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Eleven Free gives you all the options you need to make guitar tones from vintage and crunch to modern and clean. Overall, a very well done plug-in.

Guitar players weren't the only ones to get plug-ins in Pro Tools 8. Digidesign also included the Mini Grand piano, Boom drum machine, DB-33 tonewheel organ, Vacuum tube-modeled synthesizer, and Xpand!2 sample player.

One of the biggest mistakes some companies make when upgrading their software is to drastically change the user interface, leaving their users lost trying to figure out the changes. This is especially important for an application such as Pro Tools, which has been around for so long and has so many users.

The Pro Tools interface has changed quite a bit, but not in a bad way. The interface is more modern, but also allows for some individual customizations, giving you the ability to configure the workflow for your needs. You can freely move each set of buttons along the toolbar, so you re-organize things at any time.

As it turns out, I chose to leave the default interface the way it was because that's what I became used to on previous versions, but I know others who have changed it quite a bit.

From MIDI to Mini

Pro Tools 8 features some much-needed improvements to MIDI editing, too. The more I use instruments like the Mini Grand and drums like Ocean Way, the more I find myself editing MIDI -- it is now much easier to see and edit notes or velocity, or do whatever else I need to do.

I did have some crashing problems with the first install of Pro Tools 8, but Digidesign took care of those with updates soon after the release. Other than that, the application has been running fine on my Mac Pro with 8GB RAM and Mac OS X 10.5.6.

The list of new features in Pro Tools 8 is very long, but the company did a great job putting it all together. If you're a new user you will appreciate some of the 'getting started' features implemented in this version, and if you're an existing user, the new features will help you get your work done more efficiently.