Pro Tools got an update at the end of August. A number of readers have pointed out that this is a milestone for what it includes, what it doesn’t include, and what it represents.

What’s in 8.0.1

If you’re an existing Pro Tools 8 owner, you’ll want 8.0.1:

  • Improved interface performance (“snappiness”!)
  • Improved selection drawing in audio
  • Workflow improvements, fixes

Those of you who grabbed the update in the last week or two, I’ll be curious to hear what you’ve found in some of those subtler improvements. Avid, to their credit, does do a lot of work on these point releases, not only in bugfixes but in other improvements, as well.

Software update for 8.0.1 (LE + HD + M-Powered)

End of the Line

Pro Tools 8.0.1 is the end of the road for quite a range of "legacy" hardware. 8.0.1 (in one or several of its LE, HD, and M-Powered flavors) will be the last version to support:

See last week’s End of Software Support announcement. Now, I suppose you can look at this as glass-half-empty or glass-half-full; it means if you have a studio with that gear in it and a PowerPC-based Mac at its center, you have a stable, modern, brisk version of Pro Tools that could last you a while.

PowerPC support is generally waning; Apple also dumped PowerPC for its own Logic. But there’s still a surprising amount of life in the processor. MOTU’s Digital Performer 7, released this week (news story on that coming) will actually run on a 1 GHz G4; see their System Requirements. I wouldn’t recommend that system, necessarily, but if you’ve got a fast Mac tower with a PowerPC, it could still make a fine studio machine. And DP7 is also compatible with Pro Tools HD, including Pro Tools 8. Ableton Live, also popular around these parts, also still runs on a PowerPC.

New OSes? Not Yet.

Absent from the 8.0.1 update is support for either Snow Leopard (Leopard only is supported) on the Mac side or Windows 7. Now, in fairness, Windows 7 isn’t even shipping yet, though in stark contrast to Vista’s RTM version, developers I’ve talked to have found their software runs without modification – and can run better without intervention than under the previous Vista release, which is something that almost never happens.

Ordinarily this wouldn’t be a problem, but it does mean that studios with “legacy” gear could wind up with a version that doesn’t support Mac OS X 10.6 or Windows 7, if 8.0.1 is in fact the last version of that gear. It obviously won’t matter for the PowerPC Macs, since they run neither Windows nor Snow Leopard, but I can imagine some folks with the HD chassis or MIX peripherals who won’t be thrilled. It’s a small handful of people, but – well, before you complain in comments, yep, I’ve figured it out, too.

  • Adam

    Nothing to see here… move along.

    Seriously, when has Digidesign (now Avid!) not been known to do this kind of thing, or ANY software/hardware producer.

    I think the only thing that makes this news is that AFAIK ProTools is the only DAW that requires authorized audio hardware to function. Which has always been my major complaint (and then reason to leave) of this "industry standard" software/hardware package.

    Unfortunately Avid has most of the pro-audio world by the balls so this is really going to screw a lot of studios that still run PowerPC based macs. I'm sorry, but a well maintained G5 tower is still a very powerful machine and many studios are going to get doubly boned here (Pay for your upgrade of ProTools, now pay for your new Apple!)

    Of course… if it ain't broke… don't fix it. Us geeks tend to get obsessive about having the latest release of Software Y and Hardware Z — but there's really no need to. If what you have works well, stick with it.

    It ONLY becomes a problem when a client walks into your studio with an existing ProTools 8 session… and everything in your studio is still running ProTools 7 T_T (I guess you could ask them nicely to save-down a version… but doesn't that make you look like a noob?)

    Okay… I'm done rambling.

  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    @Adam: but that's kind of my point. A studio with legacy hardware and a PowerPC tower can simply run 8.0.1. So long as Avid maintains compatibility with that particular version file-wise, there's really nothing stopping that investment from lasting a long time.

    In other words, there's really no reason *yet* that you're "screwed" into replacing your whole setup. You can survive at least a little longer.

  • Adam

    Oh EF me… I read the entire thing completely wrong. You said this was the LAST update to support the legacy hardware… not that this update BROKE legacy hardware…

    Sorry Peter,

    *goes back to his corner*

  • ericdano

    I know a guy who was running PT on Mac OS 9 up until about late 2004.

    As the features require more horsepower, it is natural for support for older machines to be dropped. MOTU probably will drop support for PPC at some point, I'd say DP8 (next year this time?) but who knows.

    Digidesign have an update for 10.6 already? Yeah, right. It took them like 8 months to get PT to work on 10.5…..So, if 10.6 is basically the same thing optimized (though it really is more than that), then maybe 4 months? Christmas time?

    Windows 7…..pretty much Vista according to all the stuff I have read. Nothing really "major" other than the UI. I have it running on a computer. Maybe I'll get ambitious and see if PT works on it.

    Dropping hardware support though. That seems a little strange. Why drop the original MBox?

  • http://apeskinny.com spinner

    @ericdano it's not the first time, a lot of peeps including myself to very miffed when they dropped the 001 but then again you wouldn't expect digi to still support nubus cards – time moves on.

    Just started to work with Logic 9 I'm wondering what more we actually need. Yes bug fixes would be nice but that ain't exactly sex that sells so that'll probably never happen.

    Apart from that?

    How many more tools for stutter effects do we need?

    Less than the "More of everything" button I struggle to come up with anything really

    vital? ;-P

  • http://apeskinny.com spinner

    Sorry obviously "got very miffed" "Doh"

  • http://xfader.com regend

    anyone want Pro Tools FREE? still works beautifully on a PIII 600mhz win 98 box i have.

  • pm
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  • Baz

    I see no sense in them removing mbox 1 from the list of supported hardware acting as authorisation.

    This unit works perfectly well, has nice pre-amps and is favoured by students and educational establishments worldwide as a cost-effective PT LE solution.

    I am guessing that many of these centres will stop using Pro Tools in their classrooms and use Logic instead, since many also use Logic and will wish to keep abreast of OS and other software updates.

    They'll be upsetting and losing a lot of customers in the long run… Shame on you, Digidesign!

  • Michael

    I have just purchased a new ASUS laptop, it runs windows 7 premium. I had no problems installing pro tools m-powerd 8. It works fine. I did install win 7 drivers for the m audio fast track pro, don't if that's why it's working, but I don't know why Avid/Digi are saying that it won't work. Or do you think maybe it is just an Illusion that it's working and it's all just a dream, then will wake up tomorrow and it won't work, but hey, I pinched myself and I don't think I'm dreaming, It really does work on win 7 PC.

  • Michael

    Mistake: I don't know if that's why it's working.

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