NAMM 2015: Pro Tools 12 and Pro Tools First

The biggest trade event in the pro audio calendar, NAMM, has been highlighting new products and technology since its founding in 1901. Each year since the show has got bigger and bigger, and 2015 has been no exception.


Avid, the manufacturers of industry standard software Pro Tools, announced two new versions of the software at NAMM 2015. The first, predictably, was Pro Tools 12, the natural successor to current software version 11, with some new features and restructuring, and new payment plans.

The second, more interestingly, is a version called Pro Tools First, and is completely free. Described by Avid as “simple enough for beginners, yet sophisticated for experienced musicians”, Pro Tools First looks to be aimed squarely at first time DAW users who may ordinarily fire up Garageband or Cubase on their laptop. It does of course pack far fewer features than the full software, but you still get up to 16 audio tracks and a great bunch of plugins. After seemingly ditching previous low-end beginner-based versions such as M-Powered and Pro Tools LE in previous years, perhaps Pro Tools First will help Avid crack the beginner market. Whether the structure and interface of Pro Tools software will lend itself to complete novices however is yet to be seen.

Back to Pro Tools 12, and as far as new features are concerned the major changes here seem to be with the way in which you pay for Pro Tools. In addition to the option to buy outright like any other piece of software, there will be subscription-based payment plans allowing users to pay by the month or by the year. There will also be various options for support plans. Avid are also embracing the fast rising trend in cloud-based technology with Pro Tools 12. A new feature called Avid Cloud Collaboration will allow users to collaborate remotely via the cloud “as if you’re all working together in the same studio”. While many of us studio-based Pro Tools users would probably have preferred Avid to focus more on creating a more reliable DAW, and address some of the latency issues that have been reported in recent software versions, this cloud collaboration software could certainly provide some interesting opportunities and new ways to approach writing sessions in the future.

Don’t forget, here at Miloco Gear we can supply the full range of Pro Tools systems, interfaces and computers. Get in touch with your requirements to find out more.