GREAT FREEBIE SOFTWARE #1
To clear up any confusion first, Avid are the people responsible for Pro Tools, okay? So it’s Avid that’s announced recently that its Mbox and Mbox Mini audio interfaces now come with Pro Tools Express software included at no additional charge. As you might guess, Express is a cut-down version of Pro Tools as a kind of introduction to DAWs and Pro Tools itself, but while it’s missing a lot of the features of the more professional versions Express is still essentially PT (as we often call it) and if you wanted to make Pro Tools your DAW of choice, then Express is a good start. What do you miss out on? You don’t get the full swag of virtual instruments–only three, but they’re good ones. You can’t record more than four audio tracks at the same time–you haven’t got the hardware anyway. Talking of hardware, Express doesn’t support third-party interfaces, so you’d have to upgrade to Pro Tools 10, if you wanted to invest in a bigger and better audio interface (and with PT10 it doesn’t have to be Avid gear). A possible glitch for beginners is that Express doesn’t support MP3’s or exporting to MP3. There are a zillion free programs out there that’ll do the conversion for you and services like SoundCloud do the crunching during the upload process anyway. Still, it’s worth knowing Express can’t do MP3.
Otherwise it has a heap of features that are a great learning curve for novice DAW users and you could certainly do worse than starting out your music production and recording career with Pro Tools, even this basic Express version. You can find out more information including a full comparison chart of what Express can and can’t do at www.avid.com