As a cross-platform Windows and Mac user (I really have to be as a
writer), I can tell you I really miss Mac OS X's brilliant Core Audio
when I'm on Windows. And looking at Apple's updated Core Audio page for Mac OS X Tiger, Core Audio is only getting better:

  • Core Audio file format allows 64-bit files (bigger than 4GB), supporting any QuickTime 7 encoding (uncompressed PCM, MP3, AAC, whatever you want)
  • MIDI/Audio Device Aggregation takes the easy
    multi-interface support in X and ratchets it up a notch, with the
    ability to use multiple devices as though they're one device, assign
    different channels to different apps, etc. This should make MIDI and audio routing easier than ever.

(read more for upgrade advice)

There's nothing earth-shaking here for audio. (If you squint at the
screenshot, Audio MIDI Setup looks like it's been tweaked!) But if
you've been waiting to upgrade from an older OS X, do it already! While you're smart to wait a few weeks to figure out initial compatibility issues (like making sure copy protection works), this summer
could be a great time to get the latest version of X. I keep running
into Mac users who complain about compatibility issues, performance,
and other MIDI and audio gripes, and then find out they're using
10.1.x, when 10.2 and 10.3 each offered major improvements for Mac musicians.

It's not simply a matter of having the "latest and greatest" — it's a
matter of having the easiest, most reliable OS for music-making so you
can make music instead of stressing about your system. There are bumps
in any OS upgrade, but Apple has done a great job of keeping its music
market in mind, and not just for apps that say 'Apple' in the about
box. So get ready for a rainy day in June to put a Tiger in your tank.

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  • Guest

    Running Pro Tools, so am very, very, very worried that 10.4 will really mung things up good. But I'll cross my fingers. With the numbers '6.9' appearing on a press release on Digidesign's website, maybe they're ahead of the game.

  • admin

    PACE support is good news, but I seriously doubt Pro Tools will support 10.4 on day one. Expect delays.

    A little waiting usually pays off. I decided on Panther to not be the early adopter I've been in the past (oh, OS X 10.0, the pain!!!) and give it a couple of months. Result: totally smooth transition. And, as a result, not a moment missing 10.2: now I hate to go back to Jaguar.

    This time around, I've got two machines and I'm a glutton for punishment, so I will take the arrows again for 10.4 and report back here (setting up a 10.4 special report we can add onto over time, will get that this week). But I still say, upgrade in due time, check your software developers first. There's no reason to wait forever — being up-to-date often has real benefits — but there's no reason to jump in without looking either.

    And, uh, I'd be really surprised if PT is ready on April 29. But I could be wrong; hope I am.


  • Guest

    I upgraded to Panther when Final Cut Pro 4 was released – only because it wouldn't run on Jaguar. But it took some tweaking, and not every OS iteration has been solid. That said, my computer will tend to be only running a PT/OS version combination that's certified by Digidesign. I hate being at their mercy for that, but the software gets the job done for me and that's the bottom line.

  • Guest

    Here's a question…I'm running Jaguar still. And I run Pro Tools LE 6.1.2 (MBox) which is great. No complaints! But now that 6.9 is on its way as well as Tiger, I feel the need to upgrade. My question is for those who have been in this situation

    When I upgrade to Tiger, will there be a free Pro Tool's upgrade that is compatible with Tiger, or will I have to pay a bunch of money or whatever to get the newer version?

  • Guest

    the reason pro tools keeps breaking is because of all the proprietary stuff that digidesign is doing. They should just use coreaudio! But then that would not let them be quite so monopolistic with their hardware (i guess M-powered is a step in the right direction – but STILL!) and force us to use miserable pieces of hardware like the mbox in order to have pro tools.

    That said the major cool things about Max OS X are in coreaudio – pro tools is always the same old same old. Coreaudio is already awesome – take jackOSX as an example of stuff that can be implemented with it. Aggregated device support would be HUGE for people who have several audio interfaces. Now somebody just has to get JackOSX working on tiger and it would be killer!

  • Guest

    Check out midi over ethernet !!

  • Guest

    If you are actively editing/creating/working on audio/midi right now would be about the worst possible time ever to upgrade your OS to Tiger. Only a fool, or vindictive person would recommend that you do so now.

    Many audio/midi apps have kernel extensions and Tiger has many changes to its kernel. Translation – without updates the older apps will likely break.

    Wait until the apps/plug-ins that you use have been qualified on Tiger before switching, and then try it first with a second boot drive, incase it doesn't work for you, you'll still be able to return to a working system.

  • Guest

    Pro Tools upgrades usually run $75. Buying out M-audio and turning the whole company into yet another avid subsidiary is not a step in the right direction, it is yet again another way for them to control the entire industry.

  • Guest

    Truth be told the Mbox is not a piece of junk. It has two focusrite pres. If your not tracking big projects it is a nice interface.

  • admin

    The Mbox is a great interface. It's unfortunately saddled with horrible Core Audio drivers. You have to load a kludgy little application for support, and it often interferes with other audio interfaces and causes various bugs. Like other Digi stuff, Tiger support is lagging, too. Now don't get me wrong: I have friends who really love Pro Tools, so they don't complain about the Mac drivers — because they only use the interface with Pro Tools. But if you're planning to use it with, say, Logic or Live, and play music via iTunes, you should be aware of this limitation. I do hope Digi updates those Core Audio drivers in the future.

    I've heard complaints about the ASIO drivers for PC, too, though on Windows I've only run it with Pro Tools.


  • Markus_M

    There's alternative drivers at compatible with Jaguar, Panther and Tiger.