Goodbye Pro Tools
About ten years ago, when I’ve begun to learn music composition and production, my first thought was that I absolutely need to learn and use Pro Tools, so my first audio / MIDI interface was from Digidesign / Avid. This was Mbox 2 Mini, which came with Pro Tools 7 LE and additional audio software. While watching to instructional video disc included with the bundle, I’ve found Pro Tools 7 LE quite intuitive to use, but it was not until the version 8 LE had came out, that I’ve begun to truly enjoy the learning / creating process. Back then, I didn’t had a suite of virtual instruments yet, such as Komplete from Native Instruments, so the AIR Creative Collection that came with Pro Tools 8 LE was a big enough reason alone for me to upgrade from 7 LE. And this version had also brought a great number of other new features, plus a much nicer interface, which is in my opinion quite important when doing creative work.
So after that, I’ve haven’t had much thought about changing my preferred DAW and was doing everything I could do to stick with Pro Tools. The most affordable way of getting Pro Tools is likely to buy Avid / Digidesign hardware and / or to crossgrade your previously owned version of Pro Tools at a special price. So my next step was logical: I’ve purchased a new Avid interface (Mbox 3) that originally came bundled with Pro Tools 9. And since I’ve bought it within the specific timeframe, I was entitled to a free upgrade to Pro Tools 10. Great!
The problems had started when I’ve begun to work with larger sample libraries and virtual instruments, which was around 2011. The most obvious downside of Pro Tools: it was a 32-bit program only which was unable to take the advantage of the larger amounts of RAM installed, and was also prone to crashes due to its architecture limitations. So when 64-bit Pro Tools 11 came out, I knew I had to get my hands on it. Unfortunately, I was not eligible to a free upgrade from my Pro Tools 10. And supposedly the reason was not the fact that I’ve got the previous upgrade for free, it was because the timing of my registration for PT10... Dang. :((
The upgrade price of 300$ for Pro Tools 11 was bad enough, and on top of it all, my country had joined EU at the time, so I had to pay VAT as well. Because of this, I’ve begun to finally think about some alternative to Pro Tools. The problem was that all the top four DAW’s out there (Pro Tools, Cubase, Digital Performer and Logic) were almost equally expensive, and the last two were out of the question for me as I am a die-hard Windows user (read: I can’t and won’t afford myself a Mac). So I’ve begun to dug over the Internet for the solution and had found out that there are resellers who sell the full / upgrade versions of Pro Tools at quite lower price than the one in official Avid store. At first, this seemed fishy to me, so I’ve stayed out of it for quite a while. However, several of DUC forum members had convinced me that this is mostly legal way of obtaining Pro Tools and that these resellers get the versions they’ve selling on eBay through a partnership of sorts with Avid. I’ve then search on eBay for a reseller who seemed the most trustworthy and had finally purchased Pro Tools 11 Upgrade for less than half of the price I would pay in Avid Online Store.
Everything was A-OK until Pro Tools 12 came out and Avid announced that from then on Pro Tools updates won’t be free as before if you don’t have an active subscription plan which costs 99$ (+ VAT for EU customers). Personally, I don’t like subscription plans when it comes to software which I use on a daily basis, so I was reluctant about purchasing an upgrade for some time. In the meantime, the period in which I could purchase annual subscription plan had expired, meaning I had to pay for a reinstatement first if I want to upgrade. And this is 300$ + VAT... Furthermore, because of these changes in the upgrade policy, third-party resellers were unable to offer an upgrade version at a lower price any longer.
So that was it. I’ve kept Pro Tools 11, but when Windows 10 started to be more and more stable for everyday use and had became my OS of choice, I’ve finally decided to give REAPER the chance since, according to Avid, Pro Tools 11 “isn’t Windows 10 compliant”. (Psst, I still have it installed and it works just fine on 10). However, for two years now, REAPER is my primary DAW and I have never been so productive. :)