Recording Studio is a bundle for home recording enthusiasts that includes Pro Tools M Powered SE 8.0.3 and Avid’s M-Audio Fast Track USB interface that lets you record real instruments like guitars and vocals.
There’s a standard jack input for instruments and an XLR with 48V phantom power for recording from a condenser mic, there are two line outs for speakers, a USB connector for the Mac, plus volume controls for the mic and jack inputs and a third to control the output to the headphones and any attached speakers.
This setup allows you to record, say, guitar and vocals in one take onto separate tracks and then add loops and software instruments from the included library.
Pro Tools SE is a scaled-down version of the real thing. There’s still plenty of scope for cutting, copying and pasting audio and MIDI regions round the main track window, and a decent MIDI editor lets you nudge individual notes about, change their velocity and so on.
You can also combine multiple audio takes into a single composite one, letting you grab the best bits from each. You can’t edit the actual audio, though, and there’s no support for plug-ins or even a competitive upgrade path, which makes the included software something of a dead end.
For a spit over £100, you’re getting all the hardware and software you need to start home recording, but where you go after that isn’t clear, an upgrade to the full version of M-Powered that sliced money off the retail price of £252.95 would make this easier to recommend.
Avid’s Recording Studio is a decent buy for beginners who want to find out whether or not Pro Tools is for them, and you get a good audio interface thrown in. However, Apple’s latest GarageBand probably already offers everything most home recording enthusiasts need – especially guitar players – and this money could instead be spent adding the required audio interface.