Just a few days ago, Avid announced an upgrade to their Pro Tools software, from version 10 to version 11. The main selling point is that it works faster and more efficiently, and that you can bounce tracks offline (previously, you could only bounce tracks in real time).
A few months back, Propellerhead Software came out with the news that their flagship software, Reason, was being upgraded to version 7. The most notable feature is that Reason will finally have MIDI output, something the users have been asking for since it was first released.
These aren’t upgrades that will knock your socks off, but if you are an independent user, the prices might. First, Pro Tools. From their website:
Availability & Pricing
Pro Tools 11 and Pro Tools HD 11 will be available in the online Avid Store and at Avid resellers worldwide later in Q2 2013. For more information, click here. Pricing will be as follows:
Pro Tools 11 software (full version)— $699 USD
Pro Tools 10 to 11 upgrade— $299 USD
Pro Tools 9 to 11 upgrade— $399 USD
Pro Tools Express to Pro Tools 11 cross grade— $499 USD
Pro Tools HD 10 to 11 upgrade— $599 USD
Pro Tools HD 9 to 11 upgrade— $999 USD
That… is not cheap. The biggest features for this software are under the hood (they say they have rewritten the audio engine), and the minimum upgrade price is $299? For my lowly copy of Pro Tools 9, I get to kick in an extra hundred dollars? I think I will pass.
Lets look at Reason. Reason became a lot more useful with the last version, when they incorporated Record – their aptly name multitracker – and allowed third-party instruments and effects to be added. I felt a little put out as I bought Record and Reason together and the price was higher than the later integrated Reason 6. When they put that upgrade out, they decided to try a pay-what-you-want upgrade price.
I’m guessing that model didn’t work out as well as they wanted. From the Propellerheads website:
Pricing & availability
Reason 7 and Reason Essentials 2 begin limited public beta testing today and will be available for purchase worldwide in Q2 of 2013 at the following suggested retail pricing:
Reason 7 EUR €405 / USD $449
Reason Essentials 2 EUR €120 / USD $129
Reason 7 Upgrade (from any previous Reason version) EUR €129 / USD $129
Reason Essentials 2 upgrade from previous versions FREE
Balance (includes upgrade to Reason 7
for owners of previous versions of Reason) EUR €429 / USD $449
This isn’t nearly as bad as the Pro Tools upgrade price, but $129 feels steep for this upgrade. Again, I’ll pass.
Of the two, I can’t decide which I find more egregious. Is it the higher priced upgrade for an arguably more professional product, or the lower priced upgrade from a company that charges for any upgrade they can and are only offering small enhancements compared to previous releases? Perhaps when the reviews are out and the products are in the users hands, we will be able to decide.
While I own copies of Pro Tools and Reason, I use Logic Pro for most of my DAW needs. Thanks to the Apple way of selling software, the next version of Logic will likely be sold from their App store. As the App Store doesn’t support upgrades, the next major upgrade will likely cost full price. But full price for Logic is $199. That’s half the upgrade price for Pro Tools, with just as much functionality. Dan Benjamin of the 5 by 5 podcast network recently said the reason he went with Logic Pro rather than Pro Tools was that Logic had offline bounce (he said it on this podcast, which I think is must listen if you are a podcaster). Pro Tools is finally coming around to this functionality. If you are willing to pay.
What you do with your software is totally up to you. Maybe you have a need this fulfills. Perhaps you have to keep up with the latest versions for work. Software and workflow is deeply personal for being a commodity we all share.
I know that in my world, I won’t be handing over my money any time soon.