Pro Tools by Avid is one of the most popular and well-known audio editing software for post-production.
It’s become almost the standard for many in the music industry and is considered to be the best digital audio workstation available (also see, ‘Best DAW For Podcasting‘).
However, Pro Tools comes with a price and many feel that there are better alternatives on the market, especially for the home producer and mixer.
If you’re looking for some audio software, you’ve probably considered Pro Tools.
In this article, we’re going to do an Avid Pro Tools review in more detail. By looking at the pros and cons, we hope you’ll be able to decide if Pro Tools is the right choice for you.
How Much Is The Avid Pro Tools?
There are three different versions of Pro Tools and each has its own price.
Pro Tools Intro
Avid Pro Tools Intro is designed for beginners who want to quickly learn the basics of music production. This free version gives you access to a huge selection of audio editing tools and allows you to create a professional music production with ease.
Pro Tools Artist
This is the cheapest version of Pro Tools and it has the least amount of features.
It includes over 100 plugins and instruments and has the capacity for 16 simultaneous audio recording inputs, 32 different audio tracks, and 64 MIDI tracks. It also offers multi-channel mixing in stereo.
It’s currently available for either $99 annually or as a $9.99 monthly subscription.
Pro Tools Studio
This middle version of Pro Tools has everything that Pro Tools Artist has while also allowing you to do more.
It includes a limited audio post-production toolset, lets you work with a single video track, and is ideal for any creators and producers that are serious about their craft.
It’s currently available for either $299 annually or as a $31.99 monthly subscription.
Pro Tools Ultimate
This is the most complete level of Pro Tools and offers the most features.
You can work with 2,046 audio tracks and 1,024 MIDI tracks, as well as 64 video tracks. It has everything the professional mixer and creator needs.
It’s currently available for either $999 annually or as a $99 monthly subscription.
Regardless of the version you choose, you will need at least 15GB of free disk space for minimal installation.
This amount of space will increase depending on how much of the loop and sample library you decide to install as well.
If you choose to install them all, it can add another 5GB to the space requirements.
Now, let’s look at some of the Pro Tools features.
Pro Tools Interface And Usability
Pro Tools definitely has a learning curve.
This doesn’t mean that it is unusable for new users as plenty of its features are intuitive and easy to decipher.
If you really want to get the most from a Pro Tools subscription, you will need to spend some time learning the software and how to use it best.
It has many shortcuts that will allow you to quickly navigate your workflow through the program and this will save you a lot of time.
Using the mouse to navigate through can be time-consuming and frustrating.
The shortcuts, however, make it especially easy to switch through features during the recording and editing processes.
As Pro Tools is such a popular digital audio production program, you will never be short of tutorials.
Not only does Avid have its own library of tutorials, but you can find hundreds of web pages and videos dedicated to using Pro Tools.
When you first purchase a Pro Tools license, we highly recommend spending some time with these tutorials as they will help you learn the software more quickly.
What Audio Editing Features Does Pro Tools Have?
Editing is one of the most important tasks you can complete with Pro Tools. It’s at the core of so many different audio tasks, from creating music to recording podcasts.
Thankfully, Pro Tools has a wealth of editing features to make this task as quick and easy as possible.
There are four editing modes that you can choose from, which are Shuffle, Slip, Spot, and Grid. Each mode has its own pros and cons and situations where it is best utilized.
For example, Shuffle mode is ideal for podcast editing, Slip mode is great for video audio, and Grid mode is perfect for music editing.
One of our favorite editing features is Beat Detective. This allows you to separate several audio regions at once by their transients and is primarily used for quantizing drums.
You can separate, quantize, and smooth the clips in a matter of seconds.
As well as having many automatic editing processes, Pro Tools also allows you to do manual editing.
No matter how good the DAW is, sometimes you need the human touch and there are a couple of tools in Pro Tools you can use for a variety of functions, such as correcting clicks and pops or creating fades.
These manual tools are easy and efficient to use once you’ve identified them.
What Plugins Does Pro Tools Have?
Regardless of the version of Pro Tools that you subscribe to, you will get a bundle of plugins.
UItimate will give you more options than Artist but that is only to be expected considering the difference in the license prices.
Thankfully, even the basic plugins that come with Pro Tools Artist are very useful and are sure to come in handy, no matter what task you’re trying to complete.
We’re not going to go through every plugin that comes with Pro Tools, but we will highlight some of our favorites.
You get two EQs as standard and one of these is a seven-band parametric EQ.
This can do most of what you’d expect from an EQ but can be a little overwhelming for beginners that just want to adjust one thing.
We love the Time Adjuster as this allows you to get your tracks perfectly aligned simply and easily.
Of the FX plugins, the D-Verb plugin is our favorite. It has up to seven algorithms and allows you to adjust several settings such as decay and diffusion.
You can use this plugin for a variety of effects on your vocals and drums.
Now, let’s take a quick look at the main pros and cons of Pro Tools.
Pros Of Pro Tools
The following points are what we consider to be the main positives of Pro Tools.
Versatility And Variety
No matter what your audio project is, Pro Tools will be able to do it.
Many other DAWs have their specialties but Pro Tools can do everything, from music to podcasts and video editing. Whatever you need a DAW for, Pro Tools will fit the bill.
Efficient Workflow And Interface
There is a learning curve to this pro and you will need to take the time to learn them, but once you have mastered the shortcuts, you will find Pro Tools to have the easiest and most efficient interface.
Instead of having to click through screens or tools, you can quickly move from one to another with a couple of key presses.
Easy To Use
This is similar to the previous point, but if you’re willing to put a little work into Pro Tools when you first use it, you will soon find the DAW easy to use.
The learning curve isn’t steep and you will soon be able to complete most basic tasks. You can also customize your workspace so you can keep the tools that are most relevant to you close at hand.
Professional Quality Plugins
Many of the plugins that come with Pro Tools are designed for professional use.
This means that you’re guaranteed to have plugins that are of high quality and sound as well as being very usable. Pro Tools offers some of the best plugins of any DAW on the market.
Cons Of Pro Tools
The following points are what we consider to be the main negatives of Pro Tools.
System Usage And Crashes
Although Pro Tools might not need a high-end computer to run it, you will find that several of the features are very hardware heavy.
You may need to play around with your system to best optimize it for Pro Tools, regardless of whether you have a PC or Mac.
Pro Tools can also randomly crash for no apparent reason. Finding out the cause and preventing it from happening can often be very time-consuming.
Subscription And Price
Many other DAWs allow you to buy them outright for a reasonable price. However, Pro Tools makes you sign up for either an annual or monthly subscription and these can get very pricey.
It does mean that you will get continuous support and updates, however.
The price of Pro Tools might seem especially high if you only need a DAW for some basic tasks.
If you’re looking to just edit podcasts, for example, you will find DAWs that can do the job for a much lower price.
In this article, we took an in-depth look at Avid’s Pro Tools. It is a powerful audio editor that is suitable for any audio task you have.
We hope that our review will help you decide if Pro Tools is for you.