Updated: PreSonus burned the midnight oil to get ready. See bottom.

Word from developers confirms what I had suspected: developers were as surprised as we were to learn Apple was shipping a new operating system on August 30.

If you have to ask yourself whether you want to upgrade, then the simple answer is – don’t, not yet. And via Christopher Wimbrow on Twitter, here’s the first tool that we can confirm will outright break if you jump too soon – PreSonus hardware. From their forum, earlier today, PreSonus’ Nick RICK Naqvi tells a user (unofficially):

Right now, we are planning to have support for Snow Leopard by the end of October. We had originally heard they were going to release it in September, so our plan was to test it thoroughly and then release a new driver about 30 days later. They moved up the date to August 28 so it looks like we will be a little more than a week later than we expected.

Please note, if you update your OS, your PreSonus hardware will not work.

If you have to install it to play with, I’d recommend doing a partition. But leave Leopard on it so that you can continue to record.

Ouch. I’ll let you know if this gets fixed sooner. And remember, this is an operating system that is being tested under a Non-Disclosure Agreement; more incompatibilities are likely to appear next week.

This illustrates a problem, too. Shipping an application early is great news. Shipping an operating system early – with countless hardware and software vendors pulling time from other work (like new features) to keep their stuff working – not so great news.

Fortunately, you have power over your computer. Ignore that Apple email that appeared on Monday saying Snow Leopard is “In store or at your door Friday,” and consider it a bleeding-edge operating system. Assume that for most users, the current build of 10.5 represents the best compromise of Mac stability, compatibility, and features – at least for the time being.

UPDATE – PreSonus WILL have beta drivers. And like the vast majority of vendors, real stable versions are expected in a few weeks.

Earlier in the week, I was told that we weren’t going to have Snow Leopard driver until October, but our engineers worked overtime the last week or so to release a beta driver that is fully functional. We have tested it internally and it is working well and allows for daisychaining of interfaces and full feature functionality. This driver will work with all of our Firestudio Family Interfaces including:

Firestudio 2626
Firestudio Project
Firestudio Lightpipe
Firestudio Tube
Firestudio Mobile

Our other interfaces are class compliant and are going to be immediately supported on Snow Leopard:

FP10 / Firepod

Lastly, our new recording software, StudioOne is also ready for Snow Leopard. Here’s a link to the StudioOne page: http://www.presonus.com/products/SoftwareDetail.aspx?SoftwareId=11

If you are an early adopter, let us know your experiences.

  • Tim

    So no Photoshop CS3 or older and no Presonus… looks like I'm SOL for awhile

  • Right, but — if you live in those applications, you're not actually benefiting that much from 10.6 anyway.

  • Nate

    Thank god I bought a Focusrite and not presonus.

    Presonus has MONTHS of warning, and not only that but they're saying that an EARLIER release of the new OS means their drivers will come out LATER.

    If I were a presonus customer I'd be mad as hell.

  • Well, Nate, that's really not fair. Different developers have different code bases and encounter different problems.

    You're also ignoring two very important factors –

    1. The OS continues to change while under development. Apple is particularly notorious for making significant changes during the development. And either way, it's not as though there's a point months ago at which all of the changes are entirely clear, partly because —

    2. Part of the process is *testing*. Testing takes time. Development is only partly sitting down and working through problems, a huge part of it is doing tests to determine what those problems are. I don't know PreSonus' situation, but it's not uncommon to uncover bugs at the last minute. It's the nature of development.

    And yeah, I think they're telling the truth – an earlier Apple OS release could mean they're busier dealing with hordes of angry users with bug reports and have less time to go fix the problems.

    But you know, this is what – all due respect to them – makes my blood boil when it comes to Apple. I know that it's ultimately the third-party developers who take the brunt. I don't understand why Apple is able to consistently move OS ship dates and not come under any criticism about it. Not everyone runs exclusively Apple software, which means that predictability – even if it's waiting another few weeks for an OS – ought to be a good thing. Don't get me wrong; Apple makes a great OS. But I think when they ship that OS at unpredictable times, they undercut some of the quality of their own experience.

  • sad day 🙁

    I wish backwards compatibility was A#1 major priority for os designers. It seems that the software dev's get screwed every new system update. They (apple/ microsoft) need to relize that w/o support, their os's are just shiny new paint jobs on a vehicle that needs serious maintenance…. it truly is a sad day we live in for software developers. hey you could always dev for the iphone….. oh wait that's also a P.O.S platform…..

  • Whoa, whoa… now I have to defend the other side.

    Look, you're making an argument for *changing the innards of the OS*. If you change things and do the sort of housecleaning you need to, you're going to reveal problems in code. It's just part of the process. I'm only saying:

    1. Users need to be cautious, and patient.

    2. I think Apple surprising everyone by releasing early is not a good thing.

    But, that is also to say:

    3. Wait, be patient, and things should get smoothed out – I have *not* heard any developers complaining about the quality of the OS itself.

  • Ben Casey

    The big joke will be to see how long digidesign takes to have protools ready. how long did they take for 10.5? 10 months?

  • Erhmm, Presonus has still no fucking driver for Windows Vista 64 for some models – it's been what, three years ?

    And those who work got their share of problem.

    That is without even speaking about Windows 7 "we will begin to investigate when the OS is out" : what the fuck ? Beta, especially release candidate DON'T change driver model. They exist also for this reason.

    The situation with Snow Leopard is not surprising from my point of view : they're bad. I'm not going to buy, or recommend their hardware anymore.

  • robb

    my MOTU 828 mk I doesn't work with 10.6 on my macbook. Nor does Reaktor, Vember SURGE, and it feels like the d16 silver line plugs are making Live crash a lot. Maybe it's a live thing for the plugins — i don't have any other hosts.

    Soooooo. It is boot from an external disk time for me because I need the exchange integration for work and they, erm, did buy my computer for me.

  • @robb: Can you be more specific?

    * What host?

    * What version (host + software)?

    * Define "doesn't work"

    I know it's frustrating. But if you give us details, it may help to solve some of these issues. And it sounds like you're one of the rare people who needs the new OS.

  • Adrian Anders

    At this point I don't even think about touching a new version of an OS until at least a year after its initial release. Around the time I was thinking about Vista… Windows 7 got announced… so for me given what good things I've heard I think I can wait until September 2010 for Win7 Service Pack 1 or so… I think at that point I can safely move on from XP… leaving behind the legacy software/hardware that doesn't work with the newer MS OSs… most of which are not that great anyway.

    That's all it takes for an OS dev to get me to upgrade despite the backwards compatibility issues: Give me the POWER user features that make it worth more to upgrade than to not. Vista SOOOO didn't have that. Windows 7, maybe. I'm certainly more open to it now after playing with the RC.

  • I will say, I can't think of a single piece of hardware or software I've had to give up on Vista. Now, that is not to say Vista's quality has been great – it was a train wreck early on. But as of SP2, I've found it to be very reliable, and the indications I have now suggest Windows 7 should improve beyond that.

    We should be able to get performance benchmarks of W7 vs. XP.

    Now, on the Mac side, it does sound as though there are interesting performance improvements in 10.6 for people using OpenGL. Once the OS is out in the wild, that's something we should be able to talk about.

    The reality is, though, most application performance improvements really do come from application developers. So I think a lot of times expectations get projected on the OS that really have more to do with the app. And unfortunately, the kinds of changes people might desire are the ones that can nuke backwards compatibility.

  • Cadiz

    Why should my Presonus FireBox, that does not need driver software, be incompatible…?

  • Ray

    I remember this being a problem when leopard came out two years ago(roughly), it took ages before m-audio had a official leopard driver not to mention the wifi interference which they didn't fix properly before 10.5.5 iirc.

    In retrospect, the issues in leopard was much bigger than anything in tiger, at least on ppc but rosetta did a relatively good job on intel the first half year.

    So i would be careful praising it too much, or discrediting snow leopard before its even released.

    My premature experience with it so far:

    I have tried my m-audio firewire solo interface in 10.6,although there is no official driver, it seems to work just fine.

    That is maybe not surprising since there isn't that much difference between the leopard kernel and the 32bit snow leopard kernel, at least not breaking anything in my case.

    Also mentioned above photoshop cs3 works fine for me on snow leopard but then again i upgraded the whole os so i didn't have to install any third party apps as of yet.

    Native instruments Akustik piano seems also to work well, but i have yet to do a proper test.

    I'll get my copy of logic express 9 any day now so i will try to benchmark it on both leopard and snow leopard to see if openCL improves on my mac book pro 3,1.

  • Nick

    I don't think the presonus employee was saying that all presonus products don't work in Snow Leopard. As has been pointed out, the firebox doesn't need any drivers, and should be fine.

  • Ray

    It should work fine unless apple managed to completely rewrite the core audio api.

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  • Brian

    i am sorry to say this but nate is right the snow leopard beta has been locked for nearly half a year to my knowledge and that is more than enough time to modify hell even rewrote the drivers, aas far as i can tell most other devs have managed ok. so like in vista release case it really isnt anything to do with apple. Its just a case of people leaving it to the last minute as always.



  • Brandon

    Agree with Nate and Brian here. Presonus seems to say that they only wait until the final retail version is on the shelf before even starting to test? That is absurd.

    The whole point of Apple's beta/developer builds is to give everyone, including Presonus, a head start on this. As Brian said the 10.6 dev builds have been stable for months, which is why Apple can release it (ever so slightly) ahead of schedule.

  • It's not an "ever so slight" shift in release dates. They announced the change five days before.

    The problem with developer builds is that they do continue to change. I don't know if you've ever been in an office of audio developers, but even the bigger shops have a limited number of people to do testing and development.

    Now, maybe PreSonus indeed dropped the ball here. But this is an unofficial comment on their forum; I'm not trying to call out PreSonus as the lone company that didn't get ready for Snow Leopard. The whole point is, if they're having trouble, *someone somewhere* likely is, too.

    Whatever the Apple release date, we've seen this before. Unexpected problems crop up regardless of how much testing you do. A whole bunch of stuff will work just fine, and a whole bunch of users will upgrade without noticing in most cases. There aren't fundamental changes to Core Audio, so I don't expect a bumpy ride for a lot of people. However, you know some folks will have issues, and those are the things we're going to try to anticipate.

    And it won't kill you to wait until October to upgrade, which is when everyone expected the release date would be anyway.

  • bliss

    10.4.11 still works. It's IntelMac compatible. It's super stable. If the music software you use doesn't require 10.5 or 10.6, why are you upgrading? Except for some Twitter applications and a few music plug-ins, there hasn't been anything major that has made me want to upgrade to 10.5. So, the best strategy is to use most recent, most stable and suitable OS version available. No need to upgrade if you don't need to. Just my two cents, of course.

  • bliss

    Something that seems exciting doesn't always mean that it will be exciting to use. If what you're using right now works, then there shouldn't be any negative feelings about Apple releasing Snow Leopard early. Better to wait anyway. It only costs $30. Cheap to wait and cheap to upgrade in the future. That's not a bad deal at all.

  • samoan

    This is the longest-tested OS Apple has released in many years. There have not been significant recent changes.

    Presonus dropped the ball, and are trying to shift focus to Apple shipping Snow Leopard a few days earlier, which is laughable.

  • @bliss: That's exactly right. Now if you dig further into that NI page, they do give a specific set of circumstances under which they recommend moving from 10.4 to 10.5. I'm glad I did that on my Mac – but I'm also glad I waited.

    There may be reasons to upgrade early; there may be reasons to wait. But upgrading for the sake of it with something as complex as an OS is generally not advisable. I don't even care which OS it is – they all share the same fundamental architectural complexities.

  • @samoan: PreSonus isn't trying to shift it to anyone. This was a note on their forum I happened to pull out. I've heard from other developers that minor changes Apple made required a lot of work. That's not a criticism of Apple — it's a description of operating system updates. (A whole lot of *point* releases can cause huge headaches.)

  • Ray

    Well i understand the decision to release it now from apples perspective anyway.

    The average user use ilife09 mail and safari for most tasks, these are(obviously) SL ready, of course others might get upset because their hardware and software isn't SL ready yet.

    But this has little to do with apple releasing something early, for instance it can take months before m-audio have snow leopard ready drivers regardless if it was released in october or tomorrow.

    Adobe has a long list of being late with osx upgrades in the past.

    If they can't write drivers and patch their software within a reasonable timeframe before the os release then it's their bad, the beta has been out for a long time, this is just a poor excuse, and may i add not a official statement from presonus.

  • Brandon

    The statement from PreSonus just indicates, to me at least, that they either weren't paying much attention or just didn't have the resources to.

    They are certainly within their right to not bother to do any testing with the developer builds. Most other companies do, though, and their customers are taking note.

  • @Peter Kirn : how do company like RME do it in time (in fact, way ahead of), when they seem to be equivalent ? How do they push new driver, new software, and rock solid performance when Presonus seem to, well, give the finger to some user of their (even high end) gear ?

    Driver model and hook doesn't change every now and then for nothing. Tweak are done, some need adjustement, most don't. Otherwise, how can even Apple manage to put out driver in time ? Without even speaking about Nvidia or Ati, or most of the company that got to do the same.

  • @Sebastien: RME is a fantastic company, that's the answer to that question.

    But don't assume it's this simple; it's not. You have firmware variables, software variables, things that don't immediately come up in testing…

    Let's put it this way: if it's still broken in a month or two, if the drivers don't work as well as the competition, you can blame anyone you want. I think there ought to be some patience with developers, though, on launch day, especially when Apple is shipping at least a month earlier than anyone thought. If you want stuff earlier, you deal with it being broken. If you want it not broken, you have to be at least a little patient, period.

  • velocipede

    I've been pretty happy with my Presonus Firestudio project, but the latest set of drivers and firmware is flakier than the previous iteration. I guess that they are still working on fixing that and have not gotten to dealing with SL yet.

    Anyway, it is probably just as well for me to wait for at least 10.6.1 before upgrading my OS.

  • Martin

    Does one probably know wether a motu (ultralite9 will work or not?

    i sadly can´t find a statement on their site or a forum.

  • @domtak

    I thought it was well known that Snow Leopard was going to be out by September 2009?

    I would imagine that it's also going to be fairly stable as it's a not a drastic upgrade.

    Simple fact is, if you don't need the extra bells that it offers (and there's not many to be honest) then stick with what works.

    Personally, I need the boost in iChat video performance so I'm up and everything is working as before.

    Back up before you upgrade, if it doesn't work roll back and wait.


  • Presonus is a horrible company. You are guaranteed that the Oct date will be late. Not only do they build bad drivers (yeah I got stories), they lie miss deadlines. I have sold ALL Presonus gear and would never buy anything again. This is a company that is destined for Chapter 11/13. Get out now folks!

  • amounra

    Presonus is a great company. I sell AND use the stuff, to great satisfaction. Their customer support has always been top notch for me. YMMV, of course.

    Just a small correction: the source would be RICK Naqvi (not Nick), unless perhaps there are two Naqvis working at Presonus and I am yet unaware.

  • milo

    "Apple is shipping at least a month earlier than anyone thought"

    The date Apple announced months ago was SEPTEMBER. That includes the range of September 1 to September 30, so all developers knew that it could ship as early as next Monday.

    That would be three days early – the whole "it's early" excuse is pretty hard to buy considering if they released it on Monday instead of Friday, it would technically be not early but exactly when it was promised. And it's hard to imagine that responses from companies like this would be any different if they had the extra three days.

  • Okay, that's fair – Apple did in fact announce at WWDC that release would be September. I still think the process could be more transparent. But the bottom line remains that, beyond release dates, it's difficult to sync compatibility with audio products and OS upgrades — it just is.

    A vendor could very well claim to support a new OS – then discover nasty bugs once they have, instead of a handful of testers, huge chunks of their user base on the upgrade. And that very often happens.

    So, again, the attempt here was not to single out PreSonus — on the contrary, I'm trying to gather as much information as possible. The issue is, if anything thinks you can upgrade an OS and avoid ANY problems, you're … well, very optimistic.

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  • Brett Higgins

    Update from Nick Naqvi yesterday indicates we'll have a beta driver today. Nothing wrong with under-promise and over-deliver, I guess?


    Count me in with the crowd that says PreSonus has had PLENTY of time to prepare drivers for 10.6. Here's hoping they mean 'beta' in the Google sense.

  • Brett Higgins

    Gah, I mistyped Mr. Naqvi's first name too. *embarassed*

  • Dave

    I've just installed Snow Leopard on my 2.8 iMac (on an external FW drive) and to my surprise my Presonus Firestudio is working fine. Fired up Logic Studio (v8) and that worked as normal too.

    Maybe Presonus is being over cautious claiming that NONE of their interfaces will work with SL until the new drivers come out…..

  • Panic

    I was just looking at the release drivers for my Firestudio (a backup interface slaved to my RME FF800) Presonus actually state on the driver download page that the OSX driver and firmware are 64bit compatible. Since OSX hasn't actually had 64bit mode until 10.6 isn't it safe to assume that Snow Leopard compatibility has been included in the Release Presonus Driver for a while? Perhaps Presonus just misspoke as to the level of their compatibility and are now just running a PR cleanup campaign…

  • FYi

    Snow Leopard looks great- however Firebox doesn't work right…

    I posted on presonus forums and I'll comment there…

    but for Naqvi to say you'll 'have no trouble with the update and a Firebox,well, for me, isn't true.

    Ugh maybe it's time to go to Apogee anyhow…

  • michiel

    It seems the trouble with the Firebox on SL reported by the Presonus user Squeak (who – I assume – is FYi) were caused by something else, so the Firebox appears indeed to run fine on SL. (See Presonus forum thread here).

  • I gotta jump in again – they took over 18 months to update drivers (to a public alpha) on a flagship product. As far as great customer service goes, that is your first (and primary) defense when you are producing sub-par products.

    Sorry folks. I have used every brand of interface and ran a shop specializing in this equipment plus I do repairs. Presonus is a weak brand that is mismanaged. This comment stream is only ANOTHER in a long line of errors, mistakes, bad decisions, and idiotic moves. Wait 6 months, they will trip on their own shoelaces again. (I just hope their gear does not burn a studio down).

    I have had too many arguments from these people on forums. As the customer service damage control person put it "I don't think you understand, drivers are hard to make" – my response was simple "then you are in the wrong business. Get to work and shut up!".

    Drop your brand loyalty and understand the Presonus cost me and others thousands of dollars because they could NOT develop working technology for patches and OS changes in a reasonable time.

    (RME FTW)

  • Marc, that may be the case, but check the update. They did get their drivers shipping the day of the OS release. Now, they're still officially unsupported, but that's effectively the situation of ALL audio hardware right now (whatever vendors choose to call it). So you may well have a reasonable beef with PreSonus, but I don't think you can fault them for this *specific* situation.

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  • Ok, thanks for this warning.. I'm using a presonus box. I'll stick around for a half year untill I upgrade then!