Pro Tools | First is a forthcoming free version of the flagship Pro Tools digital audio workstation software by Avid, expected for release in the first quarter of 2015.

This is certainly an exciting announcement, considering the reputation of Pro Tools and the fact that this will be the first ever free version of Avid’s flagship product. Although Pro Tools | First hasn’t been released yet, we already have access to the official feature list. Let’s take a closer look at the limitations of the forthcoming free version of Pro Tools and try to figure out how excited should we really get about this forthcoming freebie release.

The most notable limitation of Pro Tools | First is the fact that the users of the free version will be limited to three projects. Also, it won’t be possible to save the projects on your local hard drive. Instead of that, the projects will need to be stored on Avid’s cloud storage service, which also means that constant access to a decent Internet connection will be one of the requirements for using the application. Additional project slots will be offered as an add-on purchase to Pro Tools | First users.

Using cloud storage for saving projects is not a bad idea at all, as it makes it possible to work on your music from different locations, as well as to collaborate with other people. On the other hand, being limited to using cloud storage as the only way of saving your projects can be a serious deal breaker in many situations. Constant access to a broadband Internet connection will be an absolute must in this case and I don’t really consider myself eager to risk losing my projects due to server crashes or other unforeseen circumstances. Even more notably, being limited to only three saved projects is a very serious drawback.

On the positive side, the free version of Pro Tools will include many of the features seen in the full version of the application and it seems like it will be a very powerful music making platform on its own. With all of this in mind, I’m still looking forward to the release of Pro Tools | First and I’m hoping that it will prove to be a good solution for music makers on a budget. We’ll still have to wait for a couple of months before the software is officially released, though.

If you’re looking for a free music making platform to use in the meanwhile, take a look at Studio One Free, as well as Zynewave Podium Free which still remains the undisputed champion of freeware DAWs. More free alternatives are available in our round-up of free VST host applications

Video Demo

Check out the Pro Tools | First intro video: