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Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Avid Studio Music Creation Systems with ProTools SE Review

This is a great way to expand from playing your own music to recording, editing, and mixing your own productions.
Pro Tools is a big name in Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) software, for professional film scoring and composition, and sound production for film, TV, video, and broadcast.
Formerly developed by Digidesign, and now part of Avid, Pro Tools is available in a variety of versions with integrated audio interface hardware - from Pro Tools HD with dedicated DSP accelerators and professional control surface consoles, to Pro Tools LE with Mbox personal recording studio interfaces, to Pro Tools M-Powered with M-Audio MIDI, keyboard, and guitar interfaces.
Avid has now brought Pro Tools to first-time Pro Tools users and music creators interested in musical composition, editing and production. These three Avid Studio systems provide what you need to create and record music at home, with new Pro Tools SE software and bundled M-Audio hardware.

Music Creation Systems

The three Avid new music creation systems are Vocal Studio with USB microphone for $99, KeyStudio with keyboard for $129, and Recording Studio with a USB interface box for $129 - all for Windows or Mac. That's a much more accessible starting point, for example, than the new full Pro Tools HD Native starting at $3,495.
  • Avid Vocal Studio includes the M-Audio Producer USB microphone and stand to capture vocals for songs, soundtracks, podcasts, or voice-overs. The mic includes a headphone connection for monitoring the input sound and the output from Pro Tools.
  • Avid KeyStudio includes the M-Audio KeyStudio 49-key, velocity-sensitive, synth-action keyboard, to play music with the included library of virtual instruments, from piano, organ, and synth, to guitars, bass, strings, and percussion.
  • Avid Recording Studio includes the M-Audio Fast Track USB interface box, with XLR input for microphone and vocals and a 1/4 inch input jack for electric guitar, bass, and other instruments. These systems are designed for music creation and expression - for creative hobbyists with an interest in musical composition, editing, and production. You choose the appropriate interface to record your instrument (vocal, keyboard, guitar), and then can leverage the power of the Pro Tools interface to edit and mix, compose and instrument your compositions.

Getting Started with Pro Tools SE

The Pro Tools SE software included in these systems is more limited than the fuller versions, but still supports mixing up to 24 tracks (16 audio tracks and 8 virtual instrument tracks), with 20 audio effects, 256 MIDI tracks, over 100 virtual instruments, and 3 GB of audio loops.
The initial Quick Start screen offers Learn About basic instruction that steps through though the editing tools with short videos (also available in context with right-click), and Interactive Projects, 10-step video tutorials though common workflows. The tutorials cover topics from the basics of getting started and making a mix to workflows for recording different instruments, adding loops, comping multiple takes, fixing timing, guitar amp effects, and creating video soundtracks.
The Quick Start also offers a list of some 30 Demo Songs in 10 styles that you can preview to check your hardware setup, and then use as starting points for a new sessions. You also can start with new empty session, or use presets for different editing purposes (e.g., working with instruments like piano or guitar, or loops or podcast or soundtrack).

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