Among the feedback I get from home studio musicians is a moan, a grunt… againts the expensive nature of DAWs.

For all of you for whom this is an issue, NAMM 2015 turns out to be the stage for a change in the right direction: the leading DAW maker announced yesterday a FREE and open version of its DAW. I name Avid and its new ProTools | First.


The feature set is respectable:

  • The Pro Tools audio engine, for starts
  • 16 (mono or stereo) audio tracks
  • 16 virtual instrument tracks
  • 16 midi tracks
  • 4 AUX
  • 4 master bus
  • A small,bunch of essential plug-ins
  • A small bunch of good virtual instruments

And some new optional “web 3.0” features (also found in the new Pro Tools 12):

  • Online back-up (3 of your projects will be hosted free. The following will come at a cost)
  • Online collaboration
  • In-app plug-in store, with purchase or rental

For Avid, this is a new business model, a merge between Apple’s free GarageBand and AUD’s Appollo Plug-in store. For those of us who:

  • Just want to get started for free
  • On any machine (PC or Mac)
  • With or without an audio interface
  • Know to stay within the constraints of freemium

… This is a great opportunity.

I have no specific date on the actual release of ProTools | One, but I can’t imagine it will be later than March. You can sign up on the Avid website to receive an alert when the day comes.