I know some people were wondering about this – it’s now official. Digidesign reports Pro Tools 8 is actually shipping now, with the integrated MIDI edit window, score notation editor (via recently-acquired Sibelius) right in the DAW, bundled instruments and synths, some amp simulation, “Elastic Pitch,” and additional insert slots.

None of this is huge news to users of competitive products, with the notable exception of Sibelius notation integration. I’m very keen to hear how people actually use that, because the score facilities in tools like Logic aren’t competitive with favored tools like Sibelius and Finale, in my experience. On the other hand, many people are perfectly happy keeping their scoring and audio editing workflows separate from one another – particularly if you’re using Pro Tools for audio editing and Sibelius to write that new string quartet. So as this ships, do let us know how you’re using it, or if it’s a non-starter.

So, what does it cost to upgrade?

Pro Tools HD 8 Upgrade: $249 US
Pro Tools LE/M-Powered Upgrade: $149 US
Pro Tools M-Powered Full Version: $299 US (for use with M-Audio audio interfaces)

If you bought Pro Tools systems or upgrades since October 3, the new release is (rightfully) free.

Of course, that still means you might still be tempted to just go buy one of the cheaper Mbox products with Pro Tools LE included. There are also upgrades for the Music and DV bundles.

Note compatibility: Vista SP1 (32-bit only, still no 64-bit) is supported, as is Mac OS X 10.5.5. 10.5.6 isn’t ready yet, and Vista requires Business or Ultimate, which as I said in the past I still find pretty odd given that Home Premium is basically identical from a support standpoint. (Digi’s choosing to be a bit literal with that.) On the other hand, only Leopard support is available, whereas on Windows XP Home and Professional remain supported with XP SP3.

Once this arrives, I’ll be curious to hear about you. I’m happy doing my work in SONAR and Live at the moment, so I don’t think I’d be a fair judge, but someone who uses Pro Tools daily would be. Be in touch.

Pro Tools 8 Shipping [News @ Digidesign.com]

  • The lack of automatic plugin delay compensation has been the deciding factor for me to move away from PT M-Powered 7 to Cockos Reaper. I find it insulting that such a popular feature is blatantly left out of LE and M-Powered in order to differentiate these products from HD.
    How someone can mix a full project in LE or M-Powered without ADC baffles me and frankly I'm sick of dealing with it.

    I'll hang on to PT 7 just in case I collaborate with someone that uses PT, but that's it.

  • Digidesign stopped by our school about a week ago to show off Pro Tools 8. To be honest I wasn't expecting much. To my surprise there were a couple things I found rather impressive- the vocal comping features being primary among them. I have to say though that there were a number of bugs and glitches in the beta version that we were shown. Having said that, I'm quite surprised to see that this is actually shipping already.

  • Dan

    new version looks good but they lost me to reaper ages ago. the pdc (absolutely critical if yr using convolution reverbs) and lack of faster-than-realtime rendering were the main killers for me.

    i've still got PT7 installed on a second windows partition for project compatibility (and so i can open my old sessions).

  • My protools experience:

    Having recorded music on PC for years using various tools, adopting Cubase as my preferred DAW before finishing highschool, I saved up some cash for a Digi001 to run protools when I moved to attend the Institute of Production and Recording.

    Literally a few weeks after I bought the 001 for something like 800 dollars + tax digidesign said they are no longer supporting it- at all. With the release of the then latest version of protools [6.4, I think], I was told by protools officials at my school that they actually went out of their way to put code into the DAW to block the 001 and earlier interfaces from working.

    The interfaces were entirely capable of working in the latest version, but due to corporate greed and planned obsolescence they chose to render my hardware unusable on their most up-to-date software.

    It was experiences like that which soured my interest in the recording 'industry' and have me back at home running any ASIO compatible interface I choose with Cubase SX3.

    Also, come on digidesign, pay the fucking licensing fees or whatever to use VSTs. What a joke.

  • Jahmal

    The problem with Digi is that they've burned so many bridges with us over the years. I have a similar story about the LE to HD differences causing major issues for me at school.

    I thought, "if Pro Tools deathgrip is making me lose marks on projects, I certainly won't allow it to make me lose money!"

    With all of the GREAT features in Pro Tools 8, I just don't care anymore. Digidesign has screwed too many of us who they considered not "pro" users. And now that I am a Pro user, I've got such a bad taste in my mouth, I'm never going back.

  • Jason

    Yeah they lost me for similar reasons a long time ago as well Reaper/Live is all I need.

  • Seba

    As an ex-PTer, it's DP for me. IMHO, the easiest DAW to transition to from Digi land.

  • Ah well…
    I bought my copy of PT8 last month and will download, but they lost me to logic studio back when they took ages to be leopard compatible.
    And put some features aside, logic really does it for me, but I'll test in the big studio where I record clients, but at home, it's logic now

  • E'hem

    I have used PT quite a bit and have been thinking about getting it…. but everyone i have ever spoken to who owns it (literally), has had so many gripes i don't think i could do it.. I don't even own it and i resent them!

  • Well, indeed, competition is tough and there's really no need you can't use these other alternatives. It does look quite nice for people who are committed to the PT route … but yes, there are other paths.

  • I have an original MBox with PT 7.4 and haven't touched it in quite a while. I'm pretty much set on selling it.

  • nerf

    digidesign website is melting down. couldnt get in yesterday, and again today. they should have expected a large surge on release day. especially if the download is many gigs large.

    reaper is great, but here in LA and NYC 98.0% of my work is on PT. every post house in the world is using PT, no matter how many Logic guys claim otherwise….. also my ICON rules.

  • Jahmal

    You are correct. Every time I have to work in another studio, it's PT. And that's fine. Because I would rather bounce tracks out of Logic 8 than waste time trying to get PTs to work with their shite hardware.

    The simple fact in this day and age, that Digidesign is still trying to force you to use their middle of the road hardware when there are many better options is appalling. I can't get over it.

    Sure, the same thing can be said for Apple. But we're talking about a recording software .Vs. an OS. Digi can try to monopolize all the world's studios as much as they want, but they will never count me among their users unless they can get VST support and open up the program to ANY hardware.

  • nerf


    completely agree. proprietary is digidesigns game. i would like to use different hardware also. vst is an issue also, thanks fxpansion… but that said, pt tdm is very stable, and when i do high end sessions with 48 musicians, and i am running a 96k session, i dont worry about the damn thing shutting down, or latency problems. and when i am doing a session in LA, and need to have a od done in ny or london, i can use digi delivery and get the file back in my post house and finished without any issues….

    and my ICON rules….

    still would rather use my studers but tape is a relic…..

  • pro tools 8 in my opinion is a ripoff of Digital Performer 6. So, the only major advantage it has is better plugins and cross-platform support.

  • @Bryan: you know, I think it's tough to even say at this point. I know pretty much every DAW maker has felt slighted at one point or another because they feel like they originated something. The set of functionality and desired functionality is so close at this point — really, has been in lockstep with most DAWs since their early evoluion up to two decades ago — that it's hard to say. There are certain things people want to do.

    That said, I think the fact that people are getting the message that they do have a choice is a very good thing. By the time you deal with everyone having different plug-ins, required compatibility with Pro Tools sessions winds up being not that big a deal for many people. You're likely bouncing tracks anyway, so you may as well use what you want. (Post-production being a major exception to that — but even then, you'll hear many people doing film scores do their actual work in DP or even Logic, SONAR, Cubase, etc.)

    Part of the reason I'm not more opinionated is that I've seen too many people happy with what they're using. And at a certain point, if you embraced ALL of these things, you wouldn't get any work done. 😉

    And as this site has demonstrated, even with the big DAWs have been relatively close to one another, there's plenty of room to do things that are radically different with the app and make great music. There are people who do entire songs and compositions without ever touching one of these apps. And I think that's a beautiful thing. It becomes more like comparing a clarinet to a trombone or a screwdriver to a wrench instead of two competing products, which means that you're past the sales and marketing point and onto actually producing something.

  • I do use Logic's score feature: Not too bad and a ton easier to use than Finale 🙂

    One reason I didn't initially dip my toes into the Protools water was because of the track limitations — at 48 tracks now coming with LE, hey, not perfect but you can at least do some larger projects.

    Peter do you think you could compile a Protools 8 LE/ HD compatibility page with various plugins etc?

  • Eric Holsten

    I'm looking forward to getting my free upgrade so I can try this out before possibly switching to logic.

    The Dongle is a killer.

  • @Dave:
    I'm curious, what did you do with Logic's score feature? I mean, it is fairly accessible; it just seems to me like it doesn't have the basic conveniences of actually laying out scores that Finale or Sibelius would. I was never that comfortable with Finale — some people are really quick with it — but I'd choose Sibelius standalone over any of the integrated tools, at least until now when you can have both.

    Compatibility, absolutely. Digi usually does that, though, so I'll check in with them first.

  • @ Peter — I recently had a MIDI bass part I constructed with a client of mine, indie wonder-child Eight Two ( http://www.myspace.com/eighttwo )

    We wanted to recut it with a live bassist but had no way to export the score of the midi part in Protools LE 7.4 !

    We exported the MIDI, opened it in Sibelius and it was a total mess (Sibelius was being way too literal w/ note duration etc)

    I opened it up in Logic and there it was, perfect! I dragged a bunch of measures around to lay it out properly, re-entered markers (like "chorus") and then it was good to go. I think it was probably the nicest looking score I've ever done — I didn't have any overlapping notes like sometimes seem to happen in Finale. I haven't gotten into Logic scoring too deeply but I like what I see so far.

  • Chris Conover

    Hi, I recently installed the update to Pro Tools 8 Mpowered. It took around 12 hours to download the 3.9GB update using the digi download manager.I did not download the additional content which was another 4GB due to time.

    After installing the software I opened one of the template sessions. When I tried hitting play it was stuck in pause mode (the stop and play button flashed repeatedly). I tried lowering the buffer size to remedy the problem, but had mixed results. I started a new blank session and added tracks which seemed to go quite a bit smoother. Did anyone else have a problem with flashing stop and play buttons?

    I was eager to investigate Digi's new Boom drum sequencer. It appears to operate a bit like Strike in the way you can either program patterns or use midi notes to select preprogrammed patterns. The sounds are mediocre and to my knowledge you cannot use your own samples.

    The new midi editor seems nice although it has a few quirks. When holding option and clicking on a note I expected it to duplicate that note, but instead it erases it. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I always thought option click was a universal way of duplicating regions/layers/plug-ins in many OSX creative apps.

    The score feature looks really nice although I have not spent a lot of time inputting notes. I am a big fan of Sibelius though, which makes me miss the quick numpad note duration changes. Visually it looks great and allows you to selectively choose which tracks are shown, which is a big plus and something that is not as easily done in Logic 8.

    For the time being I am considering switch back to 7.4 to give Digi a bit more time to fix some of the bugs that may be affecting the experience. Its too bad you cannot have 7.4 and 8 installed at the same time. It would be great to slowly transition over to the new system on projects that are more relaxed.

  • ericdano

    The ProTools M-Powered 8 download, for me, with all the extras, was 11 1/2 gigabytes. Took the better part of a day to download. Seems to load a little faster. I also noticed if I quit out of it, and go back into it, I don't need to reboot the computer anymore (7.4.2 would load, but there would be no sound from the Project Mix I/O interface….even if you reset the Project Mix).

    Anyhow, the program runs great. The look is a lot more like Logic, though you can tweak it. The additional inserts are nice.

    One thing that seems kind of…..not done, would be the Loops. They give you like 6 gigs of loops with PT8, but there is no loop browser or anything. Why? In fact, they don't even tell you how you are supposed to install the loops. Seems not really thought out, or was included as an after-thought…..or both.

    The Plugins I use, McDSP, Ozone, Altiverb, PSP seem to work fine. Though Ozone seems to take a lot more CPU cycles than it used to (RTAS indicator seems way up compared to 7.4.2).

    In all, I think it was a worthwhile upgrade…..though for download only, they should have given people a discount. Seriously, 11+ gigs?

  • As Cubase user since VST 3.0, I think Pro Tools is totally overrated. I've also recently used Logic and have found that to be hot also. Other than the fact that they give you an audio interface that works directly with the system, their customer service sucks. With the defect in the power harness on the Digi 002 not being addressed adequately by the company, I would never recommend this company to anyone looking to start studio. Like someone said earlier, for project compatibality, it's worth it to have at least PT 6.xx. Other than that, DP,Logic, Cubase SX3 with mid to high-end audio interfaces are superior products. Having used all 3, I say this from personbal experience. Just my opinion though.

  • ericdano

    I'd disagree with DarrylSmith. I too dissed PT before actually using it. I was using Digital Performer 5 (before 6 came out) and Logic Studio. I actually won a PT M-Powered system last October, and started using it. For Audio stuff, it simply is amazing. I don't know how to explain it, but if you take audio you record in say, Digital Performer, and import it into PT, it seems to sound better. Honest. I don't get it either. Plus all the rich plugins it comes with, and plugins like McDSP makes.

    For Midi stuff, even this new update to PT 8 doesn't make me want to abandon Digital Performer.

    Honestly, I can't remember the last time I used Logic Studio……..:-/

  • stefanr

    "Slow Tools" is straight overrated. Logic 8 is where its at.

  • David Anthony

    PT8 Looks Like Logic 8. Alot of the New features Can be found in Logic 8, like the vocal comping thats a logic 8 thing. The pitching audio on the fly and similar processing looks like a Ableton Live thing. All in all PT8 has taken Ableton Live , Logic Studio 8 maybe a little Sonar and cubase as well. Looks good but lets see how it works.

    Protools out the box sounds better than most other software. the reason for that is that they have inbeded on the mix out a dithering processor. things sound a little tighter when run through PT. No one else has figured out how to do this as well as Digidesign. I write in Logic but i mix on PT Hoping the new PT8 will allow me once and for all use only one platform thats delivers a great writing environment as well as a mix environment.

  • David Anthony

    Logic 8,Cubase and Performer offer dithering at the end when your bouncing down your tracks as a stereo mix, but Protools actually has placed the dithering on the master out puts. The dithering is hurd in real time rather than after the bounce. Thats why PT sounds So good. You can place a dither plug in on your Master Fader on any DAW platform but not all dithers sound a like. Waves has a dithering plug and im sure there alot out there i just dont remember them all.