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Don't shoot the messenger and don't flame out on me, either.

This is simply a public service announcement.

" Pro Tools First".

And yes, it's free. No catch.

Not a trial, either, it's fully functioning. ToolsFirst/

A cursory reading of the description seemed somewhat similar to that of other major DAW manufacturer's free versions of their programs.

Requirements: iLok account ( but you don't need an actual iLok )


16 Stereo audio tracks ( or 32 Mono tracks if you're hip to PT's routing)

16 VSTi tracks ( drum libraries, soft synths, etc)

16 AUX tracks (for bus routing and summing).

You can only simultaneously record from 4 input sources (which can be mono or stereo).

There are just a few plugs included... EQ7, Delay and D-verb.
( I don't know anything about them, one way or the other. Though I'm sure they're probably quite useable).

I have no idea as to whether it will recognize third-party plugs. I'd be surprised if it did. But maybe it does.
I haven't opened the program yet to find out.

If it doesn't, then I guess I'd say, "Hey... what do ya want for free?" LOL

I've downloaded and installed it, just to check it out, as I'm already quite familiar with the workings of Avid; but the version I already had is an older 32 bit version ( like Pro Tools 5 or something...) and I would use this new version mainly as a newer 64 bit version, in case I would run into the occasional client who just has to have Pro Tools 64 under the premise that if I don't, then their head's gonna pop off and the world will end.

I have absolutely no plans to use this myself, other than for a few hours, just enough time to "get it", so I can at least look like I know what I'm doing, if a client insists upon drinking the Avid Kool-Aid.

For me and the clients I produce, I'm sticking with Samplitude, thank you very much.

THIS PART IS IMPORTANT - if you are running the Windows version, after you download the installer, make sure to drag the installer program over to your hard drive/root directory, and then run the install from there. Various unzipping programs like 7-Zip, WinRAR, WinZip., etc., all have limitations as to the number of characters (256 I think) that they will recognize in the file names. If you try to run this directly from your download menu, or from the zip/unzip program as the tutorial tells you to do, it's not gonna work. You'll get an "error 1309" code... which is basically telling you what I just did.
Or, you can ignore this, and end up back here screaming about it, or shooting off threatening emails to Avid tech support... LOL. It's just easier to do it the way I mentioned.


Topic Tags


DonnyThompson Thu, 11/19/2015 - 01:31

Boswell JayTerrance


Well, so far I can't comment on this newest free version, because I can't get it to open.

When I try to open it, I get an error message saying "an error has occurred, please send crash log to Avid".
(yeah, so, I sent the crash log, but I'm not holding my breath for them to get back to me. Based on past experience, I should be hearing back from them around February... of 2017.)

So, it appears as though my past experience(s) in having a bad relationship with Avid continues...

And of course, there's no support with this version, because it's free. Although, one would think that Avid would have worked out the bugs on this before releasing it.
If I had been someone who wanted to get into PT, this experience would have soured me pretty fast... the install alone took several different tries; and I had to find out on my own about moving the installer program to my root drive, there was no documentation explaining this... and then, to have the program finally install "correctly" only to then crash while trying to open it?
I don't think that Avid is gonna be gaining a whole new wave of customers, at least based on this version and the difficulties involved, considering that this particular version was meant as "bait" to get people to use, and then step up to a "real" version.

Ask me how many tries it took me to install and start Samplitude... or Presonus S1, or Harrison Mixbus, or even Sonar...
(The answer is "one". In every case above, the programs installed without a hitch and fired right up.)

Unless there's a quick and easy fix to this, I'm not going to spend any more time on this than I already have. I've already spent 2 hours of my life that I'll never get back, into trying to get this program to run, all to no avail.

I wasn't gonna use PT myself anyway, I just wanted to have it round for those potential clients who preferred to use it.

Samplitude is still my go-to platform.

Actually, any platform is my go-to before PT.


audiokid Thu, 11/19/2015 - 12:43


Never the less... I'd say Avid is pretty desperate.
Now that I said that, lets have some fun!

No one in their right mind would invest in the larger PT systems again. Those days are long gone.
In general, the platform is no better than the next. The thing that sets most platforms above the other in regards to sound quality and latency stability are the converters and interfacing. Both area's Avid sucks in lol.
Software wise, I suppose its what we are used to and how well the third party plug-ins react in whatever workflow we are able to keep working without bugs.

As Bos put so nicely,

So, I suppose its a great one to own when a client needs us to use it for whatever reason.

paulears Thu, 11/19/2015 - 13:33

I downloaded it for my macbook. It froze the first two times I ran it when it tried to contact avid online - third time it ran. I created a project and it reported lack of resources and closed. Tried again and it ran. Gave up trying to get the template sounds to work, and imported a couple of wav files, which played.

It's pretty unsympathetic to a new user and nothing in the brief play entices me to use it in preference to Cubase, which, after years and years is quite obvious. It took a while to find the method to change the audio driver - having dredged up an audio system I've not had in use for a couple of years - once I found it, at least the thing made a noise. Not intuitive, and I just don't have the time for the work involved. Cubase and Adobe Audition and Audacity are on the macbook - and all those work quite simply.

DonnyThompson Mon, 11/23/2015 - 02:58

paulears, post: 433956, member: 47782 wrote: It's a nice move though, many people starting out will like it and start using it.

Perhaps that's true, Paul. But in order to like it and start using it, they have to be able to get the program to actually OPEN first. ;)

I've now heard back from several other colleagues, who have also tried to run it on their Mac's and PC's, and not one of them has been able to get the program to run without problems ( freezes, crashes, etc.).
The PC users on that list haven't even been able to get it to open.

So it's not just me, then. The latest count - including the RO members who have chimed in here who've also had problems with this - is 15 people. I know this seems like a very small number, but those are just the people I know.

At this point, Avid is doing themselves a serious disservice - more harm than good - because those who are trying to use this version, and who would very likely upgrade at some point ( if this version worked) are encountering such difficulty and frustration, that it's souring them on Avid all the way around. (And, offering no kind of tech support or help for it isn't helping them any, either).

Let's put it this way... Has anyone here who has tried to run this version of PT any more likely to go with Avid now than they were before they tried to use this version?
(with the exception of Paul, but who still did have some difficulty with it )...

I can tell you that my own first reaction to this whole cluster**** was, "Thank God I have Samplitude ( and Sonar... and S1... and MixBus... and... ) and that I wasn't relying on this program to do a session..."

There's really no excuse for this, in a day and age where most - if not all - DAW manufacturers are now offering free versions - or fully functioning trial versions - of their software, that installs easily, opens right up, and works flawlessly from the start.

Avid had better get on the ball with this - because they sure as hell ain't the only show in town anymore, ( and they haven't been for awhile now). If they're trying to gain more customers, and this is the bait that they are counting on to do that, then they'd better get busy fixing it. There are now many decent DAW platforms to choose from, and people are going to use what works... and if you can't even get this version of PT to open, how can you know whether you'd like it enough to eventually upgrade?

I get that PT is the de facto standard DAW for most of the Mac using crowd... but, even Paul mentioned having some trouble with it on his Mac initially.

My opinion is, if you are going to offer a Windows version, then it's probably in your best interest to make sure that it actually works on Windows before you release it.

IMHO of course. ;)

DonnyThompson Mon, 11/23/2015 - 03:12

As an addendum to the above ... just to be clear... I'm not out to "slam" PT.
I don't want anyone to get that impression.

Honestly, I wanted it to work, so that I could offer it as an option to those potential clients who were insistent about using it.

These days, with studio business on the wane, I'm willing to do whatever it takes to get new clients, and if having a newer ( 64 bit) version of PT on my system would potentially allow me more business, then that's just fine by me.

It's not like I was hoping it wouldn't work, because I really did want it to.

DonnyThompson Wed, 11/25/2015 - 04:23

paulears, post: 433975, member: 47782 wrote: I've tried downloading and installing on my PC (that has lots of other audio stuff on it) and I cannot get it to open. I too get the "send crash report to avid message) Windows 7.

I've been "watching" this topic on the web since going through the hassles of trying to get it to work, Paul; and it's becoming apparent that many, many people are having difficulty with the program, and not just on PC's, either.
There are more than just a few Mac users who are saying that they either can't get the program to open, or that if they can get it to open, it doesn't work, or it doesn't work right.

I think that Avid has screwed the pooch with this one, turning out an inferior product in an effort to quickly get something out there to compete with all the other DAW manufacturers who are also now offering free versions of their programs.

The difference between those other programs and PT First - and I'd call it a pretty substantial difference - is that the other programs actually work. LOL