Saturday, July 5, 2008

Pro Tools (Recording)

As of the writing of this entry, there are three levels of Digidesign's Pro Tools digital audio workstation (DAW) program:

M-Powered: Not counting the special academic version, this is initially the entry level for Pro Tools. This version of the software is made to interact with various M-Audio hardware interfaces. As I stated earlier, this version is basically entry level, but the variety of hardware interfaces available makes M-Powered Pro Tools very customizable. Check out for more information about the software and the hardware.

For example, the M-Powered program (with iLok dongle included) will cost about $250. Add a qualifying $150 M-Audio interface (the prices will vary, but this seems like an average entry-level price), and the DAW will cost about $400.

LE: This is the basic program for Pro Tools. It is often bundled with either the consumer level Mbox 2 series (Micro, Mini, regular-sized, and Pro) or the more pro-sumer level 003 family of hardware interfaces. Check out for more information about LE and M-Powered (mentioned above).

For example, a standard Mbox 2 package (which includes the LE software) will cost about $500.

HD: Take out a loan for this one. It's similar to M-Powered in that there are several configurations to make a Pro Tools | HD system, but these hardware configurations are exponentially more expensive than M-Audio's DAW. Digidesign has more info about the HD system, as well as the top-of-the-line ICON product.

For example, you must choose either the purchase of a new car or an industry-standard Pro Tools | HD system. With gas prices these days, you might want to lean toward building a music studio.

All of the above information does not include the additional costs of microphones, musical instruments, cables, a strong enough computer, and plug-ins (effects).

Happy recording!

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