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.