Comparing Pro Tools Versions: What’s The Difference?

Are you considering using Pro Tools for your music production needs but feeling overwhelmed by the different versions available?

With four different versions to choose from, it can be confusing to determine which one is best suited for your goals and budget.

In this article, we'll compare the features and capabilities of each version – Pro Tools | First (free), Pro Tools Artist ($99 USD or $9.99 USD per month), Pro Tools Ultimate (most advanced), and Pro Tool Studio ($299 USD per year or $39.99 USD per month).

This is so you can make an informed decision on which one to invest in. We’ll also take a closer look at Avid pro tools first vs express so that you know all about their respective features, user interfaces, price ranges among others before making a purchase decision.

After reading this article, you'll have a better understanding of what sets each version apart from the other and how they can address your specific needs when it comes to digital audio workstation software!

Comparing Pro Tools Versions: What's The Difference?

Pro Tools Versions TL;DR

Pro Tools First

Comparing Pro Tools Versions
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Pro Tools First is an entirely free version of the software that provides users with essential recording and editing capabilities. It comes with up to 16 tracks of audio recording and four inputs for recording instruments or vocals simultaneously.

This version also includes access to a range of virtual instruments and effects plugins.

While this might seem limiting compared to paid versions of Pro Tools, it's an excellent choice for beginners or anyone looking for basic functionality without spending any money.

Don't Have It Yet? Download Avid Pro Tools

Pro Tools Standard

Pro Tools Standard
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Pro Tools Standard is ideal for small studios or independent producers who need more features than what's offered in the Free edition but do not require all the advanced functions found in higher-end packages like Ultimate.

It supports up to 128 audio tracks and allows collaboration between other musicians remotely using Avid Cloud Collaboration technology.

It also includes features such as Elastic Pitch Correction and Elastic Time Correction, which allow you to match pitch across multiple takes or correct timing issues quickly.

Pro Tool Ultimate

Pro Tool Ultimate
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For high-end studios working on big-budget projects that prioritize performance over cost-effectiveness, there’s only one choice, Avid’s flagship software package, The ultimate edition.

The most significant difference between the standard version versus ultimate offering lies within its ability to handle massive amounts of data without compromising performance speed during mixing sessions where several heavy plug-ins run simultaneously.

With unlimited track counts supported by HD hardware systems including delay compensation built into each channel strip automatically adjusting delays so they are synced properly throughout your mix.

It will make sure that everything sounds tight no matter what instrument – whether it be drums or guitar solos.

Other added benefits include powerful VCA fader controls allowing engineers precise control over levels while maintaining overall consistency through complex mixes via automation tools like Trim Automation & Channel Strip EQ/Dynamics section providing easy-to-use interface options when needed.


In conclusion there are three main types; Free Version (First), Standard Edition & Ultimate Editions.

While each has its unique set of features optimised towards specific user requirements, general rule applies “you get what you pay” when choosing among them.

So choose wisely based upon your project requirement, budget allocation, team size & desired output format.

It's important to note that Pro Tools Ultimate is the most expensive option, but it also offers the most advanced features and capabilities.

This version is typically used by high-end studios and professional audio engineers who require powerful tools for complex projects.

One notable difference between Pro Tools Standard and Ultimate is its ability to support HD hardware systems. The standard edition only supports up to 32 channels of I/O, while Ultimate can handle up to 192 channels with HD hardware.

Another significant advantage of the Ultimate edition is its advanced automation capabilities.

With features like Trim Automation and Channel Strip EQ/Dynamics section, users have more precise control over levels and consistency in complex mixes.

Overall, when comparing different versions of Pro Tools, it all comes down to your specific needs as a user.

If you're just starting out or need basic recording functions without spending money, Pro Tools First may be an excellent choice for you. For those looking for more advanced features without breaking the bank, Standard might do the trick.

However, if you're working on larger or more complex projects that require extensive data handling capacity and powerful tools such as VCA fader controls or HD hardware system compatibility go with ultimate package.

About Author

Arielle P

Arielle P

Songwriter | Music Producer | Engineer.

With a background in music production and a strong passion for education, Arielle is dedicated to helping emerging artists navigate the music industry. She has worked with a diverse range of artists, from indie rock bands to well-known hip-hop and grime artists. Arielle's unique approach to teaching focuses on empowering artists to take control of their brand, ensuring they retain creative ownership throughout their journey. In her free time, she enjoys experimenting with new sounds in her home studio and sharing her insights through music production tutorials and workshops.

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