Pro Tools

Pro Tools is a digital audio workstation (DAW) developed and released by Avid Technology (formerly Digidesign)[1] for Microsoft Windows and macOS.[2] It is used for music creation and production, sound for picture (sound design, audio post-production and mixing)[3] and, more generally, sound recording, editing, and mastering processes.

Pro Tools
Original author(s)Evan Brooks
Peter Gotcher
Developer(s)Avid Audio under Avid Technology (previously Digidesign)
Initial releaseJanuary 20, 1989; 33 years ago (1989-01-20)
Stable release
Pro Tools 2022.6 / June 30, 2022; 2 days ago (2022-06-30)
Written inC, C++, Assembly
Operating systemmacOS, Windows
Available in8 languages
List of languages
Chinese (Traditional and Simplified), English, French, German, Japanese, Korean, Spanish
TypeDigital audio workstation
LicenseProprietary (software-as-a-service)

Pro Tools operates both as standalone software and in conjunction with a range of external analog-to-digital converters and PCIe cards with on-board digital signal processors (DSP). The DSP is used to provide additional processing power to the host computer for processing real-time effects, such as reverb, equalization, and compression[4] and to obtain lower latency audio performance.[5] Like all digital audio workstation software, Pro Tools can perform the functions of a multitrack tape recorder and a mixing console along with additional features that can only be performed in the digital domain, such as non-linear[6] and non-destructive editing (most of audio handling is done without overwriting the source files), track compositing with multiple playlists,[7] time compression and expansion, pitch shifting, and faster-than-real-time mixdown.

Audio, MIDI, and video tracks are graphically represented on a timeline. Audio effects, virtual instruments, and hardware emulators—such as microphone preamps or guitar amplifiers—can be added, adjusted, and processed in real-time in a virtual mixer. 16-bit, 24-bit, and 32-bit float audio bit depths at sample rates up to 192 kHz are supported. Pro Tools supports mixed bit depths and audio formats in a session: BWF/WAV (including WAVE Extensible, RF64 and BW64) and AIFF. It imports and exports MOV video files[8] and ADM BWF files (audio files with Dolby Atmos metadata);[9] it also imports MXF, ACID and REX files and the lossy formats MP3, AAC, M4A, and audio from video files (MOV, MP4, M4V).[10] The legacy SDII format was dropped with Pro Tools 10,[11] although SDII conversion is still possible on macOS.[10]

Pro Tools has incorporated video editing capabilities, so users can import and manipulate high-definition video file formats such as XDCAM, MJPG-A, PhotoJPG, DV25, QuickTime, and more. It features time code, tempo maps, elastic audio, and automation; supports mixing in surround sound, Dolby Atmos and VR sound using Ambisonics.[12]

The Pro Tools TDM mix engine, supported until 2011 with version 10, employed 24-bit fixed-point arithmetic for plug-in processing and 48-bit for mixing. Current HDX hardware systems, HD Native and native systems use 32-bit floating-point resolution for plug-ins and 64-bit floating-point summing.[4] The software and the audio engine were adapted to 64-bit architecture from version 11.[13]

In 2022, Avid switched Pro Tools from a perpetual license to a subscription model. New users have to choose between three new plans: Pro Tools Artist, which costs $9.99 per month or $99 per year; Pro Tools Studio, which costs $39.99 per month or $299 per year; and Pro Tools Flex, which costs $99.99 per month or $999 per year.[14]

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