image Pro Tools 7.4.2 is now fully tuned, qualified, and tested for Mac OS X Leopard. It’s a free download for users of Pro Tools 7.4 HD, LE, and M-Powered. (If you’re not yet on 7.4, you will need to purchase an upgrade to 7.4 first.) According to Digidesign, the update results from collaboration with Apple to acheive the expected levels of performance and stability under Apple’s newest operating system.

7.4.2 Announcement – download is right there [Digidesign]

That’s the good news. The bad news is, your plug-ins may not yet be along for the ride. Digidesign reports some current instruments and plug-ins may be “incompatible.” Based on other reports, I assume this means it’ll run, but may either cause instability or sub-par audio performance.

Digi is maintaining a plug-in compatibility page for Leopard.

Here’s the other bad news news: for the most part, that’s just plug-ins that Digidesign ships directly. Some of them at least have updates, but some of Digi’s flagship instruments (Hybrid, Strike, Structure, Velvet, and others) are awaiting updates as of press time. Your third-party plug-ins require a whole separate set of compatibility checks.

At least what we’re generally hearing from readers is that the situation is getting better, not worse. I’m still far from being able to recommend Leopard, however, especially given the fact that Tiger remains such an adequate OS. Update: Digidesign tells us that they’ll be monitoring other third-party plug-ins on that page, as well.

FireWire Fixes (Non-Digidesign)

Via PowerPage, some users of Leopard are having FireWire connection dropouts. At least for this issue, though, there are some suggested fixes. The symptoms, as reported at MacFixIt:

After the installation of software updates, the FireWire ports on various Mac models may cease to properly function, not recognizing devices or exhibiting other issues. For some users, this has occurred with printer driver updates and for others it has occurred with the latest QuickTime update. One MacFixIt reader reinstalled Leopard and the problem still occurred.

FireWire connection dropouts: more fixes [MacFixIt]

That’s a pretty nasty issue, but it sounds different than the intermittent audio issues users here were reporting, so I don’t know how widespread it is or whether it’s related to problems CDM readers have had.

I’ve actually seen less documentation of the audio issues, which means, brave CDM readers – it’s up to you. You’re the ones pushing your Mac’s audio. So if you are still having issues, even with current drivers and 10.5.3, be sure to let us know exactly what your hardware and software configuration is.