In an effort to woo the consumer market of music hobbyists and recording beginners, Avid is releasing a new, simplified, extremely affordable version of Pro Tools (called SE), which replaces their Pro Tools Essentials line but introduces a couple of very interesting ideas. Pro Tools SE (compatible with Mac and PC of course, and with all the pro version of the DAW)  works with these three M-Audio interfaces: Avid Key Studio (SRP $129.99), Avid Recording Studio (SRP $119.99) and Avid Vocal Studio (SRP $99.99).

The program is a stripped down version of the classic DAW software allowing limited number of tracks (16 audio, 8 Virtual Instruments), with a limited number of effects per track (3 instances of the built in effect), and 3Gb of musical Loops and most importantly Video support – something that PT Essential was lacking (this is good news for all you aspiring Ennio Morricones out there).

But the most interesting part of the package is the additional learning content that comes bundled with the software. When we first double clicked on the PT icon, we were presented with a window with 4 menus: New Session, Demo Songs, Open Session and Tutorials. While the first 3 are fairly standard and self-explanatory, the latter link is the one that caught our attention: it took us to a new menu linking to video and written tutorials not only about how to use the software/hardware but also how to actually record the various instruments.

It must have taken me 10 years to learn how to make a decent recording – I would have certainly appreciated video tutorials entitled “Record an Acoustic Instrument”, “Make a Mix”, “Recording Electric Guitar” during my first engineering steps. File that under “Good Idea”.