watching this course you can get it for free and follow along with me as we do this Up and Running in Pro Tools 12 course. Now, once you get hooked on Pro Tools 12 and you decide you want to own it, you can actually own it on a monthly basis. If you decide you want to commit for a year you can pay $24.92 a month, and if you decide that a year is too long to commit you can get it for just a little bit more: $29.99 a month, if you want to do just a monthly subscription and go month-to-month.
Now, for this to happen you will need this iLok key, which is around $50; that’s an up-front cost you’ll have to go for. And once you have it you’ll be subscription based, paying monthly, you get the full version of Pro Tools 12, and you can use it as much as you want. If you want to not use it for a few months that’s fine, you can get back in and start paying again after that point. If you decide that a subscription based platform is not for you, and you want to just outright buy Pro Tools 12 you can do that for $899.
And that’s a perpetual license. You’ll have Pro Tools 12 forever. You’ll be a committed user, you won’t have to pay month-to-month, but the whole idea here is that Avid is gonna start offering not only upgrades to the software, Pro Tools 12, but other incentives to stay current with a subscription base. So we’re talking about software instruments and a whole bunch of other stuff we don’t even really know what it is yet. Apparently there’s a lot of stuff coming down the timeline in the next few years, so once you pay the $899 you can have Pro Tools with all upgrades for a year, and after that year you can pay an optional $199 to stay current.
Now staying current, like I said, means you get offered any of the upgrades and downloads that Avid’s gonna come out with after that point in time. If you’re upgrading to Pro Tools 12, if you own Pro Tools 9, Pro Tools 10, Pro Tools 11, you have Pro Tools Express, Pro Tools M-Powered, any of those versions of Pro Tools: you can pay $199 and you’ll get Pro Tools 12 and all available upgrades for the next year. So this doesn’t enter you into the subscription base yet, you just basically pay $200, or $199, and you get Pro Tools 12 as an upgrade for a year.
Now, like I said, after that time you may want to stay current and you can pay another $199 each year to stay current; you pay that money annually, you stay current. Or, from what I understand, you can month-to-month if you want to stay current on a month-to-month subscription basis. And you’ll be offered any of the upgrades, new software instruments, new other things that Pro Tools or Avid comes out with, if you want to stay current. If you don’t want to stay current, you can simply upgrade for $199, you get Pro Tools 12 and you’re good.
Now, the last option here is for Pro Tools HD users. So Pro Tools HD is the fully blown fully professional version of Pro Tools. It offers surround sound options, a whole bunch of other things that are useful if you’re interfacing in kind of a high-end professional situation. You may be a studio owner, or someone who needs some of the really high end options. Pro Tools HD is for you. You can upgrade to Pro Tools HD 12 if you own an existing version of Pro Tools HD, that’s Pro Tools HD 9, Pro Tools 10 HD, and Pro Tools 11 HD, or if you’re an owner of the Production Toolkit.
You can pay $599 to get Pro Tools 12 HD and all upgrades for a year. Now just like these other options you can then at that point pay another $199 annually to stay current with any new upgrades that Pro Tools sends your way, whether it’s instruments, or new versions of the software, and other incentives that will have been promised to come out after that point. So now by implementing these extensive options for Pro Tools 12, Avid’s hoping there’s a place for all different types of users.
Keep in mind Avid sells their own hardware and some of those hardwares come bundled with different versions of the software. But with Pro Tools 12 you are free to use any existing audio interface you might already have, and you can even use your internal sound card if you want to. So if you’re interested in one of these options, or you’re already a Pro Tools user, or you’re trying out Pro Tools First for free, let’s get up and running with Pro Tools 12.
Find more tutorials on our Pro Tools page.
- Setting up Pro Tools 12
- Working with templates
- Creating a drumbeat
- Loop recording
- Editing and arranging audio and MIDI
- Adjusting tempo
- Adding EQ and compression to the mix
- Performing real-time automation
- Bussing audio
- Creating reverb and delay
- Finalizing and exporting your mix