For sound producers, a digital audio workstation will be a crucial element and I understand this.
When you first get started in the industry, the cost of DAW can be quite overwhelming.
You may also need to get to grips with a system before making a final choice.
I think Pro Tools First might be a good option here, particularly for younger singers, producers and musicians.
Presenting The Product
Pro Tools is a digital audio workstation or DAW developed by Avid Technology. It has been available for over 30 years and many consider it to be a key tool.
The software can run as a stand-alone system or with analogue and digital converters. With Pro Tools, you have both an audio mixer and a multitrack tape recorder at your fingertips as well as features like non-destructive editing.
Pro Tools First is the free version of the software that anyone can access, regardless of budget limitations.
Rather than spending hundreds on DAW software, a new user can get to grips with this option first. You can access various software features but some are off-limits.
- Free to use software
- No Powerful system required
- Provides an option to experiment with the solution
- Paid cloud storage plan may allow you to save to local hard drive
- Able to record, mix and edit multiple channels of audio
- Files can only be saved on the cloud, not on the hard drive
- Sample rate limited to 96 kHz
- Limited level of supported tracks
- The lower number of effects and sound processes
- Reduced number of available virtual instruments and inputs
Features And Benefits
Install And Use
I think it’s important to note that this is a free version of a paid software. This is important because it could provide various new professionals in different industries a chance to test drive the software.
It’s your basic ‘try before you buy’ solution and this does explain some of the limitations. I don’t think it’s intended as a version that you will be able to rely on for years.
With this option, you don’t need a powerful computer to run it. Instead of requiring 32GB of RAM you only need 4GB.
In my opinion, this is great because it again opens the software up to the wider audience. Eventually, if you want a professional DAW you will need to invest in a more powerful system.
With Pro Tools First, you can experiment and decide whether this particular DAW is the right choice before you buy that new computer.
Pro Tools First has a similar design to the paid version of the software. It does look a little dated but it is user-friendly. I think this is important because this is definitely aimed at those new to a DAW.
The interface is designed to ease them in and help them find their footing. This does mean options like synths are limited. There’s no piano with this version but, that keeps the options clearer and easier to understand.
Free Bundled Loops
Pro Tools First does not allow you to import different virtual instruments from first parties. To compensate, the software does include a range of the free bundled loop.
I think this is useful because it means that you can get any project started even if you can’t get the full final result you want.
The musical instrument digital interface of MIDI is almost exactly the same as the full version. This is great because it means it’s easy to use and it will feel familiar. It also provides a short learning curve for new professionals.
You can even freeze the MIDI which is another feature of the full version of the software.
Plugins for software are kept simple which is brilliant because it highlights who this is designed for. It’s definitely basic and I think that means that beginners aren’t going to need to siphon through lots of options.
There’s really only one choice here and that means that you can immediately start producing.
With effects, you are limited to just one reverb and one delay. While this might seem a little disappointing, with this right talent and imagination, a beginner is going to be able to do a lot with these options.
No third party effects are available here either and I think that’s to be expected. Remember, this is designed to eventually help you move towards the full version of the software.
Bouncing is simple too. Just like the full option bouncing is an easy step to take after you have filled up your 16 tracks. You are only provided with WAV and there’s no option for MP3 but you can easily get by with this choice.
Pro Tools first does provide you with access to the level of quality that the latest tracks and records are made from.
I think this is important because while it’s a beginners tool, you can already create and produce high-quality sound and music. You will be able to create a song on this that sounds fantastic.
The number of tracks is always going to be important when producing music and Pro Tools First provides you with 16. That’s a great starting point even though you will need a larger selection as you increase your skills.
You don’t want to waste your time with a DAW that isn’t providing the right solution you need. That remains the case, regardless of whether your paying for one or not.
I’ve searched the web and I think you’ll be pleased to find that I’ve found some fantastic reviews for this particular DAW software.
As expected, it’s mainly beginners in the music industry that seem to favor this choice.
Similar to Pro Tools First, Audacity is a free to use the software. Open source, it can be used for recording and editing sounds. You can use it to record audio live, convert tapes and edit sound files. It’s ideal for beginners who want to try a DAW before investing.
- Compatible with Windows, Linux, OSX
- Suitable for multitrack recording and editing
- Free to use
If you think recording and editing music is something you’re interested in, try Audacity for free now.
This is a free version of Cubase Pro Software which currently has a price tag of more than $500. With Cubase LE, just like Pro Tools First, you can explore the option before you commit to a purchase.
The free software provides access to HALion Sonic DE and provides a range of features straight out of the gate.
- 24 MDI tracks
- 16 Audio tracks
- 8 Physical inputs
- Recording quality 24-bit/192 kHz
- 18 basic plugins
If you’re not scared of a more complex software, make sure that you explore Cubase LE today. It’s perfect for getting to grips with this software.
Ableton Live is a popular choice when exploring DAWs suitable for MIDI sequencing as well as electronic music production. It’s also suitable for editing and recording audio as well. With the Lite version, you can access the software for free and determine if it is the right choice for you.
- Offers select effects
- Plugins including EQ, compressor, delay and reverb
- Total of 3 virtual instruments including Drum Rack, Impulse and SImpler
It’s no secret that DAWs are expensive. If you’re just starting to dip your toes into the music industry, you are not going to want to spend a lot immediately.
You also may wish to avoid investing in expensive hardware too like a Mac Pro. With Pro Tools First, you can avoid these issues. You can get a basic DAWs to experiment with which provides an easy learning curve.
As expected with free software options are limited. Some might suggest that the developer has fenced off too many options.
However, it does mean you can jump right in and start producing without getting lost in choices.
You can explore this possibility by downloading it yourself right now, clicking on this link.
Points To Consider Before Choosing A DAW
A DAW will provide you with a comprehensive piece of software that you will be able to use to produce, record and edit audio.
Ideally, you will gain access to virtual instruments and plugins that will ensure that the finished result sounds like a professionally produced record.
It is ideal for anyone in the music industry from a producer to a singer or songwriter.
It’s important to consider a variety of different factors before settling on the right DAW for your needs.
What Operating System Do You Have?
There’s a lot of debate over which options are superior when selecting your DAW. One of the first points to consider is whether your current operating system will support the software.
Most basic computers won’t and you may need to upgrade. If you do need an upgrade, think about whether to select a Mac or PC.
Be aware that while certain DAWs will work on both, certain DAWs are limited including Logic Pro X which only runs on a Mac.
Your Production Goal
You need to think about how fast you will be able to operate using your DAW. Speed can be important for any music producer.
Some DAWs have user-friendly designs specifically for this reason. Consider your workflow and use trial versions of the software to find the option that suits your needs.
DAWs come with a variety of different prices with some requiring a monthly fee. It’s important to select an option that matches your budget. You may want to consider using an old DAW system. This will allow you to save money while still getting all the benefits and effects you need.
Audio Plugin Compatibility
You do need to make sure that the DAW you choose accepts the formats you need. The main formats are:
- Audio Units
- Virtual Studio Technology
- Real-Time Audio Suite
It’s possible that your DAW will not support virtual studio technology plugins and will only work with audio units.
Moving Projects Around
Some producers will need to move different mixes around. For this, you will need a DAW that does provide batch export stems. This is going to save a lot of hours of work.
You should also consider using the same DAW which is set up in your chosen studio. Be aware that some DAWs are uniquely designed for this type of process. However, if you are working in your own studio, this is less of a requirement.