Avid Recording Studio
If you're looking for a quick, cheap, and easy way to dive into recording audio with Pro Tools, Avid has three new entry-level home studio bundles made just for you.
Each product includes a copy of Pro Tools SE software, which boils down the industry-standard recording software to 16 channels of audio, 10 virtual instrument tracks, one video track, and 3GB of royalty free audio samples and loops.
Depending on your particular recording interest (or budget), you can pick from three hardware options, including a Recording Studio USB audio interface for $119, a Vocal Studio with a USB microphone for $99, and a USB keyboard version called KeyStudio that goes for $129.
Unlike entry-level versions of Pro Tools offered in the past, the included version of Pro Tools SE has a Quick Start menu right up front that walks users through fundamental recording concepts and software features, and offers templates for a wide variety of projects and music genres.
There are some downsides to the systems, such as having to connect the hardware to launch the software, or the limitations to the number of tracks you can layer in a song. Chances are, though, that once you're adept enough at recording to feel the pinch of these limitations, you're probably ready to upgrade to Avid's M-Powered Pro Tools, or even a full-blown system. When that day comes, you can rest assured that all your Pro Tools SE compositions will remain compatible, and you can hit the ground running.
That kind of smooth upgrade path is big deal, and it's something that can't be said of Apple's Garage Band and Logic software, which exist on two completely separate consumer and professional tracks and share very little in common with one another.
Bottom line: there's never been a better time to jump into making a little home recording studio, and Avid's latest entry-level offering is its best yet.